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CommonMark compliant Markdown formatter

Project description

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CommonMark compliant Markdown formatter

Mdformat is an opinionated Markdown formatter that can be used to enforce a consistent style in Markdown files. Mdformat is a Unix-style command-line tool as well as a Python library.

Find out more in the docs.


Install with CommonMark support:

pip install mdformat

Install with GitHub Flavored Markdown (GFM) support:

pip install mdformat-gfm

Note that GitHub's Markdown renderer supports syntax extensions not included in the GFM specification. For full GitHub support do:

pip install mdformat-gfm mdformat-frontmatter mdformat-footnote

Install with Markedly Structured Text (MyST) support:

pip install mdformat-myst

Command line usage

Format files

Format files and in place


Format .md files in current working directory recursively

mdformat .

Read Markdown from standard input until EOF. Write formatted Markdown to standard output.

mdformat -

Check formatting

mdformat --check

This will not apply any changes to the files. If a file is not properly formatted, the exit code will be non-zero.


foo@bar:~$ mdformat --help
usage: mdformat [-h] [--check] [--version] [--number] [--wrap {keep,no,INTEGER}] [--end-of-line {lf,crlf,keep}] [paths ...]

CommonMark compliant Markdown formatter

positional arguments:
  paths                 files to format

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --check               do not apply changes to files
  --version             show program's version number and exit
  --number              apply consecutive numbering to ordered lists
  --wrap {keep,no,INTEGER}
                        paragraph word wrap mode (default: keep)
  --end-of-line {lf,crlf,keep}
                        output file line ending mode (default: lf)


This README merely provides a quickstart guide for the command line interface. For more information refer to the documentation. Here's a few pointers to get you started:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why not use Prettier instead?

Mdformat is pure Python code! Python is pre-installed on macOS and virtually any Linux distribution, meaning that typically little to no additional installations are required to run mdformat. This argument also holds true when using together with pre-commit (also Python). Prettier on the other hand requires Node.js/npm.

Prettier suffers from numerous bugs, many of which cause changes in Markdown AST and rendered HTML. Many of these bugs are a consequence of using remark-parse v8.x as Markdown parser which, according to the author themselves, is inferior to markdown-it used by mdformat. remark-parse v9.x is advertised as CommonMark compliant and presumably would fix many of the issues, but is not used by Prettier (v2.4.0) yet.

Prettier (v2.4.0), being able to format many languages other than Markdown, is a large package with 65 direct dependencies (mdformat only has one in Python 3.11+). This can be a disadvantage in many environments, one example being size optimized Docker images.

Mdformat's parser extension plugin API allows not only customization of the Markdown specification in use, but also advanced features like automatic table of contents generation. Also provided is a code formatter plugin API enabling integration of embedded code formatting for any programming language.

What's wrong with the mdformat logo? It renders incorrectly and is just terrible in general.

Nope, the logo is actually pretty great – you're terrible. The logo is more a piece of art than a logo anyways, depicting the horrors of poorly formatted text documents. I made it myself!

That said, if you have any graphic design skills and want to contribute a revised version, a PR is more than welcome 😄.

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