Configuring a printing function

Pretty-printing was overhauled in CIDER 0.21 to leverage new features introduced in nREPL 0.6. Refer to nREPL’s documentation for details.

You can configure the function used by CIDER for pretty-printing evaluation results and other data using the option cider-print-fn, which can take the following possible values:

  • nil to defer to nREPL to choose the printing function. This will use the bound value of nrepl.middleware.print/*print-fn*, which defaults to the equivalent of clojure.core/pr.

  • pr to use the equivalent of clojure.core/pr.

  • pprint to use the built-in clojure.pprint/pprint (this is the default).

  • fipp to use the Fast Idiomatic Pretty-Printer. This is approximately 5-10x faster than clojure.core/pprint.

  • puget to use Puget, which provides canonical serialization of data on top of fipp, but at a slight performance cost.

  • zprint to use zprint, a fast and flexible alternative to the libraries mentioned above.

Alternatively, cider-print-fn can be set to the namespace-qualified name of a Clojure var whose function takes three arguments: the object to print, the to print on, and a (possibly nil) map of options.

(setq cider-print-fn "user/my-pprint")

Here’s one example:

(ns cider.pprint
   [clojure.pprint :as pp]))

(defn pprint
  "A simple wrapper around `clojure.pprint/write`.

  Its signature is compatible with the expectations of nREPL's wrap-print
  [value writer options]
  (apply pp/write value (mapcat identity (assoc options :stream writer))))
Before Clojure 1.10.2, a bug in clojure.pprint caused it to not work properly with *print-meta*. If you need to print the metadata you’ll have to change the print function or disable pretty-printing.

Limiting printed output

You can set cider-print-quota to limit the number of bytes that will be returned by any printing operation. This defaults to one megabyte, and can be set to nil if no limit is desired. Note well that if no quota is set some printing operations may never terminate — you can still use cider-interrupt to halt them.

Your configured printing function might also support limiting the length and depth of printed objects — either using clojure.core/*print-length* and clojure.core/*print-level* or in the provided options map.

You can pass an options map to the print function by setting cider-print-options. Here’s an example:

(setq cider-print-options '(("length" 50) ("right-margin" 70)))
Each print engine has its own configuration options, so you’ll have to be sure to set cider-print-options accordingly.

Here’s a table describing the differences in the names for the most common print options supported by every print engine.

clojure.core/pr clojure.pprint Fipp & Puget zprint













Not all printing engines use (or default to) the dynamic variables in all cases, so setting them at the REPL may or may not have the intended effect. See the respective documentation of each engine:

Width of printed output

If you’re using one of the printing engines provided with CIDER, the value of fill-column will be used for the relevant width option in the options map. You can override this by hardcoding the relevant option in cider-print-options.