Fix Python – Prevent scientific notation

Question

Asked By – Travis Osterman

I’ve been trying to suppress scientific notation in pyplot for a few hours now. After trying multiple solutions without success, I would like some help.

plt.plot(range(2003,2012,1),range(200300,201200,100))
# several solutions from other questions have not worked, including
# plt.ticklabel_format(style='sci', axis='x', scilimits=(-1000000,1000000))
# ax.get_xaxis().get_major_formatter().set_useOffset(False)
plt.show()

plot

Is ticklabel_format broken? does not resolve the issue of actually removing the offset.

plt.plot(np.arange(1e6, 3 * 1e7, 1e6))
plt.ticklabel_format(useOffset=False)

enter image description here

Now we will see solution for issue: Prevent scientific notation


Answer

In your case, you’re actually wanting to disable the offset. Using scientific notation is a separate setting from showing things in terms of an offset value.

However, ax.ticklabel_format(useOffset=False) should have worked (though you’ve listed it as one of the things that didn’t).

For example:

fig, ax = plt.subplots()
ax.plot(range(2003,2012,1),range(200300,201200,100))
ax.ticklabel_format(useOffset=False)
plt.show()

enter image description here

If you want to disable both the offset and scientific notaion, you’d use ax.ticklabel_format(useOffset=False, style='plain').


Difference between “offset” and “scientific notation”

In matplotlib axis formatting, “scientific notation” refers to a multiplier for the numbers show, while the “offset” is a separate term that is added.

Consider this example:

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = np.linspace(1000, 1001, 100)
y = np.linspace(1e-9, 1e9, 100)

fig, ax = plt.subplots()
ax.plot(x, y)
plt.show()

The x-axis will have an offset (note the + sign) and the y-axis will use scientific notation (as a multiplier — No plus sign).

enter image description here

We can disable either one separately. The most convenient way is the ax.ticklabel_format method (or plt.ticklabel_format).

For example, if we call:

ax.ticklabel_format(style='plain')

We’ll disable the scientific notation on the y-axis:

enter image description here

And if we call

ax.ticklabel_format(useOffset=False)

We’ll disable the offset on the x-axis, but leave the y-axis scientific notation untouched:

enter image description here

Finally, we can disable both through:

ax.ticklabel_format(useOffset=False, style='plain')

enter image description here

This question is answered By – Joe Kington

This answer is collected from stackoverflow and reviewed by FixPython community admins, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0