[][src]Macro quote::quote

macro_rules! quote {
    ($($tt:tt)*) => { ... };

The whole point.

Performs variable interpolation against the input and produces it as TokenStream. For returning tokens to the compiler in a procedural macro, use into() to build a TokenStream.


Variable interpolation is done with #var (similar to $var in macro_rules! macros). This grabs the var variable that is currently in scope and inserts it in that location in the output tokens. Any type implementing the ToTokens trait can be interpolated. This includes most Rust primitive types as well as most of the syntax tree types from the Syn crate.

Repetition is done using #(...)* or #(...),* again similar to macro_rules!. This iterates through the elements of any variable interpolated within the repetition and inserts a copy of the repetition body for each one. The variables in an interpolation may be anything that implements IntoIterator, including Vec or a pre-existing iterator.

  • #(#var)* — no separators
  • #(#var),* — the character before the asterisk is used as a separator
  • #( struct #var; )* — the repetition can contain other tokens
  • #( #k => println!("{}", #v), )* — even multiple interpolations

There are two limitations around interpolations in a repetition:

  • Every interpolation inside of a repetition must be a distinct variable. That is, #(#a #a)* is not allowed. Work around this by collecting a into a vector and taking references a1 = &a and a2 = &a which you use inside the repetition: #(#a1 #a2)*. Where possible, use meaningful names that indicate the distinct role of each copy.

  • Every interpolation inside of a repetition must be iterable. If we have vec which is a vector and ident which is a single identifier, #(#ident #vec)* is not allowed. Work around this by using std::iter::repeat(ident) to produce an iterable that can be used from within the repetition.


Any interpolated tokens preserve the Span information provided by their ToTokens implementation. Tokens that originate within the quote! invocation are spanned with Span::call_site().

A different span can be provided through the quote_spanned! macro.

Return type

The macro evaluates to an expression of type proc_macro2::TokenStream. Meanwhile Rust procedural macros are expected to return the type proc_macro::TokenStream.

The difference between the two types is that proc_macro types are entirely specific to procedural macros and cannot ever exist in code outside of a procedural macro, while proc_macro2 types may exist anywhere including tests and non-macro code like main.rs and build.rs. This is why even the procedural macro ecosystem is largely built around proc_macro2, because that ensures the libraries are unit testable and accessible in non-macro contexts.

There is a From-conversion in both directions so returning the output of quote! from a procedural macro usually looks like tokens.into() or proc_macro::TokenStream::from(tokens).


Procedural macro

The structure of a basic procedural macro is as follows. Refer to the Syn crate for further useful guidance on using quote! as part of a procedural macro.

This code runs with edition 2018
extern crate proc_macro;

use proc_macro::TokenStream;
use quote::quote;

pub fn derive_heap_size(input: TokenStream) -> TokenStream {
    // Parse the input and figure out what implementation to generate...
    let name = /* ... */;
    let expr = /* ... */;

    let expanded = quote! {
        // The generated impl.
        impl heapsize::HeapSize for #name {
            fn heap_size_of_children(&self) -> usize {

    // Hand the output tokens back to the compiler.

Combining quoted fragments

Usually you don't end up constructing an entire final TokenStream in one piece. Different parts may come from different helper functions. The tokens produced by quote! themselves implement ToTokens and so can be interpolated into later quote! invocations to build up a final result.

This code runs with edition 2018
let type_definition = quote! {...};
let methods = quote! {...};

let tokens = quote! {

Constructing identifiers

Suppose we have an identifier ident which came from somewhere in a macro input and we need to modify it in some way for the macro output. Let's consider prepending the identifier with an underscore.

Simply interpolating the identifier next to an underscore will not have the behavior of concatenating them. The underscore and the identifier will continue to be two separate tokens as if you had written _ x.

This code runs with edition 2018
// incorrect
quote! {
    let mut _#ident = 0;

The solution is to perform token-level manipulations using the APIs provided by Syn and proc-macro2.

This code runs with edition 2018
let concatenated = format!("_{}", ident);
let varname = syn::Ident::new(&concatenated, ident.span());
quote! {
    let mut #varname = 0;

Making method calls

Let's say our macro requires some type specified in the macro input to have a constructor called new. We have the type in a variable called field_type of type syn::Type and want to invoke the constructor.

This code runs with edition 2018
// incorrect
quote! {
    let value = #field_type::new();

This works only sometimes. If field_type is String, the expanded code contains String::new() which is fine. But if field_type is something like Vec<i32> then the expanded code is Vec<i32>::new() which is invalid syntax. Ordinarily in handwritten Rust we would write Vec::<i32>::new() but for macros often the following is more convenient.

This code runs with edition 2018
quote! {
    let value = <#field_type>::new();

This expands to <Vec<i32>>::new() which behaves correctly.

A similar pattern is appropriate for trait methods.

This code runs with edition 2018
quote! {
    let value = <#field_type as core::default::Default>::default();