Rust Language Cheat Sheet

Contains clickable links to The Book BK, Rust by Example EX, Std Docs STD, Nomicon NOM, Reference REF. Furthermore, entries are marked as largely deprecated 🗑️, have a minimum edition '18. or are bad .

The latest version of this document can be found at

Data Structures

Define data types and memory locations, and use them.

Example Explanation
struct S {} Define a struct, BK EX STD REF with named fields.
     struct S() Define "tupled" struct with numbered fields .0, .1, ...
     struct S; Define zero sized unit struct.
enum E {} Define an enum BK EX REF , c. algebraic data types, tagged unions.
     enum E { A, C {} } Define variants of enum; can be unit- A, tuple- B() and struct-like C{}.
     enum E { A = 1 } If variants are only unit-like, allow discriminants values, e.g., for FFI.
union U {} Unsafe C-like union REF for FFI compatibility.
static X: T = x; Global variable BK EX REF with 'static lifetime, single memory location.
const X: T = x; Define inlineable constant, BK EX REF. Inlined values are mutable!!!
let x; Variable binding ? that can't be changed or &mut'ed.
let mut x; Same, but allow for change or mutable borrow.
Example Explanation
S { x: y } Create struct S {} or use'ed enum E::S {} with field x set to y.
S { x } Same, but use local variable x for field x.
S { ..s } Fill remaining fields from s, esp. useful with Default.
S(x) Create struct S(T) or use'ed enum E::S() with field .0 set to x.
S If S is unit struct S; or use'ed enum E::S create value of S.
E::C { x: y } Create enum variant C. Other methods above also work.
() Empty tuple, both literal and type, aka unit STD
(x) Parenthesized expression.
(x,) Single-element tuple expression. EX STD REF
(T,) Single-element tuple type.
[T; n] Array type EX STD with n elements of type T.
[x; n] Array with n copies of x. REF
[x, y] Array with given elements.
x[0] Collection indexing. Overloadable Index, IndexMut
x[..] Collection slice-like indexing via RangeFull, c. slices STD EX REF
x[a..] Collection slice-like indexing via RangeFrom.
x[..b] Collection slice-like indexing RangeTo.
x[a..b] Collection slice-like indexing via Range.
a..b Right-exclusive range REF creation, also seen as .., a.., ..b.
a..=b Inclusive range creation, also seen as ..=b.
x.i Member access. REF
x.0 Tuple access

References & Pointers

Granting access to un-owned memory. Also see section on Generics & Constraints.

Example Explanation
&t Immutable borrow BK EX STD (i.e., an actual "pointer to t", like 0x1234).
&T Immutable reference BK STD NOM REF (i.e., safe pointer type holding any &t).
&mut t Borrow that allows mutability. EX
&mut T Reference that allows mutability.
*const T Immutable raw pointer type BK STD REF.
*mut T Mutable raw pointer type.
ref t Bind by reference. BK EX 🗑️
*x Dereference. BK STD NOM
'static Lifetime lasting the entire program execution.
'a Often seen as &'a T, a lifetime parameter. BK EX NOM REF

Functions & Behavior

Define units of code and their abstractions.

Sigil Explanation
trait T {} Define a trait. BK EX REF
trait T : R {} T is subtrait of supertrait REF R. Any S must impl R before it can impl T.
impl S {} Implementation REF of functionality for a type S.
impl T for S {} Implement trait T for type S.
impl !T for S {} Disable an automatically derived auto trait NOM REF.
fn f() {} Definition of a function BK EX REF; or associated function if inside impl.
     fn f() -> T {} Same, returning a type T.
     fn f(&self) {} Define a method as part of an impl.
fn() -> T Function pointers, BK STD REF don't confuse with traits Fn, FnOnce, FnMut.
|| {} A closure BK EX REF that borrows its captures.
     |x| {} Closure with a bound parameter x.
     |x| x + x Closure without block expression.
     move |x| x + y Closure taking ownership of its captures.
     return || true Closures may sometimes look like logical ORs (here: return a closure).
x.f() Call member function, requires f takes self, &self, ... as first argument.
     X::f(x) Same as x.f(). Unless impl Copy for X {}, f can only be called once.
     X::f(&x) Same as x.f().
     X::f(&mut x) Same as x.f().
     S::f(&x) Same as x.f() if X derefs to S (i.e., x.f() finds methods of S).
     T::f(&x) Same as x.f() if X impl T (i.e., x.f() finds methods of T if in scope).
X::f() Call associated function, e.g., X::new().
     <X as T>::f() Call T::f() implemented for X.
unsafe {} Marker for unsafe code. BK EX NOM REF that will probably segfa#%$@.

