Clangd is an implementation of the Language Server Protocol leveraging Clang. Clangd’s goal is to provide language “smartness” features like code completion, find references, etc. for clients such as C/C++ Editors.

Using Clangd

Clangd is not meant to be used by C/C++ developers directly but rather from a client implementing the protocol. A client would be typically implemented in an IDE or an editor.

At the moment, Visual Studio Code is mainly used in order to test Clangd but more clients are likely to make use of Clangd in the future as it matures and becomes a production quality tool. If you are interested in trying Clangd in combination with Visual Studio Code, you can start by installing Clangd or building Clangd, then open Visual Studio Code in the clangd-vscode folder and launch the extension.

Installing Clangd

Packages are available for debian-based distributions, see the LLVM packages page. Clangd is included in the clang-tools package. However, it is a good idea to check your distribution’s packaging system first as it might already be available.

Otherwise, you can install Clangd by building Clangd first.

Building Clangd

You can follow the instructions for building Clang but “extra Clang tools” is not optional.

Current Status

Many features could be implemented in Clangd. Here is a list of features that could be useful with the status of whether or not they are already implemented in Clangd and specified in the Language Server Protocol. Note that for some of the features, it is not clear whether or not they should be part of the Language Server Protocol, so those features might be eventually developed outside Clangd or as an extension to the protocol.

C/C++ Editor feature LSP Clangd
Formatting Yes Yes
Completion Yes Yes
Diagnostics Yes Yes
Fix-its Yes Yes
Go to Definition Yes Yes
Signature Help Yes Yes
Document Highlights Yes Yes
Rename Yes Yes
Source hover Yes Yes
Find References Yes No
Code Lens Yes No
Document Symbols Yes Yes
Workspace Symbols Yes Yes
Syntax and Semantic Coloring No No
Code folding No No
Call hierarchy No No
Type hierarchy No No
Organize Includes No No
Quick Assist No No
Extract Local Variable No No
Extract Function/Method No No
Hide Method No No
Implement Method No No
Gen. Getters/Setters No No

Editor Integration

Any full-featured Language Server Protocol Client implementation should work with Clangd. This list contains information about extensions and plugins that are known to work for different editors.

Vim Integration


One of the options of using Clangd in vim (or nvim) is to utilize LanguageClient-neovim plugin. Please see the Clangd Wiki page for instructions.

VSCode Integration

VSCode provides vscode-clangd which is published in Visual Studio Marketplace and can be installed direcetly from VSCode.

Emacs Integration

Emacs provides lsp-mode and Eglot plugins for LSP integration.

Getting Involved

A good place for interested contributors is the Clangd developer mailing list. For discussions with the broader community on topics not only related to Clangd, use Clang developer mailing list. If you’re also interested in contributing patches to Clangd, take a look at the LLVM Developer Policy and Code Reviews page. Contributions of new features to the Language Server Protocol itself would also be very useful, so that Clangd can eventually implement them in a conforming way.