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Adding a legend to a plot in Matplotlib

Matplotlib
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Cookbooks
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Legend Cookbook
schedule Jul 1, 2022
Last updated
local_offer PythonMatplotlib
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Pyplot interface

To add a legend to a plot in Matplotlib:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

plt.plot([1,2,3], label="blue", color="blue")   # add the label parameter here
plt.plot([3,2,1], label="red", color="red")     # add the label parameter here
plt.legend()   # to embed the legend
plt.show()

This produces the following:

By default, Matplotlib will place the legend where there is minimal overlap.

Changing the legend's location

You can change the location of the legend by specifying the loc parameter:

plt.legend(loc="upper left")
plt.legend(loc="upper right")
plt.legend(loc="lower left")
plt.legend(loc="lower right")
NOTE

For large amounts of data, you may want to specify the location.

By default, Matplotlib places the legend where there is minimal overlap. If you have large amounts of data, this process may be too slow, in which case you should explicitly specify the legend location.

Changing the font size

To change the font size of the legend, pass in the fontsize parameter to plt.legend(~) like so:

plt.legend(fontsize=20)

Object-oriented interface

To add a legend to a plot in Matplotlib using the object-oriented interface:

fig, ax = plt.subplots()
ax.plot([1,2,3], label="blue", color="blue")
ax.plot([3,2,1], label="red", color="red")
ax.legend()
plt.show()

This produces the following:

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Published by Isshin Inada
Edited by 0 others
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