Pandas – Using DataFrame.reset_index() method

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


Pandas is a powerful library in Python for data manipulation and analysis, providing structures like DataFrames that make working with structured data intuitive and efficient. One of the useful methods provided by Pandas DataFrame is reset_index(). This method is pivotal for data preprocessing, especially in the context of data analysis and machine learning models preparation. In this tutorial, we will explore the reset_index() method in-depth, including its parameters, usage, and practical examples ranging from basic to advanced scenarios.

Understanding reset_index() Method

The reset_index() method resets the index of a DataFrame, and by default, it inserts the old index as a column into the DataFrame and creates a new sequential integer index. It’s particularly useful in scenarios where the index of a DataFrame is not in the desired format or when the index needs to be reset as part of the data preprocessing steps.

Basic Usage

import pandas as pd

df = pd.DataFrame({
    'A': range(1, 6),
    'B': list('abcde')


This results in a DataFrame with an integer index. Now, to reset the index:

df_reset = df.reset_index()

This operation assigns a new sequential integer index to the DataFrame and the old index is added as a column named ‘index’.

Removing the old index

To reset the index without keeping the old index as a column, you can use drop=True parameter:

df_reset_drop = df.reset_index(drop=True)

This maintains the DataFrame structure, simply resetting the index.

Using the ‘inplace’ Parameter

The inplace parameter allows you to modify the DataFrame in place, without the need to assign the result to a new variable:

df.reset_index(drop=True, inplace=True)

This command resets the index directly on the original DataFrame, reflecting the changes immediately.

Resetting Multi-level Index

If you are dealing with a multi-level index (also known as a hierarchical index), reset_index() can be used to reset one level or all levels at once. For multi-level indexes, you can specify the level that you want to reset by using the level parameter:

idx = pd.MultiIndex.from_product([[1, 2], ['a', 'b']], names=['first', 'second'])
df_multi = pd.DataFrame({
    'A': range(1, 5)
}, index=idx)

# Resetting single level
single_level_reset = df_multi.reset_index(level='second')

# Resetting all levels
full_reset = df_multi.reset_index(level=[0, 1])

This demonstrates the flexibility of reset_index() in handling complex index structures.

Advanced Usage: Renaming Indexes

While resetting the index, you might also want to rename the new column(s) created from the old index. This can be achieved by using the rename() function in combination with reset_index():

df_reset_rename = df.reset_index().rename(columns={'index': 'old_index'})

This changes the name of the ‘index’ column to ‘old_index’, providing clearer context in the resulting DataFrame.


The reset_index() method in Pandas is a versatile tool that allows for efficient manipulation of DataFrame indexes. Whether you’re working with simple, multi-level, or complex index structures, understanding how to effectively use this method can significantly streamline your data preprocessing workflow. Through the variety of examples provided in this tutorial, we’ve seen how reset_index() can be applied in different scenarios to achieve the desired data format, paving the way for more advanced data analysis tasks.