Renaming columns in pandas

user1504276 Source

I have a DataFrame using pandas and column labels that I need to edit to replace the original column labels.

I'd like to change the column names in a DataFrame A where the original column names are:

['$a', '$b', '$c', '$d', '$e'] 


['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e'].

I have the edited column names stored it in a list, but I don't know how to replace the column names.



answered 6 years ago eumiro #1

Just assign it to the .columns attribute:

>>> df = pd.DataFrame({'$a':[1,2], '$b': [10,20]})
>>> df.columns = ['a', 'b']
>>> df
   a   b
0  1  10
1  2  20

answered 6 years ago lexual #2

Use the df.rename() function and refer the columns to be renamed. Not all the columns have to be renamed:

df = df.rename(columns={'oldName1': 'newName1', 'oldName2': 'newName2'})
# Or rename the existing DataFrame (rather than creating a copy) 
df.rename(columns={'oldName1': 'newName1', 'oldName2': 'newName2'}, inplace=True)

answered 5 years ago Andy Hayden #3

The rename method can take a function, for example:

In [11]: df.columns
Out[11]: Index([u'$a', u'$b', u'$c', u'$d', u'$e'], dtype=object)

In [12]: df.rename(columns=lambda x: x[1:], inplace=True)

In [13]: df.columns
Out[13]: Index([u'a', u'b', u'c', u'd', u'e'], dtype=object)

answered 4 years ago paulo.filip3 #4

Since you only want to remove the $ sign in all column names, you could just do:

df = df.rename(columns=lambda x: x.replace('$', ''))


df.rename(columns=lambda x: x.replace('$', ''), inplace=True)

answered 3 years ago migloo #5

old_names = ['$a', '$b', '$c', '$d', '$e'] 
new_names = ['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e']
df.rename(columns=dict(zip(old_names, new_names)), inplace=True)

This way you can manually edit the new_names as you wish. Works great when you need to rename only a few columns to correct mispellings, accents, remove special characters etc.

answered 3 years ago kadee #6

As documented in

df.columns = df.columns.str.replace('$','')

answered 3 years ago andrewwowens #7

If you've got the dataframe, df.columns dumps everything into a list you can manipulate and then reassign into your dataframe as the names of columns...

columns = df.columns
columns = [row.replace("$","") for row in columns]
df.rename(columns=dict(zip(columns, things)), inplace=True)
df.head() #to validate the output

Best way? IDK. A way - yes.

A better way of evaluating all the main techniques put forward in the answers to the question is below using cProfile to gage memory & execution time. @kadee, @kaitlyn, & @eumiro had the functions with the fastest execution times - though these functions are so fast we're comparing the rounding of .000 and .001 seconds for all the answers. Moral: my answer above likely isn't the 'Best' way.

import pandas as pd
import cProfile, pstats, re

old_names = ['$a', '$b', '$c', '$d', '$e']
new_names = ['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e']
col_dict = {'$a': 'a', '$b': 'b','$c':'c','$d':'d','$e':'e'}

df = pd.DataFrame({'$a':[1,2], '$b': [10,20],'$c':['bleep','blorp'],'$d':[1,2],'$e':['texa$','']})


def eumiro(df,nn):
    df.columns = nn
    #This direct renaming approach is duplicated in methodology in several other answers: 
    return df

def lexual1(df):
    return df.rename(columns=col_dict)

def lexual2(df,col_dict):
    return df.rename(columns=col_dict, inplace=True)

def Panda_Master_Hayden(df):
    return df.rename(columns=lambda x: x[1:], inplace=True)

def paulo1(df):
    return df.rename(columns=lambda x: x.replace('$', ''))

def paulo2(df):
    return df.rename(columns=lambda x: x.replace('$', ''), inplace=True)

def migloo(df,on,nn):
    return df.rename(columns=dict(zip(on, nn)), inplace=True)

def kadee(df):
    return df.columns.str.replace('$','')

def awo(df):
    columns = df.columns
    columns = [row.replace("$","") for row in columns]
    return df.rename(columns=dict(zip(columns, '')), inplace=True)

def kaitlyn(df):
    df.columns = [col.strip('$') for col in df.columns]
    return df

