nanorc - Improved Nano Syntax Highlighting Files.

Improved Nano Syntax Highlighting Files

This repository holds {lang}.nanorc files that have improved definitions of syntax highlighting for various languages.


There are three ways to install this repo.

1. Automatic installer

Copy the following code to download and run the installer script:

curl | sh

If your machine doesn't have curl command, use this code:

wget -O- | sh

This automatically unpacks all the .nanorc files to ~/.nano.


Some syntax definitions which exist in Nano upstream may be preferable to the ones provided by this package.
The script may be run with -l or --lite to insert the included syntax definitions from this package with lower precedence than the ones provided by the standard package.

2. Package managers

The follow table lists all systems with this package published.
Feel free to add your official package manager.

Systems that are based in others' package managers or repositories are compatible. For example: pacman based systems are compatible with Arch Linux.

System Command
Arch Linux pacman -S nano-syntax-highlighting

3. Clone repo (copy the files)

The files should be placed inside of the ~/.nano/ directory.

You can put the files in another directory inside the correct .nano folder. For example: ~/.nano/nanorc/. For readability will use $install_path for the path of your choose (in system wide the path is always /usr/share/nano-syntax-highlighting/).

For user, only run:

git clone [email protected]:scopatz/nanorc.git $install_path or
git clone $install_path

For system wide, run:

sudo git clone $install_path


After installation, you need to inform nano to used the new highlight files. The configuration file is located at ~/.nanorc, for users, and at /etc/nanorc, for system wide. If this file doesn't exist, create a new one.

Again there are three ways:

1. Include all

Append the content of the folder in one line, with wildcard:

echo "include $install_path/*.nanorc" >> ~/.nanorc or
echo "include $install_path/*.nanorc" >> /etc/nanorc

2. Include/append our nanorc file

Simply run:

cat $install_path/nanorc >> ~/.nanorc or
cat $install_path/nanorc >> /etc/nanorc

3. One by one

Add your preferable languages one by one into the file. For example:

## C/C++
include "~/.nano/c.nanorc"

Tricks & Tweaks


\< and \> are regular character escapes on MacOS.
The bug is fixed in Nano, but this might be a problem if you are using an older version
If this is the case, replace them respectively with [[:<:]] and [[:>:]]. This is reported in Issue 52.

Why not include the original files?

Good question! It's due to the way that nano reads the files, the regex instructions should be in a specific order which is evident in some nanorc files. And if we use the include or extendsyntax commands, the colors or other things may not work as expected.
The best way to make changes is by copying and editing the original files.
Please see this issue.
But if some original nanorc file needs an update, feel free to patch it!

My shortcut is not working!

Please see this issue.


Some of these files are derived from the original Nano editor repo

Download Source Code

Download ZIP
Apr 19, 2022