I like to use highlighting when working with emacs. But I don't like some of the default settings. I recently installed emacs 24.4 on my iMac. I really don't like all the highlighting of math expressions such as


I used to do something like

(fset 'tex-font-lock-syntactice-face-function 'ignore)


(fset 'tex-math-face 'ignore)

but that no longer works.

How can I disable highlight for math expressions but keep most everything else?

  • I use a custom version of tex-mode.el and I commented out (,(concat "\\$\\$?\\(?:[^$\\{}]\\|\\\\.\\|{" (funcall inbraces-re (concat "{" (funcall inbraces-re "{[^}]*}") "*}")) "*}\\)+\\$?\\$") (0 tex-math-face)) in my own personal custom version because I don't use math. If you don't want to comment out the source, then you might be interested in coping the current setting of tex-font-lock-keywords-1, and commenting out that section and setting the new portion -- e.g., (setq tex-font-lock-keywords-1 [EVERYTHING EXCEPT WHAT SHOULD BE STRICKEN]) If you are using AUCTeX, I don't know.
    – lawlist
    Feb 27, 2015 at 6:42
  • It is lines 503 to 507 in the public release of Emacs 24 within tex-mode.el Most people treat the source code as sacred and use things like (setq . . . instead of touching the source. I like to create my own libraries for things I use every day (like writing documents for business, etc.), starting by copying the source code, and then I modify the daylights out of the source.
    – lawlist
    Feb 27, 2015 at 6:54
  • Are you using AUCTeX or the basic tex-mode? (To see that: press C-h m and see whether the mode is defined in tex-site (AUCTeX) or tex-mode (basic).) Do you want to turn off highlighting just for $…$ or for everything such as math environments? May 27, 2015 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


You can change the highlighting using set-face-foreground (or more generally set-face-attribute. $..$ seems to be highlighted with font-latex-math-face, so to set the foreground to whatever the default is we can use (set-face-foreground 'font-latex-math-face nil). It's still "highlighted" but it will look identical to the surrounding text.


In the following I assume that you are using auctex.

Remove the syntax descriptor for ?$ from font-latex-syntax-alist after loading "font-latex" to avoid fontification of inline formulas delimited by $.

(eval-when '(compile)
  (require 'cl))

(eval-after-load "font-latex"
  '(setq font-latex-syntax-alist (cl-delete-if (lambda (pair) (eq (car pair) ?$)) font-latex-syntax-alist)))

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