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DataFrame.stack(level=-1, dropna=True)[source]

Stack the prescribed level(s) from columns to index.

Return a reshaped DataFrame or Series having a multi-level index with one or more new inner-most levels compared to the current DataFrame. The new inner-most levels are created by pivoting the columns of the current dataframe:

  • if the columns have a single level, the output is a Series;
  • if the columns have multiple levels, the new index level(s) is (are) taken from the prescribed level(s) and the output is a DataFrame.

The new index levels are sorted.


level : int, str, list, default -1

Level(s) to stack from the column axis onto the index axis, defined as one index or label, or a list of indices or labels.

dropna : bool, default True

Whether to drop rows in the resulting Frame/Series with missing values. Stacking a column level onto the index axis can create combinations of index and column values that are missing from the original dataframe. See Examples section.


DataFrame or Series

Stacked dataframe or series.

See also

Unstack prescribed level(s) from index axis onto column axis.
Reshape dataframe from long format to wide format.
Create a spreadsheet-style pivot table as a DataFrame.


The function is named by analogy with a collection of books being re-organised from being side by side on a horizontal position (the columns of the dataframe) to being stacked vertically on top of of each other (in the index of the dataframe).


Single level columns

>>> df_single_level_cols = pd.DataFrame([[0, 1], [2, 3]],
...                                     index=['cat', 'dog'],
...                                     columns=['weight', 'height'])

Stacking a dataframe with a single level column axis returns a Series:

>>> df_single_level_cols
     weight height
cat       0      1
dog       2      3
>>> df_single_level_cols.stack()
cat  weight    0
     height    1
dog  weight    2
     height    3
dtype: int64

Multi level columns: simple case

>>> multicol1 = pd.MultiIndex.from_tuples([('weight', 'kg'),
...                                        ('weight', 'pounds')])
>>> df_multi_level_cols1 = pd.DataFrame([[1, 2], [2, 4]],
...                                     index=['cat', 'dog'],
...                                     columns=multicol1)

Stacking a dataframe with a multi-level column axis:

>>> df_multi_level_cols1
         kg    pounds
cat       1        2
dog       2        4
>>> df_multi_level_cols1.stack()
cat kg           1
    pounds       2
dog kg           2
    pounds       4

Missing values

>>> multicol2 = pd.MultiIndex.from_tuples([('weight', 'kg'),
...                                        ('height', 'm')])
>>> df_multi_level_cols2 = pd.DataFrame([[1.0, 2.0], [3.0, 4.0]],
...                                     index=['cat', 'dog'],
...                                     columns=multicol2)

It is common to have missing values when stacking a dataframe with multi-level columns, as the stacked dataframe typically has more values than the original dataframe. Missing values are filled with NaNs:

>>> df_multi_level_cols2
    weight height
        kg      m
cat    1.0    2.0
dog    3.0    4.0
>>> df_multi_level_cols2.stack()
        height  weight
cat kg     NaN     1.0
    m      2.0     NaN
dog kg     NaN     3.0
    m      4.0     NaN

Prescribing the level(s) to be stacked

The first parameter controls which level or levels are stacked:

>>> df_multi_level_cols2.stack(0)
             kg    m
cat height  NaN  2.0
    weight  1.0  NaN
dog height  NaN  4.0
    weight  3.0  NaN
>>> df_multi_level_cols2.stack([0, 1])
cat  height  m     2.0
     weight  kg    1.0
dog  height  m     4.0
     weight  kg    3.0
dtype: float64

Dropping missing values

>>> df_multi_level_cols3 = pd.DataFrame([[None, 1.0], [2.0, 3.0]],
...                                     index=['cat', 'dog'],
...                                     columns=multicol2)

Note that rows where all values are missing are dropped by default but this behaviour can be controlled via the dropna keyword parameter:

>>> df_multi_level_cols3
    weight height
        kg      m
cat    NaN    1.0
dog    2.0    3.0
>>> df_multi_level_cols3.stack(dropna=False)
        height  weight
cat kg     NaN     NaN
    m      1.0     NaN
dog kg     NaN     2.0
    m      3.0     NaN
>>> df_multi_level_cols3.stack(dropna=True)
        height  weight
cat m      1.0     NaN
dog kg     NaN     2.0
    m      3.0     NaN
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