Matplotlib: how to set the current figure?


Question

This is hopefully a simple question but I can't figure it out at the moment. I want to use matplotlib to show 2 figures and then use them interactively. I create the figures with:

import matplotlib
import pylab as pl

f1 = pl.figure()
f2 = pl.figure()

and can use the MATLAB-like pyplot interface to plot and draw in both figures. With

current_figure = pl.gcf()

I can determine the currently active figure for the pyplot interface, depending on which figure I clicked in. Now I want to draw something to the first figure with the pyplot interface but the current figure can be either of them. So is there something like

pl.set_current_figure(figure)

or any workaround? (I know that I can use the object oriented interface but for interactive stuff just using commands like plot(x, y) is much nicer)

1
71
11/2/2011 7:57:17 PM

Accepted Answer

You can simply set figure f1 as the new current figure with:

pl.figure(f1.number)

Another option is to give names (or numbers) to figures, which might help make the code easier to read:

pl.figure("Share values")
# ... some plots ...
pl.figure("Profits")
# ... some plots ...

pl.figure("Share values")  # Selects the first figure again

In fact, figure "numbers" can be strings, which are arguably more explicit that simple numbers.

PS: The pyplot equivalent of pylab.figure() is matplotlib.pyplot.figure().

77
3/3/2013 8:00:28 AM

Give each figure a number:

f1 = pl.figure(1)
f2 = pl.figure(2)
# use f2
pl.figure(1) # make f1 active again

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