Python style: 5 tools to clean up your Python code

Python style: 5 tools to clean up your Python code

Look to these free tools to ensure that your Python code complies with recommended Python coding conventions and code quality standards

In theory, any Python code is OK as long as it’s syntactically correct and runs as intended. In practice, you want to adopt a consistent style across your projects, preferably one guided by Python’s own style recommendations. The good news is you don’t have to do this by hand. The Python ecosystem contains a variety of tooling, from the highly focused to the wide-ranging, to ensure that Python source code adheres to style conventions.

In this article we’ll examine four popular tools for checking Python code styles, plus one for reformatting code to be consistent. Python IDEs like PyCharm or Visual Studio Code support them either natively or with an extension, so they can be readily integrated into your development workflow.


PEP 8 is the document that spells out Python’s coding conventions — everything from whether to use tabs or spaces when indenting (use four spaces, problem solved) to how to name variables and objects. Pycodestyle is the Python module that checks Python code against the PEP 8 recommendations and delivers a report on where the analyzed code is out of spec.

Pycodestyle doesn’t provide automatic fixes for issues; that’s on you. But Pycodestyle is highly configurable, allowing you to suppress specific kinds of errors or parse only specific files in a source tree. And just about every IDE with Python support also supports Pycodestyle, so it’s the easy choice for universal compatibility, if not functionality.

Many Python code linters can work as modules in Python, and Pycodestyle is no exception. You can use it to verify code programmatically, for instance as part of a test suite.

*Best for: *Basic verification of PEP 8 conformance.

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