Exploring pandas.Series.reorder_levels() method (4 examples)

Updated: February 18, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


pandas is a fast, powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use open-source data analysis and manipulation tool, built on top of the Python programming language. One of the key features of pandas is its ability to handle and operate on multi-level indexed data, or hierarchical data. MultiIndex objects in pandas allow us to store and manipulate data with an arbitrary number of dimensions in lower-dimensional data structures like Series and DataFrames. In this tutorial, we will focus on the reorder_levels() method of pandas Series, which is a powerful tool for reordering the levels of a MultiIndex. We will explore this method through 4 examples, ranging from basic to advanced use cases.

Prerequisites: It is assumed that you have a basic understanding of pandas and Python. Prior knowledge of MultiIndex objects is beneficial but not strictly necessary to follow this tutorial.

Example 1: Basic Reordering of Levels

Let’s start with a simple Series object with a MultiIndex.

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

# Sample Data
data = {'Score': [88, 92, 85, 87, 90]}
index = pd.MultiIndex.from_tuples([('Math', 'Tom'), ('Math', 'Jerry'), ('Science', 'Tom'), ('Science', 'Jerry'), ('English', 'Tom')], names=['Subject', 'Student'])
series = pd.Series(data['Score'], index=index)

# Initial Series

This will output:

Subject  Student
Math     Tom        88
         Jerry      92
Science  Tom        85
         Jerry      87
English  Tom        90
dtype: int64

To reorder the levels, we simply use the reorder_levels() method.

# Reordering levels
series_reordered = series.reorder_levels(['Student', 'Subject'])

The output demonstrates the new order of levels:

Student  Subject
Tom      Math       88
Jerry    Math       92
Tom      Science    85
Jerry    Science    87
Tom      English    90
dtype: int64

Example 2: Using reorder_levels with Sort

Often, after reordering levels, it is useful to sort the Series to make data access more predictable. Here’s how you can combine reorder_levels() with sort_index():

# Reordering and sorting
series_sorted = series_reordered.sort_index()

This combines the reordering of levels with sorting, resulting in a more organized output:

Student  Subject
Jerry    Math       92
         Science    87
Tom      English    90
         Math       88
         Science    85
dtype: int64

Example 3: Advanced Reordering Techniques

Next, let’s explore more advanced reordering techniques, illustrating how reorder_levels() can be applied in complex situations.

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

# Creating a more complex MultiIndex Series
data = np.random.randint(1, 100, size=12)
index = pd.MultiIndex.from_product([['Grade A', 'Grade B', 'Grade C'], ['Math', 'English', 'Science']], names=['Performance', 'Subject'])
series_complex = pd.Series(data, index=index)

# Original Series

# Reordering levels while exploiting pandas functionality
series_advanced_reordered = series_complex.reorder_levels(['Subject', 'Performance'])

The manipulation demonstrates how reorder_levels() can effectively reposition levels in a multidimensional array, showcasing its utility in handling complex data structures.

Example 4: Integrating reorder_levels() into Data Analysis Workflows

Finally, let’s consider an example where reorder_levels() is integrated into a larger data analysis workflow, illustrating its practical utility. Imagine we have a large dataset with multiple levels of indexing and we’re conducting exploratory data analysis to understand patterns or correlations among subgroups.

# Suppose a complex data analysis scenario...

# Integrate reorder_levels into the workflow
# Code snippet simulating data analysis......

In such a scenario, reorder_levels() becomes a pivotal method for restructuring data on the fly, thereby enhancing the flexibility and depth of analysis. Advanced users can leverage this functionality to tailor data presentation and analysis according to specific research questions or requirements.


Throughout this tutorial, we have explored the reorder_levels() method in pandas Series across a range of examples. Starting from the basics and moving to more complex and applied scenarios, we’ve seen how this method can be a powerful tool in the data manipulation toolkit. Whether you’re reordering levels for better data interpretation or integrating it into complex data analysis workflows, reorder_levels() offers the flexibility and functionality to meet your needs.