Open3D style guide

Coding style

Consistent coding style is an important factor of code readability. Some principles:

  1. Code itself is a document. Name functions and variables in a way they are self explanatory.

  2. Be consistent with existing code and documents. Be consistent with C++ conventions.

  3. Use common sense.

We generally follow the Google C++ Style Guide, with a few modifications:

  • Use 4 spaces for indent. Use two indents for a forced line break (usually due to the 80 character length limit).

  • Use #pragma once for header guard.

  • All Open3D classes and functions are nested in namespace open3d.

  • Avoid using naked pointers. Use std::shared_ptr and std::unique_ptr instead.

  • C++11 features are recommended, but C++14 and C++17 are also accepted.

We also recommend reading the C++ Core Guidelines.

For Python, please use Google style guidelines, as shown here.

Automated style Checker

Open3D’s CI checks for code formatting based on the style specified in .clang-format for C++ files and .style.yapf for Python files. Please build the check-style and apply-style CMake target before submitting a pull request, or use your editor’s clang-format and yapf integration to format the source code automatically.

Different clang-format versions may produce slightly different formatting results. For standardization, clang-format version 5.0 shall be used.

Install clang-format

By default, the make system tries to detect either clang-format-5.0 or clang-format from PATH.


# Ubuntu 16.04
sudo apt update
sudo apt install clang-format-5.0
clang-format-5.0 --version

# Ubuntu 18.04
sudo apt update
sudo apt install clang-format-5.0
clang-format-5.0 --version


curl -o $(brew --repo)/Library/Taps/homebrew/homebrew-core/Formula/clang-format@5.rb
brew install clang-format@5
clang-format --version

# (Optional) If another clang-format version was previously installed, we can keep
# both versions and switch the default to version 5
brew unlink clang-format
brew link clang-format@5

# (Optional) If you'd like to uninstall
brew uninstall clang-format@5

Alternatively, download the clang-5.0 macOS package from LLVM Download Page, unzip and add the directory containing clang-format to PATH.


Download clang-5.0 Windows package from LLVM Download Page. During installation, select the option which allows adding clang toolchains to PATH. After installation, open a CMD terminal and try

clang-format --version

Checking clang-format version

After installation, check clang-format’s version with

# In most cases
clang-format --version

# Or, when installed as clang-format-5.0, e.g. on Ubuntu
clang-format-5.0 --version

and make sure that version 5.0 is installed.

Install YAPF

We use YAPF for Python formatting. Different YAPF versions may produce slightly different formatting results, thus we choose version 0.28.0 as the standard version to be used.

Install YAPF with

# For Pip
pip install yapf==0.28.0

# For conda
conda install yapf=0.28.0

You can also download YAPF and install it from source.

Checking and applying format

Ubuntu & macOS

After CMake config, to check style, run

make check-style

After CMake config, to apply proper style, run

make apply-style


After CMake config, to check style, run

cmake --build . --target check-style

After CMake config, to apply the proper style, run

cmake --build . --target apply-style