Code block syntax highlighting in Markdown files with Scully

Sep 1, 2020

As I started writing posts that included lines of code, I immediately missed the syntax highlighting that we take for granted in any editor and on most coding websites. Syntax highlighting makes code much easier to read. For example, compare a line of javascript code without highlighting return ((+new Date(postB['date'])) - (+new Date(postA['date']))); to one with highlighting:

return ((+new Date(postB['date'])) - (+new Date(postA['date'])));

The Scully dev team has made this feature very easy to enable by making it a built-in plugin. The Github link to the Scully md plugin has the authoritative details. The plugin uses prismjs, a popular, easy to use syntax highlighter that has several built in themes and is easy to customize. The fastest way to choose a theme is to go to their website and start clicking on each theme name (inside circles on the right hand side). I chose the Okaidia theme. From there, edit your scully.<project-name>.config.ts file to import setPluginConfig from @scullyio/scully and set it to enable syntax highlighting:


import { ScullyConfig, setPluginConfig } from '@scullyio/scully';
import 'prismjs/components/prism-yaml.js';

setPluginConfig('md',  { enableSyntaxHighlighting: true });

export const config: ScullyConfig = {

The only thing left to do is import your chosen prismjs theme into your styles.css file, which is in your src folder. Be sure to put the import (and all other imports) at the very top of the file before any other css:

/* styles.css */

/* check node_modules/prismjs/themes/ for the available themes */
@import '~prismjs/themes/prism-okaidia';

To use prism.js to highlight a code block in Markdown, enclose the block with 3 backticks "`" (next to the 1 on the keyboard) and put the language after the top set like this:

// your code here


Note Currently prism.js has syntax support for 234 languages. Scully does not ship with all these languages, so you may find you need to import a language on occasion. To do this, find the .js file of the language you need in the node_modules/prismjs/components folder and import it at the top of your scully.<project>.config.ts file. I found that I had to import YAML, and you can see the import line in my config file above. There is a discussion about this on the Scully Gitter at August 21, 2020.

Happy coding!