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How can I plot separate Pandas DataFrames as subplots?

I have a few Pandas DataFrames sharing the same value scale, but having different columns and indices. When invoking df.plot(), I get separate plot images. what I really want is to have them all in the same plot as subplots, but I'm unfortunately failing to come up with a solution to how and would highly appreciate some help.

You can manually create the subplots with matplotlib, and then plot the dataframes on a specific subplot using the ax keyword. For example for 4 subplots (2x2):

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

fig, axes = plt.subplots(nrows=2, ncols=2)


Here axes is an array which holds the different subplot axes, and you can access one just by indexing axes.
If you want a shared x-axis, then you can provide sharex=True to plt.subplots.

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    • @canary_in_the_data_mine Thanks, that is really annoying... your comment saved me some time :) couldn't figure out why I was getting IndexError: too many indices for array
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    • @canary_in_the_data_mine That is only annoying if default arguments for .subplot() are used. Set squeeze=False to force .subplot() to always return an ndarray in any case of rows and cols.

You can see e.gs. in the documentation demonstrating joris answer. Also from the documentation, you could also set subplots=True and layout=(,) within the pandas plot function:

df.plot(subplots=True, layout=(1,2))

You could also use fig.add_subplot() which takes subplot grid parameters such as 221, 222, 223, 224, etc. as described in the post here. Nice examples of plot on pandas data frame, including subplots, can be seen in this ipython notebook.

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    • This is the better answer for pure Pandas use. This doesn't require importing matplotlib directly (though you normally should anyways) and doesn't require looping for arbitrary shapes (can use layout=(df.shape[1], 1), for example).
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    • although joris' answer is great for general matplotlib usage this is excellent for anyone wanting to using pandas for quick data visualisation. It also fits inline with the question a bit better.
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    • Keep in mind that the subplots and layout kwargs will generate multiple plots ONLY for a single dataframe. This is related to, but not a solution for OP's question of plotting multiple dataframes into a single plot.

You can use the familiar Matplotlib style calling a figure and subplot, but you simply need to specify the current axis using plt.gca(). An example:

df.A.plot() #no need to specify for first axis


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You can plot multiple subplots of multiple pandas data frames using matplotlib with a simple trick of making a list of all data frame. Then using the for loop for plotting subplots.

Working code:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
# dataframe sample data
df1 = pd.DataFrame(np.random.rand(10,2)*100, columns=['A', 'B'])
df2 = pd.DataFrame(np.random.rand(10,2)*100, columns=['A', 'B'])
df3 = pd.DataFrame(np.random.rand(10,2)*100, columns=['A', 'B'])
df4 = pd.DataFrame(np.random.rand(10,2)*100, columns=['A', 'B'])
df5 = pd.DataFrame(np.random.rand(10,2)*100, columns=['A', 'B'])
df6 = pd.DataFrame(np.random.rand(10,2)*100, columns=['A', 'B'])
#define number of rows and columns for subplots
# make a list of all dataframes 
df_list = [df1 ,df2, df3, df4, df5, df6]
fig, axes = plt.subplots(nrow, ncol)
# plot counter
for r in range(nrow):
    for c in range(ncol):

enter image description here

Using this code you can plot subplots in any configuration. You need to just define number of rows nrow and number of columns ncol. Also, you need to make list of data frames df_list which you wanted to plot.

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You may not need to use Pandas at all. Here's a matplotlib plot of cat frequencies:

enter image description here

x = np.linspace(0, 2*np.pi, 400)
y = np.sin(x**2)

f, axes = plt.subplots(2, 1)
for c, i in enumerate(axes):
  axes[c].plot(x, y)
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Building on @joris response above, if you have already established a reference to the subplot, you can use the reference as well. For example,

ax1 = plt.subplot2grid((50,100), (0, 0), colspan=20, rowspan=10)

df.plot.barh(ax=ax1, stacked=True)
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How to create multiple plots from a dictionary of dataframes with long (tidy) data

  • Assumptions

    • There is a dictionary of multiple dataframes of tidy data
      • Created by reading in from files
      • Created by separating a single dataframe into multiple dataframes
    • The categories, cat, may be overlapping, but all dataframes may not contain all values of cat
    • hue='cat'
  • Because dataframes are being iterated through, there's not guarantee that colors will be mapped the same for each plot

    • A custom color map needs to be created from the unique 'cat' values for all the dataframes
    • Since the colors will be the same, place one legend to the side of the plots, instead of a legend in every plot

Imports and synthetic data

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np  # used for random data
import random  # used for random data
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from matplotlib.patches import Patch  # for custom legend
import seaborn as sns
import math import ceil  # determine correct number of subplot

# synthetic data
df_dict = dict()
for i in range(1, 7):
    data_length = 100
    data = {'cat': [random.choice(['A', 'B', 'C']) for _ in range(data_length)],
            'x': np.random.rand(data_length),
            'y': np.random.rand(data_length)}
    df_dict[i] = pd.DataFrame(data)

# display(df_dict[1].head())

  cat         x         y
0   A  0.417022  0.326645
1   C  0.720324  0.527058
2   A  0.000114  0.885942
3   B  0.302333  0.357270
4   A  0.146756  0.908535

Create color mappings and plot

# create color mapping based on all unique values of cat
unique_cat = {cat for v in df_dict.values() for cat in v.cat.unique()}  # get unique cats
colors = sns.color_palette('husl', n_colors=len(unique_cat))  # get a number of colors
cmap = dict(zip(unique_cat, colors))  # zip values to colors

# iterate through dictionary and plot
col_nums = 3  # how many plots per row
row_nums = math.ceil(len(df_dict) / col_nums)  # how many rows of plots
plt.figure(figsize=(10, 5))  # change the figure size as needed
for i, (k, v) in enumerate(df_dict.items(), 1):
    plt.subplot(row_nums, col_nums, i)  # create subplots
    p = sns.scatterplot(data=v, x='x', y='y', hue='cat', palette=cmap)
    p.legend_.remove()  # remove the individual plot legends
    plt.title(f'DataFrame: {k}')

# create legend from cmap
patches = [Patch(color=v, label=k) for k, v in cmap.items()]
# place legend outside of plot; change the right bbox value to move the legend up or down
plt.legend(handles=patches, bbox_to_anchor=(1.06, 1.2), loc='center left', borderaxespad=0)

enter image description here

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