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GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual

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23.5 Font Lock Mode

Font Lock mode is a feature that automatically attaches face properties to certain parts of the buffer based on their syntactic role. How it parses the buffer depends on the major mode; most major modes define syntactic criteria for which faces to use in which contexts. This section explains how to customize Font Lock for a particular major mode.

Font Lock mode finds text to highlight in two ways: through syntactic parsing based on the syntax table, and through searching (usually for regular expressions). Syntactic fontification happens first; it finds comments and string constants, and highlights them using font-lock-comment-face and font-lock-string-face (see section 23.5.5 Faces for Font Lock). Search-based fontification follows.

23.5.1 Font Lock Basics  
23.5.2 Search-based Fontification  
23.5.3 Other Font Lock Variables  
23.5.4 Levels of Font Lock  
23.5.5 Faces for Font Lock  
23.5.6 Syntactic Font Lock  

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