How to use despine() method in seaborn

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by gayathrimohan dot icon Updated: Aug 17, 2023

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The seaborn.despine() method is part of the Seaborn library in Python. It removes the default spines (the borders) of a plot or a specific axis in a plot, such as the top and right spines. This helps in enhancing the visual clarity of the plot. It will eliminate unnecessary distractions. You can also customize the appearance of the remaining spines. You can customize this using parameters like left, right, top, bottom, and trim. In Python, you can use the seaborn.despine() method to remove or change the spines of a Seaborn plot. You can also use the method with arguments like left=True or top=False to specify which spines to remove or keep.  

There are a few variations of this method:  

  • seaborn.despine(): This method will remove the top and right spines of the plot by default.  
  • seaborn.despine(trim=True): This method removes the spines. It also trims the whitespace around the plot area.  
  • seaborn.despine(left, right, top, bottom): You can specify which spines to remove. It will set the corresponding arguments to True or False.  
  • seaborn.despine(ax=None, **kwargs): This method allows you to specify the axes object. You should apply the operation to this specified object. To customize the despine behavior, pass more parameters as keyword arguments. These parameters control the offset of the spines from the data area.  

Several techniques you can use with despine():  

  • Default Despining: sns.despine() will remove the top and right spines by default.  
  • Specify Which Spines to Remove: You can pass arguments like left, right, top, and bottom to sns.despine(). You need to specify which spines you want to remove. For example, sns.despine(left=True) will remove the left spine.  
  • Offsetting Spines: You can use the offset parameter to move the spines away from the data area. This is useful when creating space between the data and the plot edges.  
  • Trim the range of spines further by adjusting them. It takes a tuple of two values representing the fraction of the axes' length to trim the spines.  
  • Adjusting Axes Limits: despine() considers the visible data range when trimming spines. You can use the ax parameter to specify a different axis object. That object can help when you've customized the axis limits.  
  • Customizing Despine Effects: use parameters like offset, trim, left, right, top, and bottom. You can fine-tune the despine effects according to your plot's requirements.  

Some benefits of using despine() include:  

  • Improved Aesthetics: By removing the spines, you can create cleaner and less visuals. We direct the viewer's attention to the data instead of the plot borders to achieve this.  
  • Flexibility: Allows you to remove specific spines. Based on your preference, such as the top, right, bottom, or left axes lines.  
  • Subplots: When creating subplots, the despine() method can help drop redundant axes lines. That might otherwise overlap and clutter the plot.  
  • For customization, you can adjust the amount of trimming for the spines. You can fine-tune the appearance of the plot by using the offset parameter.  
  • Integration with Other Styles: despine() is often combined with Seaborn's themes. Users use it to create plots with a consistent aesthetic. You can pair themes like "whitegrid," "darkgrid," etc., with it.  
  • Seaborn builds on top of Matplotlib for compatibility. The despine() function integrates with Matplotlib plots. This allows you to achieve clean aesthetics while utilizing Matplotlib's powerful features. 


In conclusion, we use the seaborn.despine() method in Seaborn. It is a data visualization library in Python. The plot remover uses it to remove the top and right spines, reducing clutter. Seaborn.despine() is a powerful tool in Seaborn's arsenal. That improves plot aesthetics, readability, and customization in a versatile manner. Its main points include:  

  • Enhances readability: The focus remains on the data by removing unnecessary spines.  
  • Customization: It allows you to choose which spines to remove. Also, control their appearance.  
  • Works with various plot types: It applies to several Seaborn plots. Plots like scatter plots, histograms, etc.