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We can draw from a library of thousands of icons and selectively insert them into a gt table. The fmt_icon() function makes this possible and it operates a lot like fmt_flag() in that input cells need to contain some reference to an icon name. We are exclusively using Font Awesome icons here (and we do need to have the fontawesome package installed) so the reference is the short icon name. Multiple icons can be included per cell by separating icon names with commas (e.g., "hard-drive,clock"). The sep argument allows for a common separator to be applied between flag icons.


  columns = everything(),
  rows = everything(),
  height = "1em",
  sep = " ",
  stroke_color = NULL,
  stroke_width = NULL,
  stroke_alpha = NULL,
  fill_color = NULL,
  fill_alpha = NULL,
  vertical_adj = NULL,
  margin_left = NULL,
  margin_right = NULL,
  a11y = c("semantic", "decorative", "none")



The gt table data object

obj:<gt_tbl> // required

This is the gt table object that is commonly created through use of the gt() function.


Columns to target

<column-targeting expression> // default: everything()

Can either be a series of column names provided in c(), a vector of column indices, or a select helper function (e.g. starts_with(), ends_with(), contains(), matches(), num_range() and everything()).


Rows to target

<row-targeting expression> // default: everything()

In conjunction with columns, we can specify which of their rows should undergo formatting. The default everything() results in all rows in columns being formatted. Alternatively, we can supply a vector of row captions within c(), a vector of row indices, or a select helper function (e.g. starts_with(), ends_with(), contains(), matches(), num_range(), and everything()). We can also use expressions to filter down to the rows we need (e.g., [colname_1] > 100 & [colname_2] < 50).


Height of icon

scalar<character> // default: "1em"

The absolute height of the icon in the table cell. By default, this is set to "1em".


Separator between icons

scalar<character> // default: " "

In the output of icons within a body cell, sep provides the separator between each icon. By default, this is a single space character (" ").


Color of the icon stroke/outline

scalar<character> // default: NULL (optional)

The icon stroke is essentially the outline of the icon. The color of the stroke can be modified by applying a single color here. If not provided then the default value of "currentColor" is applied so that the stroke color matches that of the parent HTML element's color attribute.


Width of the icon stroke/outline

scalar<character|numeric|integer> // default: NULL (optional)

The stroke_width option allows for setting the color of the icon outline stroke. By default, the stroke width is very small at "1px" so a size adjustment here can sometimes be useful.


Transparency value for icon stroke/outline

scalar<numeric> // default: NULL (optional)

The level of transparency for the icon stroke can be controlled with a decimal value between 0 and 1.


Color of the icon fill

scalar<character>|vector<character> // default: NULL (optional)

The fill color of the icon can be set with fill_color; providing a single color here will change the color of the fill but not of the icon's 'stroke' or outline (use stroke_color to modify that). A named vector or named list comprising the icon names with corresponding fill colors can alternatively be used here (e.g., list("circle-check" = "green", "circle-xmark" = "red"). If nothing is provided then the default value of "currentColor" is applied so that the fill matches the color of the parent HTML element's color attribute.


Transparency value for icon fill

scalar<numeric|integer>(0>=val>=1) // default: NULL (optional)

The level of transparency for the icon fill can be controlled with a decimal value between 0 and 1.


Vertical adjustment of icon from baseline

scalar<character|numeric|integer> // default: NULL (optional)

The vertical alignment of the icon. By default, a length of "-0.125em" is used.


Margin width left of icon

scalar<character|numeric|integer> // default: NULL (optional)

The length value for the margin that's to the left of the icon can be set with margin_left. By default, "auto" is used for this but if space is needed on the left-hand side then a length of "0.2em" is recommended as a starting point.


Margin width right of icon

scalar<character|numeric|integer> // default: NULL (optional)

The length value for the margin that's to the right of the icon can be set with margin_right. By default, "auto" is used for this but if space is needed on the right-hand side then a length of "0.2em" is recommended as a starting point.


Accessibility mode for icon

singl-kw:[semantic|decorative|none] // default: "semantic"

The accessibility mode for the icon display can be set with the a11y argument. Icons can either be "semantic" or "decorative". Using "none" will result in no accessibility features for the icons.


An object of class gt_tbl.

Compatibility of formatting function with data values

fmt_icon() is compatible with body cells that are of the "character" or "factor" types. Any other types of body cells are ignored during formatting. This is to say that cells of incompatible data types may be targeted, but there will be no attempt to format them.

Compatibility of arguments with the from_column() helper function

from_column() can be used with certain arguments of fmt_icon() to obtain varying parameter values from a specified column within the table. This means that each row could be formatted a little bit differently. These arguments provide support for from_column():

  • height

  • sep

  • stroke_color

  • stroke_width

  • stroke_alpha

  • fill_color

  • fill_alpha

  • vertical_adj

  • margin_left

  • margin_right

  • a11y

Please note that for each of the aforementioned arguments, a from_column() call needs to reference a column that has data of the correct type (this is different for each argument). Additional columns for parameter values can be generated with cols_add() (if not already present). Columns that contain parameter data can also be hidden from final display with cols_hide(). Finally, there is no limitation to how many arguments the from_column() helper is applied so long as the arguments belong to this closed set.

Icons that can be used

fmt_icon() relies on an installation of the fontawesome package to operate and every icon within that package can be accessed here with either an icon name or a full name. For example, the Arrow Down icon has an icon name of "arrow-down" and its corresponding full name is "fas fa-arrow-down". In most cases you'll want to use the shorter name, but some icons have both a Solid ("fas") and a Regular ("far") variant so only the full name can disambiguate the pairing. In the latest release of fontawesome (v0.5.2), there are 2,025 icons and you can view the entire icon listing by calling info_icons(). What you'll get from that is an information table showing every icon and associated set of identifiers.


