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This extension comes with MediaWiki 1.21 and above. Thus you do not have to download it again. However, you still need to follow the other instructions provided.
For syntax highlighting of wikitext when using the source editor, see the CodeMirror extension or the userscripts of Remember the dot and Cacycle.
MediaWiki extensions manual
OOjs UI icon advanced.svg
Release status: stable
SyntaxHighlighting with Pygments.png
Implementation Tag
Description Allows source code to be syntax highlighted on the wiki pages
  • Brion Vibber,
  • Tim Starling,
  • Rob Church,
  • Ori Livneh
Latest version continuous updates
Compatibility policy Master maintains backwards compatibility.
MediaWiki 1.25+
Database changes No
License GNU General Public License 2.0 or later
  • $wgPygmentizePath
Translate the SyntaxHighlight extension if it is available at translatewiki.net

Check usage and version matrix.

Issues Open tasks · Report a bug

The SyntaxHighlight extension, formerly known as SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi, provides rich formatting of source code using the <syntaxhighlight> tag. It is powered by the Pygments library and supports hundreds of different programming languages and file formats.

Like the <pre> and <poem > tags, the text is rendered exactly as it was typed, preserving any white space.


Once installed, you can use "syntaxhighlight" tags on wiki pages. For example,

def quick_sort(arr):
	less = []
	pivot_list = []
	more = []
	if len(arr) <= 1:
		return arr

is the result of the following wikitext markup:

<syntaxhighlight lang="python" line='line'>
def quick_sort(arr):
	less = []
	pivot_list = []
	more = []
	if len(arr) <= 1:
		return arr

In older versions (before MediaWiki 1.16), the extension used the tag <source>. This is still supported, but is deprecated. <syntaxhighlight> should be used instead.


If the displayed code is too big, you can adjust it by putting the following into the MediaWiki:Common.css page in your wiki (create it if it does not exist):

/* CSS placed here will be applied to all skins */
.mw-highlight pre {
	font-size: 90%;

Encasing code blocks in borders can be done by inserting a line like border: 1px dashed blue; in the section above. Control over font family used can also be exercised by inserting a line like font-family: "Courier New", monospace; into the section above.

Syntax highlighting error categoryEdit

The extension adds pages that have a bad lang attribute in a <syntaxhighlight> tag to a tracking category. The message key MediaWiki:syntaxhighlight-error-category determines the category name; on this wiki it is Category:Pages with syntax highlighting errors.

The most common error that leads to pages being tagged with this category is a <syntaxhighlight> tag with no lang attribute at all, because older versions of this extension supported the definition of "$wgSyntaxHighlightDefaultLang". These can typically either be replaced with <pre>, or lang="bash" or lang="text" can be added to the tag.

The category may also be added, and the content will not be highlighted, if there are more than 1000 lines or more than 100 kB text.[1]



The lang="name" attribute defines what lexer should be used. The language affects how the extension highlights the source code. See the section Supported languages for details of supported languages.

def quick_sort(arr):
    less = []
<syntaxhighlight lang="python">

Specifying an invalid or unknown name will tag the page with a tracking category. See the section Syntax highlighting error category in this page for details.


The line attribute enables line numbers.

def quick_sort(arr):
	less = []
<syntaxhighlight lang="python" line>


The start attribute (in combination with line) defines the first line number of the code block. For example, line start="55" will make line numbering start at 55.

def quick_sort(arr):
    less = []
<syntaxhighlight lang="python" line start="55">


The highlight attribute specifies one or more lines that should be marked (by highlighting those lines with a different background color). You can specify multiple line numbers separated by commas (for example, highlight="1,4,8") or ranges using two line numbers and a hyphen (for example, highlight="5-7").

The line number specification ignores any renumbering of the displayed line numbers with the start attribute.
def quick_sort(arr):
    less = []
    pivot_list = []
    more = []
    if len(arr) <= 1:
        return arr

is the result of

<syntaxhighlight lang="python" line start=3 highlight="1,5-7">


MediaWiki version:

The attribute indicates that the source code should be inline as part of a paragraph (as opposed to being its own block). This option is available starting with MediaWiki 1.26. For backwards-compatibility, an enclose="none" attribute results in the same behavior.

