python pandas visualization

Data visualization is a crucial aspect of data analysis, as it allows you to quickly explore patterns, trends, and relationships in your data. Pandas, being a versatile library, provides built-in plotting tools based on Matplotlib that make it easy to create a variety of visualizations. In this tutorial, we will explore the different types of plots you can create using Pandas and how to customize them to fit your needs.

Basic Plotting with Pandas

Pandas provides a simple and convenient interface for creating plots directly from DataFrames and Series objects. By default, Pandas uses the plot() method to create line plots, but you can also specify other types of plots, such as bar plots, scatter plots, and histograms.

Let’s start by creating a sample DataFrame with some random data:

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

# Set a random seed for reproducibility

# Create a date range
date_range = pd.date_range(start='2021-01-01', end='2021-12-31', freq='D')

# Create random data for sales, customers, and product categories
sales_data = {
    'date': date_range,
    'sales': np.random.randint(50, 200, len(date_range)),
    'customers': np.random.randint(10, 100, len(date_range)),
    'category_A': np.random.uniform(0, 1, len(date_range)),
    'category_B': np.random.uniform(0, 1, len(date_range)),
    'category_C': np.random.uniform(0, 1, len(date_range))

# Create a DataFrame with the sales data
df = pd.DataFrame(sales_data)
        date  sales  customers  category_A  category_B  category_C
0 2021-01-01    152         10    0.240146    0.600517    0.643578
1 2021-01-02    142         43    0.075863    0.665037    0.526403
2 2021-01-03     64         57    0.128880    0.175371    0.731590
3 2021-01-04    156         98    0.128046    0.914412    0.081630
4 2021-01-05    121         10    0.151903    0.418771    0.060352

Line Plots

Line plots are useful for visualizing the change in a variable over time or for comparing multiple variables. To create a line plot using Pandas, you can simply call the plot() method on a DataFrame or Series object:

df.plot(x='date', y='sales')
pandas standart plot

This will create a line plot showing the sales data over time.

Learn more about working with DataFrames in our tutorial on understanding Pandas DataFrames.

Bar Plots

Bar plots are great for visualizing categorical data or for comparing values across different categories. To create a bar plot using Pandas, you can specify the kind parameter as 'bar' when calling the plot() method:

df.head(10).plot(x='date', y='sales', kind='bar')
pandas bar plot

This creates a bar plot showing the sales data for the first 10 days in the DataFrame.

Scatter Plots

Scatter plots are useful for visualizing the relationship between two variables. To create a scatter plot using Pandas, you can specify the kind parameter as 'scatter' when calling the plot() method and provide the x and y parameters to indicate which columns to plot on the x and y axes, respectively:

df.plot(x='sales', y='customers', kind='scatter')
pandas scatter

This creates a scatter plot showing the relationship between sales and the number of customers.


Histograms are used to visualize the distribution of a single variable. To create a histogram using Pandas, you can specify the kind parameter as 'hist' when calling the plot() method:

pandas histogram

This creates a histogram showing the distribution of sales data.

Learn more about Pandas data transformation techniques in our tutorial on applying functions and mapping.

Customizing Plots

While the default settings for Pandas plots are often sufficient for exploratory data analysis, you may want to customize your plots to make them more informative or visually appealing. In this section, we will cover some of the most common customization options available in Pandas.

Changing Plot Style

You can change the overall style of your plots using the style parameter. For example, you can change the line style, marker style, and color for a line plot:

df.plot(x='date', y=['category_A', 'category_B', 'category_C'], style=['--', 'o-', '.:'])
pandas custom line plot

This creates a line plot with dashed, circle-marked, and dotted lines for category_A, category_B, and category_C, respectively.

Adding Titles, Labels, and Legends

Adding titles, axis labels, and legends can help make your plots more informative. To add these elements, you can use the title, xlabel, and ylabel parameters:

df.plot(x='date', y='sales', title='Sales Over Time', xlabel='Date', ylabel='Sales', legend=True)
pandas line plot with adding titles, labels, and legends

This creates a line plot with the title ‘Sales Over Time’, x-axis label ‘Date’, y-axis label ‘Sales’, and a legend indicating the sales data.

Customizing Legends

You can customize the legend by accessing the `legend` object returned by the plot() method. For example, you can change the legend location, font size, and number of columns:

ax = df.plot(x='date', y=['category_A', 'category_B', 'category_C'])
ax.legend(loc='upper left', fontsize='large', ncol=3)
pandas line plot with customizing legends

This creates a line plot with the legend positioned in the upper left corner, large font size, and three columns.

Customizing Colors

You can customize the colors used in your plots by providing a list of colors or a colormap to the color parameter. For example, you can use custom colors for a bar plot:

colors = ['red', 'blue', 'green']
df.head(10).plot(x='date', y=['category_A', 'category_B', 'category_C'], kind='bar', color=colors)
pandas bar plot with custom colors

Or you can use a colormap for a scatter plot:

df.plot(x='sales', y='customers', c='category_A', kind='scatter', colormap='viridis')
pandas scatter plot with custom colors

Advanced Plotting Options

While Pandas’ built-in plotting tools are powerful and easy to use, you may sometimes require more advanced visualization capabilities. In these cases, you can combine Pandas with other visualization libraries, such as Matplotlib or Seaborn.

For example, let’s create a pair plot (a scatter plot matrix) using Seaborn to visualize the relationships between all pairs of variables in our DataFrame:

import seaborn as sns

pandas seaborn pairplot

Another example is creating a heatmap using Seaborn to visualize the correlation between variables in our DataFrame:

corr_matrix = df.drop(columns=['date']).corr()
sns.heatmap(corr_matrix, annot=True)
pandas seaborn heatmap

Learn more about grouping and aggregating data with Pandas in our tutorial on the power of GroupBy.


In this tutorial, we explored the built-in plotting tools provided by Pandas for data visualization, including line plots, bar plots, scatter plots, and histograms. We also covered various customization options to make your plots more informative and visually appealing.

By mastering Pandas’ built-in plotting tools, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently visualize your data, making it easier to explore patterns, trends, and relationships. To further develop your Pandas skills, consider exploring related topics like time series analysis with Pandas.

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