*syntax.txt* For Vim version 5.4. Last change: 1999 Jul 21 VIM REFERENCE MANUAL by Bram Moolenaar Syntax highlighting *syntax* *syntax-highlighting* *coloring* Syntax highlighting enables the possibility to show parts of the text in
another font or color. Those parts can be specific keywords or text
matching a pattern. Vim doesn't parse the whole file (to keep it fast), so
the highlighting has its limitations. Lexical highlighting might be a
better name, but everybody calls it syntax highlighting, so we'll stick with
that. Vim supports syntax highlighting on all terminals. But since most ordinary
terminals have very limited highlighting possibilities, it works best in the
GUI version, gvim. 1. Quick start |:syn-qstart|
2. Syntax files |:syn-files|
3. Syntax loading procedure   |syntax-loading|
4. Syntax file remarks |:syn-file-remarks|
5. Defining a syntax |:syn-define|
6. :syntax arguments |:syn-arguments|
7. Syntax patterns |:syn-pattern|
8. Syntax clusters |:syn-cluster|
9. Including syntax files |:syn-include|
10. Synchronizing |:syn-sync|
11. Listing syntax items        |:syntax|
12. Highlight command |:highlight|
13. Linking groups |:highlight-link|
14. Cleaning up |:syn-clear|
15. Highlighting tags |tag-highlight|
16. Color xterms |xterm-color| {Vi does not have any of these commands} The syntax highlighting is not available when the |+syntax| feature has been
disabled at compile time. ============================================================================== 1. Quick start *:syn-qstart* *:syn-on*
For a large number of common languages syntax files have been included. To
start using them, type this command:
 :syntax on This will enable automatic syntax highlighting. The type of highlighting will
be selected using the file name extension, and sometimes using the first line
of the file. Include this command in your .vimrc if you always want syntax highlighting, or
put it in your .gvimrc if you only want it in the GUI. If you don't want it
for B&W terminals, but you do want it for color terminals, put this in your
 if &t_Co > 1
 syntax on
 endif What this command actually does, is executing the command
 source $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/syntax.vim
If the VIM environment variable is not set, Vim will try to find
the path in another way (see |$VIMRUNTIME|). Normally this will work just
fine. If it doesn't, try setting the VIM environment variable to the
directory where the Vim stuff is located. For example, if your syntax files
are in the "/usr/vim/vim50/syntax" directory, set $VIMRUNTIME to
"/usr/vim/vim50". You must do this in the shell, before starting Vim. *:syn-default-override*
You can override the default highlight settings, by issuing ":highlight"
commands after sourcing "syntax.vim". For example:
 syntax on
 highlight Constant gui=NONE guibg=grey95 This will change the GUI highlighting for the "Constant" group. See
|:highlight| about how to specify highlighting attributes. If you are running in the GUI, you can get white text on a black background
 highlight Normal guibg=Black guifg=White If you have a black background, use these commands to get better colors (see
 set background=dark
 syntax on NOTE: The syntax files on MS-DOS and Windows have lines that end in .
The files for Unix end in . This means you should use the right type of
file for your system. Although on MS-DOS and Windows the right format is
automatically selected if the 'fileformats' option is not empty. NOTE: When using reverse video ("gvim -fg white -bg black"), the default value
of 'background' will not be set until the GUI window is opened, which is after
reading the .gvimrc. This will cause the wrong default highlighting to be
used. To set the default value of 'background' before switching on
highlighting, include the ":gui" command in the .gvimrc:  :gui " open window and set default for 'background'
 :syntax on  " start highlighting, use 'background' to set colors NOTE: Using ":gui" in the .gvimrc means that "gvim -f" won't start in the
foreground! Use ":gui -f" then. To switch off the syntax highlighting: *:syn-off*
 :syntax off
This will completely disable syntax highlighting and remove it immediately for
all buffers. You can toggle the syntax on/off with this command
 :if exists("syntax_on") | syntax off | else | syntax on | endif To put this into a mapping, you can use:
 map  :if exists("syntax_on")  syntax off  else  syntax on  endif 
[using the || notation, type this literally] To make syntax highlighting work only in selected buffers:    *:syn-manual*
 :syntax manual
This will enable the syntax highlighting, but not switch it on automatically
when starting to edit a buffer. This is because the FileType autocommands are
not used to select a syntax. Now you can still switch on syntax highlighting for a buffer by setting the
'syntax' option. For example, to switch on fortran highlighting:
 :set syntax=fortran
This can also be done with a |modeline|, so that files that include a modeline
that sets the 'syntax' option will be highlighted. For example, this line can
be used in a Makefile:
 # vim: syntax=make *syntax-printing*
If you want to print your colored text, you will have to convert it to HTML
first, and then print it from a browser. See |2html.vim|. Details
The ":syntax" commands are implemented by sourcing a file. To see exactly how
this works, look in the file:
 command file  :syntax on $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/syntax.vim :syntax manual        $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/manual.vim :syntax off $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/nosyntax.vim
Also see |syntax-loading|. ============================================================================== 2. Syntax files *:syn-files* The syntax and highlighting commands for one language are normally stored in
a syntax file. The name convention is: "{name}.vim". Where {name} is the
name of the language, or an abbreviation (to fit the name in 8.3 characters,
which is always done, in case the file will be used on a DOS filesystem).
Examples: c.vim perl.vim   java.vim        html.vim cpp.vim sh.vim csh.vim The syntax file can contain any Ex commands, just like a vimrc file. But
the idea is that only commands for a specific language are included. When a
language is a superset of another language, it may include the other one,
for example, the cpp.vim file could include the c.vim file:
 :so $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/c.vim The .vim files are normally loaded with an autocommand. For example:
 :au Syntax c source $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/c.vim
 :au Syntax cpp source $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/cpp.vim
These commands are normally in the file $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/synload.vim. MAKING YOUR OWN SYNTAX FILES *mysyntaxfile* When you create your own syntax files, and you want to have these
automatically used with ":syntax on", do this: 1. Create a file that contains the autocommands to load your syntax files when the right file type is detected. To prevent loading two syntax files (when the file type is used twice), first delete other autocommands for the same file type. You can also include ":highlight" commands in this file, which override the normal highlighting (because the file is sourced after setting the normal highlighting). Example:
 au! Syntax dosbatch so ~/vim/batch.vim
 au! Syntax mine so ~/vim/mine.vim
 highlight Comment gui=bold Let's assume you write this file in "~/vim/mysyntax.vim". Note that when you introduce a new file type, this must first be detected. See |myfiletypefile|. *mysyntaxfile-file*
2. In your .vimrc, set the "mysyntaxfile" variable to the file you just created. For example:
 let mysyntaxfile = "~/vim/mysyntax.vim" Put this before ":syntax on"! If you want to use a new file type, see |new-filetype|. Note that "mysyntaxfile" is sourced AFTER defining the default autocommands
for the supplied syntax files, so that you can override these autocommands
with your own. NAMING CONVENTIONS *group-name*
To be able to allow each user to pick his favorite set of colors, there need
to be preferred names for highlight groups that are common for many languages.
These are the ones that are suggested to be used: *Comment      any comment *Constant   any constant String a string constant: "this is a string" Character   a character constant: 'c', '\n' Number a number constant: 234, 0xff Boolean     a boolean constant: TRUE, false Float a floating point constant: 2.3e10 *Identifier  any variable name Function      function name (also: methods for classes) *Statement    any statement Conditional       if, then, else, endif, switch, etc. Repeat for, do, while, etc. Label case, default, etc. Operator       "sizeof", "+", "*", etc. Keyword      any other keyword Exception     try, catch, throw *PreProc      generic Preprocessor Include    preprocessor #include Define preprocessor #define Macro same as Define PreCondit        preprocessor #if, #else, #endif, etc. *Type int, long, char, etc. StorageClass  static, register, volatile, etc. Structure      struct, union, enum, etc. Typedef       A typedef *Special      any special symbol SpecialChar  special character in a constant Tag you can use CTRL-] on this Delimiter    character that needs attention SpecialComment   special things inside a comment Debug debugging statements *Ignore left blank, hidden *Error any erroneous construct *Todo anything that needs extra attention; mostly the keywords TODO FIXME and XXX The ones marked with * are the preferred groups, the other are minor groups.
For the preferred groups, the "syntax.vim" file contains default highlighting.
The minor groups are linked to the preferred groups, so they get the same
highlighting. You can override these defaults by giving ":highlight" commands
after sourcing the "syntax.vim" file. Note that highlight group names are not case sensitive. "String" and "string"
can be used for the same group. The following names are reserved and cannot be used as a group name: NONE ALL ALLBUT contains contained ============================================================================== 3. Syntax loading procedure *syntax-loading* This explains the details that happen when the command ":syntax on" is issued.
