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This page is for Crystal enums. For C enums, see C bindings enum.

An enum is a set of integer values, where each value has an associated name. For example:

enum Color

An enum is defined with the enum keyword, followed by its name. The enum's body contains the values. Values start with the value 0 and are incremented by one. The default value can be overwritten:

enum Color
  Red        # 0
  Green      # 1
  Blue   = 5 # overwritten to 5
  Yellow     # 6 (5 + 1)

Each constant in the enum has the type of the enum:

Color::Red # :: Color

To get the underlying value, you invoke value on it:

Color::Green.value # => 1

The type of the value is Int32 by default, but can be changed:

enum Color : UInt8

Color::Red.value # :: UInt8

Only integer types are allowed as the underlying type.

All enums inherit from Enum.

Flags enums

An enum can be marked with the @[Flags] annotation. This changes the default values:

enum IOMode
  Read  # 1
  Write # 2
  Async # 4

The @[Flags] annotation makes the first constant's value be 1, and successive constants are multiplied by 2.

Implicit constants, None and All, are automatically added to these enums, where None has the value 0 and All has the "or"ed value of all constants.

IOMode::None.value # => 0
IOMode::All.value  # => 7

Additionally, some Enum methods check the @[Flags] annotation. For example:

puts(Color::Red)                    # prints "Red"
puts(IOMode::Write | IOMode::Async) # prints "Write, Async"

Enums from integers

An enum can be created from an integer:

puts # => prints "Green"

Values that don't correspond to an enum's constants are allowed: the value will still be of type Color, but when printed you will get the underlying value:

puts # => prints "10"

This method is mainly intended to convert integers from C to enums in Crystal.


Just like a class or a struct, you can define methods for enums:

enum Color

  def red?
    self == Color::Red
end  # => true # => false

Class variables are allowed, but instance variables are not.


When a method parameter has an enum type restriction, it accepts either an enum constant or a symbol. The symbol will be automatically cast to an enum constant, raising a compile-time error if casting fails.

def paint(color : Color)
  puts "Painting using the color #{color}"

paint Color::Red

paint :red # automatically casts to `Color::Red`

paint :yellow # Error: expected argument #1 to 'paint' to match a member of enum Color

The same automatic casting does not apply to case statements. To use enums with case statements, see case enum values.