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Custom Sections and Ordering

isort provides lots of features to enable configuring how it sections imports and how it sorts imports within those sections. You can change the section order with sections option from the default of:


to your preference (if defined, omitting a default section may cause errors):


You also can define your own sections and their order.



would create two new sections with the specified known modules.

The no_lines_before option will prevent the listed sections from being split from the previous section by an empty line.



would produce a section with both FIRSTPARTY and LOCALFOLDER modules combined.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is very important to know when setting known sections that the naming does not directly map for historical reasons. For custom settings, the only difference is capitalization (known_custom=custom VS sections=CUSTOM,...) for all others reference the following mapping:

  • known_standard_library : STANDARD_LIBRARY
  • extra_standard_library : STANDARD_LIBRARY # Like known standard library but appends instead of replacing
  • known_future_library : FUTURE
  • known_first_party: FIRSTPARTY
  • known_third_party: THIRDPARTY
  • known_local_folder: LOCALFOLDER

This will likely be changed in isort 6.0.0+ in a backwards compatible way.

Auto-comment import sections

Some projects prefer to have import sections uniquely titled to aid in identifying the sections quickly when visually scanning. isort can automate this as well. To do this simply set the import_heading_{section_name} setting for each section you wish to have auto commented - to the desired comment.

For Example:

import_heading_stdlib=Standard Library
import_heading_firstparty=My Stuff

Would lead to output looking like the following:

# Standard Library
import os
import sys

import django.settings

# My Stuff
import myproject.test

Ordering by import length

isort also makes it easy to sort your imports by length, simply by setting the length_sort option to True. This will result in the following output style:

from evn.util import (

It is also possible to opt-in to sorting imports by length for only specific sections by using length_sort_ followed by the section name as a configuration item, e.g.:


Controlling how isort sections from imports

By default isort places straight (import y) imports above from imports (from x import y):

import b
from a import a  # This will always appear below because it is a from import.

However, if you prefer to keep strict alphabetical sorting you can set force sort within sections to true. Resulting in:

from a import a  # This will now appear at top because a appears in the alphabet before b
import b

You can even tell isort to always place from imports on top, instead of the default of placing them on bottom, using from first.

from b import b # If from first is set to True, all from imports will be placed before non-from imports.
import a