Pandas Dataframe head Method Explained with 4 Examples


In the realm of data manipulation with Python, the Pandas library stands as a cornerstone. Within this powerful library lies a versatile method known as head(), which allows for swift access to the initial rows of a DataFrame. This guide aims to delve deep into the intricacies of the Pandas Dataframe head method, equipping you with the knowledge to harness its potential effectively.

What is the Pandas Dataframe head Method?

The head() method, an integral part of the Pandas library, empowers data scientists and analysts to swiftly preview the initial rows of a DataFrame. By default, it displays the first five rows, but this number can be customized to provide a tailored view of the data.

Understanding the Syntax


Here, n denotes the number of rows to display.


n: The number of rows to show. Default is 5.

Why Use the Pandas Dataframe head Method?

In data exploration, gaining an initial understanding of the dataset is paramount. The head() method provides a quick snapshot, allowing you to assess column names, data types, and sample values. This efficiency is invaluable, particularly when working with extensive datasets.

Key Benefits

  1. Speedy Data Overview: Quickly grasp the structure of your data.
  2. Identify Data Anomalies: Detect outliers or irregularities early on.
  3. Memory Conservation: Displaying a subset of rows conserves resources.

Examples explaining the proper usage of Dataframe Head Method

Example 1: Displaying the first 3 rows

import pandas as pd

# Create a sample DataFrame
data = {'Name': ['John', 'Emma', 'Michael', 'Sophia', 'William'],
'Age': [28, 23, 35, 29, 31],
'City': ['New York', 'San Francisco', 'Los Angeles', 'Chicago', 'Houston']}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Display the first three rows
df.head(3)  // not giving any parameters will take the first 5 rows by default.

Example 2: Specifying Number of Rows

# Generate a sample DataFrame with 1000 rows
data = {'Value': range(1000)}
df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Display the first 10 rows

In this example, we create a data frame with 1000 rows and use the head() method to display the first 10 rows.

Example 3: Using with Filtered Data

# Create a sample DataFrame
data = {'Name': ['John', 'Emma', 'Michael', 'Sophia', 'William'],
'Age': [28, 23, 35, 29, 31],
'City': ['New York', 'San Francisco', 'Los Angeles', 'Chicago', 'Houston']}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Filter rows where Age is greater than 25
filtered_df = df[df['Age'] > 25]

# Display the first 3 rows of the filtered DataFrame

This example showcases how to apply the head() method after filtering rows based on a specific condition.

Example 4: Using in Chained Operations

# Create a sample DataFrame
data = {'Name': ['John', 'Emma', 'Michael', 'Sophia', 'William'],
'Age': [28, 23, 35, 29, 31],
'City': ['New York', 'San Francisco', 'Los Angeles', 'Chicago', 'Houston']}

df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Chained operations: Filter rows, sort by Age, and display the first 2 rows
result = df[df['Age'] > 25].sort_values(by='Age').head(2)


In this example, we chain multiple operations together: first, we filter rows where Age is greater than 25, then we sort the DataFrame by Age, and finally, we use head(2) to display the first two rows of the result.

These examples showcase more complex scenarios where the Pandas Dataframe head method is applied in combination with other DataFrame operations for efficient data analysis.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Blind Reliance on Default Settings: Tailoring for Precision

While the default display of five rows is convenient, it may not always suffice. Failing to adjust the n parameter can lead to incomplete insights. Tailor the method to your specific dataset by customizing the number of rows displayed.


How can I display more than five rows with the head() method?

You can specify the number of rows you want to display by passing the desired value as an argument to the method. For example, df.head(10) will display the first ten rows.

Can I use the head() method on a Series object?

Yes, the head() method is applicable to both DataFrame and Series objects.

What happens if I pass a negative value to the head() method?

If a negative value is passed, a ValueError will be raised.

Is it possible to save the output of the head() method to a new DataFrame?

Certainly. You can assign the result of the head() method to a new DataFrame, allowing for further manipulation.

Does the head() method alter the original DataFrame?

No, the head() method merely provides a preview and does not modify the original DataFrame.

How can I reset the number of rows displayed back to the default setting?

Simply call the head() method without passing any arguments (df.head()), and it will default to displaying the first five rows.


Hope you now have a detailed understanding of how to use Python Dataframe head method. Mastering the Pandas Dataframe head method empowers you to efficiently explore and understand your data, a crucial step in any data science endeavor. Do visit my other articles on Python dataframe and other Python concepts as well for more information.

Thank you.

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