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plots templates

List built-in plots templates, or show JSON specification for one so that you can save and customize it.


usage: dvc plots templates [-h] [-q | -v] [template]

positional arguments:
 template    Template for which to show JSON specification.
             List all template names by default.


By default, lists the names of all available built-in templates.

Sometimes you may need to customize the way dvc plots are rendered beyond what the built-in plot templates allow. You can get the JSON specification for a specific built-in template by providing it's name as argument, for example dvc plots templates confusion. To modify them, use any valid elements of the Vega-Lite specification.

Note that templates can only be used with data-series plots.

Custom templates

Plot templates are Vega-Lite JSON specifications. They use predefined DVC anchors as placeholders for DVC to inject the plot values.


  • <DVC_METRIC_DATA> - the plot data from any type of metrics files is converted to a single JSON array, and injected instead of this anchor. Two additional fields will be added: step and rev (explained below).


  • <DVC_METRIC_TITLE> - a title for the plot, that can be defined with the --title option of the dvc plots subcommands.

  • <DVC_METRIC_X> - field name of the data for the X axis. It can be defined with the -x option of the dvc plots subcommands. The auto-generated step field (explained below) is the default.

  • <DVC_METRIC_Y> - field name of the data for the Y axis. It can be defined with the -y option of the dvc plots subcommands. It defaults to the last header of the metrics file: the last column for CSV/TSV, or the last field for JSON/YAML.

  • <DVC_METRIC_X_LABEL> - field name to display as the X axis label

  • <DVC_METRIC_Y_LABEL> - field name to display as the Y axis label

  • <DVC_METRIC_COLOR> - used to group experiment/commit information across separate plots by applying a static color to rev mapping. The mapping is auto-generated in the case of the dvc plots subcommands but can be selected through the UI in the VS Code extension amd Studio.

  • <DVC_METRIC_PLOT_HEIGHT>- used by the VS Code extension/Studio to dynamically resize the height of plots.

  • <DVC_METRIC_PLOT_WIDTH> - used by the VS Code extension/Studio to dynamically resize the width of plots.

Please see the default templates for examples of how to use these anchors.

File targets given to dvc plots show and dvc plots diff are treated as separate data series, each to be injected into a template file. There are two important fields that DVC adds to the plot data:

  • step - zero-based counter for the data rows/values. In many cases it corresponds to a machine learning training epoch number.

  • rev - This field helps distinguish between data sourced from different revisions, files or columns.

Example: Modifying the simple template

The built-in simple template can be an ideal base for custom templates because it has a minimal structure you can make quick modifications to. For example, let's show vertical bars instead of a connected line.

We'll work with the following data.csv file:


The simple template renders it like this:

$ dvc plots show data.csv --template simple

Let's dump the simple template to bars_template.json:

$ dvc plots templates simple > bars_template.json

Now, let's modify the bars_template.json file to display the bars (instead of a line):

   "$schema": "https://vega.github.io/schema/vega-lite/v5.json",
   "mark": {
-    "type": "line"
+    "type": "bar"
   "encoding": { ...

And this is how the data looks like using our custom template:

$ dvc plots show data.csv --template bars_template.json


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