Python syntax highlighting script for Vim
Vim script Python


Python syntax highlighting script for Vim


Enhanced version of the original Python syntax highlighting script. Based on python.vim from Vim 6.1 distribution by Neil Schemenauer (nas at python dot ca). Check also python.vim page on

Please use the following channels for reporting bugs, offering suggestions or feedback:


Changes from the original python.vim are:

  • Added support for Python 3 syntax highlighting
  • Added :Python2Syntax and :Python3Syntax commands which allow to switch between Python 2 and Python 3 syntaxes respectively without reloads/restarts
  • Updated strings highlighting
  • Enhanced special symbols highlighting inside strings
  • Enhanced highlighting of numeric constants
  • Added optional highlighting for %-formatting inside strings
  • Added highlighting for magic comments: source code encoding and #! (executable) strings
  • Added highlighting for new exceptions and builtins
  • Added highlighting for doctests
  • Added highlighting for new @decorator syntax introduced in Python 2.4a2
  • Added highlighting for the following errors:
    • invalid symbols in source file
    • mixing spaces and tabs
    • invalid numeric constants
    • invalid %-formatting inside strings
    • invalid variable names
    • trailing spaces (triggered by the python_highlight_space_errors option)

Some of these features was later backported into the original python.vim.

How to install

The easiest installation method is to place syntax/python.vim script into your ~/.vim/syntax/ directory.

You can also use Pathogen or Vundle plugin managers in which case you can install the whole python.vim repository into the corresponding plugins directory.

Script options

There are two commands to enable or disable an option:

:let OPTION_NAME = 1
Enable option
:let OPTION_NAME = 0
Disable option

For example to enable all syntax highlighting features you can place the following command in your ~/.vimrc script:

let python_highlight_all = 1

Option and commands to select Python version

Enable highlighting for Python 2 (Python 3 highlighting is enabled by default). Also can be set as a local to buffer b:python_version_2 variable.

The following local to buffer commands can be used to switch between two highlighting modes:

Switch to Python 2 highlighting mode
Switch to Python 3 highlighting mode

Options used by the script

Highlight builtin functions and objects
Highlight builtin objects only
Highlight builtin functions only
Highlight standard exceptions
Highlight % string formatting
Highlight syntax of str.format syntax
Highlight syntax of string.Template
Highlight indentation errors
Highlight trailing spaces
Highlight doc-tests
Highlight print statement as function for Python 2
Highlight shebang and coding headers as comments
Enable all the options above. NOTE: This option don't override any previously set options
Can be set to 0 for slow machines


List of the contributors in alphabetical order: