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PEP 9 -- Sample Plaintext PEP Template

Title:Sample Plaintext PEP Template
Author:Barry Warsaw <barry at>



As of 05-Jan-2016, this PEP is officially deprecated and replaced by PEP 12. All PEPs should now use the reStructuredText format described by PEP 12, and plaintext PEPs will no longer be accepted.


This PEP provides a boilerplate or sample template for creating your own plaintext PEPs. In conjunction with the content guidelines in PEP 1 [1], this should make it easy for you to conform your own PEPs to the format outlined below.

Note: if you are reading this PEP via the web, you should first grab the plaintext source of this PEP in order to complete the steps below. DO NOT USE THE HTML FILE AS YOUR TEMPLATE!

To get the source this (or any) PEP, look at the top of the HTML page and click on the date & time on the "Last-Modified" line. It is a link to the source text in the Python repository.

If you would prefer to use lightweight markup in your PEP, please see PEP 12, "Sample reStructuredText PEP Template" [2].


PEP submissions come in a wide variety of forms, not all adhering to the format guidelines set forth below. Use this template, in conjunction with the content guidelines in PEP 1, to ensure that your PEP submission won't get automatically rejected because of form.

How to Use This Template

To use this template you must first decide whether your PEP is going to be an Informational or Standards Track PEP. Most PEPs are Standards Track because they propose a new feature for the Python language or standard library. When in doubt, read PEP 1 for details or contact the PEP editors <>.

Once you've decided which type of PEP yours is going to be, follow the directions below.

  • Make a copy of this file (.txt file, not HTML!) and perform the following edits.

  • Replace the "PEP: 9" header with "PEP: XXX" since you don't yet have a PEP number assignment.

  • Change the Title header to the title of your PEP.

  • Leave the Version and Last-Modified headers alone; we'll take care of those when we check your PEP into Python's Subversion repository. These headers consist of keywords ("Revision" and "Date" enclosed in "$"-signs) which are automatically expanded by the repository. Please do not edit the expanded date or revision text.

  • Change the Author header to include your name, and optionally your email address. Be sure to follow the format carefully: your name must appear first, and it must not be contained in parentheses. Your email address may appear second (or it can be omitted) and if it appears, it must appear in angle brackets. It is okay to obfuscate your email address.

  • If there is a mailing list for discussion of your new feature, add a Discussions-To header right after the Author header. You should not add a Discussions-To header if the mailing list to be used is either or, or if discussions should be sent to you directly. Most Informational PEPs don't have a Discussions-To header.

  • Change the Status header to "Draft".

  • For Standards Track PEPs, change the Type header to "Standards Track".

  • For Informational PEPs, change the Type header to "Informational".

  • For Standards Track PEPs, if your feature depends on the acceptance of some other currently in-development PEP, add a Requires header right after the Type header. The value should be the PEP number of the PEP yours depends on. Don't add this header if your dependent feature is described in a Final PEP.

  • Change the Created header to today's date. Be sure to follow the format carefully: it must be in dd-mmm-yyyy format, where the mmm is the 3 English letter month abbreviation, e.g. one of Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

  • For Standards Track PEPs, after the Created header, add a Python-Version header and set the value to the next planned version of Python, i.e. the one your new feature will hopefully make its first appearance in. Do not use an alpha or beta release designation here. Thus, if the last version of Python was 2.2 alpha 1 and you're hoping to get your new feature into Python 2.2, set the header to:

    Python-Version: 2.2

  • Leave Post-History alone for now; you'll add dates to this header each time you post your PEP to or E.g. if you posted your PEP to the lists on August 14, 2001 and September 3, 2001, the Post-History header would look like:

    Post-History: 14-Aug-2001, 03-Sept-2001

    You must manually add new dates and check them in. If you don't have check-in privileges, send your changes to the PEP editor.

  • Add a Replaces header if your PEP obsoletes an earlier PEP. The value of this header is the number of the PEP that your new PEP is replacing. Only add this header if the older PEP is in "final" form, i.e. is either Accepted, Final, or Rejected. You aren't replacing an older open PEP if you're submitting a competing idea.

  • Now write your Abstract, Rationale, and other content for your PEP, replacing all this gobbledygook with your own text. Be sure to adhere to the format guidelines below, specifically on the prohibition of tab characters and the indentation requirements.

  • Update your References and Copyright section. Usually you'll place your PEP into the public domain, in which case just leave the "Copyright" section alone. Alternatively, you can use the Open Publication License[3], but public domain is still strongly preferred.

  • Leave the little Emacs turd at the end of this file alone, including the formfeed character ("^L", or f).

  • Send your PEP submission to the PEP editors (, along with $100k in unmarked pennies. (Just kidding, I wanted to see if you were still awake. :)

Plaintext PEP Formatting Requirements

PEP headings must begin in column zero and the initial letter of each word must be capitalized as in book titles. Acronyms should be in all capitals. The body of each section must be indented 4 spaces. Code samples inside body sections should be indented a further 4 spaces, and other indentation can be used as required to make the text readable. You must use two blank lines between the last line of a section's body and the next section heading.

You must adhere to the Emacs convention of adding two spaces at the end of every sentence. You should fill your paragraphs to column 70, but under no circumstances should your lines extend past column 79. If your code samples spill over column 79, you should rewrite them.

Tab characters must never appear in the document at all. A PEP should include the standard Emacs stanza included by example at the bottom of this PEP.

When referencing an external web page in the body of a PEP, you should include the title of the page in the text, with a footnote reference to the URL. Do not include the URL in the body text of the PEP. E.g.

Refer to the Python Language web site [1] for more details. ... [1]

When referring to another PEP, include the PEP number in the body text, such as "PEP 1". The title may optionally appear. Add a footnote reference, a number in square brackets. The footnote body should include the PEP's title and author. It may optionally include the explicit URL on a separate line, but only in the References section. Note that the script will calculate URLs automatically. For example:

... Refer to PEP 1 [7] for more information about PEP style ...


[7] PEP 1, PEP Purpose and Guidelines, Warsaw, Hylton

If you decide to provide an explicit URL for a PEP, please use this as the URL template:

PEP numbers in URLs must be padded with zeros from the left, so as to be exactly 4 characters wide, however PEP numbers in the text are never padded.


[1] PEP 1, PEP Purpose and Guidelines, Warsaw, Hylton
[2] PEP 12, Sample reStructuredText PEP Template, Goodger, Warsaw



This document has been placed in the public domain.

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