Styling HighlightJS with CSS variables


This website uses Markdown-it and suggested way to do syntax highlighting is to use Highlight.js. So, I did as written in the repo. Highlight.js comes with a lot of themes, and colors in example below are taken from the one corresponding to stackoverfow’s color palette.

:root selector is responsible for CSS custom properties aka variables for light (default) theme, and html.dark for dark theme.

First, let’s define some variables, in ~/vars.css or ~/highlight.css

/* light (default) theme */
:root {
	--highlight-bg: #f6f6f6;
	--highlight-color: #2f3337;
	--highlight-comment: #656e77;
	--highlight-keyword: #015692;
	--highlight-attribute: #015692;
	--highlight-symbol: #803378;
	--highlight-namespace: #b75501;
	--highlight-variable: #54790d;
	--highlight-literal: #b75501;
	--highlight-punctuation: #535a60;
	--highlight-deletion: #c02d2e;
	--highlight-addition: #8dad98;
/* dark theme */
html.dark {
	--highlight-bg: #1c1b1b;
	--highlight-color: #ffffff;
	--highlight-comment: #999999;
	--highlight-keyword: #88aece;
	--highlight-attribute: #88aece;
	--highlight-symbol: #c59bc1;
	--highlight-namespace: #f08d49;
	--highlight-variable: #b5bd68;
	--highlight-literal: #f08d49;
	--highlight-punctuation: #cccccc;
	--highlight-deletion: #de7176;
	--highlight-addition: #76c490;

Then in ~/highlight.css

.hljs {
	color: var(--highlight-color);
	background: var(--highlight-bg);

.hljs-subst {
	color: var(--highlight-color);

.hljs-comment {
	color: var(--highlight-comment);

.hljs-meta .hljs-keyword,
.hljs-section {
	color: var(--highlight-keyword);

.hljs-attr {
	color: var(--highlight-attribute);

.hljs-attribute {
	color: var(--highlight-symbol);

.hljs-template-tag {
	color: var(--highlight-namespace);

.hljs-selector-class {
	color: var(--highlight-keyword);

.hljs-selector-attr {
	color: var(--highlight-variable);

.hljs-selector-pseudo {
	color: var(--highlight-keyword);

.hljs-literal {
	color: var(--highlight-literal);

.hljs-code {
	color: var(--highlight-punctuation);

.hljs-meta .hljs-string {
	color: var(--highlight-variable);

.hljs-deletion {
	color: var(--highlight-deletion);

.hljs-addition {
	color: var(--highlight-addition);

.hljs-emphasis {
	font-style: italic;

.hljs-strong {
	font-weight: bold;

Also, to make it all a little bit nicer

pre {
	margin: 1.5rem 0;
	padding: 1.5rem clamp(1rem, 5%, 2.5rem);
	tab-size: 2;
	overflow-x: auto;

And sync colors with <code> tags in article paragraphs (but not inside <pre>)

article > p code {
	color: var(--highlight-keyword);
	background-color: var(--highlight-bg);
	padding: 0.2rem 0.4rem;

Maybe I did something wrong, but unfortunately parsing CSS snippets just dont work properly. Especially custom properties. So, I googled “highlight.js alternative”. And now this website uses Prism.