Python Workshops for Beginners/Saturday November 15th Matplotlib Session

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Visualizing data with Matplotlib and Wiki-bios[edit]

In this project, we will explore how to produce clear, informative charts, graphs, and plots with Matplotlib, the most popular toolkit for scientific data visualization in Python.

We'll be focusing on a dataset drawn from Wikipedia and DBpedia, containing the names, birth dates, genders, article creation dates, and number of edits, of over 180,000 Wikipedia biography articles.


  • Get set up to make graphs with Matplotlib
  • Learn the basics of the Matplotlib API and workflow
  • Practice reading the Matplotlib documentation
  • Build a plotting program step by step
  • Learn simple ways to distill the essence of a large data set
  • Explore the art of visualizing data
  • Exercise your creativity by making your own visualization


In addition to Python and a text editor, you must also download and install the appropriate matplotlib version for your system, which is available here.

Download and test the Matplotlib-with-Wiki-bios project[edit]

(Estimated time: 10 minutes)

After installing matplotlib, and downloading and unpacking the Wikibios bundle, move into that directory with cd. You can test your installation by running python If matplotlib is install correcting, a chart file named histograms.pdf will appear in the current directory.

Wikibios bundle for all platforms

Example topics to cover in Lecture[edit]

  • line charts
  • histograms
  • binning
  • scatter plots
  • heat maps
  • axis labeling
  • legends