PyCharm 2021.2 Help

Specify types with docstrings


You debug your code permanently, and now in the course of debugging you can also collect type information and specify these types in docstrings.

PyCharm provides an intention action that makes it possible to collect type information at runtime, and define type specifications.

However, it is quite possible to specify the types of parameters manually, without the debugger.

Both cases are explored in the section Examples.

Parameter type specification

To specify the parameter types, follow these general steps

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+S and go to Editor | General |Smart Keys.

    Select the Insert type placeholders checkbox in the Smart Keys page of the editor settings.

  2. Place the caret at the function name, and press Alt+Enter.

  3. In the list of intention actions that opens, choose Insert documentation string stub. PyCharm creates a documentation stub, according to the selected docstring format, with the type specification, collected during the debugger session.

Note that reStructuredText is used for all the subsequent examples, but it is possible to use any of the supported formats of the documentation strings, whether it is plain text, Epytext, Google or NumPy. Refer to the description of the page Python Integrated Tools for details.


Consider the following code:

import math class SimpleEquation: def demo(self, a, b, c): d = math.sqrt(abs(b ** 2 - 4 * a * c)) root1 = (-b + d) / (2 * a) root2 = (-b - d) / (2 * a) print(root1, root2) SimpleEquation().demo(3, 2, 1)

Let us suppose that reStructuredText has been selected as the docstring format on the page Python Integrated Tools.

Specify types manually

  1. Place the caret at the name of the function (here it is demo). The suggested intention action is Insert documentation string stub (refer to the section Create documentation comments for details).

    insert documentation string stub
    Click this intention to produce the documentation comment stub in the reStructuredText format:

    Docsting example
  2. Manually specify the desired types of the parameters:

    Docstring example

    By the way, you can use quick documentation for the function. If you position the caret at the function name and press Ctrl+Q, you will see:

    Docstrings in
the quick documentation window

Note that for reStructuredText it's possible to specify types in two formats:

  • :param param_type param_name: parameter description (type description is on the same line as the parameter description).

  • :type param_name: param_type (type description is on a separate line)

Both variants are shown below:

Using reStructuredText to specify types

Specify types with the aid of the debugger

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+S and go to Build, Execution, Deployment | Python Debugger. In the Python Debugger page, select the Collect runtime information for code insight checkbox.

  2. Debug the function call, and use the intention action Insert documentation string stub again. Information about the arguments and return values obtained during the debugging session will be used to pre-populate type annotations in a docstring.

    insert documentation string stub
  3. Inspect the result:

    Docsting example
Last modified: 08 March 2021