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Create a Boxplot from Pandas Series Values

Boxplots are quite useful to visualize the spread in the data. They are particularly helpful in spotting outliers in the data. In this tutorial, we will look at how to create a boxplot from the values of a pandas series.

To plot a pandas series, you can use the pandas series plot() function. It plots a line chart of the series values by default but you can specify the type of chart to plot using the kind parameter. To create a boxplot, pass 'box' to the kind paramter. The following is the syntax:

# boxplot using pandas series plot()

Here, s is the pandas series you want to plot. The pandas series plot() function returns a matplotlib axes object to which you can add additional formatting.

Let’s look at some examples of plotting a pandas series values on a boxplot. First, we’ll create a sample pandas series which we will be using throughout this tutorial.

import pandas as pd

# scores in the Math class
math_scores = pd.Series(data=[72, 41, 65, 63, 82, 63, 51, 57, 39, 63,
                           62, 68, 52, 76, 62, 73, 72, 73, 71, 62,
                           76, 53, 71, 79, 77, 35, 65, 59, 58, 70,
                           73, 69, 59, 75, 73, 63, 65, 81, 46, 59,
                           53, 71, 79, 80, 60, 60, 31, 40, 73, 75,
                           68, 58, 81, 65, 55, 62, 82, 47, 85, 62,
                           39, 77, 82, 78, 57, 58, 72, 75, 65, 68,
                           86, 49, 39, 64, 54, 68, 85, 77, 62, 53,
                           52, 76, 80, 84, 69, 61, 69, 65, 89, 97,
                           71, 61, 77, 40, 83, 52, 78, 54, 64, 58],

# display the series head


0    72
1    41
2    65
3    63
4    82
Name: Scores, dtype: int64

You can see the top five values of the series object above. We now have a pandas series containing the scores of students in a Math class.

To create a boxplot from the series values we’ll pass kind='box' to the pandas series plot() function. For example, let’s see its usage on the “math_scores” series created above.



Resulting boxplot from the pandas series.

The values within the edges of the boxplot depict values from the Q1 to the Q3 quartile of the series. The boxplot also shows the median value (Q2) of the series with a line inside the box. The whiskers extend from the box edges to no more than 1.5 * IQR (Inter Quartile Range = Q3 – Q1), values beyond the whiskers are depicted as dots representing the outliers.

In the above chart the green line depicting the median is around 65. Also notice that we have one outlier on the lower end of the scores represented by a dot.

You can also customize the formatting of the chart. For example, you can add the axes labels, chart title, etc. Since the returned plot is a matplotlib axes object, you can apply any formatting that would work with matplotlib charts. Let’s go ahead and add a title to our plot.

# create the boxplot
ax = math_scores.plot(kind='box')
# set the title
ax.set_title("Spread of Math Scores")


Boxplot with custom formatting.

For more on the pandas series plot() function, refer to its documentation.

With this, we come to the end of this tutorial. The code examples and results presented in this tutorial have been implemented in a Jupyter Notebook with a python (version 3.8.3) kernel having pandas version 1.0.5

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  • Piyush is a data scientist passionate about using data to understand things better and make informed decisions. In the past, he's worked as a Data Scientist for ZS and holds an engineering degree from IIT Roorkee. His hobbies include watching cricket, reading, and working on side projects.