Frequently Asked Questions

The most common questions and issues users face are aggregated to this FAQ.

Does Black have an API?

Not yet. Black is fundamentally a command line tool. Many integrations are provided, but a Python interface is not one of them. A simple API is being planned though.

Is Black safe to use?

Yes, for the most part. Black is strictly about formatting, nothing else. But because Black is still in beta, some edges are still a bit rough. To combat issues, the equivalence of code after formatting is checked with limited special cases where the code is allowed to differ. If issues are found, an error is raised and the file is left untouched. Magical comments that influence linters and other tools, such as # noqa, may be moved by Black. See below for more details.

How stable is Black’s style?

Quite stable. Black aims to enforce one style and one style only, with some room for pragmatism. However, Black is still in beta so style changes are both planned and still proposed on the issue tracker. See The Black Code Style for more details.

Why is my file not formatted?

Most likely because it is ignored in .gitignore or excluded with configuration. See file collection and discovery for details.

Why is my Jupyter Notebook cell not formatted?

Black is timid about formatting Jupyter Notebooks. Cells containing any of the following will not be formatted:

  • automagics (e.g. pip install black)

  • multiline magics, e.g.:

    %timeit f(1, \
            2, \
  • code which IPython’s TransformerManager would transform magics into, e.g.:

  • invalid syntax, as it can’t be safely distinguished from automagics in the absence of a running IPython kernel.

Why are Flake8’s E203 and W503 violated?

Because they go against PEP 8. E203 falsely triggers on list slices, and adhering to W503 hinders readability because operators are misaligned. Disable W503 and enable the disabled-by-default counterpart W504. E203 should be disabled while changes are still discussed.

Does Black support Python 2?

For formatting, yes! Install with the python2 extra to format Python 2 files too! There are no current plans to drop support, but most likely it is bound to happen. Sometime. Eventually. In terms of running Black though, Python 3.6 or newer is required.

Why does my linter or typechecker complain after I format my code?

Some linters and other tools use magical comments (e.g., # noqa, # type: ignore) to influence their behavior. While Black does its best to recognize such comments and leave them in the right place, this detection is not and cannot be perfect. Therefore, you’ll sometimes have to manually move these comments to the right place after you format your codebase with Black.