When I code, I typically want the following from my editor:

  • Syntax highlight and indentation
  • Auto completion
  • Error checking
  • Jump to definition
  • Inline documentation

When coding in rust, I want these same features.  Thankfully there are a several great packages to help us achieve those desires. Before we do any futher I wanna make sure to give credit and a huge thanks to Bassam and his blog post. This is just to update based on what changes I found I needed.

Installing Packages

You’ll need to start by updating your package list contents by:

  • M-x package-refresh-contents

Next, we will install the follow packages in Emacs by M-x package-install :

  • company - An autocompletion framework - Website
  • company-racer - A backend that enables company autocompletion with racer - Website
  • racer - A rust autocompletion engine - Website
  • flycheck - on the fly syntax checking - Website
  • flycheck-rust - A rust backend for flycheck - Website
  • rust-mode - An Emacs mode for editing rust files - Website

Configuring Emacs

Now we need to configure these packages inside of our emacs configuration.  Here is a snippet of my .emacs.d/init.el:

;; Reduce the time after which the company auto completion popup opens
(setq company-idle-delay 0.2)

;; Reduce the number of characters before company kicks in
(setq company-minimum-prefix-length 1)

;; Set path to racer binary
(setq racer-cmd "/usr/local/bin/racer")

;; Set path to rust src directory
(setq racer-rust-src-path "/Users/jasomyer/.rust/src/")

;; Load rust-mode when you open `.rs` files
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.rs\\'" . rust-mode))

;; Setting up configurations when you load rust-mode
(add-hook 'racer-mode-hook #'company-mode)
(add-hook 'rust-mode-hook #'racer-mode)
(add-hook 'racer-mode-hook #'eldoc-mode)
(add-hook 'racer-mode-hook #'company-mode)
(global-set-key (kbd "TAB") #'company-indent-or-complete-common) ;
(setq company-tooltip-align-annotations t)

Installing Rust

In case you don’t have Rust installed on your system you can install it either by:

  • Downloading the installation binary from Rust’s website.
  • or using Homebrew: brew install rust.

Building and Installing Racer

To generate the Racer binary that company-racer uses for it’s magical powers, you will need to clone the _racer _repository from Github to your home directory and run cargo build --release.

  • git clone https://github.com/phildawes/racer.git /tmp/racer
  • cd /tmp/racer
  • cargo build --release
  • mv /tmp/racer/target/release/racer /usr/local/bin
  • rm -rf /tmp/racer

After running these commands and restarting your terminal you should be able to run the racer command which should complain about a missing $RUST_SRC_PATH.


If you go back to the elisp function you added to our init.el earlier you will be able to see that you defined racer-rust-src-path which points to .rust/src in your home directory. You will need to add the Rust source code there so Racer can use that to load methods for completion.

  • git clone https://github.com/rust-lang/rust.git ~/.rust
  • Add export RUST_SRC_PATH=/Users/YOURUSERNAME/.rust/src to your .bashrc or shell init file.
  • Restart your shell and emacs then open a Rust file.

You should now have all the features we desired earlier.  You can test this by:

  1. Open a rust file and try typing use std::io::B and press <tab>. You should see some completion options.
  2. Place your cursor over a symbol and hit M-. to jump to the definition.

If that does not work, make sure that racer works from the command line by doing the following:

  • racer complete std::io::B

You should see some autocompletion options show up.