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The Eclim Daemon

Headless eclipse server

The most mature usage scenario that eclim provides, is the running of a headless eclipse server and communicating with that server inside of vim. Starting and stopping of the headless eclipse instance is detailed below.

Starting eclimd

To start eclimd from linux, simply execute the eclimd script found in your eclipse root directory ($ECLIPSE_HOME/eclimd) or the path indicated at the end of the command line installer process.


When starting the eclim daemon, you must start it as the same user who will be running vim.


Even though an eclipse gui is not started in eclim’s headless mode, eclipse still requires a running X server to function. To run eclimd on a truely headless server, please see the headless guide.

Stopping eclimd

To cleanly shutdown eclim use any one of the following.

  • From Vim:

  • From a console:

    $ $ECLIPSE_HOME/eclim -command shutdown
  • Lastly you can use Ctrl-C at the console if you are running eclimd in the foreground, or issue a kill to the eclimd java process.

    $ kill *pid*

    You will need to kill the java process since killing the eclimd or eclipse process will not do so. While eclim provides a shutdown hook to support a clean shutdown when the java process is killed in this manner, it is still recommended that you utilize one of the first two methods instead, and reserve this as a last resort. Also note that when killing the java process eclipse will pop up an alert dialog notifying you that the java process was terminated underneath it. This is nothing to be alarmed about.

Headed eclipse server

For users that find themselves periodically needing the eclipse gui, or otherwise wanting to keep the gui open while using eclim, there is support for running the eclim server inside of a headed eclipse instance.

Starting eclimd

The eclim daemon inside of eclipse is implemented as an eclipse view which can be found via:

Window ‣ Show View ‣ Other ‣ Eclim ‣ eclimd

The view will be opened in a new tab in the same pane as the “Problems” tab, as shown below.



By default, if you open an instance of gvim from within eclipse, the eclimd view will be opened for you if necessary. This behavior is configurable via the Vimplugin preferences.

Stopping eclimd

As long as the eclimd tab is open then the eclim daemon will be running. Stopping the eclim daemon is just a matter of closing the eclimd tab. Also note that leaving the tab open and closing eclipse will shutdown the daemon as well, and on the next start of eclipse the tab will be opened, but the eclim daemon will not start until the tab is forced to display itself. In other words, the daemon will not start until the eclimd tab is the active tab in that group.

Embedded gvim


Embedding is only supported on Linux systems (where gvim is compiled with the gtk gui).

Embedding of macvim for OSX is not supported since macvim does not currently have the ability to be embedded like gvim. Macvim can still be used to open files from eclipse, but macvim will open as an external editor. Also note that macvim snapshots 56 through 63 contain a bug where opening a file from eclipse will open an instance of macvim, but the file will not be loaded into that instance.

Another feature provided by eclim for those who prefer to work inside of the eclipse gui, is the embedding of gvim inside of eclipse. This feature is provided by an eclim local fork of vimplugin. The feature adds a new editor to eclipse which allows you to open files in gvim by right clicking the file name in the eclipse tree and then selecting:

Open With ‣ Vim


Please note that if you want to use supported eclipse features (code completion, validation, searching, etc.) from the embedded gvim editor, you must have the eclimd view open.


If you’d like to have the embedded gvim editor as the default for one or more file types, you can configure it to be in your eclipse preferences:

Window ‣ Preferences ‣ General ‣ Editors ‣ File Associations

The eclim installer should take care of locating your gvim installation for use inside of eclipse, but in the event that it could not locate it, you can set the location and other settings via the vimplugin preferences:

Window ‣ Preferences ‣ Vimplugin

For MacVim users on OSX, the eclim installer will attempt to locate MacVim’s mvim script on your path. If it’s not found you can set the location of that script in the Vimplugin preferences:

Eclipse ‣ Preferences ‣ Vimplugin


If you have a non-eclim version of vimplugin installed you should remove it prior to using the eclim version.


Some users have reported issues with the embedded gvim’s command line being cut off or possible rendering issues when scrolling through the file. If you experience either of these issues, try adding the following to your vimrc file, which should hopefully resolve those problems:

set guioptions-=m " turn off menu bar
set guioptions-=T " turn off toolbar

Additionally, some users have reported that gvim’s left scrollbar may also need to be disabled:

set guioptions-=L " turn off left scrollbar
set guioptions-=l

Embedded gvim focus

In some windowing environments, the embedded gvim is treated more like a separate window. The result of this is that clicking the eclipse tab (or using tab focusing keyboard shortcuts) may focus that tab, but it won’t focus the embedded gvim on that tab. Eclim adds a setting to vimplugin which when enabled, will attempt to simulate a click on the embedded gvim window to force it to focus:

Window ‣ Preferences ‣ Vimplugin ‣ Force gvim focus via automated click

Eclipse/Vim key shortcuts in embedded gvim

Depending on your OS and windowing system, when the embedded gvim has focus, you will fall into one of two groups:

  1. In the first group of users, all key presses are received by eclipse prior to sending them to gvim.

    For this group, when typing a possible key shortcut (ctrl-n for example), eclipse will first evaluate that key stroke to see if there are any eclipse key bindings registered. If there are, then eclipse will run the associated command and the key stroke is never sent to gvim. If no key binding is found, then eclipse will pass the key stroke through to gvim. What this means for you is that for any gvim key mappings that you use that have an eclipse key binding, they will not be evaluated inside of gvim. So, if you encounter this issue, you’ll need to remap the keys in vim or eclipse. To remove the key binding from the eclipse side, simply open the “Keys” preferences page:

    Window ‣ Preferences ‣ General ‣ Keys

    Then find the entry in the list that corresponds with the key binding you want to remove, select it, and hit the “Unbind Command” button.


