• Is formatting done primarily to illuminate the logical structure of the code?
  • Can the formatting scheme be used consistently?
  • Does the formatting scheme result in code that's easy to maintain?
  • Does the formatting scheme improve code readability?

Control Structures

  • Does the code avoid doubly indenting begin/end pairs?
  • Are sequential blocks separated with blank lines?
  • Are complicated boolean expressions formatted for readability?
  • Are single-statement blocks formatted consistently?
  • Are case statements formatted in a way that's consistent with the formatting of other control structures?
  • Have gotos been formatted in a way that makes their use obvious?

Individual Statements

  • Do incomplete statements end the line in a way that's obviously incorrect?
  • Are continuation lines indented sensibly?
  • Are groups of related statements aligned?
  • Are groups of unrelated statements unaligned?
  • Does each line contain—at most—one statement?
  • Is each statement written without side effects?
  • Are data declarations aligned?
  • Is there--at most--one data declaration per line?


  • Are the comments indented the same as the code?
  • Is the commenting style easy to maintain?


  • Are the arguments to each routine formatted so that each argument is easy to read, modify, and comment?
  • In C, are new-style routine declarations used?
  • In Fortran, are parameters declared separately from local variables?

Files, Modules, and Programs

  • Does each file hold code for one and only one module?
  • Are routines within a file clearly separated with blank lines?
  • If a file does contain multiple modules, are all the routines in each module grouped together and is the module clearly identified?
  • Alternatively, are all routines in alphabetical sequence?