Using the "enclose" parameter is deprecated; if set to "none", it should be replaced with inline; otherwise, it can be removed entirely.
Line breaks can occur at any space between the opening and closing tags unless the source code is marked non-breakable with class="nowrap" (on those wikis that support it; see below) or style=white-space:nowrap.

For example:

The following lambda x: x * 2 is a lambda expression in Python.

Is the result of:

The following <syntaxhighlight lang="python" inline>lambda x: x * 2</syntaxhighlight> is a [[w:Lambda (programming)|lambda expression]] in Python.


When inline is used, class="nowrap" (on those wikis that support it; not on MediaWiki itself) specifies that line breaks should not occur at spaces within the code block.

For example:

Without class="nowrap":

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxlambda x: x * 2xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

With style="white-space:nowrap":

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxlambda x: x * 2xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


The style attribute allows CSS attributes to be included directly. This is equivalent to enclosing the block in a <div> (not <span>) tag. The tab‑size attribute cannot be specified this way; it requires an enclosing <span> tag as described below under Advanced.

For example:

def quick_sort(arr):
	less = []
	pivot_list = []
	more = []
	if len(arr) <= 1:
		return arr

Is the result of:

<syntaxhighlight lang="python" style="border:3px dashed blue">
def quick_sort(arr):
	less = []
	pivot_list = []
	more = []
	if len(arr) <= 1:
		return arr

Supported languagesEdit

The Pygments library provides support for hundreds of computer languages and file formats. As of January 2020 the full list is:

Programming languagesEdit

  • ActionScript
  • Ada
  • Agda (incl. literate)
  • Alloy
  • AMPL
  • APL
  • AppleScript
  • Assembly (various)
  • Asymptote
  • Augeas
  • AutoIt
  • Awk
  • BBC Basic
  • Befunge
  • BlitzBasic
  • Boa
  • Boo
  • Boogie
  • BrainFuck
  • C, C++ (incl. dialects like Arduino)
  • C#
  • Chapel
  • Charm++ CI
  • Cirru
  • Clay
  • Clean
  • Clojure
  • CoffeeScript
  • ColdFusion
  • Common Lisp
  • Component Pascal
  • Coq
  • Croc (MiniD)
  • Cryptol (incl. Literate Cryptol)
  • Crystal
  • Cypher
  • Cython
  • D
  • Dart
  • DCPU-16
  • Delphi
  • Dylan (incl. console)
  • Eiffel
  • Elm
  • Emacs Lisp
  • Email
  • Erlang (incl. shell sessions)
  • Ezhil
  • Factor
  • Fancy
  • Fantom
  • Fennel
  • FloScript
  • Forth
  • Fortran
  • FreeFEM++
  • F#
  • GAP
  • Gherkin (Cucumber)
  • GLSL shaders
  • Golo
  • Gosu
  • Groovy
  • Haskell (incl. Literate Haskell)
  • HLSL
  • HSpec
  • Hy
  • IDL
  • Idris (incl. Literate Idris)
  • Igor Pro
  • Io
  • Jags
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Jasmin
  • Jcl
  • Julia
  • Kotlin
  • Lasso (incl. templating)
  • Limbo
  • LiveScript
  • Logtalk
  • Logos
  • Lua
  • Mathematica
  • Matlab
  • Modelica
  • Modula-2
  • Monkey
  • Monte
  • MoonScript
  • Mosel
  • MuPad
  • NASM
  • Nemerle
  • NesC
  • NewLISP
  • Nimrod
  • Nit
  • Notmuch
  • NuSMV
  • Objective-C
  • Objective-J
  • Octave
  • OCaml
  • Opa
  • OpenCOBOL
  • ParaSail
  • Pawn
  • PHP
  • Perl 5
  • Pike
  • Pony
  • PovRay
  • PostScript
  • PowerShell
  • Praat
  • Prolog
  • Python (incl. console sessions and tracebacks)
  • QBasic
  • Racket
  • Raku a.k.a. Perl 6
  • Red
  • Redcode
  • Rexx
  • Ride
  • Ruby (incl. irb sessions)
  • Rust
  • S, S-Plus, R
  • Scala
  • Scdoc
  • Scheme
  • Scilab
  • SGF
  • Shell scripts (Bash, Tcsh, Fish)
  • Shen
  • Silver
  • Slash
  • Slurm
  • Smalltalk
  • Snowball
  • Solidity
  • SourcePawn
  • Stan
  • Standard ML
  • Stata
  • Swift
  • Swig
  • SuperCollider
  • Tcl
  • Tera Term language
  • TypeScript
  • TypoScript
  • USD
  • Unicon
  • Urbiscript
  • Vala
  • VBScript
  • Verilog, SystemVerilog
  • VHDL
  • Visual Basic.NET
  • Visual FoxPro
  • Whiley
  • Xtend
  • XQuery
  • Zeek
  • Zephir
  • Zig

