You are reading an old version of the documentation (v1.3.0). For the latest version see


matplotlib is a python 2D plotting library which produces publication quality figures in a variety of hardcopy formats and interactive environments across platforms. matplotlib can be used in python scripts, the python and ipython shell (ala MATLAB®* or Mathematica®), web application servers, and six graphical user interface toolkits.


matplotlib tries to make easy things easy and hard things possible. You can generate plots, histograms, power spectra, bar charts, errorcharts, scatterplots, etc, with just a few lines of code. For a sampling, see the screenshots, thumbnail gallery, and examples directory

For example, using "ipython --pylab" to provide an interactive environment, to generate 10,000 gaussian random numbers and plot a histogram with 100 bins, you simply need to type

  x = randn(10000)
  hist(x, 100)

For the power user, you have full control of line styles, font properties, axes properties, etc, via an object oriented interface or via a set of functions familiar to MATLAB users.

John Hunter (1968-2012)

On August 28 2012, John D. Hunter, the creator of matplotlib, died from complications arising from cancer treatment, after a brief but intense battle with this terrible illness. John is survived by his wife Miriam, his three daughters Rahel, Ava and Clara, his sisters Layne and Mary, and his mother Sarah.

If you have benefited from John's many contributions, please say thanks in the way that would matter most to him. Please consider making a donation to the John Hunter Memorial Fund.


Visit the matplotlib downloads page.


This is the documentation for matplotlib version 1.3.0.

Trying to learn how to do a particular kind of plot? Check out the gallery, examples, or the list of plotting commands.

Other learning resources

Need help?

Check the faq, the api docs, mailing list archives, and join the matplotlib mailing lists. Check out the matplotlib questions on stackoverflow. The search tool searches all of the documentation, including full text search of over 350 complete examples which exercise almost every corner of matplotlib.

You can file bugs, patches and feature requests on the github tracker, but it is a good idea to ping us on the mailing list too.

To keep up to date with what's going on in matplotlib, see the what's new page, the more detailed changelog or browse the source code. Anything that could require changes to your existing code is logged in the api changes file.


There are several matplotlib add-on toolkits, including a choice of two projection and mapping toolkits basemap and cartopy, 3d plotting with mplot3d, axes and axis helpers in axes_grid and more.

Citing matplotlib

matplotlib is the brainchild of John Hunter (1968-2012), who, along with its many contributors, have put an immeasurable amount of time and effort into producing a piece of software utilized by thousands of scientists worldwide. If matplotlib contributes to a project that leads to a scientific publication, please acknowledge this work by citing the project. You can use this ready-made citation entry.

Open source

Please consider donating to support matplotlib development or to the John Hunter Memorial Fund.

The matplotlib license is based on the Python Software Foundation (PSF) license.

There is an active developer community and a long list of people who have made significant contributions.

* MATLAB is a registered trademark of The MathWorks, Inc.

Mathematica is a registered trademark of Wolfram Research, Inc.