The behavior of bacon is defined by both a global prefs.tomlfile and a project specifif bacon.toml file.

Both are optional but you'll fast need specific jobs for your targets, examples, etc.

Global Preferences

bacon --prefs creates the preferences file if it doesn't exist and returns its path (which is system dependent).

You may run $EDITOR $(bacon --prefs) to edit it directly.

The default configuration file contains already the possible entries that you may uncomment and modify.

Current default prefs.toml

summary, wrap, reverse

You can change the summary, wrapping, and reverse mode at launch (see bacon --help), in the application using keys, and you may set the initial values in this preferences file:

# Uncomment and change the value (true/false) to
# specify whether bacon should start in summary mode
# summary = true

# Uncomment and change the value (true/false) to
# specify whether bacon should start with lines wrapped
# wrap = true

# In "reverse" mode, the focus is at the bottom, item
# order is reversed, and the status bar is on top
# reverse = true

export locations

If you use neovim, you probably want to use the neovim-bacon plugin.

This plugin needs neovim to be launched with the -e argument which makes it keep a .bacon-locations file up to date.

If you write export_locations = true in the prefs.toml file, you can ommit passing -e to every bacon command.

Key Bindings

This section, that you can also define in the project specific bacon.toml file, lets you change the key combinations to use to trigger actions.

For example:

k = "scroll-lines(-1)"
j = "scroll-lines(1)"
h = "job:clippy"
shift-F9 = "toggle-backtrace"
ctrl-r = "toggle-raw-output"
ctrl-u = "scroll-page(-1)"
ctrl-d = "scroll-page(1)"


Project Settings

bacon --init creates the bacon.toml file if it doesn't exist.

This file contains project specific jobs and shortcuts and should be saved and shared using your version control system.

It can contain key bindings, and it's a good idea to put here the triggers for specific jobs, but the core of this file is the list of jobs.

The default bacon.toml is used when you don't create a file.


A job is a command which is ran by bacon in background, and whose result is analyzed and displayed on end.

It's defined by the following fields:

field optional  meaning
command no The tokens making the command to execute (first one is the executable)
watch yes A list of directories that will be watched if the job is run on a package. src is implicitly included.
need_stdout yes whether we need to capture stdout too (stderr is always captured). Default is false
on_success yes the action to run when there's no error, warning or test failures


command = ["cargo", "run", "--example", "simple", "--color", "always"]
need_stdout = true

Don't forget to include --color always in most jobs, because bacon uses style information to parse the output of cargo.

Beware of job references in on_success: you must avoid loops with 2 jobs calling themselves mutually, which would make bacon run all the time.

Default Job

The default job is the one which is launched when you don't specify one in argument to the bacon command (ie bacon test). It's also the one you can run with the job:default action.


Actions are launched

Actions are parsed from strings, for example quit (or internal:quit) is the action of quitting bacon and can be bound to a key.

An action is either an internal, based on a hardcoded behavior of bacon, or a job reference


internal default binding meaning
back Esc get back to the previous page or job
help h or ? open the help page
quit q or ctrlq or ctrlc quit
toggle-raw-output display the untransformed command output
toggle-backtrace b enable rust backtrace (for example on test failing)
toggle-summary s display results as abstracts
toggle-wrap w toggle line wrapping
scroll-to-top Home scroll to top
scroll-to-bottom End scroll to bottom
scroll-lines(1) move one line up
scroll-lines(-1) move one line down
scroll-pages(1) PageUp move one page up
scroll-pages(-1) PageDown move one page down

The scroll-lines and scroll-pages internals are parameterized.

Job References

Job references are useful as actions, which can be bound to key combinations.

They're either role based or name based.

To refer to the job called test, you use a name based reference: job:test.

To refer to a job based on a cargo alias, add alias:, for example job:alias:r.

Role based job references are the following ones:

job reference meaning
job:default the job defined as default in the bacon.toml file
job:initial the job specified as argument, or the default one if there was none explicit
job:previous the job which ran before, if any (or we would quit). The back action has usually the same effect