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Syntax highlighting hints

When using SO's code blocks, can you control how syntax highlighting is performed? Many times, I've pasted (for example) some shell output into an SO answer, and the syntax highlighting has been completely unrelated. Is there any way to turn it off, or to change the language used?

EDIT: this has since been implemented. See this answer for details: Syntax highlighting language hints

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 10 '09 at 14:31

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by ChrisF, Jon B, Grace Note, jmfsg, Jon Seigel Jun 30 '10 at 21:04

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this stupid question is the top result on google and the other one isn't. can we PLEASE delete it for this reason? –  Wug Aug 31 '12 at 20:27
Surely if I delete it, google will point to a deleted question, and then if we're lucky it will point to the correct one? –  Rodrigo Queiro Sep 3 '12 at 8:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is a way to completely turn off code highlighting: use <code> tags (I often do this for OCaml/Lisp/Haskell code where unmatched 's cause problems). EDIT: As random pointed out, <pre> will work better than <code>.

Normal highlighting:

return 'a' "x" void

With <pre> it looks like this:

return 'a' "x" void

Keep in mind that with <pre>, you don't need to indent your code by four spaces. For example, the code in this answer is formatted like this:

Normal highlighting:

    return 'a' "x" void

With `<pre>` it looks like this:

return 'a' "x" void

(Sorry about the highlighting but I can't do this in <pre>...)

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If you want the nice background, use PRE –  random Aug 10 '09 at 14:48
Note that it appears that <!-- language: none --> is now the preferred mechanism to disable syntax highlighting for a preformatted block of text. –  Phrogz Mar 31 '11 at 22:32

You cannot control how the syntax is highlighted.

SO, uses Google's prettify to do the syntax coloring. Prettify uses common language patterns to determine syntax coloring.

For example:


// comment


'This is a string'
"So is this"

Key words:


As Zifre says. You can turn off the syntax highlighting in code by using the <pre> tags around your desired block of code.

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So this is a problem upstream? –  TokenMacGuy Sep 10 '09 at 23:20
Hmm... it looks like prettify has the ability to specify a language using a lang-* css class. –  TokenMacGuy Sep 10 '09 at 23:26
Didn't work for me.... <pre class="prettyprint lang-html"> made the code a complete mess. –  Joe Casadonte Mar 6 '10 at 13:51

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