For this first example of generating icons with fmt_icon(), let's make a simple tibble that has two columns of Font Awesome icon names. We separate multiple icons per cell with commas. By default, the icons are 1 em in height; we're going to make the icons slightly larger here (so we can see the fine details of them) by setting height = "4em".

  animals = c(
    "hippo", "fish,spider", "mosquito,locust,frog",
    "dog,cat", "kiwi-bird"
  foods = c(
    "bowl-rice", "egg,pizza-slice", "burger,lemon,cheese",
    "carrot,hotdog", "bacon"
) |>
  gt() |>
  fmt_icon(height = "4em") |>
  cols_align(align = "center", columns = everything())

This image of a table was generated from the first code example in the `fmt_icon()` help file.

Let's take a few rows from the towny dataset and make it so the csd_type column contains Font Awesome icon names (we want only the "city" and "house-chimney" icons here). After using fmt_icon() to format the csd_type column, we get icons that are representative of the two categories of municipality for this subset of data.

towny |>
  dplyr::select(name, csd_type, population_2021) |>
  dplyr::filter(csd_type %in% c("city", "town")) |>
  dplyr::group_by(csd_type) |>
  dplyr::slice_max(population_2021, n = 5) |>
  dplyr::ungroup() |>
    csd_type = ifelse(csd_type == "town", "house-chimney", "city")
  ) |>
  gt() |>
  fmt_integer() |>
  fmt_icon(columns = csd_type) |>
  cols_move_to_start(columns = csd_type) |>
    csd_type = "",
    name = "City/Town",
    population_2021 = "Population"

This image of a table was generated from the second code example in the `fmt_icon()` help file.

Let's use a portion of the metro dataset to create a gt table. Depending on which train services are offered at the subset of stations, Font Awesome icon names will be applied to cells where the different services exist (the specific names are "train-subway", "train", and "train-tram"). With tidyr::unite(), those icon names can be converged into a single column (services) with the NA values removed. Since the names correspond to icons and they are in the correct format (separated by commas), they can be formatted as Font Awesome icons with fmt_icon().

metro |>
  dplyr::select(name, lines, connect_rer, connect_tramway, location) |>
  dplyr::slice_tail(n = 10) |>
  dplyr::mutate(lines = "train-subway") |>
  dplyr::mutate(connect_rer = ifelse(!, "train", NA)) |>
    connect_tramway = ifelse(!, "train-tram", NA)
  ) |>
    col = services,
    sep = ",",
    na.rm = TRUE
  ) |>
  gt() |>
    columns = services,
    a11y = "decorative"
  ) |>
    columns = c(name, services),
    pattern = "{1} ({2})"
  ) |>
    name = "Station",
    location = "Location"

This image of a table was generated from the third code example in the `fmt_icon()` help file.

Taking a handful of starred reviews from a popular film review website, we will attempt to format a numerical score (0 to 4) to use the "star" and "star-half" icons. In this case, it is useful to generate the repeating sequence of icon names (separated by commas) in the rating column before introducing the table to gt(). We can make use of the numerical rating values in stars within fmt_icon() with a little help from from_column(). Using that, we can dynamically adjust the icon's fill_alpha (i.e., opacity) value and accentuate the films with higher scores.

  film = c(
    "The Passengers of the Night", "Serena", "The Father",
    "Roma", "The Handmaiden", "Violet", "Vice"
  stars = c(3, 1, 3.5, 4, 4, 2.5, 1.5)
) |>
  dplyr::mutate(rating = dplyr::case_when(
    stars %% 1 == 0 ~ strrep("star,", stars),
    stars %% 1 != 0 ~ paste0(strrep("star,", floor(stars)), "star-half")
  )) |>
  gt() |>
    columns = rating,
    fill_color = "red",
    fill_alpha = from_column("stars", fn = function(x) x / 4)
  ) |>
  cols_hide(columns = stars) |>
    source_note = md(
      "Data obtained from <>."

This image of a table was generated from the fourth code example in the `fmt_icon()` help file.

A fairly common thing to do with icons in tables is to indicate whether a quantity is either higher or lower than another. Up and down arrow symbols can serve as good visual indicators for this purpose. We can make use of the "up-arrow" and "down-arrow" icons here. The fmt_icon() function has to find those text values in cells to generate the icons, so, lets generate the text within a new column with cols_add() (an expression is used therein to generate the correct text given the close and open values). Following that, fmt_icon() is used and its fill_color argument is provided with a named vector that indicates which color should be used for each icon.

sp500 |>
  dplyr::slice_head(n = 10) |>
  dplyr::select(date, open, close) |>
  dplyr::arrange(-dplyr::row_number()) |>
  gt(rowname_col = "date") |>
  cols_add(week = date, .after = date) |>
  cols_add(dir = ifelse(close > open, "arrow-up", "arrow-down")) |>
  cols_merge(columns = c(date, week), pattern = "{1} ({2})") |>
  fmt_date(columns = date, date_style = "m_day_year") |>
  fmt_datetime(columns = week, format = "w", pattern = "W{x}") |>
  fmt_currency() |>
    columns = dir,
    fill_color = c("arrow-up" = "green", "arrow-down" = "red")
  ) |>
    open = "Opening Value",
    close = "Closing Value",
    dir = ""
  ) |>
  opt_stylize(style = 1, color = "gray")

This image of a table was generated from the fifth code example in the `fmt_icon()` help file.

Function ID


Function Introduced

v0.10.0 (October 7, 2023)