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A Python utility / library to sort Python imports.

Project description

isort - isort your imports, so you don't have to.

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isort your imports, so you don't have to.

isort is a Python utility / library to sort imports alphabetically, and automatically separated into sections and by type. It provides a command line utility, Python library and plugins for various editors to quickly sort all your imports. It requires Python 3.6+ to run but supports formatting Python 2 code too.

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Example Usage

Before isort:

from my_lib import Object

import os

from my_lib import Object3

from my_lib import Object2

import sys

from third_party import lib15, lib1, lib2, lib3, lib4, lib5, lib6, lib7, lib8, lib9, lib10, lib11, lib12, lib13, lib14

import sys

from __future__ import absolute_import

from third_party import lib3


After isort:

from __future__ import absolute_import

import os
import sys

from third_party import (lib1, lib2, lib3, lib4, lib5, lib6, lib7, lib8,
                         lib9, lib10, lib11, lib12, lib13, lib14, lib15)

from my_lib import Object, Object2, Object3


Installing isort

Installing isort is as simple as:

pip install isort

Install isort with requirements.txt support:

pip install isort[requirements_deprecated_finder]

Install isort with Pipfile support:

pip install isort[pipfile_deprecated_finder]

Install isort with both formats support:

pip install isort[requirements_deprecated_finder,pipfile_deprecated_finder]

Using isort

From the command line:


or recursively:

isort .

which is equivalent to:

isort **/*.py

or to see the proposed changes without applying them:

isort --diff

Finally, to atomically run isort against a project, only applying changes if they don't introduce syntax errors do:

isort --atomic .

(Note: this is disabled by default as it keeps isort from being able to run against code written using a different version of Python)

From within Python:

import isort



import isort

sorted_code = isort.code("import b\nimport a\n")

Installing isort's for your preferred text editor

Several plugins have been written that enable to use isort from within a variety of text-editors. You can find a full list of them on the isort wiki. Additionally, I will enthusiastically accept pull requests that include plugins for other text editors and add documentation for them as I am notified.

Multi line output modes

You will notice above the "multi_line_output" setting. This setting defines how from imports wrap when they extend past the line_length limit and has 6 possible settings:

0 - Grid

from third_party import (lib1, lib2, lib3,
                         lib4, lib5, ...)

1 - Vertical

from third_party import (lib1,

2 - Hanging Indent

from third_party import \
    lib1, lib2, lib3, \
    lib4, lib5, lib6

3 - Vertical Hanging Indent

from third_party import (

4 - Hanging Grid

from third_party import (
    lib1, lib2, lib3, lib4,
    lib5, ...)

5 - Hanging Grid Grouped

from third_party import (
    lib1, lib2, lib3, lib4,
    lib5, ...

6 - Hanging Grid Grouped, No Trailing Comma

In Mode 5 isort leaves a single extra space to maintain consistency of output when a comma is added at the end. Mode 6 is the same - except that no extra space is maintained leading to the possibility of lines one character longer. You can enforce a trailing comma by using this in conjunction with -tc or include_trailing_comma: True.

from third_party import (
    lib1, lib2, lib3, lib4,

7 - NOQA

from third_party import lib1, lib2, lib3, ...  # NOQA

Alternatively, you can set force_single_line to True (-sl on the command line) and every import will appear on its own line:

from third_party import lib1
from third_party import lib2
from third_party import lib3

Note: to change the how constant indents appear - simply change the indent property with the following accepted formats:

  • Number of spaces you would like. For example: 4 would cause standard 4 space indentation.
  • Tab
  • A verbatim string with quotes around it.

For example:

"    "

is equivalent to 4.

For the import styles that use parentheses, you can control whether or not to include a trailing comma after the last import with the include_trailing_comma option (defaults to False).

Intelligently Balanced Multi-line Imports

As of isort 3.1.0 support for balanced multi-line imports has been added. With this enabled isort will dynamically change the import length to the one that produces the most balanced grid, while staying below the maximum import length defined.


from __future__ import (absolute_import, division,
                        print_function, unicode_literals)

Will be produced instead of:

from __future__ import (absolute_import, division, print_function,

To enable this set balanced_wrapping to True in your config or pass the -e option into the command line utility.

Custom Sections and Ordering

You can change the section order with sections option from the default of:


to your preference:


You also can define your own sections and their order.



would create two new sections with the specified known modules.

The no_lines_before option will prevent the listed sections from being split from the previous section by an empty line.



would produce a section with both FIRSTPARTY and LOCALFOLDER modules combined.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is very important to know when setting known sections that the naming does not directly map for historical reasons. For custom settings, the only difference is capitalization (known_custom=custom VS sections=CUSTOM,...) for all others reference the following mapping:

  • known_standard_library : STANDARD_LIBRARY
  • known_future_library : FUTURE
  • known_first_party: FIRSTPARTY
  • known_third_party: THIRDPARTY
  • known_local_folder: LOCALFOLDER

This will likely be changed in isort 6.0.0+ in a backwards compatible way.

