Formatter.EXE, the Command Line Formatter

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Formatter.exe is the command line formatter for Delphi and C/C++ source code files.

Formatter.exe is the stand-alone application that does not require any supporting DLLs or other executable modules for its execution.

If a source code file cannot be compiled, then the formatting results can be incorrect.

Command line syntax

To display the short help, enter:

Formatter [-h]

To run the source code formatter from the command interpreter, use the following command line syntax:

Formatter  [<options>] [<filename>...] 

Command line options

You can use the following options:

Option Description


Use this option (or do not specify any options) to display the short help for the command line formatter.


Format only files with the C/C++ predefined file name extensions (if other extensions are not specified by the filename options.)

The C/C++ predefined file name extensions:
*.cpp, *.cxx, *.cc, *.c, *.hpp, *.hxx, *.hh, *.h.


Format only files with the Delphi predefined extensions (if other extensions are not specified by the filename options.)

The Delphi predefined file name extensions:
*.pas, *.dpr, *.dpk, *.dpkw, *.inc.

-config configfile

configfile -- the configuration file name. Source files will be formatted according to the formatting options stored in configfile.

Configuration files can be created from the Profiles and Status page of the Options dialog box (Tools > Options > Formatter > Profiles and Status).

Defaults used in configfile:

  • If configfile does not specify a file name, then the formatter searches for the Formatter.config file.
  • If you omit only the extension, then the .config extension is accepted (if necessary).
  • If configfile is not a fully qualified file name, then the formatter searches for configfile in the following order:
    1. In the current directory.
    2. In the RAD Studio working directory, by default in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Embarcadero\BDS\23.0.
    3. In the RAD Studio installation directory, by default in C:\Program Files (x86)\Embarcadero\Studio\23.0\bin\config.

-e encoding

encoding defines the encoding for reading/writing. If omitted, then the formatter reads sources and tries to define the appropriate encoding automatically.

-d directory

directory defines the folder containing the files to format. If no filename is defined, then all files with both Delphi and C/C++ predefined extensions (or with the extensions defined by the -cpp or -delphi option, if specified) in the directory folder will be formatted.


Format files recursively in the directory folder and in all its subdirectories.


Create copies of files, with the appended .bak extension, before formatting.

-log logfile

logfile defines the log file name into which the formatter writes its messages. By default, the formatter writes messages to the console.


Do not display error messages.


filename specifies the name of a source file to format. The formatter writes the formatted source text into the same file.

You can specify several filenames separated by spaces. You can use the wild characters '*' and '?'.

If filename uses wild characters in the extension, then all files with both Delphi and C/C++ predefined extensions matched (or with the extensions matched to the -cpp or -delphi option, if specified) will be formatted.

To format a file with an extension that is not predefined, you should specify the language by using the -cpp or -delphi option.

See Also