Seaborn vs. Matplotlib: A Visual Journey

Jayaraj U

Jayaraj U

20 June 2023 - -5 min read

A Visual Journey

Data visualisation is a crucial component of data science and analytics because it makes it easier to find patterns and insights in large, complex datasets. Python provides a number of visualization-related libraries, including Matplotlib and Seaborn. Both libraries are used for data visualisation, although they each have unique features and applications. We will examine the fundamental distinctions between Matplotlib and Seaborn in this article, highlighting their benefits and the situations in which each library shines.


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A low-level interface for producing static, animated, and interactive visualisations is provided by Matplotlib, one of the most well-known and commonly used data visualisation tools in Python. Numerous customization options are available, giving users complete control over every element of their plots. Line plots, scatter plots, bar plots, histograms, and other forms of graphs are supported by Matplotlib. When you need exact control over the aesthetics and arrangement of the plot, it is a great option.



A higher-level data visualisation library built on top of Matplotlib is called Seaborn. For producing aesthetically appealing statistical visualisations, it provides a more streamlined and user-friendly API. With an emphasis on producing meaningful charts with little code, Seaborn streamlines basic visualisation tasks. It has built-in colour schemes and themes that improve the plots' visual appeal. With Seaborn, you can easily create complex visualisations and analyse statistical exploratory data.

Key difference

  • Abstraction Level: Matplotlib offers a lower level of abstraction, giving users total power over customising their plots. On the other side, Seaborn removes a lot of technical complexities and offers a higher level of abstraction, making it easier to easily create visually pleasing plots.
  • Plot Aesthetics: In Matplotlib, producing aesthetically appealing plots frequently necessitates more manual customisation. With its pre-installed themes and colour schemes, Seaborn provides plots with a visually appealing appearance right out of the gate.
  • Statistical charting: Seaborn specialises in statistical charting and provides a variety of statistical visualisation methods, such as regression plots, distribution plots, box plots, and violin plots. Although these plots may also be produced using Matplotlib, Seaborn makes the process easier and improves the visual appearance.
  • Usability: Compared to Matplotlib, Seaborn offers a simpler and more clear API. Common data visualisation chores are made simpler, and less code is needed to produce intricate plots.

When to Use Each Library

  • Matplotlib: When you need complete control over plot customisation and the requirement to produce highly customised or specialised visualisations, go with Matplotlib. It is appropriate for developing plots and situations of publication-quality where exact control is required.
  • Seaborn: Choose Seaborn if you wish to rapidly and easily build appealing statistical visualisations. It is a great option for illuminating relationships between variables, performing exploratory data analysis, and creating instructive graphs without delving too deeply into the nitty-gritty.


Powerful Python libraries for data visualisation, Matplotlib and Seaborn each have their own advantages and applications. For developing highly customised or specialised visualisations, Matplotlib offers total flexibility over plot customisation. By providing a more user-friendly API, Seaborn makes it easier to produce aesthetically appealing data visualisations. Understanding how these libraries differ will help you select the one that best meets your visualisation requirements and strengthens your data analysis skills.

about the author

Jayaraj U is studying Computer Science in Diploma at SJP Govt Polytechnic