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git pre-commit hook for stripping output from IPython notebooks

View nbstripout
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#!/usr/bin/env python
"""strip outputs from an IPython Notebook
Opens a notebook, strips its output, and writes the outputless version to the original file.
Useful mainly as a git pre-commit hook for users who don't want to track output in VCS.
This does mostly the same thing as the `Clear All Output` command in the notebook UI.
import io
import sys
from IPython.nbformat import current
def strip_output(nb):
"""strip the outputs from a notebook object"""
nb.metadata.pop('signature', None)
for cell in nb.worksheets[0].cells:
if 'outputs' in cell:
cell['outputs'] = []
if 'prompt_number' in cell:
cell['prompt_number'] = None
return nb
if __name__ == '__main__':
filename = sys.argv[1]
with, 'r', encoding='utf8') as f:
nb =, 'json')
nb = strip_output(nb)
with, 'w', encoding='utf8') as f:
current.write(nb, f, 'json')
View nbstripout
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# strip output of IPython Notebooks
# add this as `.git/hooks/pre-commit`
# to run every time you commit a notebook
# requires `nbstripout` to be available on your PATH
if git rev-parse --verify HEAD >/dev/null 2>&1; then
# Initial commit: diff against an empty tree object
# Find notebooks to be committed
NBS=`git diff-index -z --cached $against --name-only | grep '.ipynb$' | uniq`
for NB in $NBS ; do
echo "Removing outputs from $NB"
nbstripout "$NB"
git add "$NB"
exec git diff-index --check --cached $against --

Or as a git filter instead:

(from @JanShulz)

Add this to your .git/config:

[filter "stripoutput"]
    clean = "/path/to/nbconvert/nbstripout"

and a .gitattributes file with

*.ipynb filter=stripoutput

for the git filter, I made the following changes to nbstripout:

nb =, 'json')
nb = strip_output(nb)
current.write(nb, sys.stdout, 'json')

To get it to work for me I hat to add -a to grep and remove the $ in the git hook. Dunno why, but now it works.

NBS=`git diff-index -z --cached $against --name-only | grep -a '.ipynb' | uniq`

Line 23 of pre-commit, one needs to replace
for NB in NBS
for NB in $NBS
and also to make the change of @sotte.

Any chance this will become part of nbconvert?

Is there any way to commit the stripped version but leave output in your working directory

On OS X 10.10, I couldn't get NBS=`git diff-index -z ... | grep ... to work with null character separators, so here's one workaround in bash:



while IFS= read -r -d '' file; do
    if [[ "$file" =~ $pat ]]; then
        printf 'Removing outputs from %q\n' "$file";
        nbstripout "$file"
        git add "$file"
done < <(git diff-index -z --cached $against --name-only)

In nbstripout I also made the following changes, though this probably depends on individual taste. Cell toggling isn't reset by clearing output in the notebook GUI, so toggle states may get versioned even if no output is present. Popping prompt_number matches notebook gui behavior (in IPython 2.4.1).

if 'prompt_number' in cell:
if 'collapsed' in cell:
    cell['collapsed'] = False

the pre-commit hook approach didn't work for me (the grep somehow found .py files, but only if there was a .ipynb in the commit..) but filter seems cleaner anyway. Here's what I did to get it working:

I modified cfriedline's nbstripout file slightly to give an informative error when you can't import the latest IPython:
And added it to my repo, lets say in ./relative/path/to/nbstripout

Also added the file .gitattributes file to the root of the repo, containing:

*.ipynb filter=stripoutput

And created a containing

git config filter.stripoutput.clean "$(git rev-parse --show-toplevel)/relative/path/to/nbstripout" 
git config filter.stripoutput.smudge cat
git config filter.stripoutput.required true

And ran source The fancy $(git rev-parse...) thing is to find the local path of your repo on any (Unix) machine.

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