When Vim initializes itself, it finds out where the runtime files are located.
This is used here as the variable |$VIMRUNTIME|. What ":syntax on" does: Source $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/syntax.vim | +-      Clear out any old syntax. | +-    Source $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/synload.vim | | |     +- Set up standard highlighting groups |        | |     +- Set up syntax autocmds to load the appropriate syntax file when |        | the 'syntax' option is set. *synload-1* |       | |     +- Source the user's optional file, from the |mysyntaxfile| variable. | This is where you can add your own syntax autocommands for loading | your syntax file when the 'syntax' option is set. You can also | modify the standard highlighting here. *synload-2* | +-        Source $VIMRUNTIME/filetype.vim |       | |     +- Install autocmds based on suffix to set the 'filetype' option |    | This is where the connection between file name and file type is |     | made for known file types. *synload-3* |        | |     +- Source the user's optional file, from the |myfiletypefile| |  | variable. This is where you can add your own connections between |    | file name and file type. Or overrule existing ones. *synload-4* |       | |     +- Install one autocommand which loads $VIMRUNTIME/scripts.vim when |    | no file type was detected yet. *synload-5* |    | |     +- Source $VIMRUNTIME/menu.vim, to setup the Syntax menu. |menu.vim| | +-     Install a FileType autocommand to set the 'syntax' option when a file |      type has been detected. *synload-6* | +-  Execute syntax autocommands to start syntax highlighting for each already loaded buffer. When a file is loaded, its syntax file is found in this way: Loading the file triggers the BufReadPost autocommands. | +-     If there is a match with one of the autocommands from |synload-3| |    (known file types) or |synload-4| (user's file types), the 'filetype' | option is set to the file type. | +-    The autocommand at |synload-5| is triggered. If the file type was not | found yet, then $VIMRUNTIME/scripts.vim is sourced. |   | |     +- Source the user's optional |myscriptsfile|. This typically makes |     | checks using "getline(1) =~ pattern" to find out which file type |  | the file is, and sets 'filetype'. | | |     +- If the file type is still unknown, check the contents of the file, | again with checks like "getline(1) =~ pattern" as to whether the | file type can be recognized, and set 'filetype'. | +-    When the file type was determined and 'filetype' was set, this |      triggers the FileType autocommand |synload-6| above. It sets |      'syntax' to the determined file type. | +-      When the 'syntax' option was set above, this triggers an autocommand |   from |synload-1| or |synload-2|. This will source the syntax file in |  the $VIMRUNTIME/syntax directory or the user's syntax file. | +-     Any other user installed FileType or Syntax autocommands are triggered. This can be used to change the highlighting for a specific syntax. ============================================================================== 4. Syntax file remarks *:syn-file-remarks* *b:current_syntax-variable*
The name of the syntax that has been loaded is stored in the
"b:current_syntax" variable. You can use this if you want to load other
settings, depending on which syntax is active. Example:
 :au BufReadPost * if b:current_syntax == "csh"
 :au BufReadPost * do-some-things
 :au BufReadPost * endif 2HTML *2html.vim* *convert-to-HTML* This is not a syntax file itself, but a script that converts the current
window into HTML. A new window is opened, in which the HTML file is built. Warning: This is slow!
The resulting file can be written where you want it. You can then view it
with any HTML viewer, such as Netscape. The colors should be exactly the same
as you see them in Vim.
- This only works in a version with GUI support. If the GUI not actually running (possible for X11) it still works, but not that good (the color names may be wrong).
- In older browsers the background colors will not be shown.
- From Netscape you can also print the file (in color)!
- When 'tabstop' is not 8, the amount of white space will be wrong. Here is an example how to run the script over all .c and .h files from a
Unix shell:
 $ for f in *.[ch]; do gvim -f +"syn on" +"so \$VIMRUNTIME/syntax/2html.vim" +"wq" +"q" $f; done Assembly *asm.vim* *asmh8300.vim* *nasm.vim* There are many types of assembly languages that all use the same file name
extensions. Therefore you will have to select the type yourself, or add a
line in the assembly file that Vim will recognize. The most flexible is to add a line in your assembly file containing:
Replace "nasm" with the name of the real assembly syntax. This line must be
one of the first five lines in the file. The syntax type can always be overruled for a specific buffer by setting the
b:asmsyntax variable:
     let b:asmsyntax=nasm If b:asmsyntax is not set, either automatically or by hand, then the value of
the global variable asmsyntax is used. This can be seen as a default assembly
     let asmsyntax=nasm As a last resort, if nothing is defined, the "asm" syntax is used. *basic.vim* *vb.vim*
Both Visual Basic and "normal" basic use the extension ".bas". To detect
which one should be used, Vim checks for the string "VB_Name" in the first
five lines of the file. If it is not found, filetype will be "basic",
otherwise "vb". Files with the ".frm" extension will always be seen as Visual
Basic. C *c.vim* A few things in C highlighting are optional. To enable them assign any value
to the respective value. Example:
 let c_comment_strings=1
To disable them use ":unlet". Example:
 unlet c_comment_strings variable Highlight 
c_comment_strings       strings and numbers inside a comment
c_space_errors trailing white space and spaces before a 
c_no_trail_space_error ... but no trailing spaces
c_no_tab_space_error ... but no spaces before a 
c_no_ansi don't do standard ANSI types and constants
c_ansi_typedefs ... but do standard ANSI types
c_ansi_constants ... but do standard ANSI constants
c_no_utf don't highlight \u and \U in strings
c_syntax_for_h use C syntax for *.h files, instead of C++
c_no_if0 don't highlight "#if 0" blocks as comments
c_no_cformat don't highlight %-formats in strings If you notice highlighting errors while scrolling backwards, which are fixed
when redrawing with CTRL-L, try setting the "c_minlines" internal variable
to a larger number:
 let c_minlines = 100
This will make the syntax synchronization start 100 lines before the first
displayed line. The default value is 50 (15 when c_no_if0 is set). The
disadvantage of using a larger number is that redrawing can become slow. When using the "#if 0" / "#endif" comment highlighting, notice that this only
works when the "#if 0" is within "c_minlines" from the top of the window. If
you have a long "#if 0" construct it will not be highlighted correctly. To match extra items in comments the cCommentGroup cluster can be used.
 au Syntax c call MyCadd()
 function MyCadd()
 syn keyword cMyItem contained Ni
 syn cluster cCommentGroup add=cMyItem
 hi link cMyItem Title
 endfun ANSI constants will be highlighted with the "cConstant" group. This includes
"NULL", "SIG_IGN" and others. But not "TRUE", for example, because this is
not in the ANSI standard. If you find this confusing, remove the cConstant
 :hi link cConstant NONE COBOL *cobol.vim* COBOL highlighting for legacy code has different needs than fresh development.
This is due both to differences in what is being done (maintenance versus
development) as well as other factors. To enable legacy code highlighting,
add this line to you .vimrc:
 let cobol_legacy_code=1
To disable it again, use this:
 unlet cobol_legacy_code EIFFEL *eiffel.vim* While Eiffel is not case-sensitive, its style guidelines are, and the
syntax highlighting file encourages their use. This also allows to
highlight class names differently. If you want to disable case-sensitive
highlighting, add the following line to your startup file:  let eiffel_ignore_case=1 Case still matters for class names and TODO marks in comments. Conversely, for even stricter checks, add the following line too:  let eiffel_pedantic=1 Currently, this will only catch improper capitalization for the five
predefined words "Current", "Void", "Result", "Precursor", and "NONE",
to warn against their accidental use as feature or class names. If instead you want to use the lower-case version of "Current", "Void",
"Result", and "Precursor", you can use  let eiffel_lower_case_predef=1 instead of completely turning case-sensitive highlighting off. Finally, some vendors support hexadecimal constants. To handle them, add  let eiffel_hex_constants=1 to your startup file. FVWM CONFIGURATION FILES *fvwm.vim* To make Vim highlight all valid color names, let "rgb_file" contain the
full path of the color database (rgb.txt). E.g.,  let rgb_file = "/usr/X11/lib/X11/rgb.txt" HTML *html.vim* The coloring scheme for tags in the HTML file works as follows. The  of opening tags are colored differently than the  of a closing tag.
