Getting Started

The bare minimum for using highlight.js on a web page is linking to the library along with one of the styles and calling highlightAll:

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

This will find and highlight code inside of <pre><code> tags; it tries to detect the language automatically. If automatic detection doesn’t work for you, you can specify the language in the class attribute:

<pre><code class="html">...</code></pre>

Classes may also be prefixed with either language- or lang-.

<pre><code class="language-html">...</code></pre>

Plaintext and Disabling Highlighting

To style arbitrary text like code, but without any highlighting, use the plaintext class:

<pre><code class="plaintext">...</code></pre>

To disable highlighting of a tag completely, use the nohighlight class:

<pre><code class="nohighlight">...</code></pre>

Supported Languages

Highlight.js supports over 180 different languages in the core library. There are also 3rd party language plugins available for additional languages. You can find the full list of supported languages in

Custom Scenarios

When you need a bit more control over the initialization of highlight.js, you can use the highlightBlock and configure functions. This allows you to better control what to highlight and when.

Here’s the equivalent of calling highlightAll using only vanilla JS:

document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', (event) => {
  document.querySelectorAll('pre code').forEach((block) => {

Please refer to the documentation for configure options.

Using custom HTML elements for code blocks

We strongly recommend <pre><code> wrapping for code blocks. It's quite semantic and "just works" out of the box with zero fiddling. It is possible to use other HTML elements (or combos), but you may need to pay special attention to preserving linebreaks.

Let's say your markup for code blocks uses divs:

<div class='code'>...</div>

To highlight such blocks manually:

// first, find all the div.code blocks
document.querySelectorAll('div.code').forEach(block => {
  // then highlight each

Without using a tag that preserves linebreaks (like pre) you'll need some additional CSS to help preserve them. You could also pre and post-process line breaks with a plug-in, but we recommend using CSS.

To preserve linebreaks inside a div using CSS:

div.code {
  white-space: pre;

Using with Vue.js

Simply register the plugin with Vue:


And you'll be provided with a highlightjs component for use in your templates:

  <div id="app">
    <!-- bind to a data property named `code` -->
    <highlightjs autodetect :code="code" />
    <!-- or literal code works as well -->
    <highlightjs language='javascript' code="var x = 5;" />

Web Workers

You can run highlighting inside a web worker to avoid freezing the browser window while dealing with very big chunks of code.

In your main script:

addEventListener('load', () => {
  const code = document.querySelector('#code');
  const worker = new Worker('worker.js');
  worker.onmessage = (event) => { code.innerHTML =; }

In worker.js:

onmessage = (event) => {
  const result = self.hljs.highlightAuto(;


You can use highlight.js with node to highlight content before sending it to the browser. Make sure to use the .value property to get the formatted html. For more info about the returned object refer to the api docs.

// require the highlight.js library, including all languages
const hljs = require('./highlight.js');
const highlightedCode = hljs.highlightAuto('<span>Hello World!</span>').value

Or for a smaller footprint... load just the languages you need.

const hljs = require('highlight.js/lib/core');  // require only the core library
// separately require languages
hljs.registerLanguage('xml', require('highlight.js/lib/languages/xml'));

const highlightedCode = hljs.highlight('<span>Hello World!</span>', {language: 'xml'}).value

ES6 Modules

First, you'll likely install via npm or yarn -- see Getting the Library below.

In your application:

import hljs from 'highlight.js';

The default import imports all languages. Therefore it is likely to be more efficient to import only the library and the languages you need:

import hljs from 'highlight.js/lib/core';
import javascript from 'highlight.js/lib/languages/javascript';
hljs.registerLanguage('javascript', javascript);

To set the syntax highlighting style, if your build tool processes CSS from your JavaScript entry point, you can also import the stylesheet directly as modules:

import hljs from 'highlight.js/lib/core';
import 'highlight.js/styles/github.css';

Getting the Library

You can get highlight.js as a hosted, or custom-build, browser script or as a server module. Right out of the box the browser script supports both AMD and CommonJS, so if you wish you can use RequireJS or Browserify without having to build from source. The server module also works perfectly fine with Browserify, but there is the option to use a build specific to browsers rather than something meant for a server.

Do not link to GitHub directly. The library is not supposed to work straight from the source, it requires building. If none of the pre-packaged options work for you refer to the building documentation.

On Almond. You need to use the optimizer to give the module a name. For example:

r.js -o name=hljs paths.hljs=/path/to/highlight out=highlight.js

CDN Hosted

A prebuilt version of Highlight.js bundled with many common languages is hosted by several popular CDNs. When using Highlight.js via CDN you can use Subresource Integrity for additional security. For details see

cdnjs (link)

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">
<script src=""></script>
<!-- and it's easy to individually load additional languages -->
<script src=""></script>

jsdelivr (link)

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">
<script src=""></script>
<!-- and it's easy to individually load additional languages -->
<script src=""></script>

unpkg (link)

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">
<script src=""></script>
<!-- and it's easy to individually load additional languages -->
<script src=""></script>

Note: The CDN-hosted highlight.min.js package doesn't bundle every language. It would be very large. You can find our list of "common" languages that we bundle by default on our download page.

Self Hosting

The download page can quickly generate a custom bundle including only the languages you need.

Alternatively, you can build a browser package from source:

node tools/build.js -t browser :common

See our building documentation for more information.

Note: Building from source should always result in the smallest size builds. The website download page is optimized for speed, not size.

Prebuilt CDN assets

You can also download and self-host the same assets we serve up via our own CDNs. We publish those builds to the cdn-release GitHub repository. You can easily pull individual files off the CDN endpoints with curl, etc; if say you only needed highlight.min.js and a single CSS file.

There is also an npm package @highlightjs/cdn-assets if pulling the assets in via npm or yarn would be easier for your build process.

NPM / Node.js server module

Highlight.js can also be used on the server. The package with all supported languages can be installed from NPM or Yarn:

npm install highlight.js
# or
yarn add highlight.js

Alternatively, you can build it from source:

node tools/build.js -t node

See our building documentation for more information.


Current source is always available on GitHub.


Highlight.js is released under the BSD License. See LICENSE file for details.


The official site for the library is at

Further in-depth documentation for the API and other topics is at

A list of the Core Team and contributors can be found in the file.