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ropemacs, rope in emacs

Ropemacs is an emacs mode that uses rope library to provide features like refactorings and code-assists. You should install rope library and pymacs before using ropemacs.

New Features

  • merged rope-complete-and-import with code-assist
  • prefixing rope-find-file shows only python files
  • faster code-assists

Also rpymacs is now obsolete; you can use pymacs>=0.23 instead.

Setting Up

After installing pymacs, add these lines to your ~/.emacs file:

(require 'pymacs)
(pymacs-load "ropemacs" "rope-")

Rope registers its local keys using python-mode hook. If you don't want to use rope with python-mode you can add rope-register-local-keys lisp function to some other hook.

If you want to load ropemacs only when you really need it, you can use a function like this instead of that:

(defun load-ropemacs ()
  "Load pymacs and ropemacs"
  (require 'pymacs)
  (pymacs-load "ropemacs" "rope-")
  ;; Automatically save project python buffers before refactorings
  (setq ropemacs-confirm-saving 'nil)

And execute load-ropemacs whenever you want to use ropemacs. Also if you don't want to install rope library and ropemacs you can extract them somewhere and add these lines to your .emacs:

;; Add this before loading pymacs if you haven't installed rope and ropemacs
(setq pymacs-load-path '("/path/to/rope"

Getting Started

Rope refactorings use a special kind of dialog. When you start a refactoring, you'll be asked to confirm saving modified python buffers; you can change it by using ropemacs-confirm-saving variable. Adding (setq ropemacs-confirm-saving 'nil) to your .emacs file, will make emacs save them without asking.

After that depending on the refactoring, you'll be asked about the essential information a refactoring needs to know (like the new name in rename refactoring). You can skip it by prefixing the refactoring; this can be useful when using batchset command (described later).

Next you'll see the base prompt of a refactoring dialog that shows something like "Choose what to do". By entering the name of a refactoring option you can set its value. After setting each option you'll be returned back to the base prompt. Finally, you can ask rope to perform, preview or cancel the refactoring.

See keybinding_ section and try the refactorings yourself.

Finding Files

By using rope-find-file (C-x p f by default), you can search for files in your project. When you complete the minibuffer you'll see all files in the project; files are shown as their reversed paths. For instance projectroot/docs/todo.txt is shown like todo.txt<docs. This way you can find files faster in your project. rope-find-file-other-window (C-x p 4 f) opens the file in the other window. With prefix, these commands show python files only.


rope-code-assist command (M-/ by default) will let you select from a list of completions. If prefixed (C-u M-/), ropemacs inserts the common prefix, automatically. If a numeric argument is given, rope will insert the common prefix for that many of the first proposals.

rope-lucky-assist command (M-?) does not ask, anything; instead, it inserts the first proposal. By prefixing it, you can choose which proposal to insert. C-u 1 M-? uses the second propsal, for instance.


xxaa = None
xxab = None
xxba = None
xxbb = None


consider cursor is at ^ position. This table shows what happens when code-assist commands are used:

Key Inserts Minibuffer Completions
M-/   xxaa, xxab, xxba, xxbb
C-u M-/ x xxaa, xxab, xxba, xxbb
C-u 2 M-/ xa xxaa, xxab
M-? xxaa  
C-u 1 M-/ xxab  
C-u 3 M-/ xxbb  

Finding Occurrences

The find occurrences command (C-c f by default) can be used to find the occurrences of a python name. If unsure option is yes, it will also show unsure occurrences; unsure occurrences are indicated with a ? mark in the end.

Dialog batchset Command

When you use rope dialogs there is a command called batchset. It can be used to set many configs at the same time. After selecting this command from dialog base prompt, you are asked to enter a string.

batchset strings can give value to configs in two ways. The single line form is like this:

name1 value1
name2 value2

That is the name of config is followed its value. For multi-line values you can use:



Each line of the definition should start with a space or a tab. Note that blank lines before the name of config definitions are ignored.

batchset command is useful when performing refactorings with long configs, like restructurings:

pattern ${pycore}.create_module(${project}.root, ${name})

goal generate.create_module(${project}, ${name})

 from rope.contrib import generate

 pycore: type=rope.base.pycore.PyCore
 project: type=rope.base.project.Project

This is a valid batchset string for restructurings. When using batchset, you usually want to skip initial questions. That can be done by prefixing refactorings.

Just for the sake of completeness, the reverse of the above restructuring can be:

pattern ${create_module}(${project}, ${name})

goal ${project}.pycore.create_module(${project}.root, ${name})

 create_module: name=rope.contrib.generate.create_module
 project: type=rope.base.project.Project


Uses almost the same keybinding as ropeide. Note that global commands have a C-x p prefix and commands have a C-c r prefix. You can change that (see variables section).

These shortcut keys are enabled only when ropemacs-enable-shortcuts variable is non-nil:

Key Command
M-/ rope-code-assist
C-c g rope-goto-definition
C-c d rope-show-doc
C-c f rope-find-occurrences
M-? rope-lucky-assist

Enabling Autoimport

Rope can propose and automatically import global names in other modules. But this feature disabled by default. Before using them you should add:

(setq ropemacs-enable-autoimport 't)

to your ~/.emacs file. After enabling, rope maintains a cache of global names for each project. It updates the cache only when modules are changed; if you want to cache all your modules at once, use rope-generate-autoimport-cache. It will cache all of the modules inside a project plus those whose names are listed in ropemacs-autoimport-modules list:

# add the name of modules you want to autoimport
(setq ropemacs-autoimport-modules '("os" "shutil"))

Now if you are in a buffer that contains:


and you execute ropemacs-auto-import you'll end up with:

from shutil import rmtree

Also rope-code-assist and rope-lucky-assist propose auto-imported names by using name : module style. Selecting them will import the module automatically.


  • ropemacs-confirm-saving: If non-nil, you have to confirm saving all modified python files before refactorings; otherwise they are saved automatically. Defaults to t.
  • ropemacs-codeassist-maxfixes: The maximum number of syntax errors to fix for code assists. The default value is 1.
  • ropemacs-local-prefix: The prefix for ropemacs refactorings. Defaults to C-c r.
  • ropemacs-global-prefix: The prefix for ropemacs project commands Defaults to C-x p.
  • ropemacs-enable-shortcuts: Shows whether to bind ropemacs shortcuts keys. Defaults to t.
  • ropemacs-enable-autoimport: Shows whether to enable autoimport.
  • ropemacs-autoimport-modules: The name of modules whose global names should be cached. The `rope-generate-autoimport-cache' reads this list and fills its cache.


Send your bug reports, feature requests and patches to rope-dev (at) googlegroups.com.


This program is under the terms of GPL (GNU General Public License). Have a look at COPYING file for more information.