Template languagesEdit

  • Angular templates
  • Cheetah templates
  • ColdFusion
  • Django / Jinja templates
  • ERB (Ruby templating)
  • Evoque
  • Genshi (the Trac template language)
  • Handlebars
  • JSP (Java Server Pages)
  • Liquid
  • Myghty (the HTML::Mason based framework)
  • Mako (the Myghty successor)
  • Slim
  • Smarty templates (PHP templating)
  • Tea
  • Twig

Other markupEdit

  • Apache config files
  • Apache Pig
  • BBCode
  • CapDL
  • Cap'n Proto
  • CMake
  • Csound scores
  • CSS
  • Debian control files
  • Diff files
  • Dockerfiles
  • DTD
  • EBNF
  • E-mail headers
  • Extempore
  • Flatline
  • Gettext catalogs
  • Gnuplot script
  • Groff markup
  • Hexdumps
  • HTML
  • HTTP sessions
  • IDL
  • Inform
  • INI-style config files
  • IRC logs (irssi style)
  • Isabelle
  • JSGF notation
  • Lean theorem prover
  • Lighttpd config files
  • Linux kernel log (dmesg)
  • LLVM assembly
  • LSL scripts
  • Makefiles
  • MoinMoin/Trac Wiki markup
  • MQL
  • MySQL
  • NCAR command language
  • Nginx config files
  • Nix language
  • NSIS scripts
  • Notmuch
  • POV-Ray scenes
  • Puppet
  • QML
  • Ragel
  • Redcode
  • ReST
  • Roboconf
  • Robot Framework
  • RPM spec files
  • Rql
  • RSL
  • Scdoc
  • SQL, also MySQL, SQLite
  • Squid configuration
  • TADS 3
  • Terraform
  • TeX
  • Thrift
  • TOML
  • Treetop grammars
  • USD (Universal Scene Description)
  • Varnish configs
  • VGL
  • Vim Script
  • WDiff
  • Windows batch files
  • XML
  • XSLT
  • YAML
  • Windows Registry files

For accurate language codes, see complete details in the Pygments document and there are some mappings for some language names which were supported by GeSHi (full list).

Pygments does not yet provide a "wikitext" or "mediawiki" lexer (phab:T29828). Use "html+handlebars" or "moin" instead.

Lexers previously supported by GeSHiEdit

Below is a partial list of languages that GeSHi could highlight, with strike-through for languages no longer supported after the switch to Pygments.


The version of this extension bundled with MediaWiki 1.31 requires Python version 3 (python3) to be installed on the server. This is a change from the version bundled with MediaWiki 1.30, which used Python version 2 (python). Note that the python3 binary must be installed in the execution PATH of the PHP interpreter.
Despite its update to Pygments (and away from GeSHi) and despite its updated name, this extension internally still uses the former file names as stated below.
  • Download and place the file(s) in a directory called SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi in your extensions/ folder.
  • Only when installing from git run Composer to install PHP dependencies, by issuing composer install --no-dev in the extension directory. (See task T173141 for potential complications.)
  • Add the following code at the bottom of your LocalSettings.php:
    wfLoadExtension( 'SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi' );
  • In Linux, set execute permissions for the pygmentize binary. You can use an FTP client or the following shell command to do so:
chmod a+x /path/to/extensions/SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi/pygments/pygmentize
  •   Done – Navigate to Special:Version on your wiki to verify that the extension is successfully installed.

To users running MediaWiki 1.24 or earlier:

The instructions above describe the new way of installing this extension using wfLoadExtension(). If you need to install this extension on these earlier versions (MediaWiki 1.24 and earlier), instead of wfLoadExtension( 'SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi' );, you need to use:

require_once "$IP/extensions/SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi/SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi.php";
When installing from Git, please note that starting from MediaWiki 1.26, and ending with MediaWiki 1.31 this extension requires Composer.

So, after installation from Git change to the directory containing the extension e.g. "../extensions/SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi/" and run composer install --no-dev, or when updating: composer update --no-dev.

