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Text properties and layout

Controlling properties of text and its layout with Matplotlib.

The matplotlib.text.Text instances have a variety of properties which can be configured via keyword arguments to the text commands (e.g., title(), xlabel() and text()).

Property Value Type
alpha float
backgroundcolor any matplotlib color
bbox Rectangle prop dict plus key 'pad' which is a pad in points
clip_box a matplotlib.transform.Bbox instance
clip_on [True | False]
clip_path a Path instance and a Transform instance, a Patch
color any matplotlib color
family [ 'serif' | 'sans-serif' | 'cursive' | 'fantasy' | 'monospace' ]
fontproperties a FontProperties instance
horizontalalignment or ha [ 'center' | 'right' | 'left' ]
label any string
linespacing float
multialignment ['left' | 'right' | 'center' ]
name or fontname string e.g., ['Sans' | 'Courier' | 'Helvetica' …]
picker [None|float|boolean|callable]
position (x, y)
rotation [ angle in degrees | 'vertical' | 'horizontal' ]
size or fontsize [ size in points | relative size, e.g., 'smaller', 'x-large' ]
style or fontstyle [ 'normal' | 'italic' | 'oblique' ]
text string or anything printable with ‘%s’ conversion
transform a Transform instance
variant [ 'normal' | 'small-caps' ]
verticalalignment or va [ 'center' | 'top' | 'bottom' | 'baseline' ]
visible [True | False]
weight or fontweight [ 'normal' | 'bold' | 'heavy' | 'light' | 'ultrabold' | 'ultralight']
x float
y float
zorder any number

You can lay out text with the alignment arguments horizontalalignment, verticalalignment, and multialignment. horizontalalignment controls whether the x positional argument for the text indicates the left, center or right side of the text bounding box. verticalalignment controls whether the y positional argument for the text indicates the bottom, center or top side of the text bounding box. multialignment, for newline separated strings only, controls whether the different lines are left, center or right justified. Here is an example which uses the text() command to show the various alignment possibilities. The use of transform=ax.transAxes throughout the code indicates that the coordinates are given relative to the axes bounding box, with 0,0 being the lower left of the axes and 1,1 the upper right.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import matplotlib.patches as patches

# build a rectangle in axes coords
left, width = .25, .5
bottom, height = .25, .5
right = left + width
top = bottom + height

fig = plt.figure()
ax = fig.add_axes([0, 0, 1, 1])

# axes coordinates are 0,0 is bottom left and 1,1 is upper right
p = patches.Rectangle(
    (left, bottom), width, height,
    fill=False, transform=ax.transAxes, clip_on=False
    )

ax.add_patch(p)

ax.text(left, bottom, 'left top',
        horizontalalignment='left',
        verticalalignment='top',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(left, bottom, 'left bottom',
        horizontalalignment='left',
        verticalalignment='bottom',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(right, top, 'right bottom',
        horizontalalignment='right',
        verticalalignment='bottom',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(right, top, 'right top',
        horizontalalignment='right',
        verticalalignment='top',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(right, bottom, 'center top',
        horizontalalignment='center',
        verticalalignment='top',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(left, 0.5*(bottom+top), 'right center',
        horizontalalignment='right',
        verticalalignment='center',
        rotation='vertical',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(left, 0.5*(bottom+top), 'left center',
        horizontalalignment='left',
        verticalalignment='center',
        rotation='vertical',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(0.5*(left+right), 0.5*(bottom+top), 'middle',
        horizontalalignment='center',
        verticalalignment='center',
        fontsize=20, color='red',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(right, 0.5*(bottom+top), 'centered',
        horizontalalignment='center',
        verticalalignment='center',
        rotation='vertical',
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.text(left, top, 'rotated\nwith newlines',
        horizontalalignment='center',
        verticalalignment='center',
        rotation=45,
        transform=ax.transAxes)

ax.set_axis_off()
plt.show()
../../_images/sphx_glr_text_props_001.png

Default Font

The base default font is controlled by a set of rcParams. To set the font for mathematical expressions, use the rcParams beginning with mathtext (see mathtext).

rcParam usage
'font.family' List of either names of font or {'cursive', 'fantasy', 'monospace', 'sans', 'sans serif', 'sans-serif', 'serif'}.
'font.style' The default style, ex 'normal', 'italic'.
'font.variant' Default variant, ex 'normal', 'small-caps' (untested)
'font.stretch' Default stretch, ex 'normal', 'condensed' (incomplete)
'font.weight' Default weight. Either string or integer
'font.size' Default font size in points. Relative font sizes ('large', 'x-small') are computed against this size.

The mapping between the family aliases ({'cursive', 'fantasy', 'monospace', 'sans', 'sans serif', 'sans-serif', 'serif'}) and actual font names is controlled by the following rcParams:

family alias rcParam with mappings
'serif' 'font.serif'
'monospace' 'font.monospace'
'fantasy' 'font.fantasy'
'cursive' 'font.cursive'
{'sans', 'sans serif', 'sans-serif'} 'font.sans-serif'

which are lists of font names.

Text with non-latin glyphs

As of v2.0 the default font contains glyphs for many western alphabets, but still does not cover all of the glyphs that may be required by mpl users. For example, DejaVu has no coverage of Chinese, Korean, or Japanese.

To set the default font to be one that supports the code points you need, prepend the font name to 'font.family' or the desired alias lists

matplotlib.rcParams['font.sans-serif'] = ['Source Han Sans TW', 'sans-serif']

or set it in your .matplotlibrc file:

font.sans-serif: Source Han Sans TW, Arial, sans-serif

To control the font used on per-artist basis use the 'name', 'fontname' or 'fontproperties' kwargs documented above.

On linux, fc-list can be a useful tool to discover the font name; for example

$ fc-list :lang=zh family
Noto to Sans Mono CJK TC,Noto Sans Mono CJK TC Bold
Noto Sans CJK TC,Noto Sans CJK TC Medium
Noto Sans CJK TC,Noto Sans CJK TC DemiLight
Noto Sans CJK KR,Noto Sans CJK KR Black
Noto Sans CJK TC,Noto Sans CJK TC Black
Noto Sans Mono CJK TC,Noto Sans Mono CJK TC Regular
Noto Sans CJK SC,Noto Sans CJK SC Light

lists all of the fonts that support Chinese.

Total running time of the script: ( 0 minutes 0.018 seconds)

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