10 Ways to Reorder Your columns in Pandas Using Python

In the world of data manipulation and analysis pandas reorder columns is mostly use in pandas. Python has emerged as a powerhouse and Pandas is its trusty sidekick. One common task that often crops up is reordering columns in a dataset. Whether you’re a seasoned data scientist or a beginner mastering this skill can significantly enhance your data wrangling capabilities. In this article we’ll dive deep into the process of reordering columns using Python Pandas exploring key concepts and practical coding examples.

Pandas Reorder Columns

Understanding the Problem

Pandas Reorder Columns

Reordering columns refers to changing the sequence of columns in a dataset. This is often done to better organize data, improve readability, or prepare data for further analysis.

Reordering Columns in Python Pandas Step by Step

Let’s delve into the practical aspects of reordering columns in Python Pandas.

Importing Pandas

As with any Python project involving Pandas, start by importing the library.

Creating a Sample DataFrame

For our demonstration, let’s create a sample DataFrame that we’ll use throughout the article.

data = {'Name': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'],
        'Age': [25, 30, 28],
        'Salary': [60000, 80000, 75000]}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

Viewing the Initial DataFrame

Before reordering, let’s take a look at our initial DataFrame:


Reordering Columns

To reorder columns, you can simply create a new DataFrame with columns arranged in the desired order.

reordered_columns = ['Salary', 'Name', 'Age']
df_reordered = df[reordered_columns]

Viewing the Reordered DataFrame

Here’s how the DataFrame looks after reordering:


Pandas Reorder Columns Based on List

A list is a versatile data structure in Python used to store an ordered collection of items. In this context, it will contain the desired order of columns for reordering.

Reordering Columns using Pandas – Step by Step: To reorder columns in a Pandas DataFrame based on a list, follow these steps:

Import Pandas Library

Import the Pandas library into your Python environment by using the import pandas as pd statement.

Create DataFrame

Create a DataFrame using your dataset or by reading a CSV/Excel file. For instance.

import pandas as pd

data = {'Name': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'],
        'Age': [25, 30, 28],
        'City': ['New York', 'San Francisco', 'Los Angeles']}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)


View the Result

By executing df, you can now see the DataFrame with columns

pandas reorder columns

Define Column Order List

Create a list that specifies the desired column order. For example.

column_order = ['City', 'Name', 'Age']

Reorder Columns

Use the .reorder_levels() method along with column slicing to reorder the columns according to the list.


View the Result

By executing df, you can now see the DataFrame with columns reordered as per the defined list.

pandas reorder columns

Pandas Reorder Columns to Match another Dataframe

Imagine you have two DataFrames, each containing data on the same entities but with columns in different orders. Reordering columns helps in comparing and analyzing these DataFrames effectively. It ensures that corresponding columns are aligned, making it simpler to perform calculations, visualizations, and other data-related tasks.

Import Necessary Libraries

Before diving into the actual process, import the required libraries

Create Sample DataFrames

Let’s assume we have two DataFrames, df1 and df2, with different column orders but the same data.

data1 = {'A': [1, 2, 3], 'B': [4, 5, 6]}
df1 = pd.DataFrame(data1)

data2 = {'B': [7, 8, 9], 'A': [10, 11, 12]}
df2 = pd.DataFrame(data2)

#OutPut df1

View the Result

By executing df1, you can now see the DataFrame with columns

pandas reorder columns

#OutPut df2

View the Result

By executing df2, you can now see the DataFrame with columns

pandas reorder columns

Reorder Columns

To reorder the columns of df2 to match the order of columns in df1, use the following code.



Now, df2 will have columns in the same order as df1

pandas reorder columns

Pandas Reorder Columns MultiIndex

MultiIndex, also known as hierarchical indexing, enables you to create multiple index levels in a DataFrame. It’s particularly useful for dealing with complex datasets that require more intricate indexing.

Reaping the Benefits of MultiIndex

Here are some compelling reasons to employ MultiIndexing in your data analysis workflow:

  • Hierarchical Organization: MultiIndex brings a hierarchical structure to your data, allowing you to represent and analyze multi-dimensional datasets more effectively.
  • Enhanced Grouping and Aggregation: MultiIndexing makes grouping and aggregation operations more efficient, enabling you to perform complex analyses with ease.
  • Clearer Representation: When dealing with data containing multiple dimensions or categories, MultiIndexing provides a more intuitive and organized way to represent information.

