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Prism React Renderer — Formidable, We build the modern web

A lean Prism highlighter component for React
Comes with everything to render Prismjs highlighted code directly to React (Native) elements, global-pollution-free!

Maintenance Status


Maybe you need to render some extra UI with your Prismjs-highlighted code, or maybe you'd like to manipulate what Prism renders completely, or maybe you're just using Prism with React and are searching for an easier, global-pollution-free way?

Then you're right where you want to be!


This library tokenises code using Prism and provides a small render-props-driven component to quickly render it out into React. This is why it even works with React Native! It's bundled with a modified version of Prism that won't pollute the global namespace and comes with a couple of common language syntaxes.

(There's also an escape-hatch to use your own Prism setup, just in case)

It also comes with its own VSCode-like theming format, which means by default you can easily drop in different themes, use the ones this library ships with, or create new ones programmatically on the fly.

(If you just want to use your Prism CSS-file themes, that's also no problem)

Table of Contents


This module is distributed via npm which is bundled with node and should be installed as one of your project's dependencies:

# npm
npm install --save prism-react-renderer
# yarn
yarn add prism-react-renderer
# pnpm
pnpm add prism-react-renderer

Prism React Renderer has a peer dependency on react


Prism React Renderer has a named export for the <Highlight /> component along with themes. To see Prism React Render in action with base styling check out packages/demo or run pnpm run start:demo from the root of this repository.

import React from "react"
import ReactDOM from "react-dom/client"
import { Highlight, themes } from "prism-react-renderer"
import styles from 'styles.module.css'

const codeBlock = `
const GroceryItem: React.FC<GroceryItemProps> = ({ item }) => {
  return (
      <p>Price: {item.price}</p>
      <p>Quantity: {item.quantity}</p>

export const App = () => (
    {({ className, style, tokens, getLineProps, getTokenProps }) => (
      <pre style={style}>
        {, i) => (
          <div key={i} {...getLineProps({ line })}>
            <span>{i + 1}</span>
            {, key) => (
              <span key={key} {...getTokenProps({ token })} />

ReactDOM.createRoot(document.getElementById("root") as HTMLElement)
        .render(<App />)

Custom Language Support

By default prism-react-renderer only includes a base set of languages that Prism supports. Depending on your app's build system you may need to await the import or use require to ensure window.Prism exists before importing the custom languages. You can add support for more by including their definitions from the main prismjs package:

import { Highlight, Prism } from "prism-react-renderer";

(typeof global !== "undefined" ? global : window).Prism = Prism
await import("prismjs/components/prism-applescript")
/** or **/

Basic Props

This is the list of props that you should probably know about. There are some advanced props below as well.

Most of these advanced props are included in the defaultProps.


function({}) | required

This is called with an object. Read more about the properties of this object in the section "Children Function".


string | required

This is the language that your code will be highlighted as. You can see a list of all languages that are supported out of the box here. Not all languages are included and the list of languages that are currently is a little arbitrary. You can use the escape-hatch to use your own Prism setup, just in case, or add more languages to the bundled Prism.


string | required

This is the code that will be highlighted.

Advanced Props


PrismTheme | optional; default is vsDark

If a theme is passed, it is used to generate style props which can be retrieved via the prop-getters which are described in "Children Function".

Read more about how to theme prism-react-renderer in the section "Theming".


prism | optional; default is the vendored version

This is the Prismjs library itself. A vendored version of Prism is provided (and also exported) as part of this library. This vendored version doesn't pollute the global namespace, is slimmed down, and doesn't conflict with any installation of prismjs you might have.

If you're only using Prism.highlight you can choose to use prism-react-renderer's exported, vendored version of Prism instead.

But if you choose to use your own Prism setup, simply pass Prism as a prop:

// Whichever way you're retrieving Prism here:
import Prism from 'prismjs/components/prism-core';

<Highlight prism={Prism} {/* ... */} />

Children Function

This is where you render whatever you want to based on the output of <Highlight />. You use it like so:

const ui = (
    {highlight => (
      // use utilities and prop getters here, like highlight.className, highlight.getTokenProps, etc.
      <pre>{/* more jsx here */}</pre>

The properties of this highlight object can be split into two categories as indicated below:


These properties are the flat output of <Highlight />. They're generally "state" and are what you'd usually expect from a render-props-based API.

property type description
tokens Token[][] This is a doubly nested array of tokens. The outer array is for separate lines, the inner for tokens, so the actual content.
className string This is the class you should apply to your wrapping element, typically a <pre>

A "Token" is an object that represents a piece of content for Prism. It has a types property, which is an array of types that indicate the purpose and styling of a piece of text, and a content property, which is the actual text.

