How do I get multiple subplots in matplotlib?

I am a little confused about how this code works:

fig, axes = plt.subplots(nrows=2, ncols=2)
plt.show()

How does the fig, axes work in this case? What does it do?

Also why wouldn’t this work to do the same thing:

fig = plt.figure()
axes = fig.subplots(nrows=2, ncols=2)

Answer

There are several ways to do it. The subplots method creates the figure along with the subplots that are then stored in the ax array. For example:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = range(10)
y = range(10)

fig, ax = plt.subplots(nrows=2, ncols=2)

for row in ax:
    for col in row:
        col.plot(x, y)

plt.show()

enter image description here

However, something like this will also work, it’s not so “clean” though since you are creating a figure with subplots and then add on top of them:

fig = plt.figure()

plt.subplot(2, 2, 1)
plt.plot(x, y)

plt.subplot(2, 2, 2)
plt.plot(x, y)

plt.subplot(2, 2, 3)
plt.plot(x, y)

plt.subplot(2, 2, 4)
plt.plot(x, y)

plt.show()

enter image description here