Reordering Columns with MultiIndex in Pandas

Let’s walk through the process of reordering columns within a MultiIndex DataFrame using Pandas:

  1. Creating a MultiIndex DataFrame:First, you need to create a MultiIndex DataFrame. You can do this by using the pd.MultiIndex constructor along with your dataset.
  2. Defining Column Order:To reorder columns, you can use the .reorder_levels() function. This function allows you to specify the desired order of the index levels.
  3. Sorting Columns:Pandas provides the .sort_index() function to sort the columns based on the MultiIndex levels. This step ensures that your reordering changes take effect.

Example: MultiIndex Column Reordering

Let’s consider a practical example where we have sales data for different products across various regions:


In this scenario, we might want to reorder the columns so that the “Product” column comes before the “Region” column.

Python Code Implementation

import pandas as pd

# Creating the DataFrame

data = {'Region': ['East', 'East', 'West', 'West'],
        'Product': ['A', 'B', 'A', 'B'],
        'Sales': [100, 150, 120, 180]}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Creating a MultiIndex

multi_index = pd.MultiIndex.from_frame(df[['Product', 'Region']])

# Checking the multi_index structure


# Creating a new DataFrame with the MultiIndex

df_multiindexed = pd.DataFrame(data={'Sales': [100, 150, 120, 180]}, index=multi_index)

# Reordering Columns

df_reordered = df_multiindexed.reorder_levels(['Product', 'Region'], axis=0).sort_index()

# Display the reordered DataFrame



The hierarchical structure and enhanced organization that MultiIndexing brings can significantly improve the clarity and efficiency of your analyses.

pandas reorder columns

Pandas Reorder Columns by Value

Reordering columns by value refers to the action of rearranging columns based on the values they contain. This technique helps in identifying patterns, trends, or specific data points more effectively.

Python Code Example

import pandas as pd

# Load data into DataFrame

data = {'Name': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'],
        'Age': [28, 24, 31],
        'Score': [95, 82, 70]}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Sort DataFrame by 'Score' column

sorted_df = df.sort_values(by='Score', ascending=False)

# Reorder columns based on sorted values

reordered_columns = ['Name', 'Score', 'Age']
final_df = sorted_df[reordered_columns]



Use the Pandas sort_values() function to sort the DataFrame based on the desired column’s values. This ensures that the rows are rearranged according to those values.

pandas reorder columns

Pandas Reorder Columns by Column Number

we’ll delve into the process of reordering columns using column numbers, leveraging the prowess of Pandas.

Sample Code Implementation

Let’s illustrate the process with a sample code snippet.

import pandas as pd

# Load the dataset into a DataFrame

data = {'Name': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'],
        'Age': [25, 30, 22],
        'Salary': [50000, 60000, 45000]}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Define the desired column order by number

new_column_order = [0, 2, 1]

# Reorder the columns using .iloc

df = df.iloc[:, new_column_order]



This code snippet uses .iloc to reorder the columns according to the specified order of column numbers. It will correctly rearrange the columns without raising a KeyError.

pandas reorder columns

Pandas Reorder Columns in Pivot Table

A pivot table is a data summarization tool that aggregates, arranges, and groups data from a larger dataset, providing a compact and comprehensive overview.

Step 1: Import Pandas and Load Data

To get started, import the pandas library and load your dataset as a DataFrame.

import pandas as pd

# Load your dataset

data = pd.read_csv('your_data.csv')

Step 2: Create a Pivot Table

Let’s say we have a dataset containing sales data with columns ‘Date’, ‘Product’, ‘Sales’, and ‘Profit’. We want to create a pivot table with ‘Product’ as rows and ‘Date’ as columns, summarizing sales.

pivot_table = data.pivot_table(index='Product', columns='Date', values='Sales', aggfunc='sum', fill_value=0)

Step 3: Reorder Columns

Here comes the interesting part – reordering columns. To reorder the columns in the pivot table, simply use the indexing technique.

desired_column_order = ['2023-01-01', '2023-01-02', '2023-01-03', ...]  # Define your desired order
reordered_pivot_table = pivot_table[desired_column_order]

Advantages of Reordering

  • Visual Appeal: Place critical information upfront for better visualization.
  • Logical Flow: Arrange columns chronologically or strategically for easier interpretation.
  • Customization: Tailor the table to your audience’s preferences.

Pandas Reorder Columns Randomly

Randomness introduces unpredictability and diversity to data. Adding a random order to columns can be beneficial for tasks like generating random samples, enhancing privacy, and exploring various scenarios.