print 'eumiro''eumiro(df,new_names)')
print 'lexual1''lexual1(df)')
print 'lexual2''lexual2(df,col_dict)')
print 'andy hayden''Panda_Master_Hayden(df)')
print 'paulo1''paulo1(df)')
print 'paulo2''paulo2(df)')
print 'migloo''migloo(df,old_names,new_names)')
print 'kadee''kadee(df)')
print 'awo''awo(df)')
print 'kaitlyn''kaitlyn(df)')

answered 2 years ago kaitlyn #8

Another way we could replace the original column labels is by stripping the unwanted characters (here '$') from the original column labels.

This could have been done by running a for loop over df.columns and appending the stripped columns to df.columns.

Instead , we can do this neatly in a single statement by using list comprehension like below:

df.columns = [col.strip('$') for col in df.columns]

(strip method in Python strips the given character from beginning and end of the string.)

answered 2 years ago Thodoris P #9

Real simple just use

df.columns = ['Name1', 'Name2', 'Name3'...]

and it will assign the column names by the order you put them

answered 2 years ago Anton Protopopov #10

You could use str.slice for that:

df.columns = df.columns.str.slice(1)

answered 2 years ago Alexander #11

df = pd.DataFrame({'$a': [1], '$b': [1], '$c': [1], '$d': [1], '$e': [1]})

If your new list of columns is in the same order as the existing columns, the assignment is simple:

new_cols = ['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e']
df.columns = new_cols
>>> df
   a  b  c  d  e
0  1  1  1  1  1

If you had a dictionary keyed on old column names to new column names, you could do the following:

d = {'$a': 'a', '$b': 'b', '$c': 'c', '$d': 'd', '$e': 'e'}
df.columns = col: d[col])  # Or `.map(d.get)` as pointed out by @PiRSquared.
>>> df
   a  b  c  d  e
0  1  1  1  1  1

If you don't have a list or dictionary mapping, you could strip the leading $ symbol via a list comprehension:

df.columns = [col[1:] if col[0] == '$' else col for col in df]

answered 2 years ago M PAUL #12

df.columns = ['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e']

It will replace the existing names with the names you provide, in the order you provide.

You can also assign them by index like this:

df.columns.values[2] = 'c'    #renames the 2nd column to 'c' (in position #3)

answered 2 years ago Anil_M #13

I know this question and answer has been chewed to death. But I referred to it for inspiration for one of the problem I was having . I was able to solve it using bits and pieces from different answers hence providing my response in case anyone needs it.

My method is generic wherein you can add additional delimiters by comma separating delimiters= variable and future-proof it.

Working Code:

import pandas as pd
import re

df = pd.DataFrame({'$a':[1,2], '$b': [3,4],'$c':[5,6], '$d': [7,8], '$e': [9,10]})

delimiters = '$'
matchPattern = '|'.join(map(re.escape, delimiters))
df.columns = [re.split(matchPattern, i)[1] for i in df.columns ]


>>> df
   $a  $b  $c  $d  $e
0   1   3   5   7   9
1   2   4   6   8  10

>>> df
   a  b  c  d   e
0  1  3  5  7   9
1  2  4  6  8  10

answered 2 years ago oxer #14

Note that these approach do not work for a MultiIndex. For a MultiIndex, you need to do something like the following:

>>> df = pd.DataFrame({('$a','$x'):[1,2], ('$b','$y'): [3,4], ('e','f'):[5,6]})
>>> df
   $a $b  e
   $x $y  f
0  1  3  5
1  2  4  6
>>> rename = {('$a','$x'):('a','x'), ('$b','$y'):('b','y')}
>>> df.columns = pandas.MultiIndex.from_tuples([
        rename.get(item, item) for item in df.columns.tolist()])
>>> df
   a  b  e
   x  y  f
0  1  3  5
1  2  4  6

answered 1 year ago firelynx #15

Column names vs Names of Series

I would like to explain a bit what happens behind the scenes.

Dataframes are a set of Series.

Series in turn are an extension of a numpy.array

numpy.arrays have a property .name

This is the name of the series. It is seldom that pandas respects this attribute, but it lingers in places and can be used to hack some pandas behaviors.