Control Flow

Control execution within a function.

Sigil Explanation
while x {} Loop REF, run while expression x is true.
loop {} Loop infinitely REF until break. Can yield value with break x.
for x in iter {} Syntactic sugar to loop over iterators. BK STD REF
if x {} else {} Conditional branch REF if expression is true.
'label: loop {} Loop label EX REF, useful for flow control in nested loops.
break Break expression REF to exit a loop.
     break x Same, but make x value of the loop expression (only in actual loop).
     break 'label Exit not only this loop, but the enclosing one marked with 'label.
continue Continue expression REF to the next loop iteration of this loop.
continue 'label Same, but instead of enclosing loop marked with 'label.
return x Early return from function. More idiomatic way is to end with expression.
x? If x is Result::Err or Option::None, return and propagate. BK EX STD REF

Organizing Code

Segment projects into smaller units and minimize dependencies.

Sigil Explanation
mod m {} Define a module. BK EX REF
a::b Namespace path BK EX REF to element b within a (mod, enum, ...).
     ::x Search x relative to crate root. 🗑️
     crate::x Search x relative to crate root. '18
     self::x Search x relative to current module.
     super::x Search x relative to parent module.
use a::b; Use EX REF b directly in this scope without requiring a anymore.
use a::{b, c}; Same, but bring b and c into scope.
use a::*; Bring everything from a into scope and reexport.
pub use a::b; Bring a::b into scope and reexport from here.
pub T "Public if parent path public" visibility BK EX REF for T.
     pub(crate) T Visible at most in current crate.
     pub(self) T Visible at most in current module.
     pub(super) T Visible at most in parent.
     pub(in a::b) T Visible at most in a::b.
extern crate x; Declare dependency on external crate BK EX REF 🗑️ ; just use x::f in '18.
extern "C" fn External dependency for FFI. BK EX NOM REF

Type Aliases and Casts

Short-hand names of types, and methods to convert one type to another.

Sigil Explanation
type T = S; Create a type alias BK REF, i.e., another name for S.
Self Type alias for implementing type REF, e.g. fn new() -> Self.
self Method subject in fn f(self) {}, same as fn f(self: Self) {}.
     &self Same, but refers to self as borrowed, same as f(self: &Self)
     &mut self Same, but mutably borrowed, same as f(self: &mut Self)
     self: Box<Self> Arbitrary self type, add methods to smart pointers (my_box.f_of_self()).
S as T Disambiguate BK REF type S as trait T.
x as u32 Primitive cast EX REF, may truncate and be a bit surprising. NOM

Code Generation

Constructs expanded before the actual compilation happens.

Example Explanation
m!() Macro BK STD REF invocation, also m!{}, m![] (depending on macro).
$x:ty Macro capture, also $x:expr, $x:ty, $x:path, ... REF
$x Macro substitution in macros by example. BK EX REF
$(x),* Macro repetition "zero or more times" in macros by example.
     $(x),+ Same, but "one or more times".
     $(x)<<+ In fact separators other than , are also accepted. Here: <<.
$crate Special hygiene variable, crate where macros is defined. ?
#[attr] Outer attribute. EX REF, annotating the following item.
#![attr] Inner attribute, annotating the surrounding item.

Pattern Matching

These constructs are found in match or let expressions.

Example Explanation
match m {} Initiate pattern matching. BK EX REF
E::A => {} Match enum variant A, c. pattern matching. BK EX REF
E::B ( .. ) => {} Match enum tuple variant B, wildcard any index.
E::C { .. } => {} Match enum struct variant C, wildcard any field.
S { x: 0, y: 1 } => {} Match struct with specific params.
S { x, y } => {} Match struct with any values for fields x and y.
S { .. } => {} Match struct with any values.
D => {} Match enum variant E::D if D in use.
D => {} Match anything, bind D; ⚡ possibly false friend of E::D if D not in use.
_ => {} Proper wildcard that matches anything / "all the rest".
[a, 0] => {} Match array with any value for a and 0 for second.
(a, 0) => {} Match tuple with any value for a and 0 for second.
x @ 1 .. 5 => {} Bind matched to x; pattern binding BK EX.
0 | 1 => {} Pattern alternatives (or-patterns).
S { x } if x > 10 Pattern match guards. BK EX
Example Explanation
let Some(x) = Some(5) Notably, let also pattern matches similar to the table above.
     let S { x } = s Only x will be bound to value s.x.
     let (_, b, _) = abc Only b will be bound to value abc.1.
     let (a, ..) = abc Ignoring 'the rest' also works.
     let Some(x) = get() ⚡ Will not work if pattern can be 'refuted', use if let instead.
if let Some(x) = get() Branch if pattern can actually be assigned REF (e.g., enum variant).
fn f(S { x }: S) Function parameters also work like let, here x bound to s.x of f(s).