You'd typically iterate over tokens, rendering each line, and iterate over its items, rendering out each token, which is a piece of this line.

prop getters

See Kent C. Dodds' blog post about prop getters

These functions are used to apply props to the elements that you render. This gives you maximum flexibility to render what, when, and wherever you like.

You'd typically call these functions with some dictated input and add on all other props that it should pass through. It'll correctly override and modify the props that it returns to you, so passing props to it instead of adding them directly is advisable.

property type description
getLineProps function({}) returns the props you should apply to any list of tokens, i.e. the element that contains your tokens.
getTokenProps function({}) returns the props you should apply to the elements displaying tokens that you render.


You need to add a line property (type: Token[]) to the object you're passing to getLineProps; It's also advisable to add a key.

This getter will return you props to spread onto your line elements (typically <div>s).

It will typically return a className (if you pass one it'll be appended), children, style (if you pass one it'll be merged). It also passes on all other props you pass to the input.

The className will always contain .token-line.


You need to add a token property (type: Token) to the object you're passing to getTokenProps; It's also advisable to add a key.

This getter will return you props to spread onto your token elements (typically <span>s).

It will typically return a className (if you pass one it'll be appended), children, style (if you pass one it'll be merged). It also passes on all other props you pass to the input.

The className will always contain .token. This also provides full compatibility with your old Prism CSS-file themes.

Utility Functions


(options: TokenizeOptions) => Token[][]

type TokenizeOptions = {
  prism: PrismLib
  code: string
  grammar?: PrismGrammar
  language: Language

This is a React hook that tokenizes code using Prism. It returns an array of tokens that can be rendered using the built-in <Highlight /> component or your own custom component. It uses normalizeTokens internally to convert the tokens into a shape that can be rendered.

  • prism: PrismLib: the Prism library to use for tokenization. This can be the vendored version of Prism that is included with prism-react-renderer or a custom version of Prism that you have configured.

  • code: string: a string containing the code to tokenize.

  • grammar?: PrismGrammar: a Prism grammar object to use for tokenization. If this is omitted, the tokens will just be normalized. A grammar can be obtained from Prism.languages or by importing a language from prismjs/components/.

  • language: Language: the language to use for tokenization. This should be a language that Prism supports.


(tokens: (PrismToken | string)[]) => Token[][]

Takes an array of Prism’s tokens and groups them by line, converting strings into tokens. Tokens can become recursive in some cases which means that their types are concatenated. Plain-string tokens however are always of type plain.

  • PrismToken is an internal alias for Token exported by prismjs and is defined here.

  • Token is an internal object that represents a slice of tokenized content for Prism with three properties:

    • types: string[]: an array of types that indicate the purpose and styling of a piece of text
    • content: string: the content of the token
    • empty: boolean: a flag indicating whether the token is empty or not.


The defaultProps you'd typically apply in a basic use-case, contain a default theme. This theme is vsDark.

While all classNames are provided with <Highlight />, so that you could use your good old Prism CSS-file themes, you can also choose to use prism-react-renderer's themes like so:

import { Highlight, themes } from 'prism-react-renderer';

<Highlight theme={themes.dracula} {/* ... */} />

These themes are JSON-based and are heavily inspired by VSCode's theme format.

Their syntax, expressed in Flow looks like the following:

  plain: StyleObj,
  styles: Array<{
    types: string[],
    languages?: string[],
    style: StyleObj

The plain property provides a base style-object. This style object is directly used in the style props that you'll receive from the prop getters, if a theme prop has been passed to <Highlight />.

The styles property contains an array of definitions. Each definition contains a style property, that is also just a style object. These styles are limited by the types and languages properties.

The types properties is an array of token types that Prism outputs. The languages property limits styles to highlighted languages.

When converting a Prism CSS theme it's mostly just necessary to use classes as types and convert the declarations to object-style-syntax and put them on style.



Maintenance Status

Active: Formidable is actively working on this project, and we expect to continue for work for the foreseeable future. Bug reports, feature requests and pull requests are welcome.