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MELPA MELPA Stable TRAVIS-CI Join the chat at

Highlight Symbols, Selections, Enclosing Parens and More

Highlight things at point, selections, enclosing parentheses with different colors. Fix grumbling issue of highlights being overridden by hl-line-mode and global-hl-line-mode.


hl-anything screenshot

Basic Usage - First Step, Enable hl-highlight-mode

There're GLOBAL and LOCAL kinds of highlights. The global highlights appear in every buffer; The local highlights only exist in the current buffer.

hl-anything screenshot

Global Highlights:

  • Command hl-highlight-thingatpt-global to toggle global highlight at point or selection.
  • Command hl-unhighlight-all-global to remove all global highlights.

Local Highlights:

  • Command hl-highlight-thingatpt-local to toggle local highlight at point or selection.
  • Command hl-unhighlight-all-local to remove all local highlights.

You can change foreground and background colors of highlights:

  • Foreground colors are stored in hl-highlight-foreground-colors variable.
  • Background colors are stored in hl-highlight-background-colors variable.

hl-anything screenshot

Turn Highlight On/Off

M-x hl-global-highlight-on/off to turn highlight on or off!


hl-anything screenshot

Search Highlights

Put your cursor on the highlight and use following commands to search highlights.

M-x hl-find-next-thing and hl-find-prev-thing to go through highlights.

hl-anything screenshot

Save & Restore Highlights

Once hl-highlight-mode is on, it will save highlights automatically before Emacs exits. It will also try to restore highlights when Emacs opens.

  • M-x hl-save-highlights to save highlights; M-x hl-restore-highlights to restore highlights.
  • Saved file-path is stored in hl-highlight-save-file variable.

Parenthese Highlight, hl-paren-mode

hl-anything screenshot

  • Colors of outward parentheses are stored in hl-outward-paren-fg-colors and hl-outward-paren-bg-colors variables.
  • Colors of inward parentheses are stored in hl-inward-paren-fg-color variables.

Advanced - hl-highlight-special-faces

This is a special faces storage. The faces storing here are always on the top of the current line highlight (hl-line-mode and global-hl-line-mode).

hl-anything screenshot


;; 'YOUR-FACE will never be hidden by current line highlight.
(add-to-list 'hl-highlight-special-faces 'YOUR-FACE t)


  • Highlight Enclosing syntax in Emacs REGEX.
  • Integrate with helm to give ability to navigate highlights. hl-anything screenshot
  • Define all the parenthesis pairs using a variable that can be highlighted. issue#8


Forks and pull requests are welcome!


Emacs - Highlight thing at point, selection and more




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