Skip to content


at build time

The preferred way to configure setuptools_scm is to author settings in the tool.setuptools_scm section of pyproject.toml.

It's necessary to use a setuptools version released after 2022.

requires = ["setuptools>=64", "setuptools_scm>=8"]
build-backend = "setuptools.build_meta"

# version = "0.0.1"  # Remove any existing version parameter.
dynamic = ["version"]

# can be empty if no extra settings are needed, presence enables setuptools_scm

That will be sufficient to require setuptools_scm for projects that support PEP 518 (pip and pep517). Tools that still invoke must ensure build requirements are installed

version files

version_file = "pkg/"
Where pkg is the name of your package.

$ python -m setuptools_scm

# To explore other options, try:
$ python -m setuptools_scm --help

as cli tool

If you need to confirm which version string is being generated or debug the configuration, you can install setuptools-scm directly in your working environment and run:

$ python -m setuptools_scm # example from running local after changes

and to list all tracked by the scm:

$ python -m setuptools_scm ls # output trimmed for brevity

committed files only

currently only committed files are listed, this might change in the future

sdists/archives don't provide file lists

currently there is no builtin mechanism to safely transfer the file lists to sdists or obtaining them from archives coordination for setuptools and hatch is ongoing

at runtime (strongly discouraged)

the most simple looking way to use setuptools_scm at runtime is:

from setuptools_scm import get_version
version = get_version()

In order to use setuptools_scm from code that is one directory deeper than the project's root, you can use:

from setuptools_scm import get_version
version = get_version(root='..', relative_to=__file__)

Python package metadata

version at runtime

If you have opted not to hardcode the version number inside the package, you can retrieve it at runtime from PEP-0566 metadata using importlib.metadata from the standard library (added in Python 3.8) or the importlib_metadata backport:

from importlib.metadata import version, PackageNotFoundError

    __version__ = version("package-name")
except PackageNotFoundError:
    # package is not installed

Usage from Sphinx

file: docs/.entangled/
from importlib.metadata import version as get_version
release: str = get_version("package-name")
# for example take major/minor
version: str = ".".join(release.split('.')[:2])

The underlying reason is that services like Read the Docs sometimes change the working directory for good reasons and using the installed metadata prevents using needless volatile data there.

with Docker/Podman

In some situations, Docker may not copy the .git into the container when building images. Because of this, builds with version inference may fail.

The following snippet exposes the external .git directory without copying. This allows the version to be inferred properly form inside the container without copying the entire .git folder into the container image.

RUN --mount=source=.git,target=.git,type=bind \
    pip install --no-cache-dir -e .
However, this build step introduces a dependency to the state of your local .git folder the build cache and triggers the long-running pip install process on every build. To optimize build caching, one can use an environment variable to pretend a pseudo version that is used to cache the results of the pip install process:

FROM python
COPY pyproject.toml
ARG PSEUDO_VERSION=1 # strongly recommended to update based on git describe
RUN --mount=source=.git,target=.git,type=bind pip install -e .

Note that running this Dockerfile requires docker with BuildKit enabled docs.

To avoid BuildKit and mounting of the .git folder altogether, one can also pass the desired version as a build argument. Note that SETUPTOOLS_SCM_PRETEND_VERSION_FOR_${NORMALIZED_DIST_NAME} is preferred over SETUPTOOLS_SCM_PRETEND_VERSION.

Default versioning scheme

In the standard configuration setuptools_scm takes a look at three things:

  1. latest tag (with a version number)
  2. the distance to this tag (e.g. number of revisions since latest tag)
  3. workdir state (e.g. uncommitted changes since latest tag)

and uses roughly the following logic to render the version:

distance state format
no unchanged {tag}
yes unchanged {next_version}.dev{distance}+{scm letter}{revision hash}
no changed {tag}+dYYYYMMDD
yes changed {next_version}.dev{distance}+{scm letter}{revision hash}.dYYYYMMDD

where {next_version} is the next version number after the latest tag

The next version is calculated by adding 1 to the last numeric component of the tag.

For Git projects, the version relies on git describe, so you will see an additional g prepended to the {revision hash}.


According to PEP 440, if a version includes a local component, the package cannot be published to public package indexes like PyPI or TestPyPI. The disallowed version segments may be seen in auto-publishing workflows or when a configuration mistake is made.

However, some package indexes such as devpi or other alternatives allow local versions. Local version identifiers must comply with [PEP 440].

Semantic Versioning (SemVer)

Due to the default behavior it's necessary to always include a patch version (the 3 in 1.2.3), or else the automatic guessing will increment the wrong part of the SemVer (e.g. tag 2.0 results in 2.1.devX instead of 2.0.1.devX). So please make sure to tag accordingly.

Builtin mechanisms for obtaining version numbers

  1. the SCM itself (Git/Mercurial)
  2. .hg_archival files (Mercurial archives)
  3. .git_archival.txt files (Git archives, see subsection below)

Git archives

Git archives are supported, but a few changes to your repository are required.

Ensure the content of the following files:

file: .git_archival.txt
node: $Format:%H$
node-date: $Format:%cI$
describe-name: $Format:%(describe:tags=true,match=*[0-9]*)$

Feel free to alter the match field in describe-name to match your project's tagging style.


If your git host provider does not properly expand describe-name, you may need to include ref-names: $Format:%D$. But beware, this can often lead to the git archive's checksum changing after a commit is added post-release. See this issue for more details.

file: .gitattributes
.git_archival.txt  export-subst

Finally, don't forget to commit the two files:

$ git add .git_archival.txt .gitattributes && git commit -m "add export config"

Note that if you are creating a file, note that it should not be kept in version control. It's strongly recommended to be put into gitignore.

File finders hook makes most of unnecessary

setuptools_scm implements a file_finders entry point which returns all files tracked by your SCM. This eliminates the need for a manually constructed in most cases where this would be required when not using setuptools_scm, namely:

  • To ensure all relevant files are packaged when running the sdist command.
  • When using include_package_data to include package data as part of the build or bdist_wheel. may still be used: anything defined there overrides the hook. This is mostly useful to exclude files tracked in your SCM from packages, although in principle it can be used to explicitly include non-tracked files too.