Gleam programs are made up of bundles of functions and types called modules. Each module has its own namespace and can export types and values to be used by other modules in the program.

// inside src/nasa/rocket_ship.gleam

fn count_down() {
  "3... 2... 1..."

fn blast_off() {

pub fn launch() {

Here we can see a module named nasa/rocket_ship, the name determined by the filename src/nasa/rocket_ship.gleam. Typically all the modules for one project would live within a directory with the name of the project, such as nasa in this example.

For the functions count_down and blast_off we have omitted the pub keyword, so these functions are private module functions. They can only be called by other functions within the same module.


To use functions or types from another module we need to import them using the import keyword.

// inside src/nasa/moon_base.gleam

import nasa/rocket_ship

pub fn explore_space() {

The statement import nasa/rocket_ship creates a new variable with the name rocket_ship and the value of the rocket_ship module.

In the explore_space function we call the imported module's public launch function using the . operator. If we had attempted to call count_down it would result in a compile time error as this function is private to the rocket_ship module.

Named import

It is also possible to give a module a custom name when importing it using the as keyword.

import unix/cat
import animal/cat as kitty

This may be useful to differentiate between multiple modules that would have the same default name when imported.

Unqualified import

Values and types can also be imported in an unqualified fashion.

import animal/cat.{Cat, stroke}

pub fn main() {
  let kitty = Cat(name: "Nubi")

This may be useful for values that are used frequently in a module, but generally qualified imports are preferred as it makes it clearer where the value is defined.

The prelude module

There is one module that is built into the language, the gleam prelude module. By default its types and values are automatically imported into every module you write, but you can still chose to import it the regular way. This may be useful if you have created a type or value with the same name as an item from the prelude.

import gleam

// This definition locally overrides the `Result` type 
// and the `Ok` constructor.
pub type Result {

// The original `Result` and `Ok` can still be used
pub fn go() -> gleam.Result(Int) {

The prelude module contains these types:

  • BitString
  • Bool
  • Float
  • Int
  • List(element)
  • Nil
  • Result(value, error)
  • String
  • UtfCodepoint

And these values:

  • Error
  • False
  • Nil
  • Ok
  • True