A Bash beautifier for the masses.

beautify, bash, shell, beautifier, script, auto
pip install beautysh==6.1.0


Beautysh CI

This program takes upon itself the hard task of beautifying Bash scripts (yeesh). Processing Bash scripts is not trivial, they aren't like C or Java programs — they have a lot of ambiguous syntax, and (shudder) you can use keywords as variables. Years ago, while testing the first version of this program, I encountered this example:

done=0;while (( $done <= 10 ));do echo done=$done;done=$((done+1));done

Same name, but three distinct meanings (sigh). The Bash interpreter can sort out this perversity, but I decided not to try to recreate the Bash interpreter to beautify a script. This means there will be some border cases this Python program won't be able to process. But in tests with large Linux system Bash scripts, its error-free score was ~99%.


If you have pip set up you can do

pip install beautysh

or clone the repo and install:

git clone
cd beautysh
python install


You can call Beautysh from the command line such as


in which case it will beautify each one of the files.

Available flags are:

  --indent-size INDENT_SIZE, -i INDENT_SIZE
                        Sets the number of spaces to be used in indentation.
  --backup, -b          Beautysh will create a backup file in the same path as
                        the original.
  --check, -c           Beautysh will just check the files without doing any
                        in-place beautify.
  --tab, -t             Sets indentation to tabs instead of spaces.
                        Force a specific Bash function formatting. See below
                        for more info.
  --version, -v         Prints the version and exits.
  --help, -h            Print this help message.

Bash function styles that can be specified via --force-function-style are:
  fnpar: function keyword, open/closed parentheses, e.g.      function foo()
  fnonly: function keyword, no open/closed parentheses, e.g.  function foo
  paronly: no function keyword, open/closed parentheses, e.g. foo()

Example of use to reformat stdin and print on stdout:

beautysh - < >

You can also call beautysh as a module:

from beautysh import Beautify

source = "my_string"

result, error = Beautify().beautify_string(source)

As written, beautysh can beautify large numbers of Bash scripts when called from a variety of means,including a Bash script:


for path in `find /path -name '*.sh'`
   beautysh $path

As well as the more obvious example:

$ beautysh *.sh

CAUTION: Because Beautysh overwrites all the files submitted to it, this could have disastrous consequences if the files include some of the increasingly common Bash scripts that have appended binary content (a regime where Beautysh has undefined behaviour ). So please — back up your files, and don't treat Beautysh as a harmless utility. Even if that is true most of the time.

Beautysh handles Bash here-docs with care(and there are probably some border cases it doesn't handle). The basic idea is that the originator knew what format he wanted in the here-doc, and a beautifier shouldn't try to outguess him. So Beautysh does all it can to pass along the here-doc content unchanged:

if true

   echo "Before here-doc"

   # Insert 2 lines in file, then save.
   #--------Begin here document-----------#
vi $TARGETFILE <<x23LimitStringx23
This is line 1 of the example file.
This is line 2 of the example file.
   #----------End here document-----------#

   echo "After here-doc"


Special comments @formatter:off and @formatter:on are available to disable formatting around a block of statements.

# @formatter:off
command \
    --option1 \
        --option2 \
            --option3 \
# @formatter:on

This takes inspiration from the Eclipse feature.


Contributions are welcome and appreciated, however test cases must be added to prevent regression. Adding a test case is easy, and involves the following:

  1. Create a file tests/fixtures/ containing the unformatted version of your test case.
  2. Create a file tests/fixtures/ containing the formatted version of your test case.
  3. Register your test case in tests/, It should look something like this:
def test_my_test_name(self):

Originally written by Paul Lutus