Josh Earl Josh Earl - 2 months ago 20
Markdown Question

Enabling markdown highlighting in Vim

I'm using Vim in a terminal on my MacBook Air with OS X Lion, and I can't seem to find a good plugin for Markdown syntax highlighting.

So far I've tried the plasticboy plugin and Tim Pope's plugin. The plasticboy plugin worked OK but was causing white space at the end of lines to be highlighted, and I haven't figured out how to turn that off. (It's really annoying, because every time I hit

space
when I'm writing it highlights the character.)

Tim's plugin didn't seem to do very much in the way of highlighting, other than maybe headers that use
###
. Code blocks and bullets are ignored. I might be missing something there. I do use the
.md
extension on my Markdown files, so it should be picking up the filetype.

I've also seen a reference to Vim 7.3 having Markdown support built in, but without one of those two plugins I don't get any highlighting at all.

Do either of these require specific color schemes to work?

Answer

This should work to disable the end-of-line space highlighting when using the plasticboy mkd plugin:

:syn clear mkdLineBreak

You could autocmd that for the necessary file extensions so that you needn't do it every time you load a markdown file.

Note that this specific highlight exists because Markdown treats lines ending with 2 or more space characters specially by inserting a <br>, so it is useful.

The plasticboy plugin uses TODO highlighting for this rule, which is a bit too much as it's designed to, by default, be really garish - yellow background - so that it stands out. You can make this less visually striking by changing that highlight rule. One quick way to do this would be something like:

:hi link mkdLineBreak Underlined

Now those end-of-line spaces will show up as underlined. Try linking to other highlight groups for something that may appeal to you more. Instead of using link you can get even more specific about those end-of-line spaces: for instance you could specify that they show up as just slightly lighter/darker than the normal background, using your own highlight command, specifying custom ctermfg, ctermbg, guifg, guibg settings.

As above, you could autocmd this to apply your specific settings.

For more information about link highlight groups, type: :help group-name and you'll see a list of groups that can be linked that themselves should helpfully be displayed using their current highlight rules. Also: :help highlight.