Python Tutorial



Python Tutorial



Matplotlib is an indispensable tool in the toolkit of data analysts, scientists, and developers using Python. Renowned for its versatility and powerful visualization capabilities, it enables users to convert complex data into comprehensible visuals. As data continues to play a pivotal role in decision-making across industries, mastering tools like Matplotlib becomes imperative. In this Python Matplotlib tutorial, we delve deep into the intricate layers of this tool, shedding light on its core aspects for professionals aiming to upskill.


Data visualization stands as a cornerstone in the realm of data analysis and interpretation. It bridges the gap between raw data's intricacies and the human ability to discern patterns and insights from it. Amidst various tools available, Matplotlib emerges as Python's leading library, offering both novice and seasoned developers a platform to transform data into meaningful visuals. 

With its multifaceted functions, ranging from simple plots to intricate 3D graphics, Matplotlib caters to diverse visualization needs. This tutorial seeks to unpack its robust features and guide professionals through its nuanced functionalities, ensuring a comprehensive grasp of this essential tool.

What is Matplotlib?

Matplotlib, often regarded as the linchpin of Python's data visualization arsenal, offers a plethora of tools and techniques to translate intricate data sets into digestible, insightful visuals. But what sets it apart?

At its heart, Matplotlib's Core Functionality centers around crafting detailed 2D graphics that elucidate data trends and patterns. Beyond static images, it fosters Support for Interactive Environments, ensuring users can engage with data in real-time, especially in versatile platforms like Python shells or Jupyter notebooks.

Why Would You Need Data Visualization?

With vast volumes of data inundating businesses daily, the imperative to distill this information into digestible formats has never been higher. The unparalleled processing speed of the human brain for visuals gives images a distinct edge. This implies that data, when represented visually, can be comprehended almost instantaneously, eliminating the lengthy time it might take to sift through rows of numbers or paragraphs of analysis.

Explain the Matplotlib Architecture

Matplotlib, a renowned visualization library in Python, owes its prowess to a meticulously designed architecture. Matplotlib offers an intuitive scripting interface via pyplot. Designed for those who aren't looking to construct intricate visualizations from the ground up, this scripting layer makes plotting straightforward. With a few lines of code, users can produce a wide range of plots and visualizations, making it a favorite among developers.

Installing Matplotlib and Veriifying the Installation

To work with Matplotlib in Python, you first need to install it, verify the installation, and then you can create basic plots. You can install Matplotlib using pip, the Python package manager. Open your command prompt or terminal and run the following command:

pip install matplotlib

This command will download and install Matplotlib and its dependencies. To verify that Matplotlib is correctly installed, you can run a Python script that imports Matplotlib and plots a simple graph.

Plotting Graphs With Matplotlib

Here's a basic example of how to create a simple plot using Matplotlib:


import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

# Data for the x and y axes
x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]

# Create a plot
plt.plot(x, y)

# Add labels and a title
plt.title('Simple Line Plot')

# Show the plot

This code imports Matplotlib, creates a simple line plot using plt.plot(), adds labels and a title to the plot using plt.xlabel(), plt.ylabel(), and plt.title(), and finally displays the plot using

Plotting with Pyplot and Categorical Variables  

Matplotlib's pyplot module is commonly used for creating plots. You can import it as plt, as shown in the previous example, and use its functions for various plot types, customization, and showing plots. You can also create plots with categorical variables, such as bar charts. 

Here's an example of plotting a bar chart with categorical data:


import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

# Data for the x-axis (categories) and y-axis (values)
categories = ['A', 'B', 'C', 'D']
values = [10, 25, 15, 30]

# Create a bar chart, values)

# Add labels and a title
plt.title('Bar Chart with Categorical Data')

# Show the plot

In this example, is used to create a bar chart with categorical data, and the categories and values are specified. Labels and a title are added as well, and the plot is displayed with

subplot()  in Matplotlib

subplot() is a function in Matplotlib, a popular data visualization library in Python. It is used to create multiple plots (subplots) within a single figure or canvas. subplot() allows you to arrange and display multiple graphs or charts in a grid-like layout within a single figure, making it easier to compare and analyze data. It takes three arguments: the number of rows, the number of columns, and the index of the subplot to be created.

Here's the syntax for subplot():

plt.subplot(rows, columns, index)

In the above syntax,

  • rows: The number of rows in the grid of subplots.

  • columns: The number of columns in the grid of subplots.

  • index: The index (starting from 1) of the subplot to be created within the grid.

Creating Different Types of Graphs with Matplotlib

Let's create different types of graphs, including line graphs, bar graphs, a pie chart, a histogram, a scatter plot, and a 3D graph plot, using subplot() to arrange them within a single figure:


import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

# Data for the different types of graphs
x = np.linspace(0, 2*np.pi, 100)
y = np.sin(x)

categories = ['A', 'B', 'C', 'D']
values = [10, 25, 15, 30]

data = np.random.randn(1000)

x_scatter = np.random.rand(50)
y_scatter = np.random.rand(50)

x_3d = np.random.rand(100)
y_3d = np.random.rand(100)
z_3d = np.random.rand(100)