This is on purpose! For opening tags the 'Function' color is used, while for
closing tags the 'Type' color is used (See syntax.vim to check how those are
defined for you) Known tag names are colored the same way as statements in C. Unknown tag
names are colored with the same color as the  or  respectively which
makes it easy to spot errors Note that the same is true for argument (or attribute) names. Known attribute
names are colored differently than unknown ones. Some HTML tags are used to change the rendering of text. The following tags
are recognized by the html.vim syntax coloring file and change the way normal
text is shown:      ( is used as an alias for ,
while  as an alias for ), 

, , and , but only if used as a link that is, it must include a href as in ). If you want to change how such text is rendered, you must redefine the following syntax groups: – htmlBold – htmlBoldUnderline – htmlBoldUnderlineItalic – htmlUnderline – htmlUnderlineItalic – htmlItalic – htmlLink for links – htmlTitle for titles – htmlH1 – htmlH6 for headings To make this redefinition work you must redefine them all with the exception of the last two (htmlTitle and htmlH[1-6], which are optional) and define the following variable in your vimrc (this is due to the order in which the files are read during initialization) let html_my_rendering=1 If you’d like to see an example download mysyntax.vim at You can also disable this rendering by adding the following line to your vimrc file: let html_no_rendering=1 HTML comments are rather special (see an HTML reference document for the details), and the syntax coloring scheme will highlight all errors. However, if you prefer to use the wrong style (starts with ) you can define let html_wrong_comments=1 JavaScript and Visual Basic embedded inside HTML documents are highlighted as ‘Special’ with statements, comments, strings and so on colored as in standard programming languages. Note that only JavaScript and Visual Basic are currently supported, no other scripting language has been added yet. Embedded and inlined cascading style sheets (CSS) are highlighted too. There are several html preprocessor languages out there. html.vim has been written such that it should be trivial to include it. To do so add the following two lines to the syntax coloring file for that language (the example comes from the asp.vim file): source :p:h/html.vim syn cluster htmlPreproc add=asp Now you just need to make sure that you add all regions that contain the preprocessor language to the cluster htmlPreproc. JAVA *java.vim* The java.vim syntax highlighting file offers several options: In Java 1.0.2 it was never possible to have braces inside parens, so this was flagged as an error. Since Java 1.1 this is possible (with anonymous classes), and therefore is no longer marked as an error. If you prefer the old way, put the following line into your vim startup file: let java_mark_braces_in_parens_as_errors=1 Function names are not highlighted, as the way to find functions depends on how you write java code. The syntax file knows two possible ways to highlight functions: If you write function declarations that are always indented by either a tab, 8 spaces or 2 spaces you may want to set let java_highlight_functions= »indent » However, if you follow the java guidlines about how functions and classes are supposed to be named (with respect to upper and lower cases), use let java_highlight_functions= »style » If both options do not work for you, but you would still want function declarations to be highlighted create your own definitions by changing the definitions in java.vim or by creating your own java.vim which includes the original one and then adds the code to highlight functions. In java 1.1 the functions System.out.println() and System.err.println() should only be used for debugging. Therefor it is possible to highlight debugging statements differently. To do this you must add the following definition in your startup file: let java_highlight_debug=1 The result will be that those statements are highlighted as ‘Special’ characters. If you prefer to have them highlighted differently you must define new highlightings for the following groups.: Debug, DebugSpecial, DebugString, DebugBoolean, DebugType which are used for the statement itself, special characters used in debug strings, strings, boolean constants and types (this, super) respectively. I have opted to chose another background for those statements. In order to help you to write code that can be easely ported between java and C++, all C++ keywords are marked as error in a java program. However, if you use them regularly, you may want to define the following variable in your .vimrc file: let java_allow_cpp_keywords=1 Javadoc is a program that takes special comments out of java program files and creates HTML pages. The standard configuration will highlight this HTML code similarly to HTML files (see |html.vim|). You can even add javascript and CSS inside this code (see below). There are four differences however: 1. The title (all characters up to the first ‘.’ which is followed by some white space or up to the first ‘@’) is colored differently (to change the color change the group CommentTitle). 2. The text is colored as ‘Comment’. 3. HTML comments are colored as ‘Special’ 4. The special javadoc tags (@see, @param, …) are highlighted as specials and the argument (for @see, @param, @exception) as Function. To turn this feature off add the following line to your startup file: let java_ignore_javadoc=1 If you use the special javadoc comment highlighting described above you can also turn on special highlighting for javascript, visual basic scripts and embedded CSS (stylesheets). This makes only sense if you actually have javadoc comments that include either javascript or embedded CSS. The options to use are let java_javascript=1 let java_css=1 let java_vb=1 If you notice highlighting errors while scrolling backwards, which are fixed when redrawing with CTRL-L, try setting the « java_minlines » internal variable to a larger number: let java_minlines = 50 This will make the syntax synchronization start 50 lines before the first displayed line. The default value is 10. The disadvantage of using a larger number is that redrawing can become slow. LACE *lace.vim* Lace (Language for Assembly of Classes in Eiffel) is case insensitive, but the style guide lines are not. If you prefer case insensitive highlighting, just define the vim variable ‘lace_case_insensitive’ in your startup file: let lace_case_insensitive=1 LEX *lex.vim* Lex uses brute-force synchronizing as the « ^%%$ » section delimiter gives no clue as to what section follows. Consequently, the value for syn sync minlines=300 may be changed by the user if s/he is experiencing synchronization difficulties (such as may happen with large lex files). MAPLE *maple.vim* Maple V, by Waterloo Maple Inc, supports symbolic algebra. The language supports many packages of functions which are selectively loaded by the user. The standard set of packages’ functions as supplied in Maple V release 4 may be highlighted at the user’s discretion. Users may place in their .vimrc file: let mvpkg_all= 1 to get all package functions highlighted, or users may select any subset by choosing a variable/package from the table below and setting that variable to 1, also in their .vimrc file (prior to sourcing $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/syntax.vim). Table of Maple V Package Function Selectors mv_DEtools mv_genfunc mv_networks mv_process mv_Galois mv_geometry mv_numapprox mv_simplex mv_GaussInt mv_grobner mv_numtheory mv_stats mv_LREtools mv_group mv_orthopoly mv_student mv_combinat mv_inttrans mv_padic mv_sumtools mv_combstruct mv_liesymm mv_plots mv_tensor mv_difforms mv_linalg mv_plottools mv_totorder mv_finance mv_logic mv_powseries PERL *perl.vim* There are a number of possible options to the perl syntax highlighting. If you use POD files or POD segments, you might: let perl_include_POD = 1 To handle package references in variable and function names differently from the rest of the name (like ‘PkgName::’ in ‘$PkgName::VarName’): let perl_want_scope_in_variables = 1 If you want complex things like ‘@{${« foo »}}’ to be parsed: let perl_extended_vars = 1 The coloring strings can be changed. By default strings and qq friends will be highlighted like the first line. If you set the variable perl_string_as_statement, it will be highlighted as in the second line. « hello world! »; qq|hello world|; ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^NN^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^N (unlet perl_string_as_statement) S^^^^^^^^^^^^SNNSSS^^^^^^^^^^^^N (let perl_string_as_statement) (^ = perlString, S = perlStatement, N = None at all) The syncing has 3 options. The first two switch off some triggering of synchronization and should only be needed in case it fails to work properly. If while scrolling all of a sudden the whole screen changes color completely then you should try and switch off one of those. Let me know if you can figure out the line that causes the mistake. One triggers on « ^\s*sub\s* » and the other on « ^[$@%] » more or less. let perl_no_sync_on_sub let perl_no_sync_on_global_var Below you can set the maximum distance VIM should look for starting points for its attempts in syntax highlighting. let perl_sync_dist = 100 POSTSCRIPT *postscr.vim* There are several options when it comes to highlighting PostScript. First which version of the PostScript language to highlight. There are currently three defined language versions, or levels. Level 1 is the original and base version, and includes all extensions prior to the release of level 2. Level 2 is the most common version around, and includes its own set of extensions prior to the release of level 3. Level 3 is currently the highest level supported. You select which level of the PostScript language you want highlighted by defining the postscr_level variable as follows: let postscr_level=2 If this variable is not defined it defaults to 2 (level 2) since this is the most prevalent version currently. Note, not all PS interpreters will support all language features for a particular language level. In particular the %!PS-Adobe-3.0 at the start of PS files does NOT mean the PostScript present is level 3 PostScript! If you are working with Display PostScript, you can include highlighting of Display PS language features by defining the postscr_display