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Published: May 12, 2018 License: BSD-3-Clause




goformat - Alternative to gofmt with configurable formatting style (indentation etc.)


go get winterdrache.de/goformat/goformat


 go get github.com/mbenkmann/goformat/goformat

Either command will install the goformat binary to $GOPATH/bin. Alternatively, clone the git repository and execute 'make' at the top level. This will create the goformat binary in the bin/ subdirectory of the cloned repository.


goformat [options]            # read from stdin; code fragment allowed
goformat [options] file ...   # single file; must be a complete source file
goformat [options] dir ...    # recursive directory traversal (only files with ".go" extension)


goformat is a code auto-formatter/indenter/pretty-printer/beautifier like gofmt. If used with the same command line arguments, it will produce the exact same output as gofmt. However unlike gofmt it allows you to customize the style (in particular the indentation) it uses to format code.


-cpuprofile file

Write CPU profile to this file (for performance analysis with go tool pprof).


Output diff between original and reformatted code to stdout. May be combined with -w, so that the reformatted code is written to the original file and the diff to stdout.


Report all parse errors. By default only the first 10 errors on different lines are reported.


When operating on files/directories, goformat by default expects them to be complete go source files (with package keyword etc.) and reports incomplete code as errors. With this switch, goformat accepts partial code fragments, e.g. a single function or if-block. The code still needs to be "somewhat" complete. If you could paste the fragment either after the package line or into a function of a proper Go source file, then the fragment is acceptable.

When processing a code fragment, goformat will attempt to add back the initial indentation of the code fragment after doing its formatting, so that a code block cut from a larger piece of code can be formatted and then pasted at the original position and the indentation will fit.

This operation mode is default when processing input from stdin.


List files whose formatting differs from goformat's on stdout. May be combined with -w so that the reformatted code is written to the original file and then list of changed files is printed to stdout.

-r "rule"

Apply rewrite rule to code. See section below for an explanation of rewrite rules.


Simplify code without changing its semantics. See the section below for a list of the rules applied.

-style file
-style "code"

Change the formatting rules. You can pass either the path of a file containing the style description or the style description itself. In the latter case make sure you use appropriate shell quoting to escape whitespace. See the section below for a description of the style language.


Overwrite source file(s) with formatted result instead of printing the code to standard output. Files with parse errors (in particular files that are not actually Go source code) will not be modified. Note that when traversing directories goformat will only look at files with ".go" extension.


The -r option specifies a rewrite rule of the form

pattern -> replacement

where both pattern and replacement are valid Go expressions. In the pattern, single-character lowercase identifiers serve as wildcards matching arbitrary sub-expressions, and those expressions are substituted for the same identifiers in the replacement.

Don't forget to quote the rule to prevent the shell from messing with it.

gofmt -r 'bytes.Compare(a, b) == 0 -> bytes.Equal(a, b)'
gofmt -r 'bytes.Compare(a, b) != 0 -> !bytes.Equal(a, b)'
gofmt -r 'a[b:len(a)] -> a[b:]'


When the -s option is used, the following simplifications will be performed on the code:

An array, slice, or map composite literal of the form:

[]T{T{}, T{}}

will be simplified to:

[]T{{}, {}}

A slice expression of the form:


will be simplified to:


A range of the form:

for x, _ = range v {...}

will be simplified to:

for x = range v {...}

A range of the form:

for _ = range v {...}

will be simplified to:

for range v {...}

This may result in changes that are incompatible with earlier versions of Go.


To specify the default style that is used whenever no more specific style rule is applicable, simply write the style settings separated by whitespace, e.g.

indent=tab shift=2

To specify style options that should only be applied within a certain context, write one or more context specifiers followed by the style options, e.g.

indent=tab            # default
comment shift=2       # shift comments right by 2 spaces
head comment shift=0  # except for comments before the "package" keyword

Rules that occur later in the style file and affect the same context will override earlier rules.

Everything following a "#" or "//" until the next line break is a comment, e.g.

# This is a comment.
// This is a comment, too.
Style options

Every level of indentation is a single tab character. Independent of this setting, vertical column alignment is always done with spaces.


Keep the original indentation. If linebreaks are introduced, the indentation from the broken line will be used. For block comments, the closing */ will always be indented the same way as the opening /*. Lines consisting only of whitespace will not be preserved, even with this setting.


Every level of indentation is done with this number of spaces. No tabs will be used. 0 is permitted and will result in left-aligned code. Negative values are illegal.


When doing vertical/column alignment, add this number of spaces at the right side of each column. This will most prominently affect // comments on the same line as code. E.g.

a := 1     // Magic number
b := 200   // Another magic number

Note that padding is only relevant for the longest column. Shorter columns will get more spaces because of vertical alignment.


Add this number of spaces after the initial indentation, effectively shifting the text to the right. Mostly useful for comments.


When doing column alignment, each column will be padded to at least this number of characters. Note that pad=... is applied first, so column=... only changes columns that are too short even with pad=...


After the opening brace of a block, this number of indent steps (each of the size specified with indent=...) will be added to the indentation. Note that the default is 0 for some contexts (e.g. switch) but 1 for most others. There is no global enter=... value corresponding to the default behaviour.


If a {...} or case block in the input has both braces on the same line, do not insert newlines after/before the braces/case. E.g.

if a == b { return } else { break }

With inlineblocks=keep this would stay on a single line.


This is the default behaviour which forces newlines after "case:", "default:", and "{" and before "}".

Context specifiers

This context specifier refers to everything up to and including the "package" keyword.


applies to any comment, line or block.


applies only to line comments, i.e. //...


applies only to block comments, i.e. /.../


applies to switch and type switch statements.


applies to case clauses (including the default case)


applies to select statements.


The Go Authors (original gofmt code goformat is based on)

Matthias S. Benkmann, msb@winterdrache.de (style configurability)


Please use the issue tracker at https://github.com/mbenkmann/goformat/issues for bug reports and feature requests.


Path Synopsis
Gofmt formats Go programs.
Gofmt formats Go programs.
Package printer implements printing of AST nodes.
Package printer implements printing of AST nodes.
Package tabwriter implements a write filter (tabwriter.Writer) that translates tabbed columns in input into properly aligned text.
Package tabwriter implements a write filter (tabwriter.Writer) that translates tabbed columns in input into properly aligned text.

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