Plots made with the matplotlib library in Python are highly customizable. In this tutorial, we will look at how to show gridlines on a matplotlib plot with the help of some examples.

## How to add gridlines to a plot in matplotlib?

You can use the `matplotlib.pyplot.grid()`

function to add gridlines to a matplotlib plot. By default, it adds the gridlines to both the x-axis and the y-axis. The following is the syntax –

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt # plot the data plt.scatter(x, y) # add gridlines plt.grid(visible=True)

This function also allows you to customize the gridlines, for example, add gridlines to only a particular axis, and change the line properties such as its color, style, width, etc.

Let’s now look at some examples of using the above syntax. First, let’s create a sample plot and see if we get gridlines by default or not.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt # x values - years x = [2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020] # y values - 1 USD in INR y = [46.67, 53.44, 56.57, 62.33, 62.97, 66.46, 67.79, 70.09, 70.39, 76.38] # plot x and y on scatter plot plt.scatter(x, y) # add axes labels plt.xlabel('Year') plt.ylabel('1USD in INR')

Output:

## Example 1 – Add gridlines to a plot

Let’s now add gridlines to the above scatter plot using the `matplotlib.pyplot.grid()`

function. Pass `visible=True`

to show the grid lines.

# plot x and y on scatter plot plt.scatter(x, y) # add axes labels plt.xlabel('Year') plt.ylabel('1USD in INR') # add gridlines plt.grid(visible=True)

Output:

We get the scatter plot with the gridlines. Note that if you do not pass any arguments to `plt.grid()`

, it will also show the gridlines (in that case, the `plt.grid()`

just toggles the visibility of the gridlines).

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## Example 2 – Add gridlines to a specific axis

By default, both horizontal and vertical gridlines are added by the `matplotlib.pyplot.grid()`

function. You can, however, specify the axis to which you’d like to add the gridlines.

For example, to add gridlines only on the x-axis (vertical gridlines), pass `axis='x'`

as an argument.

# plot x and y on scatter plot plt.scatter(x, y) # add axes labels plt.xlabel('Year') plt.ylabel('1USD in INR') # add gridlines plt.grid(visible=True, axis='x')

Output:

We get gridlines only on the x-axis.

Similarly, you can get gridlines only on the y-axis (horizontal gridlines) by passing `axis='y'`

.

# plot x and y on scatter plot plt.scatter(x, y) # add axes labels plt.xlabel('Year') plt.ylabel('1USD in INR') # add gridlines plt.grid(visible=True, axis='y')

Output:

We get only the horizontal gridlines.

## Example 3 – Change gridline properties

The `matplotlib.pyplot.grid()`

function also allows you to pass keyword arguments to customize the line properties of the gridlines. For example, let’s change the color of the gridlines to green.

# plot x and y on scatter plot plt.scatter(x, y) # add axes labels plt.xlabel('Year') plt.ylabel('1USD in INR') # add gridlines plt.grid(visible=True, color='g')

Output:

The gridlines in the above plot are green.

You can similarly change other line properties such as the linestyle, the linewidth, etc. For a more comprehensive list of line properties, refer to the documentation.

## FAQs

**How to add only horizontal gridlines to a plot in matplotlib?**To add only horizontal gridlines (y-axis gridlines), pass `axis='y'`

as an argument to the `matplotlib.pyplot.grid()`

function.

**How to add only vertical gridlines to a plot in matplotlib?**

To add only vertical gridlines (x-axis gridlines), pass `axis='x'`

as an argument to the `matplotlib.pyplot.grid()`

function.

**How to disable (or hide) gridlines in a matplotlib plot?**

To hide (or not show) gridlines, pass `visible=False`

as an argument to the `matplotlib.pyplot.grid()`

function.

You might also be interested in –

- Create a Scatter Plot in Python with Matplotlib
- Change Background Color of Plot in Matplotlib
- Add Trendline to a Maplotlib Plot with Code and Output
- How to Add Title to a Plot in Matplotlib? (Code Examples with Output)
- Set Axis Range (axis limits) in Matplotlib Plots

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