Generics & Constraints

Generics combine with many other constructs such as struct S<T>, fn f<T>(), ...

Example Explanation
S<T> A generic BK EX type with a type parameter (T is placeholder name).
S<T: R> Type short hand trait bound BK EX specification (R must be trait).
     T: R + S Compound type bound BK EX, also seen as T: R + 'a
     T: ?Sized Opt out of a pre-defined trait bound Sized. ?
     T: 'a Type lifetime bound EX, all references in T must outlive 'a.
     'b: 'a Lifetime 'b must live at least as long as (i.e., outlives) 'a bound.
S<T> where T: R Same as S<T: R> but easier for longer bounds.
S<T = R> Default type parameter BK for associated type.
S<'_> Inferred anonymous lifetime. BK
S<_> Inferred anonymous type. ?
S::<T> Turbofish STD call site type disambiguation, e.g. f::<u32>().
trait T { type X; } Defines an associated type BK REF X for trait T.
     type X = R; Set associated type within impl T for S { type X = R; }.
impl<T> S<T> {} Implement functionality for any T in S<T>.
impl S<T> {} Implement functionality for exactly S<T> (e.g., S<u32>).
fn f() -> impl T Existential types BK, returns an unknown-to-caller S that impl T.
fn f(x: &impl T) Trait bound,"impl traits" BK, somewhat similar to fn f<S:T>(x: &S).
fn f(x: &dyn T) Marker for dynamic dispatch BK REF, f will not be monomorphized.
for<'a> Higher-rank trait bounds. NOM REF

Strings & Chars

Rust has several ways to create string or char literals, depending on your needs.

Example Explanation
"..." String literal REF, will escape \n, ...
r"...", Raw string literal. REF, won't escape \n, ...
r#"..."#, etc. Raw string literal, but can also contain ".
b"..." Byte string literal REF; constructs ASCII [u8], not a string.
br"...", br#"..."#, etc. Raw byte string literal, combination of the above.
'🦀' Character literal REF, can contain unicode.
b'x' ASCII byte literal. REF


No comment.

Example Explanation
// Line comment.
//! Inner line doc comment. BK EX REF
/// Outer line doc comment.
/*...*/ Block comment.
/*!...*/ Inner block doc comment.
/**...*/ Outer block doc comment.


These sigils did not fit any other category but are good to know nonetheless.

Example Explanation
! Always empty never type. BK EX STD REF
_ Unnamed variable binding, e.g., |x, _| {}.
_x Variable binding explicitly marked as unused.
1_234_567 Numeric separator for visual clarity.
1u8 Type specifier for numeric literals EX REF (also i8, u16, ...).
r#foo A raw identifier BK EX for edition compatibility.
x; Statement REF terminator, c. expressions EX REF

Common Operators

Rust supports all common operators you would expect to find in a language (+, *, %, =, ==...). Since they behave no differently in Rust we do not list them here. For some of them Rust also support operator overloading. STD

Invisible Sugar

If something works that "shouldn't work now that you think about it", it might be due to one of these.

Name Description
Coercions NOM 'Weaken' types to match signature, e.g., &mut T to &T.
Deref NOM Deref x: T until *x, **x, ... compatible with some target S.
Prelude STD Automatic import of basic types.
Reborrow Since x: &mut T can't be copied; move new &mut *x instead.
Lifetime Elision BK NOM REF Automatically annotate f(x: &T) to f(x: &'a T).
Method Resolution REF Deref or borrow x until x.f() works.

More Cheats

These are other great visual guides and tables.

Macro Railroad

Cheat Sheet Description
Rust Learning⭐ Probably the best collection of links about learning Rust.
String Conversions How to get type of string from another.
API Guidelines Checklist How to design your own APIs.
Periodic Table of Types How various types and references correlate.
Futures How to construct and work with futures.


Want this Rust cheat sheet as a PDF download? Click here (or select File > Print) and then "Save as PDF". It looks great in both Firefox's and Chrome's PDF exports.

Fork me on GitHub