# How to remove gaps between subplots in matplotlib

## Question:

The code below produces gaps between the subplots. How do I remove the gaps between the subplots and make the image a tight grid?

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
for i in range(16):
i = i + 1
ax1 = plt.subplot(4, 4, i)
plt.axis('on')
ax1.set_xticklabels([])
ax1.set_yticklabels([])
ax1.set_aspect('equal')
plt.subplots_adjust(wspace=None, hspace=None)
plt.show()
```

## Answers:

Have you tried `plt.tight_layout()`

?

with `plt.tight_layout()`

without it:

Or: something like this (use `add_axes`

)

```
left=[0.1,0.3,0.5,0.7]
width=[0.2,0.2, 0.2, 0.2]
rectLS=[]
for x in left:
for y in left:
rectLS.append([x, y, 0.2, 0.2])
axLS=[]
fig=plt.figure()
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[0]))
for i in [1,2,3]:
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[i],sharey=axLS[-1]))
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[4]))
for i in [1,2,3]:
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[i+4],sharex=axLS[i],sharey=axLS[-1]))
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[8]))
for i in [5,6,7]:
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[i+4],sharex=axLS[i],sharey=axLS[-1]))
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[12]))
for i in [9,10,11]:
axLS.append(fig.add_axes(rectLS[i+4],sharex=axLS[i],sharey=axLS[-1]))
```

If you don’t need to share axes, then simply `axLS=map(fig.add_axes, rectLS)`

You can use gridspec to control the spacing between axes. There’s more information here.

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import matplotlib.gridspec as gridspec
plt.figure(figsize = (4,4))
gs1 = gridspec.GridSpec(4, 4)
gs1.update(wspace=0.025, hspace=0.05) # set the spacing between axes.
for i in range(16):
# i = i + 1 # grid spec indexes from 0
ax1 = plt.subplot(gs1[i])
plt.axis('on')
ax1.set_xticklabels([])
ax1.set_yticklabels([])
ax1.set_aspect('equal')
plt.show()
```

The problem is the use of `aspect='equal'`

, which prevents the subplots from stretching to an arbitrary aspect ratio and filling up all the empty space.

Normally, this would work:

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
ax = [plt.subplot(2,2,i+1) for i in range(4)]
for a in ax:
a.set_xticklabels([])
a.set_yticklabels([])
plt.subplots_adjust(wspace=0, hspace=0)
```

The result is this:

However, with `aspect='equal'`

, as in the following code:

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
ax = [plt.subplot(2,2,i+1) for i in range(4)]
for a in ax:
a.set_xticklabels([])
a.set_yticklabels([])
a.set_aspect('equal')
plt.subplots_adjust(wspace=0, hspace=0)
```

This is what we get:

The difference in this second case is that you’ve forced the x- and y-axes to have the same number of units/pixel. Since the axes go from 0 to 1 by default (i.e., before you plot anything), using `aspect='equal'`

forces each axis to be a square. Since the figure is not a square, pyplot adds in extra spacing between the axes horizontally.

To get around this problem, you can set your figure to have the correct aspect ratio. We’re going to use the object-oriented pyplot interface here, which I consider to be superior in general:

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
fig = plt.figure(figsize=(8,8)) # Notice the equal aspect ratio
ax = [fig.add_subplot(2,2,i+1) for i in range(4)]
for a in ax:
a.set_xticklabels([])
a.set_yticklabels([])
a.set_aspect('equal')
fig.subplots_adjust(wspace=0, hspace=0)
```

Here’s the result:

Without resorting gridspec entirely, the following might also be used to remove the gaps by setting *wspace* and *hspace* to zero:

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
plt.clf()
f, axarr = plt.subplots(4, 4, gridspec_kw = {'wspace':0, 'hspace':0})
for i, ax in enumerate(f.axes):
ax.grid('on', linestyle='--')
ax.set_xticklabels([])
ax.set_yticklabels([])
plt.show()
plt.close()
```

Resulting in:

With recent matplotlib versions you might want to try Constrained Layout. This does (or at least did) not work with `plt.subplot()`

however, so you need to use `plt.subplots()`

instead:

```
fig, axs = plt.subplots(4, 4, constrained_layout=True)
```

Another method is to use the `pad`

keyword from `plt.subplots_adjust()`

, which also accepts negative values:

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
ax = [plt.subplot(2,2,i+1) for i in range(4)]
for a in ax:
a.set_xticklabels([])
a.set_yticklabels([])
plt.subplots_adjust(pad=-5.0)
```

Additionally, to remove the white at the outer fringe of all subplots (i.e. the canvas), always save with `plt.savefig(fname, bbox_inches="tight")`

.