Jekyll - Syntax highlighting
  •  28 December 2012
  •  jekyll 

Jekyll is a blog for hacker so of course it must have syntax highlighting. There are several ways to activate syntax highlighting in Jekyll. I’ll show you 2 popular ways that many people use.

1. Highlight.js

This is a very easy way to have syntax highlighting in jekyll because it works automatically. That means you don’t have to do anything. Once you have include highlight.js, it will auto find code blocks, detect language and highlight them for you.

1.1 Advantages:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to update (just replace the js file or even auto update)

1.2 Disadvantages:

  • Not very-well syntax highlighting but acceptable
  • You will have to format the code blocks manually (indent, new line,…)

1.3 Information

Highlight.js homepage:

1.4 Installation

There are to ways to use Highlight.js. First is to download the package, extract it into your website directory and include this in your template file (usually /_includes/themes/theme-name/default.html). Remember to edit link to point to the right position.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="styles/default.css">
<script src="highlight.pack.js"></script>

The second method is much faster and easier. Highlight.js is also hosted at Yandex so you even don’t need to download and install it. Just include this in your template file (usually /_includes/themes/theme-name/default.html) and you’re done ;)

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">
<script src=""></script>

1.5 Usage

Just indent your code blocks by one tab or at least 4 spaces. The rest is automatically done for you.

2. Pygments (recommended)

Jekyll has built-in support for syntax-highlighting via Pygments. If you want to use it, make sure you run jekyll with Pygments support. I’ll show how later.

2.1 Advantages:

  • Beautiful syntax and code highlighting with support for more then 100 languages
  • Don’t have to worry about the code blocks’s format. Just copy and paste from the source code.

2.2 Disadvantages:

  • Not as easy to install as highlight.js (but I will demonstrate how)
  • Can not be auto-update (but may change in the future)

2.3 Information

Pygments on github:
Pygments homepage:
Supported languages list:

2.4 Installation

2.4.1 Install Pygments on local computer

  • On Ubuntu, just one command
$ sudo apt-get install python-pygments
  • On Mac OS

Check the python version

$ python --version  
Python 2.7.2

Download the Setuptools package here. Select the package corresponding to your python version.

Next, cd to the directory you’ve just downloaded it and run this command

$ sudo sh setuptools-0.6c11-py2.6.egg

Install pygments

$ sudo easy_install Pygments

2.4.2 Generate pygments

$ cd path/to/jekyll/project/folder
$ pygmentize -S default -f html > pygments.css

It will generate a file named pygments.css in your website root directory.

2.5 Enable pygments

In the config.yaml file inside the root directory of your jekyll website, set pygments to true

highlighter: pygments

2.6 Include pygments.css

The last step is to include the css file in your template file (usually /_includes/themes/theme-name/default.html). Put this code in the head area of you template

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/pygments.css">

2.7 Usage

{% highlight language %}  
   your code goes here  
{% endhighlight %}

Replace language with the one of the available lexers that you want. List of all lexers can be found here.