Compiling Vega-Lite to Vega

If you would rather compile your Vega-Lite specifications into Vega, you can use Vega-Lite’s included javascript compiler or one of several bundled command line utilities.

First install Vega-Lite using npm (npm install vega-lite) or by downloading the latest release. (For the latter, you will also have to download Vega and D3.)

Using Javascript

If you want access to the compiled Vega spec from a Javascript program, you can compile your Vega-Lite spec using the vl.compile function.

var vgSpec = vl.compile(vlSpec, options).spec;

If provided, the options argument should be an object with one or more of the following properties:

Customized Configuration

You can specify a config object as a property of the compile function’s options argument. Note that configuration properties provided via the config property in the Vega-Lite specification, will override the configurations passed in through the compile function.

Customized Logging

By default, warnings and other messages are printed to the JavaScript console (via console.log/warn methods). To redirect the log messages, you can pass a customize logger to the compile function.

var vgSpec = vl.compile(vlSpec, {logger: logger}).spec;

A custom logger should implement the following interface:

interface LoggerInterface {
  level: (_: number) => number | LoggerInterface;
  warn(...args: any[]): LoggerInterface;
  info(...args: any[]): LoggerInterface;
  debug(...args: any[]): LoggerInterface;

Customized Field Title Formatter

To customize how Vega-Lite generates axis or legend titles for a field definition, you can provide a titleFormat function as a property of the compile function’s options argument.

var vgSpec = vl.compile(vlSpec, {
  titleFormat: function(fieldDef, config) {
    const fn = fieldDef.aggregate || fieldDef.timeUnit || (fieldDef.bin && 'bin');
    if (fn) {
      return fn.toUpperCase() + '(' + fieldDef.field + ')';
    } else {
      return fieldDef.field;

From the Command Line

If you want to compile your Vega-Lite specs from the command line, we provide a set of scripts which make it easy to go from Vega-Lite to Vega, SVG, or PNG. These scripts are vl2vg, vl2svg, and vl2png respectively.

Each script simply accepts your Vega-Lite specification as its first argument.

vl2svg vega-lite-spec.vl.json