When trying to plot a dotmap with tmap:


I want the points to remain at their original scale, but want the symbols in the legend to be larger, as right now they are the same size of the individual dots and thus very hard to see. If possible, I'd like to have them in rectangles.

Map with legend, legend points are too small

This is how summary() on my dataset looks like:

   Party                    geometry    
 Length:61457       POINT        :61457  
 Class :character   epsg:3006    :    0  
 Mode  :character   +proj=utm ...:    0  
  • What if you use tm_legend(scale=2)?
    – Chelmy88
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 12:28
  • This changes the scale of the dots in the map as well.
    – Kenji
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 12:37
  • And if you put scale=1 in tm_dots() (and keep the scale=2)
    – Chelmy88
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 12:39
  • The map always matches the larger number passed to scale, regardless of whether it is inside tm_dots or tm_legend.
    – Kenji
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 12:42
  • I can't replicate this with sample data from the package, eg tm_shape(metro) + tm_dots(col="pop1950") using metro from ?tm_dots. Dots on map and dots on legend are different and okay sizes. Can you edit and include an image? Or show summary of your data?
    – Spacedman
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


By design, the symbols in the legend are as close to the symbols in the map as possible.

If you want the legend to be different, one approach is to create a manual legend:

tm_shape(World) +
    tm_fill("black") +
    tm_dots("footprint", size = .1, legend.show = FALSE) +
    tm_add_legend(type = "fill", 
                  col = c(tmaptools::get_brewer_pal("YlOrRd", 4, plot = FALSE), "grey75"),
                  labels = c("0 to 5", "5 to 10", "10 to 15", "15 to 20", "Missing"),
                  title = "Footpritn")

enter image description here

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