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Automatically format your Python docstrings to conform with PEP 8 and PEP 257


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A tool to automatically format Python docstrings to follow recommendations from PEP 8 and PEP 257 (or other supported style guides.)

See What it does for currently supported auto-formatting.


This project is heavily inspired by docformatter.

When this project was started docformatter did not meet all of the requirements the pylint project had for its docstring formatter and was no longer actively maintained (this has changed since then). Therefore, some contributors of pylint got together and started working on our own formatter to fulfill our needs.

When asked we defined the objective of the tool as:

"A docstring formatter that follows PEP8 and PEP257 but makes some of the more 'controversial' elements of the PEPs optional"

See the original answer.

As such, the biggest difference between the two is that pydocstringformatter fixes some of the open issues we found in docformatter. In general, the output of both formatters (and any other docstring formatter) should be relatively similar.

How to install

pip install pydocstringformatter


Click here for a full Usage overview.


Pydocstringformatter will also read any configuration added to the [tool.pydocstringformatter] section of a pyproject.toml file.

For example:

write = true
exclude = "**/my_dir/**,**/my_other_dir/**"
# Or:
exclude = ["**/my_dir/**", "**/my_other_dir/**"]
strip-whitespaces = true
split-summary-body = false
numpydoc-section-hyphen-length = false


Pydocstringformatter can be configured to use a specific style. The default is pep257 but we support other styles as well. These can also be used at the same time. For example with:

pydocstringformatter --style=pep257 --style=numpydoc


Pydocstringformatter can also be used as a pre-commit hook. Add the following to your .pre-commit-config.yaml file:

- repo:
    - id: pydocstringformatter

What it does

The following examples show some of the changes pydocstringformatter will apply. For a full overview of all potential changes you can check out the Usage page which shows an up to date list of all formatters and their description.

# Bad
my docstring'''

"""    my
multi-line docstring      """

"""my title

my docstring

# Good
"""My docstring."""

multi-line docstring.

"""My title

My docstring

# With --summary-quotes-same-line
# Bad
multi-line docstring

# Good
multi-line docstring


For development and contributing guidelines please see Development.