  1. Random Shuffling: Utilize the numpy library, which pandas is built upon, to shuffle the list of column names randomly. The numpy.random.permutation() function is perfect for this task.
  2. Reorder Columns: Apply the shuffled list of column names back to the DataFrame using indexing. For instance, if df is your DataFrame, you can use df = df[shuffled_column_names] to reorder the columns.

Python Coding Example

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

# Load your dataset into a DataFrame

df = pd.read_csv('your_dataset.csv')

# Create a list of column names

column_names = df.columns.tolist()

# Shuffle the list of column names

shuffled_column_names = np.random.permutation(column_names)

# Reorder columns in the DataFrame

df = df[shuffled_column_names]

The Beauty of Random Column Reordering

Imagine you have a dataset containing information about products. By randomly reordering the columns, you can:

  • Safeguard sensitive information by mixing it with non-sensitive data.
  • Enhance A/B testing by presenting information in different ways.
  • Generate diverse data samples for robust analysis.

Pandas Reorder Columns Reindex

“Reindexing” involves modifying the index labels of a DataFrame. The index is crucial for aligning and accessing data efficiently. Reindexing allows you to change the order, add new labels, or remove existing ones, ensuring data consistency and accuracy.

Reindexing with Pandas

Pandas offers the .reindex() method, which allows you to modify the index labels of a DataFrame. This is crucial when merging, aligning, or restructuring data from different sources.

# Sample code for reindexing

import pandas as pd

# Create a sample DataFrame

data = {'values': [10, 20, 30]}
df = pd.DataFrame(data, index=['A', 'B', 'C'])

# Reindex the DataFrame

new_index = ['C', 'B', 'A']
df_reindexed = df.reindex(new_index)


View the Result
By executing df_reindexed, you can now see the DataFrame with columns

pandas reorder columns

Pandas Reorder Columns Alphabetically

Alphabetical order is a sorting method where items are arranged in the sequence of letters in the alphabet, from A to Z.

  1. Alphabetically Reorder: Utilize the reindex() function along with the sorted column names to reorder the columns alphabetically.
  2. Update the DataFrame: Assign the newly ordered DataFrame back to the original variable to reflect the changes.

Sample Dataset


Python Code Example

import pandas as pd

# Load your dataset

data = {'Name': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'],
        'Age': [25, 30, 22],
        'Salary': [60000, 75000, 50000]}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Alphabetically reorder columns

df = df.reindex(sorted(df.columns), axis=1)

# Display the reordered DataFrame



View the Result
By executing df, you can now see the DataFrame with columns

pandas reorder columns

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Reordering Columns in Python Pandas

1. Why would I need to reorder columns in a Pandas DataFrame?

Reordering columns allows you to present and analyze data in a more meaningful way. It helps with visualizing data, preparing it for specific operations, or improving data readability in reports.

2. How can I change the order of columns in a Pandas DataFrame?

You can rearrange columns using various methods such as df.reindex(), df[[col_order]], or df.loc[:, col_order]. Each method offers flexibility for customizing column orders.

3. Can I rename columns while reordering them?

Absolutely! When reordering columns, you can simultaneously rename them using the .rename() function to provide clearer column labels.

4. Is it possible to move a specific column to a particular position?

Yes, you can relocate a column to a specific position by combining Pandas’ column selection and reordering techniques. For instance, using .insert() or np.insert() to place a column at a desired index.

5. What if I want to move columns based on certain conditions?

Pandas enables conditional column reordering using techniques like boolean indexing or by selectively rearranging columns based on their content.

6. Are there any shortcuts for reordering columns quickly?

Absolutely, using double brackets like df[[col_order]] and assigning new column order is a swift way to rearrange columns without altering other parts of the DataFrame.

7. Can I save the new column order permanently?

While the DataFrame itself doesn’t inherently save the column order, you can save the reordered DataFrame to a new variable or overwrite the original one.

8. How do I maintain the original DataFrame and create a reordered copy?

You can create a copy of the DataFrame with columns reordered using methods like .copy() or simply by assigning the reordered DataFrame to a new variable.

9. What if I want to reorder a subset of columns, leaving others untouched?

To reorder only a subset of columns, you can use techniques like .reindex() with specified columns or by creating a new DataFrame with the desired column arrangement.

10. Does column order impact calculations and analysis in Pandas?

Column order affects how calculations are performed across rows and columns. Ensuring the desired column order is crucial for accurate analysis and presentation of results.

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