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The Lines mark provides the following features:

  • Plot a single or multiple arrays of y-values for a single or multiple arrays of x-values
  • Style the line mark in different ways, by setting different attributes such as the colors, line_style, markers, stroke_width etc.
  • Specify a marker at each point passed to the line. The marker can be a shape which is at the data points between which the line is interpolated and can be set through the marker attribute
  • Fill lines with colors (in-between or below) to create area charts


Data Attributes

Style Attributes


Lines are implemented as multi-line charts by default. Hence, style attributes like colors, opacities etc. are lists not strings!

Line Styling

Following line styling options are supported:

  • colors: color the line with a specific color. Note that colors is a list which supports multi-line charts by default!
  • line_style: Following styling options are supported: {solid, dashed, dotted, dash_dotted}
  • marker: Following marker options are supported: {circle, cross, diamond, square, triangle-down, triangle-up, arrow, rectangle, ellipse, plus, crosshair, point}

Let's now look at examples of constructing lines using pyplot API


The function for plotting lines is pyplot is plt.plot. It takes three arguments:

  1. x vector of x values
  2. y vector of y values. For multi-line chart y should be a list of arrays or a 2-d array
  3. marker_str matplotlib style marker strings for styling the lines

For further customization, any of the attributes above can be passed as keyword args.

Code Examples

Simple Line Chart

import bqplot.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

fig = plt.figure()

x = np.arange(-10, 10, .1)
y = np.sin(x)
line = plt.plot(x, y)

Attributes can be updated in separate notebook cells or in callbacks when an event is triggered!

# update the line color and opacity
line.colors = ["red"]
line.opacities = [.5]

In Place Updates

The output cell containing the chart will be automatically updated whenever the figure or mark attributes are updated! The figure or marks should never be recreated!

Multi Line Chart

To generate a multi-line chart y should be a list of arrays or a 2d numpy array.

import bqplot.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

fig = plt.figure()

x = np.arange(10)
y = [x ** 2, x ** 2 + 5 * x]
line = plt.plot(x, y)

Time Series

If the dates are of type numpy.datetime64 then pyplot automatically infers a date scale for the x attribute. Otherwise a DateScale need to be explicitly specified using the plt.scales function

Time Series
import bqplot as bq
import pandas as pd

import bqplot.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

x = pd.date_range(start="2022-01-01", periods=100)
y = np.random.randn(100).cumsum()

fig = plt.figure(title="Time Series")
# create a date scale for x (not needed if dates are numpy.datetime64)
plt.scales(scales={"x": bq.DateScale()})
time_series_line = plt.plot(x, y, "r", stroke_width=1,
                            fill="bottom", # (1)!
  1. Adds a fill below the line


Marker Strings

pyplot supports the following marker strings a la matplotlib. Marker strings can be passed as a third argument in plt.plot function. Following codes are supported:

Code Value
b blue
g green
r red
c cyan
m magenta
y yellow
k black
Line Style
Code Value
: dotted
-. dash_dotted
-- dashed
- solid
Code Value
o circle
v triangle-down
^ triangle-up
s square
d diamond
+ +
p cross
x plus
. crosshair

To create a marker string you can combine the one or more of the the three types of codes above in any order, like so:

Let's look at a code example:

fig = plt.figure()
x = np.arange(10)
y = 5 * x + 6
styled_line = plt.plot(x, y, "ms:") # (1)!

  1. Magenta dotted line with a square marker


Few more examples of marker strings

  • ms magenta line with square marker
  • yo yellow line with circle marker
  • -- dashed line
  • -.d dash-dotted line with diamond marker
  • g+: green dotted line with plus marker


To display legends you need to set the following attributes of plt.plot function:

  1. labels
  2. display_legend

Let's look an example:

fig = plt.figure(title="Random Walks")
x = np.arange(100)
# three random walks
y = np.random.randn(3, 100).cumsum(axis=1)
lines = plt.plot(
    x, y,
    labels=["Line1", "Line2", "Line 3"],

Legend Location

Location of the legend can be configured by setting the attribute legend_location in the figure constructor, like so:

fig = plt.figure(legend_location="top-left")

Area Charts

Area charts can be constructed from line charts by passing in the following attributes:

  • fill
  • fill_color
  • fill_opacities

import bqplot as bq
import numpy as np

fig = plt.figure(title="Stacked Area Chart")
x = np.arange(100)
y1 = np.random.randn(100).cumsum() + 10
y2 = y1 + np.random.rand(100) * 5
y3 = y2 + np.random.rand(100) * 5
y4 = y3 + np.random.rand(100) * 5

lines = plt.plot(x, [y1, y2, y3, y4], stroke_width=0,
                 fill_opacities=[.8] * 4)

Example Notebooks

For detailed examples of line plots, refer to the following example notebooks

  1. pyplot
  2. Object Model