Advanced Features

Insta provides some advanced features for more complex test setups. Some of these require the activation of a cargo feature.


Redactions allow you to redact parts of the snapshot so that they are stable even in the presence of non deterministic data such as timestamps or random IDs. See the redactions documentation for more information.


Sometimes it can be useful to run code against multiple input files. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use the glob! macro which runs a closure for each input path that matches. Before the closure is executed the settings are updated to set a reference to the input file and the appropriate snapshot suffix. Globbing is an optional feature and can be enabled with the glob feature


use std::fs;

glob!("inputs/*.txt", |path| {
    let input = fs::read_to_string(path).unwrap();

The path to the glob macro is relative to the location of the test file. It uses the globset crate for actual glob operations.

Test Output Control

Insta by default will output quite a lot of information as tests run. For instance it will print out all the diffs. This can be controlled by setting the INSTA_OUTPUT environment variable. The following values are possible:

Disabling Assertion Failure

By default the tests will fail when the snapshot assertion fails. However if a test produces more than one snapshot it can be useful to force a test to pass so that all new snapshots are created in one go.

This can be enabled by setting INSTA_FORCE_PASS to 1:

INSTA_FORCE_PASS=1 cargo test --no-fail-fast

A better way to do this is to run cargo insta test --review which will run all tests with force pass and then bring up the review tool:

cargo insta test --review

Controlling Snapshot Updating

During test runs snapshots will be updated according to the INSTA_UPDATE environment variable. The default is auto which will write all new snapshots into files if no CI is detected so that cargo-insta can pick them up. Normally you don't have to change this variable.


When new or auto is used as mode the cargo-insta command can be used to review the snapshots conveniently.

Deleting Unused Snapshots

Insta only has limited support for detecting unused snapshot files. The reason for this is that insta does not control the execution of all tests so it cannot spot which files are actually unreferenced.

There are two solutions for this problem. One is to use cargo-insta's test command which accepts a --delete-unreferenced-snapshots flag:

cargo insta test --delete-unreferenced-snapshots

The second option is to use the INSTA_SNAPSHOT_REFERENCES_FILE environment variable to instruct insta to append all referenced files into a list. This can then be used to delete all files not referenced. For instance one could use ripgrep like this:

cargo test
rg --files -lg '*.snap' "$(pwd)" | grep -vFf "$INSTA_SNAPSHOT_REFERENCES_FILE" | xargs rm
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