Understanding the Execution Time of plt.figure() in Matplotlib

What will you learn?

In this detailed discussion, you will uncover the reasons behind the unexpected delay often encountered when executing plt.figure() in Matplotlib. By exploring common causes and providing solutions, you will gain insights into optimizing the performance of your plotting commands.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

When utilizing Matplotlib’s plt.figure(), encountering a delay of approximately 12 seconds may seem perplexing. This delay is indicative of underlying issues within your environment setup or specific configurations within Matplotlib itself. To address this concern effectively, we will delve into potential causes such as backend processes, library conflicts, or graphics rendering issues. By identifying these factors, we can implement strategies to diagnose and resolve the delays, ensuring smoother execution times for your plotting tasks.


# Example code snippet for diagnosing plt.figure() execution time
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import time

start_time = time.time()
fig = plt.figure()
end_time = time.time()

print(f"Execution Time: {end_time - start_time} seconds")

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To measure the actual execution time of plt.figure(), utilize the provided script to capture timestamps before and after its invocation. By pinpointing any delays accurately, you can investigate further by: – Checking different backends for varying rendering performance. – Updating Python and relevant libraries to their latest versions. – Testing scripts across diverse environments to isolate local issues. – Reviewing configuration files that may impact default settings and cause delays.

    1. How do I check which backend I’m using?

    2. import matplotlib
    3. # Copyright PHD
    4. Can updating Matplotlib reduce execution time? Yes, ensure you are using the latest version for performance improvements.

    5. What if changing backends doesn’t help? Investigate other system components like graphics hardware drivers.

    6. Could external factors influence plt.figure()‘s performance? Yes, system load and available resources play a significant role in execution times.

    7. Is there a way to profile plt.figure() call for performance analysis? Utilize profiling tools like cProfile to identify bottlenecks during execution.


Encountering prolonged execution times with plt.figure() signals deeper configuration or environmental issues rather than inherent flaws in Matplotlib. Through systematic troubleshooting methods�such as backend checks, software updates, and environment testing�you can pinpoint and resolve these delays effectively.

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