variable as follows: let postscr_display=1 If you are working with Ghostscript, you can include highlighting of Ghostscript specific language features by defining the variable postscr_ghostscript as follows: let postscr_ghostscript=1 PostScript is a large language, with many predefined elements. While it useful to have all these elements highlighted, on slower machines this can cause Vim to slow down. In an attempt to be machine friendly font names and character encodings are not highlighted by default. Unless you are working explicitly with either of these this should be ok. If you want them to be highlighted you should set one or both of the following variables: let postscr_fonts=1 let postscr_encodings=1 There is a stylistic option to the highlighting of and, or, and not. In PostScript the function of these operators depends on the types of their operands – if the operands are booleans then they are the logical operators, if they are integers then they are binary operators. As binary and logical operators can be highlighted differently they have to be highlighted one way or the other. By default they are treated as logical operators. They can be highlighted as binary operators by defining the variable postscr_andornot_binary as follows: let postscr_andornot_binary=1 PRINTCAP + TERMCAP *ptcap.vim* *termcap-syntax* *printcap* This syntax file applies to the printcap and termcap databases. If you notice highlighting errors while scrolling backwards, which are fixed when redrawing with CTRL-L, try setting the « ptcap_minlines » internal variable to a larger number: let ptcap_minlines = 50 (The default is 20 lines.) REXX *rexx.vim* If you notice highlighting errors while scrolling backwards, which are fixed when redrawing with CTRL-L, try setting the « rexx_minlines » internal variable to a larger number: let rexx_minlines = 50 This will make the syntax synchronization start 50 lines before the first displayed line. The default value is 10. The disadvantage of using a larger number is that redrawing can become slow. SED *sed.vim* To make tabs stand out from regular blanks (accomplished by using Todo highlighting on the tabs), define « highlight_sedtabs » by putting let highlight_sedtabs = 1 in the vimrc file. (This special highlighting only applies for tabs inside search patterns, replacement texts, addresses or text included by an Append/Change/Insert command.) If you enable this option, it is also a good idea to set the tab width to one character; by doing that, you can easily count the number of tabs in a string. Bugs: The transform command (y) is treated exactly like the substitute command. This means that, as far as this syntax file is concerned, transform accepts the same flags as substitute, which is wrong. (Transform accepts no flags.) I tolerate this bug because the involved commands need very complex treatment (95 patterns, one for each plausible pattern delimiter). SH *sh.vim* This covers the « normal » Unix sh, bash and the korn shell. If you’re working on a system where bash is called sh, you will benefit to define the vim variable ‘bash_is_sh’ in your ‘.vimrc’ file: let bash_is_sh = 1 To choose between the two ways to treat single-quotes inside a pair of double-quotes, I have introduced a Vim variable « highlight_balanced_quotes ». By default (ie by not declaring this variable) single quotes can be used inside double quotes, and are not highlighted. If you prefer balanced single quotes as I do you just make the statement in your .vimrc file: let highlight_balanced_quotes = 1 Similar I have introduced another vim variable « highlight_function_name » to be used to enable/disable highlighting of the function-name in function declaration. Default is not to highlight the function name. If you want to highlight functions names, include this in your .vimrc file: let highlight_function_name = 1 If you notice highlighting errors while scrolling backwards, which are fixed when redrawing with CTRL-L, try setting the « sh_minlines » internal variable to a larger number: let sh_minlines = 200 This will make the syntax synchronization start 200 lines before the first displayed line. The default value is 100. The disadvantage of using a larger number is that redrawing can become slow. If you don’t have much to synchronize on, displaying can be very slow. To reduce this, the « sh_maxlines » internal variable can be set: let sh_maxlines = 100 The default is to use the double of « sh_minlines ». Set it to a smaller number to speed up displaying. The disadvantage is that highlight errors may appear. SPEEDUP (AspenTech plant simulator) *spup.vim* The Speedup syntax file has some options: – strict_subsections : If this variable is defined, only keywords for sections and subsections will be highlighted as statements but not other keywords (like WITHIN in the OPERATION section). – highlight_types : Definition of this variable causes stream types like temperature or pressure to be highlighted as Type, not as a plain Identifier. Included are the types that are usually found in the DECLARE section; if you defined own types, you have to include them in the syntax file. – oneline_comments : this value ranges from 1 to 3 and determines the highlighting of # style comments. oneline_comments = 1 : allow normal Speedup code after an even number of #s. oneline_comments = 2 : show code starting with the second # as error. This is the default setting. oneline_comments = 3 : show the whole line as error if it contains more than one #. Since especially OPERATION sections tend to become very large due to PRESETting variables, syncing may be critical. If your computer is fast enough, you can increase minlines and/or maxlines near the end of the syntax file. TEX *tex.vim* The tex highlighting supports TeX, LaTeX, and some AmsTeX. The highlighting supports three primary zones: normal, texZone, and texMathZone. Although a considerable effort has been made to have these zones terminate properly, zones delineated by $..$ and $$..$$ cannot be synchronized as there’s no difference between start and end patterns. Consequently, a special « TeX comment » has been provided %stopzone which will forcibly terminate the highlighting of either a texZone or a texMathZone. If you have a slow computer, you may wish to reduce the values for syn sync maxlines=200 syn sync minlines=50 (especially the latter). If your computer is fast, you may wish to increase them. This primarily affects synchronizing (ie. just what group, if any, is the text at the top of the screen supposed to be in?). X Pixmaps (XPM) *xpm.vim* xpm.vim creates its syntax items dynamically based upon the contents of the XPM file. Thus if you make changes e.g. in the color specification strings, you have to source it again e.g. with « :set syn=xpm ». To copy a pixel with one of the colors, yank a « pixel » with « yl » and insert it somewhere else with « P ». Do you want to draw with the mouse? Try the following: function! GetPixel() let c = getline(line(« . »))[col(« . ») – 1] echo c exe « noremap r ».c exe « noremap r ».c endfunction noremap :call GetPixel() set guicursor=n:hor20  » to see the color beneath the cursor This turns the right button into a pipette and the left button into a pen. It will work with XPM files that have one character per pixel only and you must not click outside of the pixel strings, but feel free to improve it. It will look much better with a font in a quadratic cell size, e.g. for X: set guifont=-*-clean-medium-r-*-*-8-*-*-*-*-80-* ============================================================================== 5. Defining a syntax *:syn-define* Vim understands three types of syntax items: 1. A keyword. It can only contain keyword characters, according to the ‘iskeyword’ option. It cannot contain other syntax items. It will only be recognized when it is a complete match (there are no keyword characters before or after the match). « if » would match in « if(a=b) », but not in « ifdef x ». 2. A match. This is a match with a single regexp pattern. It must be within one line. 3. A region. This starts at a match of the start regexp pattern and ends with a match with the end regexp pattern. A skip regexp pattern can be used to avoid matching the end pattern. Several syntax ITEMs can be put into one syntax GROUP. For a syntax group you can give highlighting attributes. For example, you could have an item to define a « /* .. */ » comment and another one that defines a « // .. » comment, and put them both in the « Comment » group. You can then specify that a « Comment » will be in bold font and have a blue color. You are free to make one highlight group for one syntax item, or put all items into one group. This depends on how you want to specify your highlighting attributes. Putting each item in its own group results in having to specify the highlighting for a lot of groups. Note that a syntax group and a highlight group are similar. For a highlight group you will have given highlight attributes. These attributes will be used for the syntax group with the same name. In case more than one item matches at the same position, the one that was defined LAST wins. Thus you can override previously defined syntax items by using an item that matches the same text. But a keyword always goes before a match or region. And a keyword with matching case always goes before a keyword with ignoring case. DEFINING CASE *:syn-case* :sy[ntax] case [match|ignore] This defines if the following « :syntax » commands will work with matching case, when using « match », or with ignoring case, when using « ignore ». Note that any items before this are not affected, and all items until the next « :syntax case » command are affected. DEFINING KEYWORDS *:syn-keyword* :sy[ntax] keyword {group-name} [{options}] {keyword} .. [{options}] This defines a number of keywords. {group-name} Is a syntax group name such as « Comment ». [{options}] See |:syn-arguments| below. {keyword} .. Is a list of keywords which are part of this group. Example: :syntax keyword Type int long char The {options} can be given anywhere in the line. They will apply to all keywords given, also for options that come after a keyword. These examples do exactly the same: :syntax keyword Type contained int long char :syntax keyword Type int long contained char :syntax keyword Type int long char contained When you have a keyword with an optional tail, like Ex commands in Vim, you can put the optional characters inside [], to define all the variations at once: :syntax keyword VimCommand ab[breviate] n[ext] A keyword always has higher priority than a match or region, the keyword is used if more than one item matches. Keywords do not nest and a keyword can’t contain anything else. Note that when you have a keyword that is the same as an option (even one that isn’t allowed here), you can not use it. Use a match instead. The maximum length of a keyword is 80 characters. The same keyword can be defined multiple times, when its containment differs. For example, you can define the keyword once not contained and use one highlight group, and once contained, and use a different highlight group. Example: :syn keyword vimCommand tag :syn keyword vimSetting contained tag When finding « tag » outside of any syntax item, the « vimCommand » highlight group is used. When finding « tag » in a syntax item that contains « vimSetting », the « vimSetting » group is used. DEFINING MATCHES *:syn-match* :sy[ntax] match {group-name} [{options}] {pattern} [{options}] This defines one match. {group-name} A syntax group name such as « Comment ». [{options}] See |:syn-arguments| below. {pattern} The search pattern that defines the match. See |:syn-pattern| below. Example (match a character constant): :syntax match Character /’.’