Programming language: Go
License: BSD 3-clause "New" or "Revised" License
Latest version: v3.2.1

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A shell parser, formatter, and interpreter. Supports POSIX Shell, Bash, and mksh. Requires Go 1.14 or later.

Quick start

To parse shell scripts, inspect them, and print them out, see the syntax examples.

For high-level operations like performing shell expansions on strings, see the shell examples.


GO111MODULE=on go get mvdan.cc/sh/v3/cmd/shfmt

shfmt formats shell programs. See [canonical.sh](syntax/canonical.sh) for a quick look at its default style. For example:

shfmt -l -w script.sh

For more information, see [its manpage](cmd/shfmt/shfmt.1.scd), which can be viewed directly as Markdown or rendered with scdoc.

Packages are available on Alpine, Arch, Docker, FreeBSD, Homebrew, MacPorts, NixOS, Scoop, Snapcraft, and Void.


GO111MODULE=on go get mvdan.cc/sh/v3/cmd/gosh

Proof of concept shell that uses interp. Note that it's not meant to replace a POSIX shell at the moment, and its options are intentionally minimalistic.


This project makes use of go-fuzz to find crashes and hangs in both the parser and the printer. Note that this requires Go 1.14.x at the moment, since go-fuzz doesn't support 1.15 or later just yet. The fuzz-corpus branch contains a corpus to get you started. For example:

git checkout fuzz-corpus
PATH=$HOME/sdk/go1.14.9/bin:$PATH ./fuzz


  • When indexing Bash associative arrays, always use quotes. The static parser will otherwise have to assume that the index is an arithmetic expression.
$ echo '${array[spaced string]}' | shfmt
1:16: not a valid arithmetic operator: string
$ echo '${array[dash-string]}' | shfmt
${array[dash - string]}
  • $(( and (( ambiguity is not supported. Backtracking would complicate the parser and make streaming support via io.Reader impossible. The POSIX spec recommends to space the operands if $( ( is meant.
$ echo '$((foo); (bar))' | shfmt
1:1: reached ) without matching $(( with ))
  • Some builtins like export and let are parsed as keywords. This is to allow statically parsing them and building their syntax tree, as opposed to just keeping the arguments as a slice of arguments.


A subset of the Go packages are available as an npm package called mvdan-sh. See the [_js](_js) directory for more information.


To build a Docker image, checkout a specific version of the repository and run:

docker build -t my:tag -f cmd/shfmt/Dockerfile .

This creates an image that only includes shfmt. Alternatively, if you want an image that includes alpine, add --target alpine. To use the Docker image, run:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/mnt -w /mnt my:tag <shfmt arguments>


It is possible to use shfmt with pre-commit and a local repo configuration like:

  - repo: local
      - id: shfmt
        name: shfmt
        minimum_pre_commit_version: 2.4.0
        language: golang
        additional_dependencies: [mvdan.cc/sh/v3/cmd/[email protected]]
        entry: shfmt
        args: [-w]
        types: [shell]

The following editor integrations wrap shfmt:

Other noteworthy integrations include: