In R, the error: plot.window(…): need finite ‘ylim’ values occurs when you try to plot data that contains missing or non-numeric values on the y-axis. You will get a similar error: plot.window(…): need finite ‘xlim’ values if you have missing or non-numeric values on the x-axis. You can solve this error by ensuring there are only numeric values in your data.

This tutorial will go through the error in detail and how to solve it with code examples.


Example #1: error:plot.window(…): need finite ‘xlim’ values

Let’s try to create a scatterplot using two vectors.

x<- c(NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA)
y <- c(3, 6, 7, 8, 14, 19)

plot(x,y)
Error in plot.window(...) : need finite 'xlim' values
In addition: Warning messages:
1: In min(x) : no non-missing arguments to min; returning Inf
2: In max(x) : no non-missing arguments to max; returning -Inf

The error occurs because the vector we want to use for the x-values of the scatterplot contains all NA values.

Solution

We can solve this error by providing a vector of numbers instead of NA values. Let’s look at the revised code:

x<- c(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
y <- c(3, 6, 7, 8, 14, 19)

plot(x,y)
Scatterplot using two vectors with R
Scatterplot using two vectors

We successfully created the scatterplot by providing two numeric vectors.

Example #2: error:plot.window(…): need finite ‘ylim’ values

Let’s try to create a scatterplot using two vectors.

x<- c(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
y <- c(NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NA)

plot(x,y)
Error in plot.window(...) : need finite 'ylim' values
In addition: Warning messages:
1: In min(x) : no non-missing arguments to min; returning Inf
2: In max(x) : no non-missing arguments to max; returning -Inf

The error occurs because the vector we want to use for the y-values of the scatterplot contains all NA values.

Solution

We can solve this error by providing a vector of numbers instead of NA values. Let’s look at the revised code:

x<- c(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
y <- c(3, 6, 7, 8, 14, 19)

plot(x,y)
Scatterplot using two vectors
Scatterplot using two vectors

We successfully created the scatterplot by providing two numeric vectors.

Example #3: error:plot.window(…): need finite ‘xlim’ values

Let’s try to create a scatterplot using two vectors.

x <- c('i', 'j', 'k', 'l', 'm', 'n')
x <- c(2, 'j', 'k', 0, 'm', 9)
y <- c(3, 'a', 7, 8, 14, 19)

y <- c(3, 6, 7, 8, 14, 19)
plot(x,y)
Error in plot.window(...) : need finite 'xlim' values
In addition: Warning messages:
1: In xy.coords(x, y, xlabel, ylabel, log) : NAs introduced by coercion
2: In min(x) : no non-missing arguments to min; returning Inf
3: In max(x) : no non-missing arguments to max; returning -Inf

The error occurs because the vector we want to use for the y-values of the scatterplot contains all characters instead of numeric values.

Solution

We can solve this error by providing a vector of numbers instead of NA values. Let’s look at the revised code:

x<- c(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
y <- c(3, 6, 7, 8, 14, 19)

plot(x,y)
Scatterplot using two vectors
Scatterplot using two vectors

We successfully created the scatterplot by providing two numeric vectors.

Summary

Congratulations on reading to the end of this tutorial!

For further reading on R related errors, go to the articles: 

Go to the online courses page on R to learn more about coding in R for data science and machine learning.

Have fun and happy researching!