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 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 are restricted to variables, constructors, defined functions or types, and literals. In particular, lambdas are not allowed in left-hand sides.
  • Since DISPLAY pragmas 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.

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

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


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.

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`" #-}