# Creating subplots for different types of graphs
plt.figure(figsize=(12, 8))

# Subplot 1: Line Graph
plt.subplot(2, 3, 1)
plt.plot(x, y)
plt.title('Line Graph')

# Subplot 2: Bar Graph
plt.subplot(2, 3, 2), values)
plt.title('Bar Graph')

# Subplot 3: Pie Chart
plt.subplot(2, 3, 3)
plt.pie(values, labels=categories, autopct='%1.1f%%')
plt.title('Pie Chart')

# Subplot 4: Histogram
plt.subplot(2, 3, 4)
plt.hist(data, bins=20, edgecolor='black')

# Subplot 5: Scatter Plot
plt.subplot(2, 3, 5)
plt.scatter(x_scatter, y_scatter)
plt.title('Scatter Plot')

# Subplot 6: 3D Plot
plt.subplot(2, 3, 6, projection='3d')
plt.scatter(x_3d, y_3d, z_3d)
plt.title('3D Scatter Plot')

# Adjust layout for better spacing

# Show the figure with subplots

In the above example, we create six subplots to display different types of graphs using subplot(). Each subplot is assigned a position within the grid (2 rows and 3 columns), and different types of data are plotted in each subplot, including line graphs, bar graphs, a pie chart, a histogram, a scatter plot, and a 3D scatter plot. plt.tight_layout() is used to ensure proper spacing between subplots.

What are the Important Functions of Matplotlib?

Matplotlib, in its vast repertoire, houses a plethora of functions tailored to address a wide spectrum of visualization requirements.

Basic Plotting: Painting the First Strokes

Central to Matplotlib's functionality is the plot function. Remarkably versatile, it forms the backbone of many basic visualizations, handling everything from simple line graphs to intricate markers. Whether you're tracing the trajectory of stock prices or mapping temperature fluctuations, the plot function offers a straightforward and efficient way to graph data points.

Histograms and Bar Charts: Visualizing Distributions and Categories

When the need arises to visualize frequency distributions or represent categorical data, Matplotlib's hist and bar functions come to the fore. The hist function adeptly displays the distribution of a dataset, giving insights into its spread and central tendencies. On the other hand, the bar function is perfectly suited for juxtaposing discrete data categories, highlighting contrasts and comparisons.

Scatter Plots: Plotting Relationships

Seeking to uncover potential relationships between two variables? The scatter function is your go-to. A scatter plot does more than just plot points—it hints at correlations, showcases clusters, and can even reveal outliers, making it an indispensable tool in any data analyst's kit.

5 Phases to Make Essential Decisions with Matplotlib

1. Visualize

In the initial phase, define the purpose of your data visualization. What insights or messages do you want to convey through the visualization? Choose the appropriate type of plot or chart based on your data and objectives. Common types include line plots, bar charts, histograms, scatter plots, pie charts, etc. Consider factors such as the data's dimensionality (1D, 2D, 3D), the nature of your data (categorical, numerical), and the target audience.

2. Analysis

Analyze your data to gain a deep understanding of its characteristics. Explore data distribution, relationships between variables, and any patterns or outliers. Determine which variables will be plotted on the x-axis, y-axis, and other relevant dimensions. Consider whether you need to apply any statistical or mathematical operations to the data. Decide on the color mapping, legends, and labels to effectively communicate insights.

3. Transform Data Set

Preprocess and transform your data as needed for visualization. This may involve data cleaning, filtering, aggregation, or normalization. Ensure that your data is structured in a way that aligns with the chosen plot type. For example, organize data into arrays or lists to facilitate plotting. Handle missing or erroneous data appropriately to avoid misleading visualizations.

4. Use Matplotlib to Create the Visualization

Import the Matplotlib library into your Python script or Jupyter Notebook. Use Matplotlib's functions and classes to create the chosen plot type. We can customize the appearance of the plot by specifying colors, markers, labels, titles, axes, and other visual elements. Ensure that the plot accurately represents the insights you want to convey, and that it is aesthetically pleasing.

5. Document Insights

Annotate the visualization with explanatory text, captions, or annotations to highlight key findings and insights. We should include source references, data provenance, or any relevant context to provide a complete understanding of the visualization. You can consider creating interactive visualizations, if applicable, to allow viewers to explore the data more deeply.


Matplotlib stands as a stalwart in the realm of data visualization within the Python ecosystem. Its rich array of functions and layers, as elucidated above, enable developers to represent complex data patterns and relationships in a comprehensible and visually appealing manner. 

By harnessing the power of Matplotlib, professionals can elevate their data analysis and presentation skills. While this Matplotlib tutorial Python has equipped you with core knowledge, continuous learning is pivotal. Consider exploring upGrad's advanced courses to further refine and expand your skillset in data visualization and other Python specialties.


1.What are Matplotlib basics?

Matplotlib basics refer to the foundational knowledge and skills required to create standard plots and charts. This includes understanding basic plotting functions, setting plot attributes, and customizing legends and axes. Mastery of these basics prepares one to tackle more complex visualizations.

2. How do I start using Matplotlib?

To start using Matplotlib, ensure you have it installed using pip (pip install matplotlib). Next, import it in your Python script with import matplotlib.pyplot as plt. From there, you can use various plotting functions to visualize your data.

3. How does Matplotlib in Python differ from other visualization tools?

Matplotlib offers a high degree of customization, integration within the Python environment, and the ability to create complex visualizations. While other tools might offer more intuitive interfaces, Matplotlib's versatility stands out, especially for detailed data analysis.

4. Why should I choose Matplotlib for a Python visualization tutorial?

Matplotlib is a widely-used library, recognized for its depth and flexibility. Learning Matplotlib not only equips one with data visualization techniques but also provides a strong foundation to explore other visualization libraries in Python.

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