These are notes for setting up YouCompleteMe - a program for autocompletion, code linting and debugging in the text editor Vim - for developing Rust programs. I find this program vital to my Rust workflow because it allows me to more easily explore code and correct mistakes before they reach the compiler. YouCompleteMe will tell you if there are syntactic mistakes in your code, it will tell you about unused variables and code and it will often suggest changes to problematic code.

Install the plugin

I am assuming here that you have both git and Vundle installed for NVim.

In Nvim, install YouCompleteMe by adding the plugin to your init.vim-file by executing :e $MYVIMRC.

Then, after call plug#begin() and before call plug#end() add this line:

Plug 'ycm-core/YouCompleteMe'

Then re-source the init file by running the command :source $MYVIMRC and then install the plugin using :PlugInstall.

Install completion

Next up we need to install the completion engines needed. You can cherry-pick the engines you need or do not need but I honestly just install it all.

This is done by going into the plugin folder of YouCompleteMe in a terminal, again assuming you are using Vundle for your plugins this will probably be:

cd ~/.vim/plugged/YouCompleteMe/
./ --all

This will take a while to install.

Once that’s done, there is a final step which is quite strange and hopefully it will change in the future. According to the full installation guide, you need to install rustup if you haven’t already.

Then we need to get toolchains and add them to YouCompleteMe.

# Temporarily redirect rustup to be able to extract the source

# Get the tools
rustup toolchain install nightly
rustup default nightly
rustup component add rls rust-analysis rust-src
cd $RUSTUP_HOME/toolchains

Now you should be in the toolchains folder that you just downloaded. There should be a folder there named something depending on your system (on mine it’s nightly-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu because I’m on linux). Move into it using cd <folder_name>.

Then, move the contents of the folder of your YouCompleteMe installation ~/.vim/plugged/YouCompleteMe/third_party/ycmd/third_party/rls.

Check that you did it correctly by seeing the contents:

ls ~/.vim/plugged/YouCompleteMe/third_party/ycmd/third_party/rls

This should return something like bin etc lib share

Extra configuration

I am actually not sure this is necessary anymore but I read somewhere that you need to enable Rust features in YouCompleteMe’s extra configuration file.

Do this by adding this line to your init.vim file:

let g:ycm_global_ycm_extra_conf = '~/.config/nvim/'

Then edit the config file in NVim by executing :tabnew ~/.config/nvim/

Here is what mine looks like:

def Settings(**kwargs):
    if kwargs['language'] == 'rust':
        return {
            'ls': {
                'rust': {
                    # 'features': ['http2', 'spnego'],
                    'all_features': True,
                    'racer_completion': True,
                    # 'all_targets': False,
                    # 'wait_to_build': 1500,


Here are the keybindings I use for Rust/YouCompleteMe:

function! YcmStuff() 
    nnoremap si :YcmCompleter GoToDefinition<cr>
    nnoremap sk :YcmRestartServer<cr>
    nnoremap <F1> :YcmCompleter FixIt<cr>
    nnoremap K :YcmCompleter GetDoc<cr>
    nnoremap ; :YcmCompleter GetType<cr>

function! Rusty()
    nnoremap <C-e> :terminal cargo run<cr>
    inoremap <C-e> <esc>:terminal cargo run<cr>

augroup rust
    autocmd FileType rust call Rusty()
	autocmd FileType rust call YcmStuff()
augroup end


I use these configuration lines to make UltiSnips work with YouCompleteMe to be able to use snippets as well as autocompletion.

" YouCompleteMe and UltiSnips compatibility.
let g:ycm_use_ultisnips_completer = 1
let g:ycm_key_list_select_completion=[]
let g:ycm_key_list_previous_completion=[]

" Expand snippets from UltiSnips with tab
let g:UltiSnipsExpandTrigger="<Tab>"
let g:UltiSnipsJumpForwardTrigger="<Tab>"
let g:UltiSnipsJumpBackwardTrigger="<c-tab>"
let g:UltiSnipsSnippetDirectories = ['UltiSnips']