Format Python code

Visual Studio lets you quickly reformat code to match pre-configured formatting options.

  • To format a selection: select Edit > Advanced > Format Selection or press Ctrl+E > F.
  • To format the whole file: select Edit > Advanced > Format Document or press Ctrl+E > D.

Options are set through Tools > Options > Text Editor > Python > Formatting and its nested tabs. You need to select Show all settings for these options to appear:

Python formatting options in Visual Studio

Formatting options by default are set to match a superset of the PEP 8 style guide. The General tab determines when formatting is applied; settings for the other three tabs are described in this article.

Python support in Visual Studio also adds the useful Fill Comment Paragraph command to the Edit > Advanced menu as described in a later section.

Spacing

Spacing controls where spaces are inserted or removed around various language constructs. Each option has three possible values:

  • Checked: ensures the spacing is applied.
  • Cleared: removes any spacing.
  • Indeterminate: leaves original formatting in place.

Examples for the various options are provided in the following tables:

Class definitions option Checked Cleared
Insert space between a class declaration's name and bases list class X (object): pass class X(object): pass
Insert space within bases list parentheses class X( object ): pass class X(object): pass
Insert space within empty bases list parentheses class X( ): pass class X(): pass

Function definitions option Checked Cleared
Insert space between a function declaration's name and parameter list def X (): pass def X(): pass
Insert space within parameter list parentheses def X( a, b ): pass def X(a, b): pass
Insert space within empty parameter list parentheses def X( ): pass def X(): pass
Insert spaces around '=' in default parameter values includes X(a = 42): pass includes X(a=42): pass
Insert space before and after return annotation operators includes X() -> 42: pass includes X()->42: pass

Operators option Checked Cleared
Insert spaces around binary operators a + b a+b
Insert spaces around assignments a = b a=b

Expression spacing option Checked Cleared
Insert space between a function call's name and argument list X () X()
Insert space within empty argument list parentheses X( ) X()
Insert space within argument list parentheses X( a, b ) X(a, b)
Insert space within parentheses of expression ( a ) (a)
Insert space within empty tuple parentheses ( ) ()
Insert space within tuple parentheses ( a, b ) (a, b)
Insert space within empty square brackets [ ] []
Insert spaces within square brackets of lists [ a, b ] [a, b]
Insert space before open square bracket x [i] x[i]
Insert space within square brackets x[ i ] x[i]

Statements

The Statements options control automatic rewriting of various statements into more Pythonic forms.

Option Before formatting After formatting
Place imported modules on new line import sys, pickle import sys
import pickle
Remove unnecessary semicolons x = 42; x = 42
Place multiple statements on new lines x = 42; y = 100 x = 42
y = 100

Wrapping

Wrapping lets you set the Maximum comment width (default is 80). If the Wrap comments that are too wide option is set, Visual Studio reformats comments to not exceed that maximum width.

# Wrapped to 40 columns
# There should be one-- and preferably
# only one --obvious way to do it.
# Not-wrapped:
# There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.

Fill Comment Paragraph command

Edit > Advanced > Fill Comment Paragraph (Ctrl+E > P) reflows and formats comment text, combining short lines together and breaking up long ones.

For example:

# foo
# bar
# baz

changes to:

# foo bar baz
# This is a very long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long comment

changes to:

# This is a very long long long long long long long long long long long long
# long long long long long long long comment