How to prevent numbers being changed to exponential form in Python matplotlib figure


Question

I'm using Matplotlib in Python to plot simple x-y datasets. This produces nice-looking graphs, although when I "zoom in" too close on various sections of the plotted graph using the Figure View (which appears when you execute plt.show() ), the x-axis values change from standard number form (1050, 1060, 1070 etc.) to scientific form with exponential notation (e.g. 1, 1.5, 2.0 with the x-axis label given as +1.057e3).

I'd prefer my figures to retain the simple numbering of the axis, rather than using exponential form. Is there a way I can force Matplotlib to do this?

1
69
12/9/2016 7:59:50 PM

Accepted Answer

The formatting of tick labels is controlled by a Formatter object, which assuming you haven't done anything fancy will be a ScalerFormatterby default. This formatter will use a constant shift if the fractional change of the values visible is very small. To avoid this, simply turn it off:

plt.plot(arange(0,100,10) + 1000, arange(0,100,10))
ax = plt.gca()
ax.get_xaxis().get_major_formatter().set_useOffset(False)
plt.draw()

If you want to avoid scientific notation in general,

ax.get_xaxis().get_major_formatter().set_scientific(False)

Can control this with globally via the axes.formatter.useoffset rcparam.

92
1/15/2015 4:18:41 PM

You can use a simpler command to turn it off:

plt.ticklabel_format(useOffset=False)

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