Pandas DataFrame.clip() method (5 examples)

Updated: February 20, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Pandas is a cornerstone library in Python’s data analysis and manipulation toolkit. Among its versatile collection of functions and methods, the clip() method stands out for its utility in limiting the values in a DataFrame or Series. In this tutorial, we’ll explore the clip() method through 5 illustrative examples, progressing from basic to advanced applications to demonstrate its power and flexibility.

The Fundamentals

The clip() method in Pandas allows for the limiting (or ‘clipping’) of values in a DataFrame or Series to a specified minimum and maximum range. This can be particularly useful in data cleaning processes where outliers, if not managed, can potentially skew analysis and visualizations.

The syntax of the clip() method is as follows:

    lower=float or int or Series,
    upper=float or int or Series,


  • lower: The minimum threshold value. Can be a scalar (float or int) or a Pandas Series.
  • upper: The maximum threshold value. Can be a scalar (float or int) or a Pandas Series.
  • axis: The axis along which to clip. 0 or 'index' for row-wise, 1 or 'columns' for column-wise.
  • inplace: Whether to modify the DataFrame in place or return a copy.
  • *args: Additional positional arguments.
  • **kwargs: Additional keyword arguments.

Now, let’s dive into some illustrative examples.

Example 1: Basic Usage of clip()

Let’s start with a simple DataFrame and apply clip() to limit its values.

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

# Creating a simple DataFrame
df = pd.DataFrame({
    'A': [1,2,3,4,5],
    'B': [20,25,30,35,40]

# Clipping the DataFrame
clipped_df = df.clip(lower=2, upper=35)


The output will show that all values below 2 have been increased to 2, and all values above 35 have been decreased to 35, illustrating the most straightforward use of clip().

Example 2: Clipping with Axis

In addition to specifying global minimum and maximum values, the clip() method allows for axis-specific clipping. This can be especially useful for operations across rows or columns.

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

# Creating another DataFrame
df = pd.DataFrame(np.random.randint(0, 100, size=(5, 3)), columns=list('ABC'))

# Clipping with axis
# Limit values in each column
df_clipped = df.clip(lower=[10, 20, 30], upper=[60, 70, 80], axis=1)


This code snippet illustrates how to specify different clipping ranges for each column by using the axis parameter.

Example 3: Using clip() with Series as Boundaries

Beyond static values, the clip() method can utilize Pandas Series to dynamically set the clipping ranges. This could be instrumental when dealing with variable data characteristics.

import pandas as pd

# Creating a DataFrame with some outliers
df = pd.DataFrame({'A': np.random.randn(100) * 100})

# Creating Series for dynamic clipping
dynamic_lower = pd.Series([-100] * 100)
dynamic_upper = pd.Series([100] * 100)

# Clipping using Series as boundaries
df_clipped = df.clip(lower=dynamic_lower, upper=dynamic_upper, axis=0)


This example demonstrates how to apply dynamic clipping based on Series, which is especially useful for large or complex datasets with variable constraints across data points.

Example 4: Clip() in Data Cleaning

Clip is also incredibly useful in the context of data cleaning, where it can be used to address outliers effectively. This example demonstrates that concept.

import pandas as pd

# Example DataFrame with potential outliers
df = pd.DataFrame({
    'Temperature': [20, 22, 21, 35, 37, -3, 25, 23, 22, 1000],
    'Humidity': [30, 85, 80, 50, 60, 65, 70, 90, 95, -100]

# Using clip to adjust outliers
df_clean = df.clip(lower=df.quantile(0.05), upper=df.quantile(0.95), axis=1)


This example utilizes the quantile method to dynamically adjust the clipping thresholds, embodying a fluid and robust approach to managing extreme values in datasets.

Example 5: Advanced Clipping with Custom Functions

For more complex scenarios, the clip method can be wrapped or extended with custom functions to provide very targeted data curation strategies.

import pandas as pd

# Advanced example utilizing clip within a custom function
def custom_clip(df, threshold=1.5):
    # Calculate the IQR
    Q1 = df.quantile(0.25)
    Q3 = df.quantile(0.75)
    IQR = Q3 - Q1
    # Determining bounds
    lower_bound = Q1 - (IQR * threshold)
    upper_bound = Q3 + (IQR * threshold)
    return df.clip(lower=lower_bound, upper=upper_bound)

# Creating a DataFrame with outliers
pd_df = pd.DataFrame(np.random.randn(100, 4) * 10, columns=['A', 'B', 'C', 'D'])
clipped_df = custom_clip(pd_df)


This advanced example shows how to combine clip() with custom logic for outlier handling, based on the Interquartile Range (IQR), offering a sophisticated approach to clipping.


The clip() method in Pandas provides a powerful tool for data cleaning and preparation, making it easier to manage outliers and ensure data consistency. Through the progression of examples from basic to advanced applications, it’s clear that the versatility and adaptability of clip() make it an indispensable part of a data scientist’s arsenal.