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4.8 textwrap -- Text wrapping and filling

New in version 2.3.

The textwrap module provides two convenience functions, wrap() and fill(), as well as TextWrapper, the class that does all the work, and a utility function dedent(). If you're just wrapping or filling one or two text strings, the convenience functions should be good enough; otherwise, you should use an instance of TextWrapper for efficiency.

wrap( text[, width[, ...]])
Wraps the single paragraph in text (a string) so every line is at most width characters long. Returns a list of output lines, without final newlines.

Optional keyword arguments correspond to the instance attributes of TextWrapper, documented below. width defaults to 70.

fill( text[, width[, ...]])
Wraps the single paragraph in text, and returns a single string containing the wrapped paragraph. fill() is shorthand for
"\n".join(wrap(text, ...))

In particular, fill() accepts exactly the same keyword arguments as wrap().

Both wrap() and fill() work by creating a TextWrapper instance and calling a single method on it. That instance is not reused, so for applications that wrap/fill many text strings, it will be more efficient for you to create your own TextWrapper object.

An additional utility function, dedent(), is provided to remove indentation from strings that have unwanted whitespace to the left of the text.

dedent( text)
Remove any whitespace than can be uniformly removed from the left of every line in text.

This is typically used to make triple-quoted strings line up with the left edge of screen/whatever, while still presenting it in the source code in indented form.

For example:

def test():
    # end first line with \ to avoid the empty line!
    s = '''\
    print repr(s)          # prints '    hello\n      world\n    '
    print repr(dedent(s))  # prints 'hello\n  world\n'
class TextWrapper( ...)
The TextWrapper constructor accepts a number of optional keyword arguments. Each argument corresponds to one instance attribute, so for example
wrapper = TextWrapper(initial_indent="* ")
is the same as
wrapper = TextWrapper()
wrapper.initial_indent = "* "

You can re-use the same TextWrapper object many times, and you can change any of its options through direct assignment to instance attributes between uses.

The TextWrapper instance attributes (and keyword arguments to the constructor) are as follows:


(default: 70) The maximum length of wrapped lines. As long as there are no individual words in the input text longer than width, TextWrapper guarantees that no output line will be longer than width characters.


(default: True) If true, then all tab characters in text will be expanded to spaces using the expand_tabs() method of text.


(default: True) If true, each whitespace character (as defined by string.whitespace) remaining after tab expansion will be replaced by a single space. Note: If expand_tabs is false and replace_whitespace is true, each tab character will be replaced by a single space, which is not the same as tab expansion.


(default: '') String that will be prepended to the first line of wrapped output. Counts towards the length of the first line.


(default: '') String that will be prepended to all lines of wrapped output except the first. Counts towards the length of each line except the first.


(default: False) If true, TextWrapper attempts to detect sentence endings and ensure that sentences are always separated by exactly two spaces. This is generally desired for text in a monospaced font. However, the sentence detection algorithm is imperfect: it assumes that a sentence ending consists of a lowercase letter followed by one of ".", "!", or "?", possibly followed by one of """ or "'", followed by a space. One problem with this is algorithm is that it is unable to detect the difference between ``Dr.'' in
[...] Dr. Frankenstein's monster [...]

and ``Spot.'' in

[...] See Spot. See Spot run [...]

fix_sentence_endings is false by default.

Since the sentence detection algorithm relies on string.lowercase for the definition of ``lowercase letter,'' and a convention of using two spaces after a period to separate sentences on the same line, it is specific to English-language texts.


(default: True) If true, then words longer than width will be broken in order to ensure that no lines are longer than width. If it is false, long words will not be broken, and some lines may be longer than width. (Long words will be put on a line by themselves, in order to minimize the amount by which width is exceeded.)

TextWrapper also provides two public methods, analogous to the module-level convenience functions:

wrap( text)
Wraps the single paragraph in text (a string) so every line is at most width characters long. All wrapping options are taken from instance attributes of the TextWrapper instance. Returns a list of output lines, without final newlines.
fill( text)
Wraps the single paragraph in text, and returns a single string containing the wrapped paragraph.



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