Naming the list of columns

A lot of answers here talks about the df.columns attribute being a list when in fact it is a Series. This means it has a .name attribute.

This is what happens if you decide to fill in the name of the columns Series:

df.columns = ['column_one', 'column_two']
df.columns.names = ['name of the list of columns']
df.index.names = ['name of the index']

name of the list of columns     column_one  column_two
name of the index       
0                                    4           1
1                                    5           2
2                                    6           3

Note that the name of the index always comes one column lower.

Artifacts that linger

The .name attribute lingers on sometimes. If you set df.columns = ['one', 'two'] then the will be 'one'.

If you set = 'three' then df.columns will still give you ['one', 'two'], and will give you 'three'


pd.DataFrame( will return

0       1
1       2
2       3

Because pandas reuses the .name of the already defined Series.

Multi level column names

Pandas has ways of doing multi layered column names. There is not so much magic involved but I wanted to cover this in my answer too since I don't see anyone picking up on this here.

    |one            |
    |one      |two  |
0   |  4      |  1  |
1   |  5      |  2  |
2   |  6      |  3  |

This is easily achievable by setting columns to lists, like this:

df.columns = [['one', 'one'], ['one', 'two']]

answered 9 months ago matthhias #16

If you have to deal with loads of columns named by the providing system out of your control, I came up with the following approach that is a combination of a general approach and specific replacments in one go.

I first create a dictionary from the dataframe column names using regex expressions in order to throw away certain appendixes of column names and then I add specific replacements to the dictionary to name core columns as expected later in the receiving database.

This is then applied to the dataframe in one go.

df.rename(columns=dict, inplace=True)

answered 6 months ago piRSquared #17

One line or Pipeline solutions

I'll focus on two things:

  1. OP clearly states

    I have the edited column names stored it in a list, but I don't know how to replace the column names.

    I do not want to solve the problem of how to replace '$' or strip the first character off of each column header. OP has already done this step. Instead I want to focus on replacing the existing columns object with a new one given a list of replacement column names.

  2. df.columns = new where new is the list of new columns names is as simple as it gets. The drawback of this approach is that it requires editing the existing dataframe's columns attribute and it isn't done inline. I'll show a few ways to perform this via pipelining without editing the existing dataframe.

Setup 1
To focus on the need to rename of replace column names with a pre-existing list, I'll create a new sample dataframe df with initial column names and unrelated new column names.

df = pd.DataFrame({'Jack': [1, 2], 'Mahesh': [3, 4], 'Xin': [5, 6]})
new = ['x098', 'y765', 'z432']


   Jack  Mahesh  Xin
0     1       3    5
1     2       4    6

Solution 1

It has been said already that if you had a dictionary mapping the old column names to new column names, you could use pd.DataFrame.rename.

d = {'Jack': 'x098', 'Mahesh': 'y765', 'Xin': 'z432'}

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

However, you can easily create that dictionary and include it in the call to rename. The following takes advantage of the fact that when iterating over df, we iterate over each column name.

# given just a list of new column names
df.rename(columns=dict(zip(df, new)))

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

This works great if your original column names are unique. But if they are not, then this breaks down.

Setup 2
non-unique columns

df = pd.DataFrame(
    [[1, 3, 5], [2, 4, 6]],
    columns=['Mahesh', 'Mahesh', 'Xin']
new = ['x098', 'y765', 'z432']


   Mahesh  Mahesh  Xin
0       1       3    5
1       2       4    6

Solution 2
pd.concat using the keys argument

First, notice what happens when we attempt to use solution 1:

df.rename(columns=dict(zip(df, new)))

   y765  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

We didn't map the new list as the column names. We ended up repeating y765. Instead, we can use the keys argument of the pd.concat function while iterating through the columns of df.

pd.concat([c for _, c in df.items()], axis=1, keys=new) 

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

Solution 3
Reconstruct. This should only be used if you have a single dtype for all columns. Otherwise, you'll end up with dtype object for all columns and converting them back requires more dictionary work.

