Running code in the editor

What is @tool?

@tool is a powerful line of code that, when added at the top of your script, makes it execute in the editor. You can also decide which parts of the script execute in the editor, which in game, and which in both.

You can use it for doing many things, but it is mostly useful in level design for visually presenting things that are hard to predict ourselves. Here are some use cases:

  • If you have a cannon that shoots cannonballs affected by physics (gravity), you can draw the cannonball's trajectory in the editor, making level design a lot easier.

  • If you have jumppads with varying jump heights, you can draw the maximum jump height a player would reach if it jumped on one, also making level design easier.

  • If your player doesn't use a sprite, but draws itself using code, you can make that drawing code execute in the editor to see your player.


@tool scripts run inside the editor, and let you access the scene tree of the currently edited scene. This is a powerful feature which also comes with caveats, as the editor does not include protections for potential misuse of @tool scripts. Be extremely cautious when manipulating the scene tree, especially via Node.queue_free, as it can cause crashes if you free a node while the editor runs logic involving it.

How to use it

To turn a script into a tool, add the @tool annotation at the top of your code.

To check if you are currently in the editor, use: Engine.is_editor_hint().

For example, if you want to execute some code only in the editor, use:

if Engine.is_editor_hint():
    # Code to execute when in editor.

On the other hand, if you want to execute code only in game, simply negate the same statement:

if not Engine.is_editor_hint():
    # Code to execute when in game.

Pieces of code do not have either of the 2 conditions above will run both in-editor and in-game.

Here is how a _process() function might look for you:

func _process(delta):
    if Engine.is_editor_hint():
        # Code to execute in editor.

    if not Engine.is_editor_hint():
        # Code to execute in game.

    # Code to execute both in editor and in game.


Modifications in the editor are permanent. For example, in the following case, when we remove the script, the node will keep its rotation. Be careful to avoid making unwanted modifications.

Try it out

Add a Sprite2D node to your scene and set the texture to Godot icon. Attach and open a script, and change it to this:

extends Sprite2D

func _process(delta):
    rotation += PI * delta

Save the script and return to the editor. You should now see your object rotate. If you run the game, it will also rotate.



If you don't see the changes, reload the scene (close it and open it again).

Now let's choose which code runs when. Modify your _process() function to look like this:

func _process(delta):
    if Engine.is_editor_hint():
        rotation += PI * delta
        rotation -= PI * delta