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September 07, 2019

Adding Prettier To A Project

The steps to adding Prettier to a project are very simple:

  1. Install Prettier (npm i --save-dev prettier)
  2. Create a .prettierrc file in the root directory
  3. Add an empty object {} to the .prettierrc file -> this imports the default prettier configurations

Helpful scripts

Within the package.json, I tend to add the following scripts:

"scripts": {
  "format": "prettier --write \"src/**/*.{js, jsx, css, json} \"",
  "format:check": "prettier --list:different \"src/**/*.{js, jsx, css, json} \""

The former can be used if the editor is not configured to format on save. When run, Prettier will look at every file in the src directory and every one of the src directory’s subdirectories. If the file has a .js, .jsx, .css, or .json file extension, it will run.

The --write makes sure that Prettier actually modifies the files, instead of simply writing the formatted version to the shell.

The second script, format:check is something that can be used with a CI tool like Travis / CircleCI to throw an error if the code is not formatted

Preferred Setup In VSCode

In VSCode open up settings.json - the JSON file that stores all of your custom settings for VSCode

Make sure the following two lines are present:

"prettier.requireConfig": true,
"editor.formatOnSave": true,

The former simply requires that there is a .prettierrc file in the application’s root directory. This is particularly useful in making sure that you don’t accidentally modify a project that doesn’t have a Prettier configuration set up and change every line in every file.

The latter is a preference of mine to apply prettier on save - rather than waiting for a git commit or to run the format script.

Alternative Formats

While I prefer to use just a .prettierrc file which can be written in YAML or JSON, it’s also possible to use .toml or .js.

The Prettier site has a helpful page for how to set these other formats up.1


Stephen Weiss

Thanks for reading! My name's Stephen Weiss. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn.
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