In Matplotlib, what does the argument mean in fig.add_subplot(111)?


Question

Sometimes I come across code such as this:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
y = [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
fig = plt.figure()
fig.add_subplot(111)
plt.scatter(x, y)
plt.show()

Which produces:

Example plot produced by the included code

I've been reading the documentation like crazy but I can't find an explanation for the 111. sometimes I see a 212.

What does the argument of fig.add_subplot() mean?

1
425
6/9/2015 7:41:04 PM

Accepted Answer

These are subplot grid parameters encoded as a single integer. For example, "111" means "1x1 grid, first subplot" and "234" means "2x3 grid, 4th subplot".

Alternative form for add_subplot(111) is add_subplot(1, 1, 1).

416
8/27/2010 2:05:22 PM

I think this would be best explained by the following picture:

enter image description here

To initialize the above, one would type:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
fig = plt.figure()
fig.add_subplot(221)   #top left
fig.add_subplot(222)   #top right
fig.add_subplot(223)   #bottom left
fig.add_subplot(224)   #bottom right 
plt.show()

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