text processing utilities

Highlight Dokumentation

Highlight integration

Scripting examples

See the examples/ (or extras/) subdirectory in the highlight source directory for some example scripts in PHP, Perl and Python which invoke highlight and retrieve its output as string. These scripts may be used to develop plug-ins for other applications.

Less / cat

Use highlight with less and replace cat in the bash:

# Pipe Highlight to less
export LESSOPEN="| $(which highlight) %s --out-format xterm256 -l --force -s solarized-light --no-trailing-nl"
export LESS=" -R"
alias less='less -m -N -g -i -J --line-numbers --underline-special'
alias more='less'

# Use "highlight" in place of "cat"
alias cat="highlight $1 --out-format xterm256 -l --force -s solarized-light --no-trailing-nl"

Configure LESSOPEN for fish:

# ~/.config/fish/config.fish

set hilite (which highlight)
set -x LESSOPEN "| $hilite %s --out-format xterm256 --quiet --force "
set -x LESS " -R"

# ~/.config/fish/functions/less.fish
function less
    command less -m -N -g -i -J --underline-special --SILENT $argv

See this Gist for more details.

Use highlight with lesspipe.sh

See this Snippet how to use highlight with the lesspipe.sh script.


Use fzf to preview text and source files.


export FZF_DEFAULT_OPTS="--ansi --preview '(highlight -O truecolor -sgreenlcd -l {} 2>/dev/null || cat {}) 2>/dev/null | head -200'"

pbpaste (Mac)

See this Gist how to use highlight with pbpaste and Keynote on a Mac.


There is a template in extras/ which enables colouring based on your wallpaper.


PP macros file and tutorial are located in extras/pandoc.
See README.html for usage instruction and example files as reference.

→ See the wiki for more information


The ranger file manager uses highlight to display text and source files. The used theme (and other options) can be changed in the scope.sh file.


ranger --copy-config scope
nano ~/.config/ranger/scope.sh

SWIG interface

SWIG is a tool to generate interfaces for more than 10 programming languages, inluding Python, Perl, Java and C#.

The highlight package includes a SWIG interface file highlight.i (located in extras/swig) which contains all information to generate wrapper code for the highlight::CodeGenerator class. The output module gives you access to the highlight parser from within your favorite (scripting) language.

Module compilation

These are the basic steps to create a python module:

TCL interface

The extension in extras/tcl provides these functions in the highlight namespace: html, tex, latex, xterm256, truecolor, ansi, bbcode, pango

tclsh example

% load tclhighlight.so
% ::highlight::html "int main()"

C# wrapper

LibHighlightSharp is a is a wrapper library for C#.


Append the following line to /etc/gitweb.conf:

$feature{'highlight'}{'default'} = [1];

For some reasons a second file extension mapping exists in webgit.cgi.
For most of the supported file types, /usr/lib/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi needs to be adjusted according to highlight's filetypes.conf:

   our %highlight_ext = (
     # add new entries or extend existing ones here
     map { $_ => 'php' } qw(php3 php4 php5 phps),

Configure webgit and highlight without root privileges

LyX editor

Gunnar Lindholm has written a tutorial how to integrate highlight in LyX to dynamically insert sourcecode in documents.

Mac OS X Quicklook


Total Commander

TC Lister plugin