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Syntax highlighter for React, utilizing VDOM for efficient updates


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Syntax highlighter for React, utilizing VDOM for efficient updates

npm version Tests

  • Thin wrapper on top of lowlight (Syntax highlighting using VDOM)
  • Lowlight uses highlight.js under the hood, thus supports all the same syntaxes
  • About ~18KB (6.5KB gziped) when using a single language syntax. Each language tends to pack on another ~2KB uncompressed.

Feel free to check out a super-simple demo.


This package is ESM only. In Node.js (version 12.20+, 14.14+, or 16.0+), install with npm:

$ npm install react-lowlight highlight.js

You'll also need to provide the highlight.js language definitions you want to use. We don't bundle these in order to not bloat the component with unused definitions.


import Lowlight from 'react-lowlight'

// Load any languages you want to use
// (see
import javascript from 'highlight.js/lib/languages/javascript'

// Then register them with lowlight
Lowlight.registerLanguage('js', javascript)

  <Lowlight language="js" value="/* Code to highlight */" />,

Note that the language property is optional, but significantly increases the speed and reliability of rendering.

If you want to load multiple languages at once

import Lowlight from 'react-lowlight'

import 'react-lowlight/common'
// import 'react-lowlight/all' // <- to import all languages

  <Lowlight language="js" value="/* Code to highlight */" />,

Imports react-lowlight/common and react-lowlight/all are re-exports from lowlight. See here for more details


Stylesheets are not automatically handled for you - but there is a bunch of premade styles for highlight.js which you can simply drop in and they'll "just work". You can either grab these from the source, or pull them in using a CSS loader - whatever works best for you. They're also available on unpkg:


If you have a bundler that supports CSS imports, you can do something like the following:

import 'highlight.js/styles/default.css'

Note that when using the markers feature, there is an additional class name called hljs-marker which is not defined by highlight js as it's not a part of its feature set. You can either set it yourself, or you can explicitly set class names on markers.


Name Description
className Class name for the outermost pre tag. Default: lowlight
language Language to use for syntax highlighting this value. Must be registered prior to usage.
value The code snippet to syntax highlight
prefix Class name prefix for individual node. Default: hljs-
subset Array of languages to limit the auto-detection to.
inline Whether code should be displayed inline (no <pre> tag, sets display: inline)
markers Array of lines to mark. Can also be specified in {line: <num>, className: <class>} form

Dynamic loading

You can use Lowlight.hasLanguage(language) to check if a language has been registered. Combining this with Webpack's code splitting abilities (or something similar), you should be able to load definitions for languages on the fly.


MIT-licensed. See LICENSE.