Single dtype

pd.DataFrame(df.values, df.index, new)

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

Mixed dtype

pd.DataFrame(df.values, df.index, new).astype(dict(zip(new, df.dtypes)))

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

Solution 4
This is a gimmicky trick with transpose and set_index. pd.DataFrame.set_index allows us to set an index inline but there is no corresponding set_columns. So we can transpose, then set_index, and transpose back. However, the same single dtype versus mixed dtype caveat from solution 3 applies here.

Single dtype


   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

Mixed dtype

df.T.set_index(np.asarray(new)).T.astype(dict(zip(new, df.dtypes)))

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

Solution 5
Use a lambda in pd.DataFrame.rename that cycles through each element of new
In this solution, we pass a lambda that takes x but then ignores it. It also takes a y but doesn't expect it. Instead, an iterator is given as a default value and I can then use that to cycle through one at a time without regard to what the value of x is.

df.rename(columns=lambda x, y=iter(new): next(y))

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

And as pointed out to me by the folks in sopython chat, if I add a * in between x and y, I can protect my y variable. Though, in this context I don't believe it needs protecting. It is still worth mentioning.

df.rename(columns=lambda x, *, y=iter(new): next(y))

   x098  y765  z432
0     1     3     5
1     2     4     6

answered 5 months ago flowera #18

DataFrame -- df.rename() will work.

df.rename(columns = {'Old Name':'New Name'})

df is the DataFrame you have, and the Old Name is the column name you want to change, then the New Name is the new name you change to. This DataFrame built-in method makes things very easier.

answered 5 months ago Ted Petrou #19

Pandas 0.21+ Answer

There have been some significant updates to column renaming in version 0.21.

  • The rename method has added the axis parameter which may be set to columns or 1. This update makes this method match the rest of the pandas API. It still has the index and columns parameters but you are no longer forced to use them.
  • The set_axis method with the inplace set to False enables you to rename all the index or column labels with a list.

Examples for Pandas 0.21+

Construct sample DataFrame:

df = pd.DataFrame({'$a':[1,2], '$b': [3,4], 
                   '$c':[5,6], '$d':[7,8], 

   $a  $b  $c  $d  $e
0   1   3   5   7   9
1   2   4   6   8  10

Using rename with axis='columns' or axis=1

df.rename({'$a':'a', '$b':'b', '$c':'c', '$d':'d', '$e':'e'}, axis='columns')


df.rename({'$a':'a', '$b':'b', '$c':'c', '$d':'d', '$e':'e'}, axis=1)

Both result in the following:

   a  b  c  d   e
0  1  3  5  7   9
1  2  4  6  8  10

It is still possible to use the old method signature:

df.rename(columns={'$a':'a', '$b':'b', '$c':'c', '$d':'d', '$e':'e'})

The rename function also accepts functions that will be applied to each column name.

df.rename(lambda x: x[1:], axis='columns')


df.rename(lambda x: x[1:], axis=1)

Using set_axis with a list and inplace=False

You can supply a list to the set_axis method that is equal in length to the number of columns (or index). Currently, inplace defaults to True, but inplace will be defaulted to False in future releases.

df.set_axis(['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e'], axis='columns', inplace=False)


df.set_axis(['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e'], axis=1, inplace=False)

Why not use df.columns = ['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e']?

There is nothing wrong with assigning columns directly like this. It is a perfectly good solution.

The advantage of using set_axis is that it can be used as part of a method chain and that it returns a new copy of the DataFrame. Without it, you would have to store your intermediate steps of the chain to another variable before reassigning the columns.

# new for pandas 0.21+

# old way
df1 = df.some_method1()
df1.columns = columns

answered 5 months ago Domnick #20

In case you don't want the row names df.columns = ['a', 'b',index=False]

answered 1 month ago Nodar Okroshiashvili #21

Try this. It works for me

df.rename(index=str, columns={"$a": "a", "$b": "b", "$c" : "c", "$d" : "d", "$e" : "e"})

answered 4 weeks ago lf2225 #22

df = df.rename(columns=lambda n: n.replace('$', '')) is a functional way of solving this

answered 4 days ago wolfog #23

I think this method is useful:


This method allows you to change the column name flexible, you can modify in single column or all columns

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