Python equivalent of xgettext(1)


pygettext [OPTIONS] INPUTFILE ...


pygettext is deprecated. The current version of xgettext supports many languages, including Python.

pygettext uses Python’s standard tokenize module to scan Python source code, generating .pot files identical to what GNU xgettext generates for C and C++ code. From there, the standard GNU tools can be used.

pygettext searches only for _() by default, even though GNU xgettext recognizes the following keywords: gettext, dgettext, dcgettext, and gettext_noop. See the -k/--keyword flag below for how to augment this.


-a, --extract-all

Extract all strings.

-d, --default-domain=NAME

Rename the default output file from messages.pot to name.pot.

-E, --escape

Replace non-ASCII characters with octal escape sequences.

-D, --docstrings

Extract module, class, method, and function docstrings. These do not need to be wrapped in _() markers, and in fact cannot be for Python to consider them docstrings. (See also the -X option).

-h, --help

Print this help message and exit.

-k, --keyword=WORD

Keywords to look for in addition to the default set, which are: _

You can have multiple -k flags on the command line.

-K, --no-default-keywords

Disable the default set of keywords (see above). Any keywords explicitly added with the -k/--keyword option are still recognized.


Do not write filename/lineno location comments.

-n, --add-location

Write filename/lineno location comments indicating where each extracted string is found in the source. These lines appear before each msgid. The style of comments is controlled by the -S/--style option. This is the default.

-o, --output=FILENAME

Rename the default output file from messages.pot to FILENAME. If FILENAME is ’-’ then the output is sent to standard out.

-p, --output-dir=DIR

Output files will be placed in directory DIR.

-S, --style=STYLENAME

Specify which style to use for location comments. Two styles are supported:

Solaris # File: filename, line: line-number

GNU #: filename:line

The style name is case insensitive. GNU style is the default.

-v, --verbose

Print the names of the files being processed.

-V, --version

Print the version of pygettext and exit.

-w, --width=COLUMNS

Set width of output to columns.

-x, --exclude-file=FILENAME

Specify a file that contains a list of strings that are not be extracted from the input files. Each string to be excluded must appear on a line by itself in the file.

-X, --no-docstrings=FILENAME

Specify a file that contains a list of files (one per line) that should not have their docstrings extracted. This is only useful in conjunction with the -D option above.

If ’INPUTFILE’ is -, standard input is read.


pygettext attempts to be option and feature compatible with GNU xgettext where ever possible. However some options are still missing or are not fully implemented. Also, xgettext’s use of command line switches with option arguments is broken, and in these cases, pygettext just defines additional switches.


pygettext is written by Barry Warsaw <>.

Joonas Paalasmaa <> put this manual page together based on "pygettext --help".

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