Use pip or easy_install:

pip install pydocstyle

Alternatively, you can use source file directly - it is self-contained.

Command Line Interface


Usage: pydocstyle [options] [<file|dir>...]

  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -e, --explain         show explanation of each error
  -s, --source          show source for each error
  -d, --debug           print debug information
  -v, --verbose         print status information
  --count               print total number of errors to stdout
  --config=<path>       use given config file and disable config discovery
  --match=<pattern>     check only files that exactly match <pattern> regular
                        expression; default is --match='(?!test_).*\.py' which
                        matches files that don't start with 'test_' but end
                        with '.py'
                        search only dirs that exactly match <pattern> regular
                        expression; default is --match-dir='[^\.].*', which
                        matches all dirs that don't start with a dot
                        ignore any functions or methods that are decorated by
                        a function with a name fitting the <decorators>
                        regular expression; default is --ignore-decorators=''
                        which does not ignore any decorated functions.

  Error Check Options:
    Only one of --select, --ignore or --convention can be specified. If
    none is specified, defaults to `--convention=pep257`. These three
    options select the "basic list" of error codes to check. If you wish
    to change that list (for example, if you selected a known convention
    but wish to ignore a specific error from it or add a new one) you can
    use `--add-[ignore/select]` in order to do so.

    --select=<codes>    choose the basic list of checked errors by specifying
                        which errors to check for (with a list of comma-
                        separated error codes or prefixes). for example:
    --ignore=<codes>    choose the basic list of checked errors by specifying
                        which errors to ignore out of all of the available
                        error codes (with a list of comma-separated error
                        codes or prefixes). for example: --ignore=D101,D2
                        choose the basic list of checked errors by specifying
                        an existing convention. Possible conventions: pep257,
                        add extra error codes to check to the basic list of
                        errors previously set by --select, --ignore or
                        ignore extra error codes by removing them from the
                        basic list previously set by --select, --ignore or


When using any of the --select, --ignore, --add-select, or --add-ignore command line flags, it is possible to pass a prefix for an error code. It will be expanded so that any code begining with that prefix will match. For example, running the command pydocstyle --ignore=D4 will ignore all docstring content issues as their error codes begining with “D4” (i.e. D400, D401, D402, D403, and D404).

Return Code

0 Success - no violations
1 Some code violations were found
2 Illegal usage - see error message

Configuration Files

pydocstyle supports ini-like configuration files. In order for pydocstyle to use it, it must be named one of the following options, and have a [pydocstyle] section.

  • setup.cfg
  • tox.ini
  • .pydocstyle
  • .pydocstyle.ini
  • .pydocstylerc
  • .pydocstylerc.ini

When searching for a configuration file, pydocstyle looks for one of the file specified above in that exact order. If a configuration file was not found, it keeps looking for one up the directory tree until one is found or uses the default configuration.


For backwards compatibility purposes, pydocstyle supports configuration files named .pep257, as well as section header [pep257]. However, these are considered deprecated and support will be removed in the next major version.

Available Options

Not all configuration options are available in the configuration files. Available options are:

  • convention
  • select
  • ignore
  • add_select
  • add_ignore
  • match
  • match_dir
  • ignore_decorators

See the Usage section for more information.


By default, when finding a configuration file, pydocstyle tries to inherit the parent directory’s configuration and merge them to the local ones.

The merge process is as follows:

  • If one of select, ignore or convention was specified in the child configuration - Ignores the parent configuration and set the new error codes to check. Otherwise, simply copies the parent checked error codes.
  • If add-ignore or add-select were specified, adds or removes the specified error codes from the checked error codes list.
  • If match or match-dir were specified - use them. Otherwise, use the parent’s.

In order to disable this (useful for configuration files located in your repo’s root), simply add inherit=false to your configuration file.


If any of select, ignore or convention were specified in the CLI, the configuration files will take no part in choosing which error codes will be checked. match and match-dir will still take effect.


inherit = false
ignore = D100,D203,D405
match = *.py

In-file configuration

pydocstyle supports inline commenting to skip specific checks on specific functions or methods. The supported comments that can be added are:

  1. "# noqa" skips all checks.
  2. "# noqa: D102,D203" can be used to skip specific checks. Note that this is compatible with skips from flake8, e.g. # noqa: D102,E501,D203.

For example, this will skip the check for a period at the end of a function docstring:

>>> def bad_function():  # noqa: D400
...     """Omit a period in the docstring as an exception"""
...     pass