Customizing MultiIndex Name Formatting in Pandas Styler

Friendly Introduction to Our Task

Welcome to a guide where we delve into customizing the appearance of MultiIndex names using Pandas’ Styler object. This tutorial will equip you with the skills to enhance the visual presentation of your DataFrame for various purposes like presentations or reports.

What You Will Learn

By the end of this tutorial, you will have mastered the art of customizing MultiIndex names in a pandas DataFrame using the Styling API. Your dataframes will not only be informative but also visually appealing.

Understanding the Problem and Crafting a Solution

When dealing with pandas DataFrames that have multiple levels of indexing (MultiIndex), formatting these indices becomes crucial for readability and presentation standards. However, styling MultiIndex names differs from regular DataFrame styling.

Our solution involves leveraging the Styler class provided by pandas, which offers extensive functionality for styling DataFrames. We will focus on utilizing this capability to customize how our MultiIndex names are displayed.


import pandas as pd

# Sample dataframe creation
df = pd.DataFrame({
    "Name": ["Alice", "Bob", "Charlie"],
    "Score": [85, 92, 88]
df.set_index(["Name"], inplace=True)

# Applying custom styling function
def highlight_index_name(styler):
        'selector': 'th.level0',
        'props': [('font-style', 'italic'), ('color', 'red')]
    }], overwrite=False)
    return styler

styled_df =, axis=None)

# Copyright PHD


The code snippet above demonstrates how to customize the appearance of a DataFrame’s index name:

  • Create a sample DataFrame.
  • Define a function (highlight_index_name) that takes a Styler object as its parameter.
  • Use set_table_styles method within Styler to apply specific CSS styles targeting HTML elements rendered by the Styler.
  • Apply CSS properties like font-style and color to style the Index name.
  • Finally, apply this styling function onto our DataFrame’s styler instance using .style.apply().

Through this approach, you gain control over how your data is presented without altering any underlying data values.

  1. How do I style multi-level indexes differently?

  2. To style different levels of indexes, adjust your CSS selector accordingly in the set_table_styles method (e.g., ‘th.level1’, ‘th.level2’, etc.).

  3. Can I apply multiple styles at once?

  4. Yes! You can chain calls like .style.apply() for different functions or define multiple CSS rules within one call of set_table_styles.

  5. Is it possible to style column headers too?

  6. Absolutely! Column headers can be styled similarly by targeting them with appropriate selectors in your custom styling function.

  7. Do these styles persist when exporting my DataFrame?

  8. Styles applied through Pandas Styling API are primarily for visual representation within Jupyter Notebooks or similar environments and may not directly translate when exporting into formats like CSV or Excel without additional steps.

  9. Can I add background colors based on cell values?

  10. Certainly! Panda’s Styling API allows conditional formatting based on cell content, including adding background colors.


Pandas’ Styling API provides a versatile toolkit not only for manipulating but also presenting data in visually appealing ways. Understanding features like custom formatters can greatly enhance both readability and aesthetic appeal of data reports generated within Python notebooks.

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