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How to Fix – NameError: name ‘textwrap’ is not defined

If you are a Python developer, you might have encountered the error message “NameError: name ‘textwrap’ is not defined” at some point in your coding journey. This error occurs when you try to use the textwrap module in your code, but Python cannot find it.

how to fix nameerror name textwrap is not defined in python

In this tutorial, we will discuss common causes of the “NameError: name ‘textwrap’ is not defined” error and how to fix it.

Why does the NameError: name 'textwrap' is not defined error occur?

This error occurs when you try to use the textwrap module in your Python code, but Python cannot find the textwrap module in its namespace. The following are some of the scenarios in which this error usually occurs.

  1. You have not imported the textwrap module.
  2. You have imported the textwrap module using a different name.

How to fix the NameError: name 'textwrap' is not defined?

The textwrap module in Python provides a simple way to format text for output in situations where pretty-printing is desired. It provides a set of functions for wrapping and formatting blocks of text to fit within a specified width while preserving paragraphs, indentation, and line breaks. This module is particularly useful for formatting text for display in command-line interfaces, log files, and other text-based output.

Since this module is part of the Python Standard Library, you don’t need to separately install it. You can simply import it and start using it.

Let’s now look at the above scenarios that may result into the above error in detail.

The textwrap module is not imported

It can happen that you are trying to use the textwrap module without even importing it. This is because Python does not recognize the textwrap library and its functions until it is imported into the code.

For example, let’s try to use the textwrap module without importing it and see what we get.

# note that the textwrap module is not imported 

# a large piece of text
text = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ut magna euismod, bibendum sapien vel, ultrices velit. Nulla facilisi. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien."

# shorten the text to a max width of 50 characters
shortened_text = textwrap.shorten(text, width=50, placeholder="...")

print(shortened_text)

Output:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
NameError                                 Traceback (most recent call last)
Cell In[1], line 7
      4 text = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ut magna euismod, bibendum sapien vel, ultrices velit. Nulla facilisi. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien."
      6 # shorten the text to a max width of 50 characters
----> 7 shortened_text = textwrap.shorten(text, width=50, placeholder="...")
      9 print(shortened_text)

NameError: name 'textwrap' is not defined

We get a NameError stating that the name textwrap is not defined. To use the textwrap library, you need to import it first.

import textwrap

# a large piece of text
text = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ut magna euismod, bibendum sapien vel, ultrices velit. Nulla facilisi. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien."

# shorten the text to a max width of 50 characters
shortened_text = textwrap.shorten(text, width=50, placeholder="...")

print(shortened_text)

Output:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur...

Here, we are importing the textwrap module first and then using it to format a long piece of text such that it is shortened to only 50 characters. You can see that we did not get any errors here.

The textwrap module is imported using a different name

If you import the array module using a different name, for example import textwrap as tw, and then try to use the name “textwrap” to use it, you will get a NameError because the name “textwrap” is not defined in your current namespace.

Let’s look at an example.

import textwrap as tw

# a large piece of text
text = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ut magna euismod, bibendum sapien vel, ultrices velit. Nulla facilisi. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien."

# shorten the text to a max width of 50 characters
shortened_text = textwrap.shorten(text, width=50, placeholder="...")

print(shortened_text)

Output:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
NameError                                 Traceback (most recent call last)
Cell In[1], line 7
      4 text = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ut magna euismod, bibendum sapien vel, ultrices velit. Nulla facilisi. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien."
      6 # shorten the text to a max width of 50 characters
----> 7 shortened_text = textwrap.shorten(text, width=50, placeholder="...")
      9 print(shortened_text)

NameError: name 'textwrap' is not defined

We get a NameError: name 'textwrap' is not defined. This is because we have imported the textwrap module with the name tw but we’re trying to use it using the name textwrap.

To fix this error, you can either access textwrap using the name that you have used in the import statement or import textwrap without an alias.

import textwrap as tw

# a large piece of text
text = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ut magna euismod, bibendum sapien vel, ultrices velit. Nulla facilisi. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien. Sed euismod, velit vel aliquet bibendum, sapien velit bibendum sapien, vel bibendum sapien velit vel sapien."

# shorten the text to a max width of 50 characters
shortened_text = tw.shorten(text, width=50, placeholder="...")

print(shortened_text)

Output:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur...

In the above example, we are importing datetime as tw and then using tw to access the textwrap module’s methods.

Alternatively, as seen in the example in the previous section, you can import textwrap without any aliases and simply use textwrap to avoid the NameError.

Conclusion

In conclusion, encountering a NameError: name 'textwrap' is not defined error can be frustrating, but it is a common issue that can be easily fixed. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you should now have a better understanding of what causes this error and how to resolve it. Remember to always check your code for typos and syntax errors, and to import any necessary modules before using them in your code. With these tips in mind, you should be able to tackle any NameError errors that come your way.

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Author

  • Piyush Raj

    Piyush is a data professional passionate about using data to understand things better and make informed decisions. He has experience working as a Data Scientist in the consulting domain and holds an engineering degree from IIT Roorkee. His hobbies include watching cricket, reading, and working on side projects.