How To Convert Vim Colorschemes To Pygments Themes

Recently, I have grown to love Pygments. It gives you syntax highlighting in the browser without heavy Javascript files. It supports just about any programming language on the planet and it’s just plain awesome. The only thing that it’s lacking is good color schemes. It comes with a dozen themes that will certainly do the trick, but if you’re used to looking at pretty code in your favorite editor, the code examples on your website will look a little dull.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you have a favorite colorscheme. I found a script that will turn a vim colorscheme into a Pygments theme. It didn’t work perfectly out of the box so I patched it. You can download it here. Copy your vim colorscheme to the same directory as the script and run it like so:

$ python molokai.vim >

This will produce a Python file containing a simple style class that Pygments can use. Next step is to download Pygments:

$ hg clone pygments

And then you will install your new theme:

$ cd pygments
$ cp ../ pygments/styles/

OK, now for the fun part. We will use Pygments to generate the CSS file that you will then use on your website:

$ ./pygmentize -S molokai -f html -a .highlight > molokai.css

If you are a TextMate user, you might be able to get your favorite theme done, too. A lot of popular Vim colorschemes are inspired by TextMate. Sunburst, mustang and idle fingers come to mind. Just find a Vim version and you’re good to go.

That’s it!

This article was first published on February 25, 2011. As you can see, there are no comments. I invite you to email me with your comments, criticisms, and other suggestions. Even better, write your own article as a response. Blogging is awesome.