/s+1e-1 DEFINING REGIONS *:syn-region* *:syn-start* *:syn-skip* *:syn-end* :sy[ntax] region {group-name} [{options}] [matchgroup={group_name}] [keepend] start={start_pattern} .. [skip={skip_pattern}] end={end_pattern} .. [{options}] This defines one region. It may span several lines. {group-name} A syntax group name such as « Comment ». [{options}] See |:syn-arguments| below. [matchgroup={group-name}] The syntax group to use for the following start or end pattern matches only. Not used for the text in between the matched start and end patterns. Use NONE to reset to not using a different group for the start or end match. See |:syn-matchgroup|. keepend Don’t allow contained matches to go past a match with the end pattern. See |:syn-keepend|. start={start_pattern} The search pattern that defines the start of the region. See |:syn-pattern| below. skip={skip_pattern} The search pattern that defines text inside the region where not to look for the end pattern. See |:syn-pattern| below. end={end_pattern} The search pattern that defines the end of the region. See |:syn-pattern| below. Example: :syntax region String start=+ »+ skip=+\\ »+ end=+ »+ The start/skip/end patterns and the options can be given in any order. There can be zero or one skip pattern. There must be one or more start and end patterns. This means that you can omit the skip pattern, but you must give at least one start and one end pattern. It is allowed to have white space before and after the equal sign (although it mostly looks better without white space). When more than one start pattern is given, a match with one of these is sufficient. This means there is an OR relation between the start patterns. The first one that matches is used. The same is true for the end patterns. The search for the end pattern starts at the start of the region. This implies that it can also match inside the start pattern! Note: The decision to start a region is only based on a matching start pattern. There is no check for a matching end pattern. This does NOT work: :syn region First start= »( » end= ». » :syn region Second start= »( » end= »; » The Second always matches before the First (last defined pattern has higher priority). The Second region then continues until the next ‘;’, no matter if there is a ‘.’ before it. *:syn-keepend* By default, a contained match can obscure a match for the end pattern. This is useful for nesting. For example, a region that starts with « { » and ends with « } », can contain another region. An encountered « } » will then end the contained region, but not the outer region: { starts outer « {} » region { starts contained « {} » region } ends contained « {} » region } ends outer « {} region If you don’t want this, the « keepend » argument will make the matching of an end pattern of the outer region also end any contained item. This makes it impossible to nest the same region, but allows for contained items to highlight parts of the end pattern, without causing that to skip the match with the end pattern. Example: :syn match VimComment + »[^ »]\+$+ :syn region VimCommand start= »set » end= »$ » contains=VimComment keepend The « keepend » makes the VimCommand always end at the end of the line, even though the contained VimComment includes a match with the . When « keepend » is not used, a match with an end pattern is retried after each contained match. When « keepend » is included, the first encountered match with an end pattern is used, truncating any contained matches. *:syn-matchgroup* « matchgroup » can be used to highlight the start and/or end pattern differently than the body of the region. Example: :syntax region String matchgroup=Quote start=+ »+ skip=+\\ »+ end=+ »+ This will highlight the quotes with the « Quote » group, and the text in between with the « String » group. The « matchgroup » is used for all start and end patterns that follow, until the next « matchgroup ». Use « matchgroup=NONE » to go back to not using a matchgroup. It is not possible to have a contained match in a start or end pattern that is highlighted with « matchgroup ». When using « transparent », it does not apply to a start or end pattern that is highlighted with « matchgroup ». ============================================================================== 6. :syntax arguments *:syn-arguments* The :syntax commands that define syntax items take a number of arguments. The common ones are explained here. The arguments may be given in any order and may be mixed with patterns. Not all commands accept all arguments. This table shows which arguments can be used for each command: contained nextgroup skip* transparent contains oneline :syntax keyword yes yes yes yes – – :syntax match yes yes yes yes yes – :syntax region yes yes yes yes yes yes contained *:syn-contained* When the « contained » argument is given, this item will not be recognized at the top level, but only when it is mentioned in the « contains » field of another match. Example: :syntax keyword Todo TODO contained :syntax match Comment « //.* » contains=Todo transparent *:syn-transparent* If the « transparent » argument is given, this item will not be highlighted itself, but will take the highlighting of the item it is contained in. This is useful for syntax items that don’t need any highlighting but are used only to skip over a part of the text. The same groups as the item it is contained in are used, unless a « contains » argument is given too. oneline *:syn-oneline* The « oneline » argument indicates that the region does not cross a line boundary. It must match completely in the current line. However, when the region has a contained item that does cross a line boundary, it continues on the next line anyway. A contained item can be used to recognize a line continuation pattern. contains={groupname},.. *:syn-contains* The « contains » argument is followed by a list of syntax group names. These groups will be allowed to begin inside the item (they may extend past the containing group’s end). This allows for recursive nesting of matches and regions. If there is no « contains » argument, no groups will be contained in this item. The group names do not need to be defined before they can be used here. contains=ALL If the only item in the contains list is « ALL », then all groups will be accepted inside the item. contains=ALLBUT,{group-name},.. If the first item in the contains list is « ALLBUT », then all groups will be accepted inside the item, except the ones that are listed, and the « contained » items. Example: :syntax region Block start= »{ » end= »} » … contains=ALLBUT,Function The {group-name} in the « contains » list can be a pattern. All group names that match the pattern will be included (or excluded, if « ALLBUT » is used). The pattern cannot contain white space or a ‘,’. Example: … contains=Comment.*,Keyw[0-3] The matching will be done at moment the syntax command is executed. Groups that are defined later will not be matched. Also, if the current syntax command defines a new group, this is not matched. Be careful: When putting syntax commands in a file you can’t rely on groups NOT being defined, because the file may have been sourced before, and « syn clear » doesn’t remove the group names. nextgroup={groupname},.. *:syn-nextgroup* The « nextgroup » argument is followed by a list of syntax group names, separated by commas (just like with « contains », so you can also use patterns). If the « nextgroup » argument is given, the mentioned syntax groups will be tried for a match, after the match or region ends. If none of the groups have a match, highlighting continues normally. If there is a match, this group will used, even when it is not mentioned in the « contains » field of the current group. This is like giving the mentioned group priority over all other groups. Example: :syntax match ccFoobar « Foo.\{-}Bar » contains=ccFoo :syntax match ccFoo « Foo » contained nextgroup=ccFiller :syntax region ccFiller start= ». » matchgroup=ccBar end= »Bar » contained This will highlight « Foo » and « Bar » differently, and only when there is a « Bar » after « Foo ». In the text line below, « f » shows where ccFoo is used for highlighting, and « bbb » where ccBar is used. Foo asdfasd Bar asdf Foo asdf Bar asdf fff bbb fff bbb Note the use of « .\{-} » to skip as little as possible until the next Bar. when « .* » would be used, the « asdf » in between « Bar » and « Foo » would be highlighted according to the « ccFoobar » group, because the ccFooBar match would include the first « Foo » and the last « Bar » in the line (see |pattern|). skipwhite *:syn-skipwhite* skipnl *:syn-skipnl* skipempty *:syn-skipempty* These arguments are only used in combination with « nextgroup ». They can be used to allow the next group to match after skipping some text: skipwhite skip over space and Tab characters skipnl skip over the end of a line skipempty skip over empty lines (implies a « skipnl ») When « skipwhite » is present, the white space is only skipped if there is no next group that matches the white space. When « skipnl » is present, the match with nextgroup may be found in the next line. This only happens when the current item ends at the end of the current line! When « skipnl » is not present, the nextgroup will only be found after the current item in the same line. When skipping text while looking for a next group, the matches for other groups are ignored. Only when no next group matches, other items are tried for a match again. This means that matching a next group and skipping white space and s has a higher priority than other items. Example: syn match ifstart « if.