ClangFormat is a tool for automatically formatting code to follow the Blender code style.


Most of the Blender source code is formatted automatically, with only a few exceptions for externally maintained code.

All developers that commit code to the Blender repository must use clang-format before committing. Otherwise, another developer running clang-format will end up changing unrelated code.

We highly recommend integrating clang-format into your IDE to automatically format code on file save. For all other cases, like committing patches from other developers, run make format to format the code.


On Windows and macOS, we provide clang-format as part of our precompiled libraries.

On Linux, clang-format is installed by the script. It can also be installed through the package manager, and must be version 6.0.0 or higher.

Basic Usage

To apply code formatting to the entire source code, simply run this from the blender root directory:

make format

This is a wrapper around clang-format that checks the appropriate version is available.

IDE Integration

We highly recommend integrating clang-format into your IDE to automatically format code, as this makes formatting convenient and hard to forget.

Most development environments have native support or extensions to integrate clang-format. Here are some pointers for commonly used IDEs, more information is easily found online.

Visual Studio

Visual Studio has built-in support for formatting and automatically uses the .clang-format file.

VS Code

Clang-Format extension is available, an option can be set to format on file save.


Multiple plugins are available, as well as a script bundled with clang-format.

The bundled script can be configured like this to format on file save:

function! Formatonsave()
  let l:formatdiff = 1
  py3f <insert path to>/
autocmd BufWritePre *.h,*.c,*.cc,*.cpp,*.m,*.mm,*.glsl,*.osl call Formatonsave()


Install the clang-format package and add these lines to your emacs config.

(add-hook 'c-mode-hook (lambda () (add-to-list 'write-file-functions 'clang-format-buffer)))
(add-hook 'c++-mode-hook (lambda () (add-to-list 'write-file-functions 'clang-format-buffer)))
(add-hook 'glsl-mode-hook (lambda () (add-to-list 'write-file-functions 'clang-format-buffer)))


Beautifying Source Code Documentation

Migrating Branches and Patches

The switch to clang-format will cause merge conflicts for effectively all branches. Fortunately, these can be solved mostly automatically. Patches should be migrated by creating a branch for them, and then following the procedure for rebasing branches.

The basic idea is to merge in 3 steps:

  • Merge/rebase the branch up to the commit that introduced clang-format.
  • Apply the automatic formatting.
  • Merge/rebase the remaining commits.

This process can be automated by running the following script and following the instructions:

# Equivalent of 'git rebase master'
./source/tools/utils/ --rebase
# Equivalent of 'git merge master'
./source/tools/utils/ --merge

The source/tools submodule must be on the latest master branch for this.


The script performs the following steps for merge:

git merge <clang-format-commit>^1
... merge any conflicts and commit...

git merge -Xignore-all-space -Xours <clang-format-commit>
make format
git commit --amend

git merge master
... merge any conflicts and commit...

And for rebase:

git rebase <clang-format-commit>^1
... merge any conflicts and commit...

git rebase -Xignore-all-space -Xours <clang-format-commit>
make format
git commit --amend

git rebase master
... merge any conflicts and commit...

For master replace <clang-format-commit> with e12c08e8d170b7ca40f204a5b0423c23a9fbc2c1.