Pandas - Select first n rows of a DataFrame - Data Science Parichay (2023)

In this tutorial, we’ll look at how to select the first n rows of a pandas dataframe.

If you prefer a video tutorial over text, check out the following video detailing the steps in this tutorial –

How to select the first n rows?

You can use the pandas dataframe head() function and pass n as a parameter to select the first n rows of a dataframe. Alternatively, you can slice the dataframe using iloc to select the first n rows. The following is the syntax:

# select first n rows using head()df.head(n)# select first n rows using ilocdf.iloc[:n,:]

The two methods above return a dataframe with only the first n rows of the original dataframe.


Let’s look at some examples of using the above methods to select first n rows. First, we’ll create a sample dataframe that we’ll be using throughout this tutorial:

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import pandas as pd# dataframe of height and weight football playersdf = pd.DataFrame({ 'Height': [167, 175, 170, 186, 190, 188, 158, 169, 183, 180], 'Weight': [65, 70, 72, 80, 86, 94, 50, 58, 78, 85], 'Team': ['A', 'A', 'B', 'B', 'B', 'B', 'A', 'A', 'B', 'A']})# display the dataframeprint(df)


 Height Weight Team0 167 65 A1 175 70 A2 170 72 B3 186 80 B4 190 86 B5 188 94 B6 158 50 A7 169 58 A8 183 78 B9 180 85 A

The above dataframe contains the height (in cm) and weight (in kg) data of football players from two teams, A and B.

1. Select first n rows using head()

To select the first n rows using the pandas dataframe head() function. Pass n, the number of rows you want to select as a parameter to the function. For example, to select the first 3 rows of the dataframe df:



 Height Weight Team0 167 65 A1 175 70 A2 170 72 B

Here, the head() function returned the first three rows of the dataframe df. Note that, by default, the head() function returns the first five rows if n is not specified.



 Height Weight Team0 167 65 A1 175 70 A2 170 72 B3 186 80 B4 190 86 B

Fore more on the pandas head() function, refer to its documentation.

2. Select first n rows using iloc

You can also select the first n rows of a dataframe by slicing it on index using iloc. For example, to slice the first three rows of the dataframe df:



 Height Weight Team0 167 65 A1 175 70 A2 170 72 B

Here, we specify the row and column indices we want to select using iloc. Note that, in df.iloc[:3,:] the first slice :3 is used to select all the rows from starting till (but not including) the row with index 3 (that is, rows with index 0, 1, and 2) and the second slice : is used to select all the columns.

For more, refer to pandas’guideon indexing and selecting data.

With this, we come to the end of this tutorial. The code examples and results presented in this tutorial have been implemented in aJupyter Notebookwith a python (version 3.8.3) kernel having pandas version 1.0.5

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  • Pandas - Select first n rows of a DataFrame - Data Science Parichay (1)

    Piyush Raj

    Piyush is a data professional passionate about using data to understand things better and make informed decisions. He has experience working as a Data Scientist in the consulting domain and holds an engineering degree from IIT Roorkee. His hobbies include watching cricket, reading, and working on side projects.

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