* » nextgroup=ifline skipwhite skipempty syn match ifline « endif » contained syn match ifline « [^ \t].* » nextgroup=ifline skipwhite skipempty contained Note that the last match, which matches any non-white text, is put last, otherwise the « endif » of the indent would never match, because the « [^ \t].* » would match first. Note that this example doesn’t work for nested « if »s. You need to add « contains » arguments to make that work (omitted for simplicity of the example). ============================================================================== 7. Syntax patterns *:syn-pattern* In the syntax commands, a pattern must be surrounded by two identical characters. This is like it works for the « :s » command. The most common to use is the double quote. But if the pattern contains a double quote, you can use another character that is not used in the pattern. Examples: :syntax region Comment start= »/\* » end= »\*/ » :syntax region String start=+ »+ end=+ »+ skip=+\\ »+ See |pattern| for the explanation of what a pattern is. Syntax patterns are always interpreted like the ‘magic’ options is set, no matter what the actual value of ‘magic’ is. And the patterns are interpreted like the ‘l’ flag is not included in ‘cpoptions’. This was done to make syntax files portable and independent of ‘compatible’ and ‘magic’ settings. Try to avoid patterns that can match an empty string, such as « [a-z]* ». This slows down the highlighting a lot, because it matches everywhere. The pattern can be followed by a character offset. This can be used to change the highlighted part, and to change the text area included in the match or region (which only matters when trying to match other items). Both are relative to the matched pattern. The character offset for a skip pattern can be used to tell where to continue looking for an end pattern. The offset takes the form of « {what}={offset} » The {what} can be one of seven strings: ms Match Start offset for the start of the matched text me Match End offset for the end of the matched text hs Highlight Start offset for where the highlighting starts he Highlight End offset for where the highlighting ends rs Region Start offset for where the body of a region starts re Region End offset for where the body of a region ends lc Leading Context offset past « leading context » of pattern The {offset} can be: s start of the matched pattern s+{nr} start of the matched pattern plus {nr} chars to the right s-{nr} start of the matched pattern plus {nr} chars to the left e end of the matched pattern e+{nr} end of the matched pattern plus {nr} chars to the right e-{nr} end of the matched pattern plus {nr} chars to the left {nr} (for « lc » only): start matching {nr} chars to the left Examples: « ms=s+1 », « hs=e-2 », « lc=3 ». Although all offsets are accepted after any pattern, they are not always meaningful. This table shows which offsets are actually used: ms me hs he rs re lc match item yes yes yes yes – – yes region item start yes – yes – yes – yes region item skip – yes – – – – – region item end – yes – yes – yes – Offsets can be concatenated, with a ‘,’ in between. Example: syn match String / ».* »/hs=s+1,he=e-1 some « string » text ^^^^^^ highlighted Notes: – There must be no white space between the pattern and the character offset(s). – The highlighted area will never be outside of the matched text. – A negative offset for an end pattern may not always work, because the end pattern may be detected when the highlighting should already have stopped. Example (match a comment but don’t highlight the /* and */): :syntax region Comment start= »/\* »hs=e+1 end= »\*/ »he=s-1 /* this is a comment */ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ highlighted A more complicated Example: :syn region Exa matchgroup=Foo start= »foo »hs=s+2,rs=e+2 matchgroup=Bar end= »bar »me=e-1,he=e-1,re=s-1 abcfoostringbarabc mmmmmmmmmmm match ssrrrreee highlight start/region/end (« Foo », « Exa » and « Bar ») Leading context *:syn-lc* *:syn-leading* *:syn-context* The « lc » offset specifies leading context — a part of the pattern that must be present, but is not considered part of the match. An offset of « lc=n » will cause Vim to step back n columns before attempting the pattern match, allowing characters which have already been matched in previous patterns to also be used as leading context for this match. This can be used, for instance, to specify that an « escaping » character must not precede the match: :syn match ZNoBackslash « [^\\]z »ms=s+1 :syn match WNoBackslash « [^\\]w »lc=1 :syn match Underline « _\+ » ___zzzz ___wwww ^^^ ^^^ matches Underline ^ ^ matches ZNoBackslash ^^^^ matches WNoBackslash The « ms » offset is automatically set to the same value as the « lc » offset, unless you set « ms » explicitly. ============================================================================== 8. Syntax clusters *:syn-cluster* :sy[ntax] cluster {cluster-name} [contains={group-name}..] [add={group-name}..] [remove={group-name}..] This command allows you to cluster a list of syntax groups together under a single name. contains={group-name}.. The cluster is set to the specified list of groups. add={group-name}.. The specified groups are added to the cluster. remove={group-name}.. The specified groups are removed from the cluster. A cluster so defined may be referred to in a contains=.., nextgroup=.., add=.. or remove=.. list with a « @ » prefix. You can also use this notation to implicitly declare a cluster before specifying its contents. Example: :syntax match Thing « # [^#]\+ # » contains=@ThingMembers :syntax cluster ThingMembers contains=ThingMember1,ThingMember2 As the previous example suggests, modifications to a cluster are effectively retroactive; the membership of the cluster is checked at the last minute, so to speak: :syntax keyword A aaa :syntax cluster AandB contains=A :syntax match Stuff « ( aaa bbb ) » contains=@AandB :syntax cluster AandB add=B  » now both keywords are matched in Stuff This also has implications for nested clusters: :syntax keyword A aaa :syntax keyword B bbb :syntax cluster SmallGroup contains=B :syntax cluster BigGroup contains=A,@SmallGroup :syntax match Stuff « ( aaa bbb ) » contains=@BigGroup :syntax cluster BigGroup remove=B  » no effect, since B isn’t in BigGroup :syntax cluster SmallGroup remove=B  » now bbb isn’t matched within Stuff ============================================================================== 9. Including syntax files *:syn-include* It is often useful for one language’s syntax file to include a syntax file for a related language. Depending on the exact relationship, this can be done in two different ways: – If top-level syntax items in the included syntax file are to be allowed at the top level in the including syntax, you can simply use the |:source| command:  » In cpp.vim: :source :p:h/c.vim – If top-level syntax items in the included syntax file are to be contained within a region in the including syntax, you can use the « :syntax include » command: :sy[ntax] include [@{grouplist-name}] {file-name} All syntax items declared in the included file will have the « contained » flag added. In addition, if a group list is specified, all top-level syntax items in the included file will be added to that list.  » In perl.vim: :syntax include @Pod :p:h/pod.vim :syntax region perlPOD start= »^=head » end= »^=cut » contains=@Pod ============================================================================== 10. Synchronizing *:syn-sync* Vim wants to be able to start redrawing in any position in the document. To make this possible it needs to know the syntax item at the position where redrawing starts. :sy[ntax] sync [ccomment [group-name] | minlines={N} | …] There are three ways to synchronize: 1. Based on C-style comments. Vim understands how C-comments work and can figure out if the current line starts inside or outside a comment. 2. Jumping back a certain number of lines and start parsing there. 3. Searching backwards in the text for a pattern to sync on. For all three methods, the line range where the parsing can start is limited by « minlines » and « maxlines ». If the « minlines={N} » argument is given, the parsing always starts at least that many lines backwards. This can be used if the parsing may take a few lines before it’s correct, or when it’s not possible to use syncing. If the « maxlines={N} » argument is given, the number of lines that are searched for a comment or syncing pattern is restricted to N lines backwards (after adding « minlines ». This is useful if you have few things to sync on and a slow machine. Example: :syntax sync ccomment maxlines=500 First syncing method: For the first method, only the « ccomment » argument needs to be given. Example: :syntax sync ccomment When Vim finds that the line where displaying starts is inside a C-style comment, the last region syntax item with the group-name « Comment » will be used. This requires that there is a region with the group-name « Comment »! An alternate group name can be specified, for example: :syntax sync ccomment javaComment This means that the last item specified with « syn region javaComment » will be used for the detected C comment region. This only works properly if that region does have a start pattern « \/* » and an end pattern « *\/ ». The « maxlines » argument can be used to restrict the search to a number of lines. The « minlines » argument can be used to at least start a number of lines back (e.g., for when there is some construct that only takes a few lines, but it hard to sync on). Note: Syncing on a C comment doesn’t work properly when strings are used that cross a line and contain a « */ ». Since letting strings cross a line is a bad programming habit (many compilers give a warning message), and the chance of a « */ » appearing inside a comment is very small, this restriction is hardly ever noticed. Second syncing method: For the second method, only the « lines={N} » argument needs to be given. Vim will subtract {N} from the line number and start parsing there. This