Conditional compilation

ConfigurationPredicate :
   | ConfigurationAll
   | ConfigurationAny
   | ConfigurationNot

ConfigurationOption :

   all ( ConfigurationPredicateList? )

   any ( ConfigurationPredicateList? )

   not ( ConfigurationPredicate )

   ConfigurationPredicate (, ConfigurationPredicate)* ,?

Conditionally compiled source code is source code that may or may not be considered a part of the source code depending on certain conditions. Source code can be conditionally compiled using the attributes cfg and cfg_attr and the built-in cfg macro. These conditions are based on the target architecture of the compiled crate, arbitrary values passed to the compiler, and a few other miscellaneous things further described below in detail.

Each form of conditional compilation takes a configuration predicate that evaluates to true or false. The predicate is one of the following:

  • A configuration option. It is true if the option is set and false if it is unset.
  • all() with a comma separated list of configuration predicates. It is false if at least one predicate is false. If there are no predicates, it is true.
  • any() with a comma separated list of configuration predicates. It is true if at least one predicate is true. If there are no predicates, it is false.
  • not() with a configuration predicate. It is true if its predicate is false and false if its predicate is true.

Configuration options are names and key-value pairs that are either set or unset. Names are written as a single identifier such as, for example, unix. Key-value pairs are written as an identifier, =, and then a string. For example, target_arch = "x86_64" is a configuration option.

Note: Whitespace around the = is ignored. foo="bar" and foo = "bar" are equivalent configuration options.

Keys are not unique in the set of key-value configuration options. For example, both feature = "std" and feature = "serde" can be set at the same time.

Set Configuration Options

Which configuration options are set is determined statically during the compilation of the crate. Certain options are compiler-set based on data about the compilation. Other options are arbitrarily-set, set based on input passed to the compiler outside of the code. It is not possible to set a configuration option from within the source code of the crate being compiled.

Note: For rustc, arbitrary-set configuration options are set using the --cfg flag.

Note: Configuration options with the key feature are a convention used by Cargo for specifying compile-time options and optional dependencies.

Warning: It is possible for arbitrarily-set configuration options to have the same value as compiler-set configuration options. For example, it is possible to do rustc --cfg "unix" while compiling to a Windows target, and have both unix and windows configuration options set at the same time. It is unwise to actually do this.


Key-value option set once with the target's CPU architecture. The value is similar to the first element of the platform's target triple, but not identical.

Example values:

  • "x86"
  • "x86_64"
  • "mips"
  • "powerpc"
  • "powerpc64"
  • "arm"
  • "aarch64"


Key-value option set for each platform feature available for the current compilation target.

Example values:

  • "avx"
  • "avx2"
  • "crt-static"
  • "rdrand"
  • "sse"
  • "sse2"
  • "sse4.1"

See the target_feature attribute for more details on the available features. An additional feature of crt-static is available to the target_feature option to indicate that a static C runtime is available.


Key-value option set once with the target's operating system. This value is similar to the second and third element of the platform's target triple.

Example values:

  • "windows"
  • "macos"
  • "ios"
  • "linux"
  • "android"
  • "freebsd"
  • "dragonfly"
  • "openbsd"
  • "netbsd"


Key-value option providing a more generic description of a target, such as the family of the operating systems or architectures that the target generally falls into. Any number of target_family key-value pairs can be set.

Example values:

  • "unix"
  • "windows"
  • "wasm"

unix and windows

unix is set if target_family = "unix" is set and windows is set if target_family = "windows" is set.


Key-value option set with further disambiguating information about the target platform with information about the ABI or libc used. For historical reasons, this value is only defined as not the empty-string when actually needed for disambiguation. Thus, for example, on many GNU platforms, this value will be empty. This value is similar to the fourth element of the platform's target triple. One difference is that embedded ABIs such as gnueabihf will simply define target_env as "gnu".

Example values:

  • ""
  • "gnu"
  • "msvc"
  • "musl"
  • "sgx"


Key-value option set once with either a value of "little" or "big" depending on the endianness of the target's CPU.


