Prettier is an opinionated JavaScript formatter.
JavaScript Emacs Lisp
Pull request Compare This branch is 150 commits behind jlongster:master.
Latest commit 0861f0a Jan 10, 2017 @jlongster jlongster committed on GitHub Merge pull request #41 from skratchdot/patch-1
Adding missing `source-map` and `private` to deps


Prettier is an opinionated JavaScript formatter inspired by refmt with advanced support for language features from ES2017, JSX, and Flow. It removes all original styling and ensures that all outputted JavaScript conforms to a consistent style. (See this blog post)

Warning: This is a beta, and the format may change over time. If you aren't OK with the format changing, wait for a more stable version.

This goes way beyond eslint and other projects built on it. Unlike eslint, there aren't a million configuration options and rules. But more importantly: everything is fixable. This works because prettier never "checks" anything; it takes JavaScript as input and outputs the formatted JavaScript as output.

In technical terms: prettier parses your JavaScript into an AST and pretty-prints the AST, completely ignoring any of the original formatting. Say hello to completely consistent syntax!

There's an extremely important piece missing from existing styling tools: the maximum line length. Sure, you can tell eslint to warn you when you have a line that's too long, but that's an after-thought (eslint never knows how to fix it). The maximum line length is a critical piece the formatter needs for laying out and wrapping code.

For example, take the following code:

foo(arg1, arg2, arg3);

That looks like the right way to format it. However, we've all run into this situation:

foo(reallyLongArg(), omgSoManyParameters(), IShouldRefactorThis(), isThereSeriouslyAnotherOne());

Suddenly our previous format for calling function breaks down because this is too long. What you would probably do is this instead:


This clearly shows that the maximum line length has a direct impact on the style of code we desire. The fact that current style tools ignore this means they can't really help with the situations that are actually the most troublesome. Individuals on teams will all format these differently according to their own rules and we lose the consistency we sought after.

Even if we disregard line widths, it's too easy to sneak in various styles of code in all other linters. The most strict linter I know happily lets all these styles happen:

foo({ num: 3 },
  1, 2)

  { num: 3 },
  1, 2)

  { num: 3 },

Prettier bans all custom styling by parsing it away and re-printing the parsed AST with its own rules that take the maximum line width into account, wrapping code when necessary.



npm install [-g] prettier

You can install it globally if you like.


Run prettier through the CLI with this script. Run it without any arguments to see the options.

To format a file in-place, use --write. While this is in beta you should probably commit your code before doing that. In the future we will have better support for formatting whole projects.

prettier <opts> <filename>


The API is a single function exported as format. The options argument is optional, and all of the defaults are shown below:

const prettier = require("prettier");

prettier.format(source, {
  // Fit code within this line limit
  printWidth: 80,

  // Number of spaces it should use per tab
  tabWidth: 2

  // Use the flow parser instead of babylon
  useFlowParser: false,

  // If true, will use single instead of double quotes
  singleQuote: false,

  // Controls the printing of trailing commas wherever possible
  trailingComma: false,

  // Controls the printing of spaces inside array and objects
  bracketSpacing: true


Atom users can simply install the prettier-atom package and use ctrl+alt+f to format a file (or format on save if turned on).


Emacs users should see this folder for on-demand formatting.

More editors are coming soon.

Language Support

Prettier attempts to support all JavaScript language features, including non-standardized ones. By default it uses the babylon parser with all language features enabled, but you can also use flow parser with the useFlowParser API or --flow-parser CLI option.

All of JSX and Flow syntax is supported. In fact, the test suite in tests is the entire Flow test suite and they all pass.

Technical Details

This printer is a fork of recast's printer with it's algorithm replaced by the one described by Wadler in "A prettier printer". There still may be leftover code from recast that needs to be cleaned up.

The basic idea is that the printer takes an AST and returns an intermediate representation of the output, and the printer uses that to generate a string. The advantage is that the printer can "measure" the IR and see if the output is going to fit on a line, and break if not.

This means that most of the logic of printing an AST involves generating an abstract representation of the output involving certain commands. For example, concat(["(", line, arg, line ")"]) would represent a concatentation of opening parens, an argument, and closing parens. But if that doesn't fit on one line, the printer can break where line is specified.

More (rough) details can be found in Better docs will come soon.


We will work on better docs over time, but in the mean time, here are a few notes if you are interested in contributing:

  • You should be able to get up and running with just npm install
  • This uses jest snapshots for tests. The entire Flow test suite is included here and you can make changes and run jest -u and then git diff to see the styles that changed. Always update the snapshots if opening a PR.
  • If you can, look at and check out Wadler's paper to understand how this works. I will try to write a better explanation soon.
  • I haven't set up any automated tests yet, but for now as long as you run jest -u to update the snapshots and I see them in the PR, that's fine.
  • You can run AST_COMPARE=1 jest for a more robust test run. That formats each file, re-parses it, and compares the new AST with the original one and makes sure they are semantically equivalent.