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Matplotlib logo.svg
Mpl screenshot figures and code.png
Screenshot of Matplotlib plots and code
Original author(s)John D. Hunter
Developer(s)Michael Droettboom, et al.
Initial release2003; 19 years ago (2003)[1]
Stable release
3.5.0[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 16 November 2021; 6 months ago (16 November 2021)
Written inPython
  • Cairo
  • Anti-Grain Geometry
Edit this at Wikidata
Operating systemCross-platform
LicenseMatplotlib license

Matplotlib is a plotting library for the Python programming language and its numerical mathematics extension NumPy. It provides an object-oriented API for embedding plots into applications using general-purpose GUI toolkits like Tkinter, wxPython, Qt, or GTK. There is also a procedural "pylab" interface based on a state machine (like OpenGL), designed to closely resemble that of MATLAB, though its use is discouraged.[3] SciPy makes use of Matplotlib.

Matplotlib was originally written by John D. Hunter. Since then it has an active development community[4] and is distributed under a BSD-style license. Michael Droettboom was nominated as matplotlib's lead developer shortly before John Hunter's death in August 2012[5] and was further joined by Thomas Caswell.[6][7] Matplotlib is a NumFOCUS fiscally sponsored project.[8]

Matplotlib 2.0.x supports Python versions 2.7 through 3.10. Python 3 support started with Matplotlib 1.2. Matplotlib 1.4 is the last version to support Python 2.6.[9] Matplotlib has pledged not to support Python 2 past 2020 by signing the Python 3 Statement.[10]

Comparison with MATLAB[edit]

Pyplot is a Matplotlib module which provides a MATLAB-like interface.[11] Matplotlib is designed to be as usable as MATLAB, with the ability to use Python, and the advantage of being free and open-source.



Several toolkits are available which extend Matplotlib functionality. Some are separate downloads, others ship with the Matplotlib source code but have external dependencies.[12]

  • Basemap: map plotting with various map projections, coastlines, and political boundaries[13]
  • Cartopy: a mapping library featuring object-oriented map projection definitions, and arbitrary point, line, polygon and image transformation capabilities.[14] (Matplotlib v1.2 and above)
  • Excel tools: utilities for exchanging data with Microsoft Excel
  • GTK tools: interface to the GTK library
  • Qt interface
  • Mplot3d: 3-D plots
  • Natgrid: interface to the natgrid library for gridding irregularly spaced data.
  • tikzplotlib: export to Pgfplots for smooth integration into LaTeX documents (formerly known as matplotlib2tikz)[15]
  • Seaborn: provides an API on top of Matplotlib that offers sane choices for plot style and color defaults, defines simple high-level functions for common statistical plot types, and integrates with the functionality provided by Pandas

Related projects[edit]

  • Biggles[16]
  • Chaco[17]
  • GNU Octave
  • Gnuplot-py[18]
  • PLplot – Python bindings available
  • PyCha[19]libcairo implementation
  • PyPlotter[20] – compatible with Jython
  • SageMath – uses Matplotlib to draw plots
  • SciPy (modules plt and gplt)
  • wxPython (module
  • Plotly – for interactive, online Matplotlib and Python graphs
  • Bokeh[21] – Python interactive visualization library that targets modern web browsers for presentation


  1. ^ "Copyright Policy".
  2. ^ "Release 3.5.0".
  3. ^ "API Overview".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Matplotlib github stats".
  5. ^ "Announcing Michael Droettboom as the lead Matplotlib developer".
  6. ^ "Matplotlib Lead Developer Explains Why He Can't Fix the Docs—But You Can – NumFOCUS". NumFOCUS. 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  7. ^ "Credits – Matplotlib 2.2.2 documentation". Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  8. ^ "NumFOCUS Sponsored Projects". NumFOCUS. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  9. ^ "Installing – Matplotlib 2.0.2 documentation". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  10. ^ "Add Matplotlib to list by takluyver · Pull Request #20 · python3statement/". GitHub. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  11. ^ "Matplotlib: Python plotting — Matplotlib 3.2.0 documentation". Retrieved 2020-03-14.
  12. ^ "Toolkits".
  13. ^ Whitaker, Jeffrey. "The Matplotlib Basemap Toolkit User's Guide (v. 1.0.5)". Matplotlib Basemap Toolkit documentation. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  14. ^ Elson, Philip. "Cartopy". Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  15. ^ Schlömer, Nico. "tikzplotlib". GitHub. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Bigglessimple, elegant python plotting". Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  17. ^ "Chaco".
  18. ^ " on". Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  19. ^ "PyCha".
  20. ^ "PyPlotter - graph plotting". Retrieved 2020-03-14.
  21. ^ "Bokeh 2.0.0 Documentation". Retrieved 2020-03-14.

External links[edit]