Modules in Julia are separate global variable workspaces. They are delimited syntactically, inside module Name ... end. Modules allow you to create top-level definitions without worrying about name conflicts when your code is used together with somebody else’s. Within a module, you can control which names from other modules are visible (via importing), and specify which of your names are intended to be public (via exporting).

The following example demonstrates the major features of modules. It is not meant to be run, but is shown for illustrative purposes:

module MyModule
using Lib

export MyType, foo

type MyType

bar(x) = 2x
foo(a::MyType) = bar(a.x) + 1

show(io, a::MyType) = print(io, "MyType $(a.x)")

Note that the style is not to indent the body of the module, since that would typically lead to whole files being indented.

This module defines a type MyType, and two functions. Function foo and type MyType are exported, and so will be available for importing into other modules. Function bar is private to MyModule.

The statement using Lib means that a module called Lib will be available for resolving names as needed. When a global variable is encountered that has no definition in the current module, the system will search for it in Lib and import it if it is found there. This means that all uses of that global within the current module will resolve to the definition of that variable in Lib.

Once a variable is imported this way (or, equivalently, with the import keyword), a module may not create its own variable with the same name. Imported variables are read-only; assigning to a global variable always affects a variable owned by the current module, or else raises an error.

Method definitions are a bit special: they do not search modules named in using statements. The definition function foo() creates a new foo in the current module, unless foo has already been imported from elsewhere. For example, in MyModule above we wanted to add a method to the standard show function, so we had to write import

Modules and files

Files and file names are unrelated to modules; modules are associated only with module expressions. One can have multiple files per module, and multiple modules per file:

module Foo



Including the same code in different modules provides mixin-like behavior. One could use this to run the same code with different base definitions, for example testing code by running it with “safe” versions of some operators:

module Normal

module Testing

Standard modules

There are three important standard modules: Main, Core, and Base.

Main is the top-level module, and Julia starts with Main set as the current module. Variables defined at the prompt go in Main, and whos() lists variables in Main.

Core contains all identifiers considered “built in” to the language, i.e. part of the core language and not libraries. Every module implicitly specifies using Core, since you can’t do anything without those definitions.

Base is the standard library (the contents of base/). All modules implicitly contain using Base, since this is needed in the vast majority of cases.

Default top-level definitions and bare modules

In addition to using Base, a module automatically contains a definition of the eval function, which evaluates expressions within the context of that module.

If these definitions are not wanted, modules can be defined using the keyword baremodule instead. In terms of baremodule, a standard module looks like this:

baremodule Mod
using Base
eval(x) = Core.eval(Mod, x)
eval(m,x) = Core.eval(m, x)

Miscellaneous details

If a name is qualified (e.g. Base.sin), then it can be accessed even if it is not exported. This is often useful when debugging.

Macros must be exported if they are intended to be used outside their defining module. Macro names are written with @ in import and export statements, e.g. import Mod.@mac.

The syntax M.x = y does not work to assign a global in another module; global assignment is always module-local.

A variable can be “reserved” for the current module without assigning to it by declaring it as global x at the top level. This can be used to prevent name conflicts for globals initialized after load time.