Unicode and Encodings

Since Pygments 0.6, all lexers use unicode strings internally. Because of that you might encounter the occasional UnicodeDecodeError if you pass strings with the wrong encoding.

Per default all lexers have their input encoding set to guess. This means that the following encodings are tried:

  • UTF-8 (including BOM handling)

  • The locale encoding (i.e. the result of locale.getpreferredencoding())

  • As a last resort, latin1

If you pass a lexer a byte string object (not unicode), it tries to decode the data using this encoding.

You can override the encoding using the encoding or inencoding lexer options. If you have the chardet library installed and set the encoding to chardet if will analyse the text and use the encoding it thinks is the right one automatically:

from pygments.lexers import PythonLexer
lexer = PythonLexer(encoding='chardet')

The best way is to pass Pygments unicode objects. In that case you can’t get unexpected output.

The formatters now send Unicode objects to the stream if you don’t set the output encoding. You can do so by passing the formatters an encoding option:

from pygments.formatters import HtmlFormatter
f = HtmlFormatter(encoding='utf-8')

You will have to set this option if you have non-ASCII characters in the source and the output stream does not accept Unicode written to it! This is the case for all regular files and for terminals.

Note: The Terminal formatter tries to be smart: if its output stream has an encoding attribute, and you haven’t set the option, it will encode any Unicode string with this encoding before writing it. This is the case for sys.stdout, for example. The other formatters don’t have that behavior.

Another note: If you call Pygments via the command line (pygmentize), encoding is handled differently, see the command line docs.

Added in version 0.7: The formatters now also accept an outencoding option which will override the encoding option if given. This makes it possible to use a single options dict with lexers and formatters, and still have different input and output encodings.