Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Matplotlib is a powerful visualization library in Python that allows users to create various types of plots, including line plots, bar charts, scatter plots, and more. One common feature in matplotlib plots is the legend, which provides information about the data being visualized. By default, the legend is placed inside the plot area. However, in some cases, you may want to place the legend outside the figure to avoid cluttering the plot. In this article, we will explore how to customize the location of the legend in matplotlib plots.

Example 1: Creating a Simple Line Plot with Legend

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend()
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 2: Placing the Legend Outside the Upper Right Corner

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(loc='upper right', bbox_to_anchor=(1.1, 1))
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 3: Placing the Legend Outside the Lower Left Corner

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(loc='lower left', bbox_to_anchor=(0, -0.2))
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 4: Placing the Legend Outside the Lower Right Corner

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(loc='lower right', bbox_to_anchor=(1.1, -0.2))
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 5: Placing the Legend Outside the Upper Left Corner

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(loc='upper left', bbox_to_anchor=(0, 1))
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 6: Adjusting the Legend Font Size

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(fontsize='large')
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 7: Adding a Title to the Legend

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(title='Legend Title')
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 8: Changing the Legend Box Border

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(edgecolor='red')
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 9: Changing the Background Color of the Legend

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(facecolor='lightblue')
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Example 10: Customizing the Legend Position with Custom Padding

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y1 = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
y2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

plt.plot(x, y1, label='y = x^2')
plt.plot(x, y2, label='y = x')

plt.legend(loc='upper right', bbox_to_anchor=(1.1, 1), borderpad=2)
plt.show()

Output:

Plotting Legends Outside the Matplotlib Figure

Conclusion

In this article, we have explored how to customize the location of the legend in matplotlib plots. By adjusting the loc and bbox_to_anchor parameters in the plt.legend() function, you can easily place the legend outside the figure and customize its appearance. Additionally, we have shown how to modify the font size, title, border color, background color, and padding of the legend. These customization options allow you to create visually appealing plots with informative legends in matplotlib.

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