python plotting with greek symbols within labels recommendations?

Juho Schultz juho.schultz at
Wed Oct 5 09:10:31 CEST 2005

michael.s.gilbert at wrote:
> hello all,
> this message is geared toward those of you in the scientific community.
> i'm looking for a python plotting library that can support rendering
> greek symbols and other various characters on plot axes labels, etc. I
> would prefer something that adheres to tex formatting (as implemented
> in latex, matlab, etc and has the form $\alpha$ to represent the greek
> character alpha for example).
> thus far, i've found that matplotlib
> ( can do this, albeit the
> implementation is so poor that you cannot mix standard text with
> symbols on the same plot element.

If you already have installed matplotlib, have a look at
It shows you how to mix text and symbols.
The other examples in the directory could also be useful.

Essentially you need to remember 
matplotlib.rc('text', usetex=True)
before plotting.

If you need complex stuff (fractions, sums, integrals) try
putting an r before the string: pylab.ylabel(
r"Density $\left(\rho =\frac{x^2+\frac{x+1}{x-1}}{\kappa(x)K_{ij}}\right)")
works fine, at least on my system.

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