    By default eclim will auto-remove a couple of the standard eclipse bindings whenever an embedded gvim editor has focus and then restore them with a non-gvim editor gains focus:

    • Ctrl+U: in eclipse this runs “Execute”, but in gvim this is needed to run code completion (ex. ctrl-x ctrl-u).
    • Ctrl+N: in eclipse this runs the “New” wizard, but in gvim this is also needed as a part of code completion, to scroll through the results.
    • Ctrl+V: in eclipse this pastes text from the clipboard (though not into gvim), but in gvim this is needed for column wise visual selections.
    • Ctrl+W: in eclipse this closes a tab, but in gvim this is needed to switch windows (ex. ctrl-w j).
    • Ctrl+X: in eclipse this cuts a selection to the clipboard, but in gvim this is needed to start various insert completions (ex. ctrl-x ctrl-u).
    • Delete: prevent the eclipse delete key binding from suppressing delete attempts in the embedded gvim.
  1. In the second group, all key presses are received by gvim and not evaluated at all by eclipse.

    For this group of users, you may have an eclipse key shortcut that you like to use (Shift+Ctrl+R for example), but when you hit that key combination, it will be evaluated by gvim instead of eclipse. To remedy this situation, eclim provides a means to map eclipse shortcuts inside of gvim. To register a shortcut, simply add your mappings to your vimrc, gvimrc, or other standard gvim file like so:

    " maps Ctrl-F6 to eclipse's Ctrl-F6 key binding (switch editors)
    nmap <silent> <c-f6> :call eclim#vimplugin#FeedKeys('Ctrl+F6')<cr>
    " maps Ctrl-F7 to eclipse's Ctrl-F7 key binding (switch views)
    nmap <silent> <c-f7> :call eclim#vimplugin#FeedKeys('Ctrl+F7')<cr>
    " maps Ctrl-F to eclipse's Ctrl-Shift-R key binding (find resource)
    nmap <silent> <c-f> :call eclim#vimplugin#FeedKeys('Ctrl+Shift+R')<cr>
    " maps Ctrl-M to eclipse's Ctrl-M binding to maximize the editor
    nmap <silent> <c-m> :call eclim#vimplugin#FeedKeys('Ctrl+M', 1)<cr>

    The value supplied to the FeedKeys function must be an eclipse compatible key binding string as found in:

    Windows ‣ Preferences ‣ General ‣ Keys

    Be sure to notice the extra argument to the FeedKeys function in the last mapping. Supplying 1 as the arg will result in the refocusing of gvim after the eclipse key binding has been executed.


On unix platforms (linux, mac, bsd) eclim supports an optional .eclimrc file located in your home directory. In this file you may supply any system properties or vm args which you would like passed to eclimd at startup. The format of this file is the same as the standard java properties file format with the exception of any vm args which you would like to include.


# Bind eclimd to all interfaces

# Specifies the port that nailgun / eclimd listens on for client requests.

# Specifies the workspace directory to use
# See $ECLIPSE_HOME/configuration/config.ini for other osgi properties.

# increase heap size

The eclim client will also utilize this file, but only to determine the nailgun server port should you choose to change the default.


Your system must have perl and sed available so that eclim can process your .eclimrc file.

Both the eclim and eclimd scripts also support a -f argument allowing you to specify an alternate location for your .eclimrc:

$ eclimd -f ~/.my_eclimrc
$ eclim -f ~/.my_eclimrc -command ping

eclimd logging

Eclimd utilizes log4j for all of its logging. As such, the logging can be configured via the $ECLIPSE_HOME/plugins/org.eclim_version/log4j.xml file.

By default, eclimd writes all logging info to both the console and to a log file in your workspace: <workspace>/eclimd.log

Multiple Workspaces

Running eclim against more than one eclipse workspace can be accomplished by running multiple eclimd instances. You must configure each instance to run nailgun on a unique port and supply the path to the workspace you which that instance to use. Once your eclimd instances are up and running the vim client will automatically determine which server to send requests to based on your context. In some cases you may be prompted for which workspace to use if one cannot be determined for you.

Below are some different ways in which you can configure your eclimd instances:

  1. Supply the nailgun port and eclipse workspace path when starting eclimd:

    $ eclimd -Dosgi.instance.area.default=@user.home/workspace1 -Dnailgun.server.port=9091
    $ eclimd -Dosgi.instance.area.default=@user.home/workspace2 -Dnailgun.server.port=9092

    If you are using the eclimd view in the eclipse gui, then you can start the eclipse gui with the desired nailgun server port (note that you must place the -vmargs option before the list of jvm arguments):

    $ eclipse -vmargs -Dnailgun.server.port=9092
  2. Specify the port and workspace in eclimrc files and start eclimd with the -f or –file argument:

    $ vim ~/.eclimrc1
    $ vim ~/.eclimrc2
    $ eclimd -f ~/.eclimrc1
    $ eclimd --file ~/.eclimrc2


    The -f/–file argument is not supported by eclipse so the above option is only available when using a headless eclimd instance.

Hosting third party nailgun apps in eclimd

Since nailgun provides a simple way to alleviate the startup cost of the jvm, other projects utilize it as well. However, running several nailgun servers isn’t ideal, so eclim supports hosting other nailgun apps via an ext dir where you can drop in jar files which will be made available to eclim’s nailgun server.

The ext dir that eclim reads from is located in your vim files directory: