For example, if I have a markdown file with the following:

###This is my markdown file
here is some text.
here is my code block:

``` js
var accountdown = require('accountdown');
var level = require('level');
var db = level('/tmp/users.db');

var users = accountdown(db, {
    login: { basic: require('accountdown-basic') }

var user = process.argv[2];
var pass = process.argv[3];
var bio = process.argv[4];

var opts = {
    login: { basic: { username: user, password: pass } },
    value: { bio: bio }
users.create(user, opts, function (err) {
    if (err) console.error(err);

How can I enable highlighting in the code block?

Perhaps it's unrelated, but org-mode can highlight source code blocks as follows:

      '((python . t)
        (js . t)
        (R . t)))
  • The best you can do is using gfm-mode for README or more generally, all Markdown files, it will highlight the code blocks in one uniform color. The feature of highlighting them à la org-mode hasn't been implemented yet.
    – wasamasa
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 5:46
  • Thanks, that is disappointing but good to know. The feature works great in org-mode, hopefully someone can implement it in gfm-mode
    – modulitos
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 9:27
  • 1
    FWIW, I haven't turned this into an answer as one could still rip out the code responsible for this from org-mode and adapt it for your problem to turn it into an answer.
    – wasamasa
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


Native syntax highlighting of code blocks is now part of the current development version of Markdown mode. Specifically, it works for those GFM or tilde-fenced code blocks for which the language name has been specified, like the JavaScript code block in your question. You can toggle this mode with C-c C-x C-f (markdown-toggle-fontify-code-blocks-natively). You can set the default behavior by customizing the variable markdown-fontify-code-blocks-natively. For example:

(setq markdown-fontify-code-blocks-natively t)
  • 4
    Why the hell is this not on by default?
    – psygo
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 14:16

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