Alternatively as well as preferably add the line "extensions/SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi/composer.json" to the "composer.local.json" file in the root directory of your wiki like e.g.
	"extra": {
		"merge-plugin": {
			"include": [
Now run composer update --no-dev. Voilà!
  Warning: When uploading the extension via FTP be sure to upload the pygments/pygmentize file with the transfer type binary.


  • $wgPygmentizePath (optional): Absolute path to pygmentize of the Pygments package. The extension bundles the Pygments package and $wgPygmentizePath points to the bundled version by default, but you can point to a different version, if you want to. For example: $wgPygmentizePath = "/usr/local/bin/pygmentize";.
  • $wgSyntaxHighlightModels: Configure the default lexer for some wiki pages. By default this will highlight javascript and css pages. Additional content models can be configured by extensions (e.g. Lua, JSON, ..). Example:
     $wgSyntaxHighlightModels[CONTENT_MODEL_SCRIBUNTO] = 'lua';
  • If you are hosting your MediaWiki on a Windows machine, you have to set the path for the Pygmentize.exe $wgPygmentizePath = "c:\\Python27\\Scripts\\pygmentize.exe";
    • If there is no pygmentize.exe run easy_install Pygments from command line inside the Scripts folder to generate the file.

If you are using the bundled pygmentize binary (extensions/SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi/pygments/pygmentize), make sure your webserver is permitted to execute it. If your host does not allow you to add executables to your web directory, install python-pygments and add $wgPygmentizePath = pygmentize to LocalSettings.php.


After updating to MediaWiki v1.26 and above, some users started reporting problems with the extension. There could be cases, when some languages, such as Lua might not get highlighted and by turning on debugging, MediaWiki would throw out the error, Notice: Failed to invoke Pygments: /usr/bin/env: python3: No such file or directory.

  • Try pointing $wgPygmentizePath in LocalSettings.php towards an external pygmentize binary.
  • In shared hosting environments with cPanel, this can be done by setting up a new Python application through the "Setup Python App" menu, and activating the virtual environment for the app through SSH (source /virtualenv/python/3.5/bin/activate). After this, the Pygments module can be added to the Python app, for which navigate to the virtual environment path (cd virtualenv/python/3.5/bin/), download and install Pygments (./pip install Pygments) and then activate the module by adding "Pygments" under the "Existing applications" section of the "Setup Python App" menu. This will create the required file at path: virtualenv/python/3.5/bin/pygmentize
  • See the phabricator task on this for further suggestions and information.
  • SELinux can also prevent the extension from running with an error similar to type=AVC msg=audit(1609598265.169:225924): avc: denied { execute } for pid=2360888 comm="bash" name="pygmentize" dev="dm-0" ino=50814399 scontext=system_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 tcontext=unconfined_u:object_r:httpd_user_content_t:s0 tclass=file permissive=0 in your audit.log This can be allowed with setsebool -P httpd_unified 1

VisualEditor integrationEdit

The plugin enables direct editing with VisualEditor. A popup is opened when a user wants to edit syntaxhighlight sections. For this to work, VisualEditor must be installed and configured from the latest Git version, same for Parsoid. The feature may not work with older Parsoid versions. See Extension:SyntaxHighlight/VisualEditor for details


Unlike the <pre> and <code> tags, HTML character entities such as &nbsp; need not (and should not) have the & character escaped as &amp;. Like the <pre> tag but unlike the <code> tag, tags within the range (other than its own closing tag) need not have the < symbol escaped as &lt;, nor does wikitext need to be escaped with a <nowiki> tag.

Furthermore, while <pre> assumes tab stops every 8 characters and renders tabs using actual spaces when the rendered text is copied, <syntaxhighlight> uses 4-space tab stops (except Internet Explorer, which uses 8) and preserves the tab characters in the rendered text; the latter may be changed using an enclosing <span style="-moz-tab-size:nn; -o-tab-size:nn; tab-size:nn;"> tag (not <div>, and not using its own style attribute). The -moz- prefix is required for Firefox (from version 4.0), and the -o- prefix is required for Opera (from version 10.60 to version 15).[2] (Note that the wiki editing box assumes 8-space tabs.) This applies only to actual saved pages; previews generated through an edit box or Special:ExpandTemplates may differ.

See alsoEdit