How to Reverse Axes in Matplotlib (With Examples)


You can use the following basic syntax to reverse the x-axis and y-axis in Matplotlib:

plt.gca().invert_xaxis()
plt.gca().invert_yaxis()

The following example shows how to use this syntax in practice.

Example: Reverse Axes in Matplotlib

The following code shows how to create a basic scatterplot in Matplotlib:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

#define x and y
x = [1, 4, 8, 11, 13, 14]
y = [5, 11, 18, 26, 25, 23]

#create scatterplot of x and y
plt.scatter(x, y)

We can use the following code to reverse the y-axis:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

#define x and y
x = [1, 4, 8, 11, 13, 14]
y = [5, 11, 18, 26, 25, 23]

#create scatterplot of x and y
plt.scatter(x, y)

#reverse y-axis
plt.gca().invert_yaxis()

Notice that the y-axis now ranges from 25 to 5 instead of 5 to 25.

Alternatively, we could use the following code to reverse the x-axis:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

#define x and y
x = [1, 4, 8, 11, 13, 14]
y = [5, 11, 18, 26, 25, 23]

#create scatterplot of x and y
plt.scatter(x, y)

#reverse x-axis
plt.gca().invert_xaxis()

Notice that the x-axis now ranges from 14 to 0 instead of 0 to 14.

Lastly, we could use the following code to reverse both axes:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

#define x and y
x = [1, 4, 8, 11, 13, 14]
y = [5, 11, 18, 26, 25, 23]

#create scatterplot of x and y
plt.scatter(x, y)

#reverse both axes
plt.gca().invert_xaxis()
plt.gca().invert_yaxis()

Notice that both axes values are reversed.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common operations in Matplotlib:

How to Set Axis Ranges in Matplotlib
How to Set Axis Ticks in Matplotlib
How to Adjust Axis Label Position in Matplotlib

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