Key-value option set once with the target's pointer width in bits.

Example values:

  • "16"
  • "32"
  • "64"


Key-value option set once with the vendor of the target.

Example values:

  • "apple"
  • "fortanix"
  • "pc"
  • "unknown"


Key-value option set for each bit width that the target supports atomic loads, stores, and compare-and-swap operations.

When this cfg is present, all of the stable core::sync::atomic APIs are available for the relevant atomic width.

Possible values:

  • "8"
  • "16"
  • "32"
  • "64"
  • "128"
  • "ptr"


Enabled when compiling the test harness. Done with rustc by using the --test flag. See Testing for more on testing support.


Enabled by default when compiling without optimizations. This can be used to enable extra debugging code in development but not in production. For example, it controls the behavior of the standard library's debug_assert! macro.


Set when the crate being compiled is being compiled with the proc_macro crate type.


Key-value option set depending on the panic strategy. Note that more values may be added in the future.

Example values:

  • "abort"
  • "unwind"

Forms of conditional compilation

The cfg attribute

CfgAttrAttribute :
   cfg ( ConfigurationPredicate )

The cfg attribute conditionally includes the thing it is attached to based on a configuration predicate.

It is written as cfg, (, a configuration predicate, and finally ).

If the predicate is true, the thing is rewritten to not have the cfg attribute on it. If the predicate is false, the thing is removed from the source code.

When a crate-level cfg has a false predicate, the behavior is slightly different: any crate attributes preceding the cfg are kept, and any crate attributes following the cfg are removed. This allows #![no_std] and #![no_core] crates to avoid linking std/core even if a #![cfg(...)] has removed the entire crate.

Some examples on functions:

fn main() {
// The function is only included in the build when compiling for macOS
#[cfg(target_os = "macos")]
fn macos_only() {
  // ...

// This function is only included when either foo or bar is defined
#[cfg(any(foo, bar))]
fn needs_foo_or_bar() {
  // ...

// This function is only included when compiling for a unixish OS with a 32-bit
// architecture
#[cfg(all(unix, target_pointer_width = "32"))]
fn on_32bit_unix() {
  // ...

// This function is only included when foo is not defined
fn needs_not_foo() {
  // ...

// This function is only included when the panic strategy is set to unwind
#[cfg(panic = "unwind")]
fn when_unwinding() {
  // ...


The cfg attribute is allowed anywhere attributes are allowed.

The cfg_attr attribute

CfgAttrAttribute :
   cfg_attr ( ConfigurationPredicate , CfgAttrs? )

CfgAttrs :
   Attr (, Attr)* ,?

The cfg_attr attribute conditionally includes attributes based on a configuration predicate.

When the configuration predicate is true, this attribute expands out to the attributes listed after the predicate. For example, the following module will either be found at or based on the target.

#[cfg_attr(target_os = "linux", path = "")]
#[cfg_attr(windows, path = "")]
mod os;

Zero, one, or more attributes may be listed. Multiple attributes will each be expanded into separate attributes. For example:

#[cfg_attr(feature = "magic", sparkles, crackles)]
fn bewitched() {}

// When the `magic` feature flag is enabled, the above will expand to:
fn bewitched() {}

Note: The cfg_attr can expand to another cfg_attr. For example, #[cfg_attr(target_os = "linux", cfg_attr(feature = "multithreaded", some_other_attribute))] is valid. This example would be equivalent to #[cfg_attr(all(target_os = "linux", feature ="multithreaded"), some_other_attribute)].

The cfg_attr attribute is allowed anywhere attributes are allowed.

The cfg macro

The built-in cfg macro takes in a single configuration predicate and evaluates to the true literal when the predicate is true and the false literal when it is false.

For example:

fn main() {
let machine_kind = if cfg!(unix) {
} else if cfg!(windows) {
} else {

println!("I'm running on a {} machine!", machine_kind);