Introduction to the LLVM remark diagnostics

LLVM is able to emit diagnostics from passes describing whether an optimization has been performed or missed for a particular reason, which should give more insight to users about what the compiler did during the compilation pipeline.

There are three main remark types:


Remarks that describe a successful optimization performed by the compiler.

foo inlined into bar with (cost=always): always inline attribute


Remarks that describe an attempt to an optimization by the compiler that could not be performed.

foo not inlined into bar because it should never be inlined
(cost=never): noinline function attribute


Remarks that describe the result of an analysis, that can bring more information to the user regarding the generated code.

16 stack bytes in function
10 instructions in function

Enabling optimization remarks

There are two modes that are supported for enabling optimization remarks in LLVM: through remark diagnostics, or through serialized remarks.

Remark diagnostics

Optimization remarks can be emitted as diagnostics. These diagnostics will be propagated to front-ends if desired, or emitted by tools like llc or opt.


Enables optimization remarks from passes whose name match the given (POSIX) regular expression.


Enables missed optimization remarks from passes whose name match the given (POSIX) regular expression.


Enables optimization analysis remarks from passes whose name match the given (POSIX) regular expression.

Serialized remarks

While diagnostics are useful during development, it is often more useful to refer to optimization remarks post-compilation, typically during performance analysis.

For that, LLVM can serialize the remarks produced for each compilation unit to a file that can be consumed later.

By default, the format of the serialized remarks is YAML, and it can be accompanied by a section in the object files to easily retrieve it.

llc and opt support the following options:

Basic options


Enables the serialization of remarks to a file specified in <filename>.

By default, the output is serialized to YAML.


Specifies the output format of the serialized remarks.

Supported formats:

Content configuration


Only passes whose name match the given (POSIX) regular expression will be serialized to the final output.


With PGO, include profile count in optimization remarks.


The minimum profile count required for an optimization remark to be emitted.

Other tools that support remarks:



gold-plugin and lld


YAML remarks

A typical remark serialized to YAML looks like this:

--- !<TYPE>
Pass: <pass>
Name: <name>
DebugLoc: { File: <file>, Line: <line>, Column: <column> }
Function: <function>
Hotness: <hotness>
  - <key>: <value>
    DebugLoc: { File: <arg-file>, Line: <arg-line>, Column: <arg-column> }

The following entries are mandatory:

  • <TYPE>: can be Passed, Missed, Analysis, AnalysisFPCommute, AnalysisAliasing, Failure.
  • <pass>: the name of the pass that emitted this remark.
  • <name>: the name of the remark coming from <pass>.
  • <function>: the mangled name of the function.

If a DebugLoc entry is specified, the following fields are required:

  • <file>
  • <line>
  • <column>

If an arg entry is specified, the following fields are required:

  • <key>
  • <value>

If a DebugLoc entry is specified within an arg entry, the following fields are required:

  • <arg-file>
  • <arg-line>
  • <arg-column>


The opt-viewer directory contains a collection of tools that visualize and summarize serialized remarks.

Output a HTML page which gives visual feedback on compiler interactions with your program.

$ my_yaml_file.opt.yaml
$ my_build_dir/

Output statistics about the optimization remarks in the input set.

$ my_yaml_file.opt.yaml

Total number of remarks           3

Top 10 remarks by pass:
  inline                         33%
  asm-printer                    33%
  prologepilog                   33%

Top 10 remarks:
  asm-printer/InstructionCount   33%
  inline/NoDefinition            33%
  prologepilog/StackSize         33%

Produce a new YAML file which contains all of the changes in optimizations between two YAML files.

Typically, this tool should be used to do diffs between:

  • new compiler + fixed source vs old compiler + fixed source
  • fixed compiler + new source vs fixed compiler + old source

This diff file can be displayed using

$ my_opt_yaml1.opt.yaml my_opt_yaml2.opt.yaml -o my_opt_diff.opt.yaml
$ my_opt_diff.opt.yaml

Emitting remark diagnostics in the object file

A section containing metadata on remark diagnostics will be emitted when -remarks-section is passed. The section contains:

  • a magic number: “REMARKS\0”
  • the version number: a little-endian uint64_t
  • the total size of the string table (the size itself excluded): little-endian uint64_t
  • a list of null-terminated strings
  • the absolute file path to the serialized remark diagnostics: a null-terminated string.

The section is named:

  • __LLVM,__remarks (MachO)
  • .remarks (ELF)


LLVM provides a library that can be used to parse remarks through a shared library named libRemarks.

The typical usage through the C API is like the following:

LLVMRemarkParserRef Parser = LLVMRemarkParserCreateYAML(Buf, Size);
LLVMRemarkEntryRef Remark = NULL;
while ((Remark = LLVMRemarkParserGetNext(Parser))) {
   // use Remark
   LLVMRemarkEntryDispose(Remark); // Release memory.
bool HasError = LLVMRemarkParserHasError(Parser);