If you want to extend Pygments without hacking the sources, but want to use the lexer/formatter/style/filter lookup functions (lexers.get_lexer_by_name et al.), you can use setuptools entrypoints to add new lexers, formatters or styles as if they were in the Pygments core.

That means you can use your highlighter modules with the pygmentize script, which relies on the mentioned functions.

Plugin discovery

At runtime, discovering plugins is preferentially done using Python’s standard library module importlib.metadata, available in Python 3.8 and higher. In earlier Python versions, Pygments attempts to use the importlib_metadata backport, if available. If not available, a fallback is attempted on the older pkg_resources module. Finally, if pkg_resources is not available, no plugins will be loaded at all. Note that pkg_resources is distributed with setuptools, and thus available on most Python environments. However, pkg_resources is considerably slower than importlib.metadata or its importlib_metadata backport. For this reason, if you run Pygments under Python older than 3.8, it is recommended to install importlib-metadata. Pygments defines a plugins packaging extra, so you can ensure it is installed with best plugin support (i.e., that importlib-metadata is also installed in case you are running Python earlier than 3.8) by specifying pygments[plugins] as the requirement, for example, with pip:

$ python -m pip install --user pygments[plugins]

Defining plugins through entrypoints

Here is a list of setuptools entrypoints that Pygments understands:


This entrypoint is used for adding new lexers to the Pygments core. The name of the entrypoint values doesn’t really matter, Pygments extracts required metadata from the class definition:

yourlexer = yourmodule:YourLexer

Note that you have to define name, aliases and filename attributes so that you can use the highlighter from the command line:

class YourLexer(...):
    name = 'Name Of Your Lexer'
    aliases = ['alias']
    filenames = ['*.ext']


You can use this entrypoint to add new formatters to Pygments. The name of an entrypoint item is the name of the formatter. If you prefix the name with a slash it’s used as a filename pattern:

yourformatter = yourmodule:YourFormatter
/.ext = yourmodule:YourFormatter


To add a new style you can use this entrypoint. The name of the entrypoint is the name of the style:

yourstyle = yourmodule:YourStyle


Use this entrypoint to register a new filter. The name of the entrypoint is the name of the filter:

yourfilter = yourmodule:YourFilter

How To Use Entrypoints

This documentation doesn’t explain how to use those entrypoints because this is covered in the setuptools documentation. That page should cover everything you need to write a plugin.

Extending The Core

If you have written a Pygments plugin that is open source, please inform us about that. There is a high chance that we’ll add it to the Pygments distribution.