How to Enable Syntax Highlighting in Notepad++ and Create your own

Syntax highlighting is one of the most important features available in Notepad++ Text Editor. Very useful for Developers. During the lifetime of a code, a lot of code is added and commented on. It would be difficult to differentiate between code and comments when you open it without syntax highlighting.

Here, the syntax highlighting feature helps a lot.

What is Syntax Highlighting?

Every language has some keywords, commands which are part of the language. For example, in PL/SQL you have DECLARE, BEGIN, END, EXCEPTION. The Syntax highlighting features highlights these words in a different color.

Let’s consider the below PL/SQL Code snippet without any highlights.

plsql code without syntax highlight

Can you identify which is code and comment? Yes, you can, but it is not easy. Right…!!!

Now, let’s enable the syntax highlighting. See the difference, now you can clearly understand the code. It becomes easy to understand.  You can clearly differentiate between code and comments. It is easy on your eyes and you can quickly grasp and understand.

plsql code with syntax highlight

Enable Syntax Highlighting in Notepad++

Notepad++ supports most of the widely used languages like C, C++, Java, etc. Complete list is given below.

This is the way you can enable syntax highlighting in Notepad++.

  1. Open Notepad++
  2. Go to the Language menu
  3. Select the respective languages to enable syntax highlighting

In this case,  it is SQL.

enable sql syntax highlighting in Notepad++

Notepad++ support lot of the language C, C++, Shell and there are many. Below is the list,

  • ActionScript, Ada, ASN 1.1, ASP, Assembly, AviSynth
  • Baanc, Bash, Batch, blitzbasic
  • C, C++, C#, Caml, Cmake, Cobol, Csound, Coffeescript, CSS
  • D, Diff
  • Erlang, Escript
  • Forth, Fortran, Fortran77, Freebasic
  • Gui4cli
  • Haskell, Html
  • Ini, Inno, ihex
  • Java,  Javascript,  javascript.js, JSON, JSP,
  • Lisp, Latex
  • Makefile, Matlab, Mmixal
  • Nim, Nncrontab, Nfo, Nsis,
  • Oscript, Objc,
  • Perl, PHP, Pascal, Postscript, Powershell, Props, Python
  • R, Ruby, Rust, rebol, registry
  • scheme, Smalltalk, spice, SQL, srec, swift
  • tcl, tehex, txt2tags
  • vhdl, visualprolog,
  • xml
  • yaml

You will find syntax highlighting for most of the language. There is the option to define User Defined Language. You can refer to this Welcome to UDL documentation site | UDL docs ( to learn more about it.