Pragmas are comments that are not ignored by Agda but have some special meaning. The general format is:

{-# <PRAGMA_NAME> <arguments> #-}

Index of pragmas

See also Command-line and pragma options.

The DISPLAY pragma

Users can declare a display form via the DISPLAY pragma:

{-# DISPLAY f e1 .. en = e #-}

This causes f e1 .. en to be printed in the same way as e, where ei can bind variables used in e. The expressions ei and e are scope checked, but not type checked.

For example this can be used to print overloaded (instance) functions with the overloaded name:

  NumNat : Num Nat
  NumNat = record { ..; _+_ = natPlus }

{-# DISPLAY natPlus a b = a + b #-}


  • Left-hand sides of the display form are restricted to variables, constructors, defined functions or types, and literals. In particular, lambdas are not allowed in left-hand sides.

  • Since display forms are not type checked, implicit argument insertion may not work properly if the type of f computes to an implicit function space after pattern matching.

  • An ill-typed display form can make Agda crash with an internal error when Agda tries to use it (issue #6476 <>).

The INJECTIVE pragma

Injective pragmas can be used to mark a definition as injective for the pattern matching unifier. This can be used as a version of --injective-type-constructors that only applies to specific datatypes.


open import Agda.Builtin.Equality
open import Agda.Builtin.Nat

data Fin : Nat  Set where
  zero : {n : Nat}  Fin (suc n)
  suc  : {n : Nat}  Fin n  Fin (suc n)

{-# INJECTIVE Fin #-}

Fin-injective : {m n : Nat}  Fin m  Fin n  m  n
Fin-injective refl = refl

Aside from datatypes, this pragma can also be used to mark other definitions as being injective (for example postulates).

The INLINE and NOINLINE pragmas

A function definition marked with an INLINE pragma is inlined during compilation. If it is a simple function definition that does no pattern matching, it is also inlined in function bodies at type-checking time.

When the --auto-inline command-line option is enabled, function definitions are automatically marked INLINE if they satisfy the following criteria:

  • No pattern matching.

  • Uses each argument at most once.

  • Does not use all its arguments.

Automatic inlining can be prevented using the NOINLINE pragma.


-- Would be auto-inlined since it doesn't use the type arguments.
_∘_ : {A B C : Set}  (B  C)  (A  B)  A  C
(f  g) x = f (g x)

{-# NOINLINE _∘_ #-} -- prevents auto-inlining

-- Would not be auto-inlined since it's using all its arguments
_o_ : (Set  Set)  (Set  Set)  Set  Set
(F o G) X = F (G X)

{-# INLINE _o_ #-} -- force inlining

Inlining constructor right-hand sides

New in version 2.6.4.

Constructors can also be marked INLINE (for types supporting co-pattern matching):

record Stream (A : Set) : Set where
  coinductive; constructor _∷_
  field head : A
        tail : Stream A
open Stream
{-# INLINE _∷_ #-}

Functions definitions using these constructors will be translated to use co-pattern matching instead, e.g.:

nats : Nat  Stream Nat
nats n = n  nats (1 + n)

is translated to:

nats' : Nat  Stream Nat
nats' n .head = n
nats' n .tail = nats (n + 1)

which passes termination-checking.

This translation only works for fully-applied constructors at the root of a function definition’s right-hand side.

If --exact-split is on, the inlining will trigger a InlineNoExactSplit warning for nats.


New in version 2.6.1.

The NON_COVERING pragma can be placed before a function (or a block of mutually defined functions) which the user knows to be partial. To be used as a version of --allow-incomplete-matches that only applies to specific functions.


New in version 2.6.3.

The NOT_PROJECTION_LIKE pragma disables projection-likeness analysis for a particular function, which must be defined before it can be affected by the pragma. To be used as a version of --no-projection-like that only applies to specific functions.

For example, suppose you have a function which projects a field from an instance argument, and instance selection depends on a visible argument. If an application of this function is generated by metaprogramming, and inserted in the source code by elaborate-and-give (C-c C-m in Emacs), the visible argument would instead be printed as _, because it was erased!


open import Agda.Builtin.Bool

record P (n : Nat) : Set where
  field the-bool : Bool
open P

-- Agda would normally mark this projection-like, so it would have its
-- (n : Nat) argument erased when printing, including by e.g.
-- elaborate-and-give
get-bool-from-p : (n : Nat)  has-p : P n   Bool
get-bool-from-p _  p  = p .the-bool
{-# NOT_PROJECTION_LIKE get-bool-from-p #-}

-- With the pragma, it gets treated as a regular function.

The OPTIONS pragma

Some options can be given at the top of .agda files in the form

{-# OPTIONS --{opt₁} --{opt₂} ... #-}

The possible options are listed in Command-line and pragma options.

The WARNING_ON_ pragmas

A library author can use a WARNING_ON_USAGE pragma to attach to a defined name a warning to be raised whenever this name is used (since Agda 2.5.4).

Similarly they can use a WARNING_ON_IMPORT pragma to attach to a module a warning to be raised whenever this module is imported (since Agda 2.6.1).

This would typically be used to declare a name or a module ‘DEPRECATED’ and advise the end-user to port their code before the feature is dropped.

Users can turn these warnings off by using the --warn=noUserWarning option. For more information about the warning machinery, see Warnings.


-- The new name for the identity
id : {A : Set}  A  A
id x = x

-- The deprecated name
λx→x = id

-- The warning
{-# WARNING_ON_USAGE λx→x "DEPRECATED: Use `id` instead of `λx→x`" #-}
{-# WARNING_ON_IMPORT "DEPRECATED: Use module `Function.Identity` rather than `Identity`" #-}