EditorConfig Specification


EditorConfig helps maintain consistent coding styles for multiple developers working on the same project across various editors and IDEs. The EditorConfig project consists of a file format for defining coding styles and a collection of text editor plugins that enable editors to read the file format and adhere to defined styles. EditorConfig files are easily readable and they work nicely with version control systems.

File Format

EditorConfig files use an INI format that is compatible with the format used by Python configparser Library. In an EditorConfig file (usually named .editorconfig), all beginning whitespace in each line is ignored. Each line must be one of the following:

  • Empty Line: An empty string.
  • Comment: A line starting with a ; or a #.
  • Section Title: A line that starts with a [, and that ends with a ].
  • Assignment: A line separated by an = into two parts.

Any line that is not one of the above is invalid. “Inline comment” in appearance, i.e., a line that has a ; or a # in the middle, is undefined. For convenience, we also define the following terminologies:

  • Section Name: The string between the beginning [ and the ending ] in a Section Title.
  • Section: The lines starting from a Section Title until the beginning of the next Section Title or end of file.
  • Property: The part before the first = in an Assignment.
  • Value: The part after the first = in an Assignment.

In EditorConfig files, the Section Names are filepath globs, similar to the format accepted by gitignore. [ and ] are allowed in the Section Names. Forward slashes (/) are used as path separators and Backslashes (\\) are not allowed as path separators (even on Windows). Comments should always go on individual lines. EditorConfig files should be UTF-8 encoded, with either CRLF or LF line separators.

Glob Expressions

Section names in EditorConfig files are filename globs that support pattern matching through Unix shell-style wildcards. These filename globs recognize the following as special characters for wildcard matching:

Special Characters Matching
* any string of characters, except path separators (/)
** any string of characters
? any single character
[seq] any single character in seq
[!seq] any single character not in seq
{s1,s2,s3} any of the strings given (separated by commas, can be nested)
{num1..num2} any integer numbers between num1 and num2, where num1 and num2 can be either positive or negative

The backslash character (\\) can be used to escape a character so it is not interpreted as a special character.

The maximum length of a section name is 4096 characters. All sections exceeding this limit are ignored.

File Processing

When a filename is given to EditorConfig a search is performed in the directory of the given file and all parent directories for an EditorConfig file (named “.editorconfig” by default). Non-existing directories are treated as if they exist and are empty. All found EditorConfig files are searched for sections with section names matching the given filename. The search will stop if an EditorConfig file is found with the root property set to true or when reaching the root filesystem directory.

Files are read top to bottom and the most recent rules found take precedence. If multiple EditorConfig files have matching sections, the rules from the closer EditorConfig file are read last, so properties in closer files take precedence.

Supported Properties

EditorConfig file sections contain properties, which are name-value pairs separated by an equal sign (=). EditorConfig plugins will ignore unrecognized property names and properties with invalid values.

Here is the list of all property names understood by EditorConfig and all valid values for these properties:

indent_style Set to tab or space to use hard tabs or soft tabs respectively. The values are case insensitive.
indent_size Set to a whole number defining the number of columns used for each indentation level and the width of soft tabs (when supported). If this equals to tab, the indent_size will be set to the tab size, which should be tab_width if tab_width is specified, or the tab size set by editor if tab_width is not specified. The values are case insensitive.
tab_width Set to a whole number defining the number of columns used to represent a tab character. This defaults to the value of indent_size and should not usually need to be specified.
end_of_line Set to lf, cr, or crlf to control how line breaks are represented. The values are case insensitive.
charset Set to latin1, utf-8, utf-8-bom, utf-16be or utf-16le to control the character set. Use of utf-8-bom is discouraged.
trim_trailing_whitespace Set to true to remove any whitespace characters preceeding newline characters and false to ensure it doesn’t.
insert_final_newline Set to true ensure file ends with a newline when saving and false to ensure it doesn’t.
root Must be specified at the top of the file outside of any sections. Set to true to stop .editorconfig files search on current file. The value is case insensitive.

For any property, a value of unset is to remove the effect of that property, even if it has been set before. For example, add indent_size = unset to undefine indent_size property (and use editor default).

Property names are case insensitive and all property names are lowercased when parsing. The maximum length of a property name is 50 characters and the maximum length of a property value is 255 characters. Any property beyond these limits would be ignored.