Auto-comment import sections

Some projects prefer to have import sections uniquely titled to aid in identifying the sections quickly when visually scanning. isort can automate this as well. To do this simply set the import_heading_{section_name} setting for each section you wish to have auto commented - to the desired comment.

For Example:

import_heading_stdlib=Standard Library
import_heading_firstparty=My Stuff

Would lead to output looking like the following:

# Standard Library
import os
import sys

import django.settings

# My Stuff
import myproject.test

Ordering by import length

isort also makes it easy to sort your imports by length, simply by setting the length_sort option to True. This will result in the following output style:

from evn.util import (

It is also possible to opt-in to sorting imports by length for only specific sections by using length_sort_ followed by the section name as a configuration item, e.g.:


Controlling how isort sections from imports

By default isort places straight (import y) imports above from imports (from x import y):

import b
from a import a  # This will always appear below because it is a from import.

However, if you prefer to keep strict alphabetical sorting you can set force sort within sections to true. Resulting in:

from a import a  # This will now appear at top because a appears in the alphabet before b
import b

You can even tell isort to always place from imports on top, instead of the default of placing them on bottom, using from first.

from b import b # If from first is set to True, all from imports will be placed before non-from imports.
import a

Skip processing of imports (outside of configuration)

To make isort ignore a single import simply add a comment at the end of the import line containing the text isort:skip:

import module  # isort:skip


from xyz import (abc,  # isort:skip

To make isort skip an entire file simply add isort:skip_file to the module's doc string:

    Best module ever


import b
import a

Adding an import to multiple files

isort makes it easy to add an import statement across multiple files, while being assured it's correctly placed.

To add an import to all files:

isort -a "from __future__ import print_function" *.py

To add an import only to files that already have imports:

isort -a "from __future__ import print_function" --append-only *.py

Removing an import from multiple files

isort also makes it easy to remove an import from multiple files, without having to be concerned with how it was originally formatted.

From the command line:

isort --rm "os.system" *.py

Using isort to verify code

The --check-only option

isort can also be used to used to verify that code is correctly formatted by running it with -c. Any files that contain incorrectly sorted and/or formatted imports will be outputted to stderr.

isort **/*.py -c -v

SUCCESS: /home/timothy/Projects/Open_Source/isort/ Everything Looks Good!
ERROR: /home/timothy/Projects/Open_Source/isort/isort/ Imports are incorrectly sorted.

One great place this can be used is with a pre-commit git hook, such as this one by @acdha:

This can help to ensure a certain level of code quality throughout a project.

Git hook

isort provides a hook function that can be integrated into your Git pre-commit script to check Python code before committing.

To cause the commit to fail if there are isort errors (strict mode), include the following in .git/hooks/pre-commit:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import sys
from isort.hooks import git_hook

sys.exit(git_hook(strict=True, modify=True, lazy=True))

If you just want to display warnings, but allow the commit to happen anyway, call git_hook without the strict parameter. If you want to display warnings, but not also fix the code, call git_hook without the modify parameter. The lazy argument is to support users who are "lazy" to add files individually to the index and tend to use git commit -a instead. Set it to True to ensure all tracked files are properly isorted, leave it out or set it to False to check only files added to your index.

Setuptools integration

Upon installation, isort enables a setuptools command that checks Python files declared by your project.

Running python isort on the command line will check the files listed in your py_modules and packages. If any warning is found, the command will exit with an error code:

$ python isort

Also, to allow users to be able to use the command without having to install isort themselves, add isort to the setup_requires of your setup() like so:



Spread the word

Imports: isort

Place this badge at the top of your repository to let others know your project uses isort.


[![Imports: isort](](

Or README.rst:

.. image::

Security contact information

To report a security vulnerability, please use the Tidelift security contact. Tidelift will coordinate the fix and disclosure.

Why isort?

isort simply stands for import sort. It was originally called "sortImports" however I got tired of typing the extra characters and came to the realization camelCase is not pythonic.

I wrote isort because in an organization I used to work in the manager came in one day and decided all code must have alphabetically sorted imports. The code base was huge - and he meant for us to do it by hand. However, being a programmer - I'm too lazy to spend 8 hours mindlessly performing a function, but not too lazy to spend 16 hours automating it. I was given permission to open source sortImports and here we are :)

Get professionally supported isort with the Tidelift Subscription

Professional support for isort is available as part of the Tidelift Subscription. Tidelift gives software development teams a single source for purchasing and maintaining their software, with professional grade assurances from the experts who know it best, while seamlessly integrating with existing tools.

Thanks and I hope you find isort useful!

~Timothy Crosley

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