means {N} extra lines need to be parsed, which makes this method a bit slower. Example: :syntax sync lines=50 « lines » and « minlines » are equivalent. Third syncing method: The idea is to synchronize on the end of a few specific regions, called a sync pattern. Only regions can cross lines, so when we find the end of some region, we might be able to know in which syntax item we are. The search starts in the line just above the one where redrawing starts. From there the search continues backwards in the file. This works just like the non-syncing syntax ltems. You can use contained matches, nextgroup, etc. But there are a few differences: – Keywords cannot be used. – The syntax items with the « sync » keyword form a completely separated group of syntax items. You can’t mix syncing groups and non-syncing groups. – The matching works backwards in the buffer (line by line), instead of forwards. – A line continuation pattern can be given. It is used to decide which group of lines need to be searched like they were one line. This means that the search for a match with the specified items starts in the first of the consecutive that contain the continuation pattern. – When using « nextgroup » or « contains », this only works within one line (or group of continued lines). – When a match with a sync pattern is found, the rest of the line (or group of continued lines) is searched for another match. The last match is used. This is used when a line can contain both the start end the end of a region (e.g., in a C-comment like /* this */, the last « */ » is used). There are two ways how a match with a sync pattern can be used: 1. Parsing for highlighting starts where redrawing starts (and where the search for the sync pattern started). The syntax group that is expected to be valid there must be specified. This works well when the regions that cross lines cannot contain other regions. 2. Parsing for highlighting continues just after the match. The syntax group that is expected to be present just after the match must be specified. This can be used when the previous method doesn’t work well. It’s much slower, because more text needs to be parsed. Both types of sync patterns can be used at the same time. Besides the sync patterns, other matches and regions can be specified, to avoid finding unwanted matches. [The reason that the sync patterns are given separately, is that mostly the search for the sync point can be much simpler than figuring out the highlighting. The reduced number of patterns means it will go (much) faster.] *syn-sync-grouphere* :syntax sync match {sync-group-name} grouphere {group-name} « pattern » .. Define a match that is used for syncing. {group-name} is the name of a syntax group that follows just after the match. Parsing of the text for highlighting starts just after the match. A region must exist for this {group-name}. The first one defined will be used. « NONE » can be used for when there is no syntax group after the match. *syn-sync-groupthere* :syntax sync match {sync-group-name} groupthere {group-name} « pattern » .. Like « grouphere », but {group-name} is the name of a syntax group that is to be used at the start of the line where searching for the sync point started. The text between the match and the start of the sync pattern searching is assumed not to change the syntax highlighting. For example, in C you could search backwards for « /* » and « */ ». If « /* » is found first, you know that you are inside a comment, so the « groupthere » is « cComment ». If « */ » is found first, you know that you are not in a comment, so the « groupthere » is « NONE ». (in practice it’s a bit more complicated, because the « /* » and « */ » could appear inside a string. That’s left as an exercise to the reader…). :syntax sync match .. :syntax sync region .. Without a « groupthere » argument. Define a region or match that is skipped while searching for a sync point. :syntax sync linecont {pattern} When {pattern} matches in a line, it is considered to continue in the next line. This means that the search for a sync point will consider the lines to be concatenated. If the « maxlines={N} » argument is given too, the number of lines that are searched for a match is restricted to N. This is useful if you have very few things to sync on and a slow machine. Example: :syntax sync maxlines=100 You can clear all sync settings with: :syntax sync clear You can clear specific sync patterns with: :syntax sync clear {sync-group-name} .. ============================================================================== 11. Listing syntax items *:syntax* *:sy* *:syn* This commands lists all the syntax items: :sy[ntax] [list] To show the syntax items for one syntax group: :sy[ntax] list {group-name} To list the syntax groups in one group list: :sy[ntax] list @{grouplist-name} See above for other arguments for the « :syntax » command. Note that the « :syntax » command can be abbreviated to « :sy », although « :syn » is mostly used, because it looks better. ============================================================================== 12. Highlight command *:highlight* *:hi* There are two types of highlight groups: – The ones used for specific languages. For these the name starts with the name of the language. Many of these don’t have any attributes, but are linked to a group of the second type. – The ones used for all languages. These are also used for the ‘highlight’ option. :hi[ghlight] List all the current highlight groups that have attributes set. :hi[ghlight] {group-name} List one highlight group. :hi[ghlight] clear {group-name} :hi[ghlight] {group-name} NONE Disable the highlighting for one highlight group. :hi[ghlight] {group-name} {key}={arg} .. Add a highlight group, or change the highlighting for an existing group. See below for the arguments |highlight-args|. Normally a highlight group is added once, in the *.vim file. This sets the default values for the highlighting. After that, you can use additional highlight commands to change the arguments that you want to set to non-default values. The value « NONE » can be used to switch the value off or go back to the default value. Example. The syntax.vim file contains this line: hi Comment term=bold ctermfg=Cyan guifg=#80a0ff You can change this by giving another « :highlight: command: hi Comment gui=bold Note that all settings that are not included remain the same, only the specified field is used, and settings are merged with previous ones. So, the result is like this single command has been used: hi Comment term=bold ctermfg=Cyan guifg=#80a0ff gui=bold *highlight-args* There are three types of terminals for highlighting: term a normal terminal (vt100, xterm) cterm a color terminal (MS-DOS console, color-xterm, these have the « Co » termcap entry) gui the GUI For each type the highlighting can be given. This makes it possible to use the same syntax file on all terminals, and use the optimal highlighting. 1. highlight arguments for normal terminals term={attr-list} *attr-list* *highlight-term* attr-list is a comma separated list (without spaces) of the following items (in any order): bold underline reverse inverse same as reverse italic standout NONE no attributes used (used to reset it) Note that « bold » can be used here and by using a bold font. They have the same effect. start={term-list} *highlight-start* stop={term-list} *term-list* *highlight-stop* These lists of terminal codes can be used to get non-standard attributes on a terminal. The escape sequence specified with the « start » argument is written before the characters in the highlighted area. It can be anything that you want to send to the terminal to highlight this area. The escape sequence specified with the « stop » argument is written after the highlighted area. This should undo the « start » argument. Otherwise the screen will look messed up. The {term-list} can have two forms: 1. A string with escape sequences. This is any string of characters, except that it can’t start with « t_ » and blanks are not allowed. The notation is recognized here, so you can use things like «  » and «  ». Example: start=[27h;[r; 2. A list of terminal codes. Each terminal code has the form « t_xx », where « xx » is the name of the termcap entry. The codes have to be separated with commas. White space is not allowed. Example: start=t_C1,t_BL The terminal codes must exist for this to work. 2. highlight arguments for color terminals cterm={attr-list} *highlight-cterm* See above for the description of {attr-list} |attr-list|. The « cterm » argument is likely to be different from « term », when colors are used. For example, in a normal terminal comments could be underlined, in a color terminal they can be made Blue. Note: Many terminals (e.g., DOS console) can’t mix these attributes with coloring. Use only one of « cterm= » OR « ctermfg= » OR « ctermbg= ». ctermfg={color-nr} *highlight-ctermfg* ctermbg={color-nr} *highlight-ctermbg* The {color-nr} argument is a color number. Its range is zero to (not including) the number given by the termcap entry « Co ». The actual color with this number depends on the type of terminal and its settings. Sometimes the color also depends on the settings of « cterm ». For example, on some systems « cterm=bold ctermfg=3 » gives another color, on others you just get color 3. For an xterm this depends on your resources, and is a bit unpredictable. See your xterm documentation for the defaults. The colors for a color-xterm can be changed from the .Xdefaults file. Unfortunately this means that it’s not possible to get the same colors for each user. See |xterm-color| for info about color xterms. The MSDOS standard colors are fixed (in a console window), so these have been used for the names. But the meaning of color names in X11 are fixed, so these color settings have been used, to make the highlighting settings portable (complicated, isn’t it?). The following names are recognized, with the color number used: NR-16 NR-8 COLOR NAME *cterm-colors* 0 0 Black 1 4 DarkBlue 2 2 DarkGreen 3 6 DarkCyan 4 1 DarkRed 5 5 DarkMagenta 6 3 Brown 7 7 LightGray, LightGrey, Gray, Grey 8 0* DarkGray, DarkGrey 9 4* Blue, LightBlue 10 2* Green, LightGreen 11 6* Cyan, LightCyan 12 1* Red, LightRed 13 5* Magenta, LightMagenta 14 3* Yellow 15 7* White The number under « NR-16 » is used for 16-color terminals (‘t_Co’ greater than or equal to 16). The number under « NR-8 » is used for 8-color terminals (‘t_Co’ less than 16). The ‘*’ indicates that the bold attribute is set for ctermfg. In many 8-color terminals (e.g., « linux »), this causes the bright colors to appear. This doesn’t work for background colors! Without the ‘*’ the bold attribute is removed. If you want to set the bold attribute in a different way, put a « cterm= » argument AFTER the « ctermfg= » or « ctermbg= » argument. Or use a number instead of a color name. The case of the color names is ignored. Note that for 16 color ansi style terminals (including xterms), the numbers in the NR-8 column is used. Here ‘*’ means ‘add 8’ so that Blue is 12, DarkGray is 8 etc. Note that for some color terminals these names may result in the wrong colors! When setting the « ctermfg » or « ctermbg » colors for the Normal group, these will become the colors used for the non-highlighted text. When setting the « ctermbg » color for the Normal group, the ‘background’ option will be adjusted automatically. This causes the highlight groups that depend on ‘background’ to change! This means you should set the colors for Normal first, before setting other colors. When you have set « ctermfg » or « ctermbg » for the Normal group, Vim needs to reset the color when exiting. This is done with the « op » termcap entry |t_op|. If this doesn’t work correctly, try setting the ‘t_op’ option in your .vimrc. When Vim knows the normal foreground and background colors, « fg » and « bg » can be used as color names. This only works after setting the colors for the Normal group and for the MS-DOS console. Example, for reverse video: :highlight Visual ctermfg=bg ctermbg=fg Note that the colors are used that are valid at the moment this command are given. If the Normal group colors are changed later, the « fg » and « bg » colors will not be adjusted. 3. highlight arguments for the GUI gui={attr-list} *highlight-gui* These give the attributes to use in the GUI mode. See |attr-list| for a description. Note that « bold » can be used here and by using a bold font. They have the same effect. font={font-name} *highlight-font* font-name is the name of a font, as it is used on the system Vim runs on. For X11 this is a complicated name, for example: font=-misc-fixed-bold-r-normal–14-130-75-75-c-70-iso8859-1 The font-name « NONE » can be used to revert to the default font. When setting the font for the « Normal » group, this becomes the default font (until the ‘guifont’ option is changed; the last one set is used). All fonts used should be of the same character size as the default font! Otherwise redrawing problems will occur. Setting the font does not work for the « Menu » group. guifg={color-name} *highlight-guifg* guibg={color-name} *highlight-guibg* These give the foreground (guifg) and background (guibg) color to use in the GUI. There are a few special names: NONE no color (transparent) bg use normal background color background use normal background color fg use normal foreground color foreground use normal foreground color To use a color name with an embedded space or other special character, put it in single quotes. The single quote cannot be used then. Example: :hi comment guifg=’salmon pink’ *gui-colors* Suggested color names (these are available on most systems): Red LightRed DarkRed Green LightGreen DarkGreen SeaGreen Blue LightBlue DarkBlue SlateBlue Cyan LightCyan DarkCyan Magenta LightMagenta DarkMagenta Yellow LightYellow Brown Gray LightGray DarkGray Black White Orange Purple Violet In the Win32 GUI version, additional system colors are available. See |win32-colors|. You can also specify a color by its Red, Green and Blue values. The format is « #rrggbb », where « rr » is the Red value « bb » is the Blue value « gg » is the Green value All values are hexadecimal, range from « 00 » to « ff ». Examples: :highlight Comment guifg=#11f0c3 guibg=#ff00ff *highlight-groups* *highlight-default* These are the default highlighting groups. These groups are used by the ‘highlight’ option default. Note that the highlighting depends on the value of ‘background’. You can see the current settings with the « :highlight » command. *hl-Cursor* Cursor the character under the cursor *hl-Directory* Directory directory names (and other special names in listings) *hl-ErrorMsg* ErrorMsg error messages on the command line. *hl-IncSearch* IncSearch ‘incsearch’ highlighting *hl-ModeMsg* ModeMsg ‘showmode’ message (e.g., « — INSERT –« ) *hl-MoreMsg* MoreMsg |more-prompt| *hl-NonText* NonText ‘~’ and ‘@’ at the end of the window and characters from ‘showbreak’ *hl-Question* Question |hit-return| prompt and yes/no questions *hl-SpecialKey* SpecialKey Meta and special keys listed with « :map » *hl-StatusLine* StatusLine status line of current window *hl-StatusLineNC* StatusLineNC status lines of not-current windows *hl-Title* Title titles for output from « :set all », « :autocmd » etc. *hl-Visual* Visual Visual mode selection *hl-VisualNOS* VisualNOS Visual mode selection when vim is « Not Owning the Selection ». Only X11 Gui’s |gui-x11| and |xterm-clipboard| supports this. *hl-WarningMsg* WarningMsg warning messages *hl-WildMenu* WildMenu current match in ‘wildmenu’ completion *hl-LineNr* LineNr line number for « :number » and « :# » commands, and when ‘number’ option is set. *hl-Normal* Normal normal text *hl-Search* Search last search pattern highlighting (see ‘hlsearch’) *hl-User1..9* The ‘statusline’ syntax allows the use of 9 different highlights in the statusline and ruler (via ‘rulerformat’). The names are User1 to User9. For the GUI you can use these groups to set the colors for the menu and scrollbars. They don’t have defaults. This doesn’t work for the Win32 GUI. Menu *hl-Menu* Scrollbar *hl-Scrollbar* ============================================================================== 13. Linking groups *:highlight-link* When you want to use the same highlighting for several syntax groups, you can do this more easily by linking the groups into one common highlight group, and give the color attributes only for that group. :hi[ghlight][!] link {from-group} {to-group} Notes: – If the {from-group} and/or {to-group} doesn’t exist, it is created. You don’t get an error message for a non-existing group. – If the {to-group} is « NONE », the link is removed from the {from-group}. – As soon as you use a « :highlight » command for a linked group, the link is removed. – If there are already highlight settings for the {from-group}, the link is not made, unless the ‘!’ is given. For a « :highlight link » command in a sourced file, you don’t get an error message. This can be used to skip links for groups that already have settings. ============================================================================== 14. Cleaning up *:syn-clear* If you want to clear the syntax stuff for the current buffer, you can use this command: :syntax clear This command should be used when you want to switch off syntax highlighting, or when you want to switch to using another syntax. It’s a good idea to include this command at the beginning of a syntax file. If you want to disable syntax highlighting for all buffers, you need to remove the autocommands that load the syntax files: :syntax off What this command actually does, is executing the command source $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/nosyntax.vim See the « nosyntax.vim » file for details. Note that for this to work $VIMRUNTIME must be valid. See |$VIMRUNTIME|. To clean up specific syntax groups for the current buffer: :syntax clear {group-name} .. This removes all patterns and keywords for {group-name}. To clean up specific syntax group lists for the current buffer: :syntax clear @{grouplist-name} .. This sets {grouplist-name}’s contents to an empty list. ============================================================================== 15. Highlighting tags *tag-highlight* If you want to highlight all the tags in your file, you can use the following mappings. — Generate tags.vim file, and highlight tags. — Just highlight tags based on existing tags.vim file. map :sp tags:%s/^\([^ :]*:\)\=\([^ ]*\).*/syntax keyword Tag \2/:wq! tags.vim/^ map :so tags.vim WARNING: The longer the tags file, the slower this will be, and the more memory Vim will consume. Only highlighting typedefs, unions and structs can be done too. For this you must use Exuberant ctags (included with Vim). Put these lines in your Makefile: # Make a highlight file for types. Requires Exuberant ctags and awk types: types.vim types.vim: *.[ch] ctags -i=gstuS -o- *.[ch] YXXY\ awk ‘BEGIN{printf(« syntax keyword Type\t »)}\ {printf(« %s « , $$1)}END{print «  »}’ > $@ And put these lines in your .vimrc:  » load the types.vim highlighting file, if it exists autocmd BufRead,BufNewFile *.[ch] let fname = expand(‘:p:h’) . ‘/types.vim’ autocmd BufRead,BufNewFile *.[ch] if filereadable(fname) autocmd BufRead,BufNewFile *.[ch] exe ‘so ‘ . fname autocmd BufRead,BufNewFile *.[ch] endif ============================================================================== 16. Color xterms *xterm-color* *color-xterm* Most color xterms have only eight colors. They should work with these lines in your .vimrc: :if has(« terminfo ») : set t_Co=8 : set t_Sf=[3%p1%dm : set t_Sb=[4%p1%dm :else : set t_Co=8 : set t_Sf=[3%dm : set t_Sb=[4%dm :endif [ is a real escape, type CTRL-V ] You might want to put these lines in an « :if » that checks the name of your terminal, for example: :if &term =~ « xterm » put above lines here :endif Note: Do these settings BEFORE doing « :syntax on ». Otherwise the colors may be wrong. *xiterm* *rxvt* The above settings have been mentioned to work for xiterm and rxvt too. To test your color setup, a file has been included in the Vim distribution. To use it, execute these commands: :e $VIMRUNTIME/syntax/colortest.vim :so % Some versions of xterm (and other terminals, like the linux console) can output lighter foreground colors, even though the number of colors is defined at 8. Therefore Vim sets the « cterm=bold » attribute for light foreground colors, when ‘t_Co’ is 8. To get 16 colors, get the newest xterm version (which should be included with Xfree86 3.3). You can also find the latest version at: You probably have to enable 16 colors when running configure: ./configure –disable-bold-color If you only get 8 colors, check the xterm compilation settings. (Also see |UTF8-xterm| for using this xterm with UTF-8 character encoding). This xterm should work with these lines in your .vimrc: :if has(« terminfo ») : set t_Co=16 : set t_AB=[%?%p1%{8}%