rustfmt-nightly 0.3.0

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A tool for formatting Rust code according to style guidelines.

If you'd like to help out (and you should, it's a fun project!), see

We are changing the default style used by rustfmt. There is an ongoing RFC process. The last version using the old style was 0.8.6. From 0.9 onwards, the RFC style is the default. If you want the old style back, you can use legacy-rustfmt.toml as your rustfmt.toml.

The current master branch uses libsyntax (part of the compiler). It is published as rustfmt-nightly. The syntex branch uses Syntex instead of libsyntax, it is published (for now) as rustfmt. Most development happens on the master branch, however, this only supports nightly toolchains. If you use stable or beta Rust toolchains, you must use the Syntex version (which is likely to be a bit out of date). Version 0.1 of rustfmt-nightly is forked from version 0.9 of the syntex branch.

Quick start

You must be using the latest nightly compiler toolchain.

To install:

cargo install rustfmt-nightly

to run on a cargo project in the current working directory:

cargo fmt


cargo install rustfmt-nightly

or if you're using Rustup

rustup update
rustup run nightly cargo install rustfmt-nightly

If you don't have a nightly toolchain, you can add it using rustup:

rustup install nightly

You can make the nightly toolchain the default by running:

rustup default nightly

If you choose not to do that you'll have to run rustfmt using rustup run ... or by adding +nightly to the cargo invocation.

Usually cargo-fmt, which enables usage of Cargo subcommand cargo fmt, is installed alongside rustfmt. To only install rustfmt run

cargo install --no-default-features rustfmt-nightly

Installing from source

To install from source, first checkout to the tag or branch you want to install, then issue

cargo install --path  .

This will install rustfmt in your ~/.cargo/bin. Make sure to add ~/.cargo/bin directory to your PATH variable.


You can run Rustfmt by just typing rustfmt filename if you used cargo install. This runs rustfmt on the given file, if the file includes out of line modules, then we reformat those too. So to run on a whole module or crate, you just need to run on the root file (usually or Rustfmt can also read data from stdin. Alternatively, you can use cargo fmt to format all binary and library targets of your crate.

You'll probably want to specify the write mode. Currently, there are modes for diff, replace, overwrite, display, coverage, checkstyle, and plain.

  • overwrite Is the default and overwrites the original files without creating backups.
  • replace Overwrites the original files after creating backups of the files.
  • display Will print the formatted files to stdout.
  • plain Also writes to stdout, but with no metadata.
  • diff Will print a diff between the original files and formatted files to stdout. Will also exit with an error code if there are any differences.
  • checkstyle Will output the lines that need to be corrected as a checkstyle XML file, that can be used by tools like Jenkins.

The write mode can be set by passing the --write-mode flag on the command line. For example rustfmt --write-mode=display src/

cargo fmt uses --write-mode=overwrite by default.

If you want to restrict reformatting to specific sets of lines, you can use the --file-lines option. Its argument is a JSON array of objects with file and range properties, where file is a file name, and range is an array representing a range of lines like [7,13]. Ranges are 1-based and inclusive of both end points. Specifying an empty array will result in no files being formatted. For example,

rustfmt --file-lines '[

would format lines 7-13 and 21-29 of src/, and lines 10-11, and 15 of src/ No other files would be formatted, even if they are included as out of line modules from src/

If rustfmt successfully reformatted the code it will exit with 0 exit status. Exit status 1 signals some unexpected error, like an unknown option or a failure to read a file. Exit status 2 is returned if there are syntax errors in the input files. rustfmt can't format syntactically invalid code. Finally, exit status 3 is returned if there are some issues which can't be resolved automatically. For example, if you have a very long comment line rustfmt doesn't split it. Instead it prints a warning and exits with 3.

You can run rustfmt --help for more information.

Running Rustfmt from your editor

Checking style on a CI server

To keep your code base consistently formatted, it can be helpful to fail the CI build when a pull request contains unformatted code. Using --write-mode=diff instructs rustfmt to exit with an error code if the input is not formatted correctly. It will also print any found differences.

(These instructions use the Syntex version of Rustfmt. If you want to use the nightly version replace install rustfmt with install rustfmt-nightly, however you must then only run this with the nightly toolchain).

A minimal Travis setup could look like this:

language: rust
cache: cargo
- export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/.cargo/bin"
- which rustfmt || cargo install rustfmt
- cargo fmt -- --write-mode=diff
- cargo build
- cargo test

Note that using cache: cargo is optional but highly recommended to speed up the installation.

How to build and test

cargo build to build.

cargo test to run all tests.

To run rustfmt after this, use cargo run --bin rustfmt -- filename. See the notes above on running rustfmt.

Configuring Rustfmt

Rustfmt is designed to be very configurable. You can create a TOML file called rustfmt.toml or .rustfmt.toml, place it in the project or any other parent directory and it will apply the options in that file. See rustfmt --config-help for the options which are available, or if you prefer to see visual style previews,

By default, Rustfmt uses a style which conforms to the Rust style guide that has been formalized through the style RFC process.


  • For things you do not want rustfmt to mangle, use one of

    #[rustfmt_skip]  // requires nightly and #![feature(custom_attribute)] in crate root
    #[cfg_attr(rustfmt, rustfmt_skip)]  // works in stable
  • When you run rustfmt, place a file named rustfmt.toml or .rustfmt.toml in target file directory or its parents to override the default settings of rustfmt. You can generate a file containing the default configuration with rustfmt --dump-default-config rustfmt.toml and customize as needed.

  • After successful compilation, a rustfmt executable can be found in the target directory.

  • If you're having issues compiling Rustfmt (or compile errors when trying to install), make sure you have the most recent version of Rust installed.

  • If you get an error like error while loading shared libraries while starting up rustfmt you should try the following:

On Linux:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$(rustc --print sysroot)/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

On MacOS:

export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=$(rustc --print sysroot)/lib:$DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH

On Windows (Git Bash/Mingw):

export PATH=$(rustc --print sysroot)/lib/rustlib/x86_64-pc-windows-gnu/lib/:$PATH

(Substitute x86_64 by i686 and gnu by msvc depending on which version of rustc was used to install rustfmt).


Rustfmt is distributed under the terms of both the MIT license and the Apache License (Version 2.0).