Crate ratatui

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Ratatui is a crate for cooking up terminal user interfaces in Rust. It is a lightweight library that provides a set of widgets and utilities to build complex Rust TUIs. Ratatui was forked from the tui-rs crate in 2023 in order to continue its development.


Add ratatui as a dependency to your cargo.toml:

cargo add ratatui

Ratatui uses Crossterm by default as it works on most platforms. See the Installation section of the Ratatui Website for more details on how to use other backends (Termion / Termwiz).


Ratatui is based on the principle of immediate rendering with intermediate buffers. This means that for each frame, your app must render all widgets that are supposed to be part of the UI. This is in contrast to the retained mode style of rendering where widgets are updated and then automatically redrawn on the next frame. See the Rendering section of the Ratatui Website for more info.

You can also watch the FOSDEM 2024 talk about Ratatui which gives a brief introduction to terminal user interfaces and showcases the features of Ratatui, along with a hello world demo.

§Other documentation


The following example demonstrates the minimal amount of code necessary to setup a terminal and render “Hello World!”. The full code for this example which contains a little more detail is in the Examples directory. For more guidance on different ways to structure your application see the Application Patterns and Hello World tutorial sections in the Ratatui Website and the various Examples. There are also several starter templates available in the templates repository.

Every application built with ratatui needs to implement the following steps:

  • Initialize the terminal
  • A main loop to:
    • Handle input events
    • Draw the UI
  • Restore the terminal state

The library contains a prelude module that re-exports the most commonly used traits and types for convenience. Most examples in the documentation will use this instead of showing the full path of each type.

§Initialize and restore the terminal

The Terminal type is the main entry point for any Ratatui application. It is a light abstraction over a choice of Backend implementations that provides functionality to draw each frame, clear the screen, hide the cursor, etc. It is parametrized over any type that implements the Backend trait which has implementations for Crossterm, Termion and Termwiz.

Most applications should enter the Alternate Screen when starting and leave it when exiting and also enable raw mode to disable line buffering and enable reading key events. See the backend module and the Backends section of the Ratatui Website for more info.

§Drawing the UI

The drawing logic is delegated to a closure that takes a Frame instance as argument. The Frame provides the size of the area to draw to and allows the app to render any Widget using the provided render_widget method. After this closure returns, a diff is performed and only the changes are drawn to the terminal. See the Widgets section of the Ratatui Website for more info.

§Handling events

Ratatui does not include any input handling. Instead event handling can be implemented by calling backend library methods directly. See the Handling Events section of the Ratatui Website for more info. For example, if you are using Crossterm, you can use the crossterm::event module to handle events.


use std::io::{self, stdout};

use ratatui::{
        event::{self, Event, KeyCode},
            disable_raw_mode, enable_raw_mode, EnterAlternateScreen, LeaveAlternateScreen,

fn main() -> io::Result<()> {
    let mut terminal = Terminal::new(CrosstermBackend::new(stdout()))?;

    let mut should_quit = false;
    while !should_quit {
        should_quit = handle_events()?;


fn handle_events() -> io::Result<bool> {
    if event::poll(std::time::Duration::from_millis(50))? {
        if let Event::Key(key) = event::read()? {
            if key.kind == event::KeyEventKind::Press && key.code == KeyCode::Char('q') {
                return Ok(true);

fn ui(frame: &mut Frame) {
        Paragraph::new("Hello World!").block(Block::bordered().title("Greeting")),

Running this example produces the following output:



The library comes with a basic yet useful layout management object called Layout which allows you to split the available space into multiple areas and then render widgets in each area. This lets you describe a responsive terminal UI by nesting layouts. See the Layout section of the Ratatui Website for more info.

use ratatui::{prelude::*, widgets::*};

fn ui(frame: &mut Frame) {
    let main_layout = Layout::new(
        Block::new().borders(Borders::TOP).title("Title Bar"),
        Block::new().borders(Borders::TOP).title("Status Bar"),

    let inner_layout = Layout::new(
        [Constraint::Percentage(50), Constraint::Percentage(50)],
    frame.render_widget(Block::bordered().title("Left"), inner_layout[0]);
    frame.render_widget(Block::bordered().title("Right"), inner_layout[1]);

Running this example produces the following output:


§Text and styling

The Text, Line and Span types are the building blocks of the library and are used in many places. Text is a list of Lines and a Line is a list of Spans. A Span is a string with a specific style.

The style module provides types that represent the various styling options. The most important one is Style which represents the foreground and background colors and the text attributes of a Span. The style module also provides a Stylize trait that allows short-hand syntax to apply a style to widgets and text. See the Styling Text section of the Ratatui Website for more info.

use ratatui::{prelude::*, widgets::*};

fn ui(frame: &mut Frame) {
    let areas = Layout::new(

    let span1 = Span::raw("Hello ");
    let span2 = Span::styled(
    let span3 = "!".red().on_light_yellow().italic();

    let line = Line::from(vec![span1, span2, span3]);
    let text: Text = Text::from(vec![line]);

    frame.render_widget(Paragraph::new(text), areas[0]);
    // or using the short-hand syntax and implicit conversions
        Paragraph::new("Hello World!".red().on_white().bold()),

    // to style the whole widget instead of just the text
        Paragraph::new("Hello World!").style(Style::new().red().on_white()),
    // or using the short-hand syntax
    frame.render_widget(Paragraph::new("Hello World!").blue().on_yellow(), areas[3]);

Running this example produces the following output:



The crate provides a set of optional features that can be enabled in your cargo.toml file.

  • default — By default, we enable the crossterm backend as this is a reasonable choice for most applications as it is supported on Linux/Mac/Windows systems. We also enable the underline-color feature which allows you to set the underline color of text.

Generally an application will only use one backend, so you should only enable one of the following features:

The following optional features are available for all backends:

  • serde — enables serialization and deserialization of style and color types using the serde crate. This is useful if you want to save themes to a file.
  • macros — enables the border! macro.
  • palette — enables conversions from colors in the palette crate to Color.
  • all-widgets — enables all widgets.

Widgets that add dependencies are gated behind feature flags to prevent unused transitive dependencies. The available features are:

  • widget-calendar — enables the calendar widget module and adds a dependency on time.

The following optional features are only available for some backends:

  • underline-color (enabled by default) — enables the backend code that sets the underline color. Underline color is only supported by the CrosstermBackend backend, and is not supported on Windows 7.

The following features are unstable and may change in the future:




  • Assert that two buffers are equal by comparing their areas and content.
  • bordermacros
    Macro that constructs and returns a combination of the Borders object from TOP, BOTTOM, LEFT and RIGHT.



  • Represents the viewport of the terminal. The viewport is the area of the terminal that is currently visible to the user. It can be either fullscreen, inline or fixed.