XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a widely used format for exchanging data between different applications and systems. While XML is human-readable, it can be difficult to read and interpret large XML files without proper formatting. That's where an XML formatter comes in handy.

An XML formatter is a tool that automatically formats XML code to make it more readable and understandable for humans. XML formatters can help developers, data analysts, and other professionals who work with XML files to quickly analyze and understand their contents. In this article, we will explore what XML formatters are, how they work, and some of the best XML formatters available today.

What is an XML Formatter?

An XML formatter is a tool that takes raw XML code and automatically formats it in a structured and readable way. XML formatters typically use indentation, line breaks, and other formatting options to make the XML code easier to read and understand. Some XML formatters also provide syntax highlighting to make the different elements of the XML code more visually distinct.

XML formatters can be used to format XML files of any size, from small configuration files to large data sets. They can also be used to validate XML code, ensuring that it conforms to a specific schema or DTD (Document Type Definition).

How to use XML Formatter?

How Does an XML Formatter Work?

An XML formatter works by analyzing the structure of the XML code and applying formatting rules to make it more readable. The formatting rules used by an XML formatter typically include:

  1. Indentation: Indenting elements of XML code can make it easier to see the hierarchical structure of the document. Most XML formatters will automatically indent elements based on their nesting level.

  2. Line Breaks: Breaking up XML code into multiple lines can make it easier to read, especially for long or complex documents. XML formatters will typically insert line breaks at appropriate points to break up the code into more manageable chunks.

  3. Syntax Highlighting: Syntax highlighting can make different elements of XML code more visually distinct, helping to identify different types of elements such as tags, attributes, and values.

  4. Whitespace: Adding whitespace to XML code can also make it more readable. XML formatters will typically add spaces between elements and attributes to make the code easier to scan.

  5. Validation: Some XML formatters can also validate XML code, ensuring that it conforms to a specific schema or DTD. Validation can help catch errors and ensure that the XML code will work correctly with other applications and systems.

Best XML Formatter Tools

There are many XML formatter tools available today, both online and as standalone applications. Here are some of the best XML formatter tools available:

  1. XML Formatter Online: This is a free online tool that allows you to format XML code quickly and easily. It provides options to control indentation, line breaks, and syntax highlighting. XML Formatter Online also includes a validator that checks your XML code against a schema or DTD.

  2. Notepad++: Notepad++ is a free source code editor that includes an XML formatter plugin. The plugin provides syntax highlighting and automatic indentation for XML code, making it easier to read and edit.

  3. XML Notepad: XML Notepad is a free standalone application for Windows that allows you to view and edit XML documents. It includes a formatter tool that automatically formats XML code for better readability.

  4. Oxygen XML Editor: Oxygen XML Editor is a professional XML editor that includes a powerful formatting engine. The editor provides a wide range of formatting options, including indentation, line breaks, syntax highlighting, and validation. Oxygen XML Editor is a paid tool but offers a free trial.

  5. Eclipse XML Editor: Eclipse XML Editor is a free plugin for the Eclipse IDE that provides a range of XML editing tools, including a formatter. The formatter provides indentation and line breaks to improve readability.

Benefits of Using an XML Formatter

There are several benefits to using an XML formatter, including:

  1. Improved Readability: XML formatters can make XML code more readable and easier to understand. By formatting the code with indentation, line breaks, and whitespace, it becomes easier to see the structure and hierarchy of the XML document.

  2. Time-Saving: An XML formatter can save time when working with large XML documents. By automatically formatting the code, the user doesn't have to spend time manually adjusting the formatting of the code.

  3. Increased Accuracy: XML formatters can help catch errors in the XML code. By validating the code against a schema or DTD, it can identify errors that could cause issues when processing the XML data.

  4. Improved Collaboration: XML formatters can also improve collaboration among team members. When XML documents are formatted consistently, it can be easier for team members to review and understand the code, even if they didn't create it themselves.

  5. Better Integration: XML formatters can help ensure that XML code integrates correctly with other applications and systems. By validating the code and ensuring that it follows a specific structure, it can help prevent issues when working with other XML-based systems.


In conclusion, an XML formatter is an essential tool for anyone who works with XML files. It can improve the readability, accuracy, and efficiency of working with XML code. There are several XML formatter tools available, ranging from free online tools to paid professional editors. By using an XML formatter, users can save time and improve the accuracy and collaboration of their work.