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Disable Syntax Highlighting in WordPress 2.8

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I was initially excited about the CodePress syntax highlighting in WordPress 2.8, although after actually using it recently, I changed my mind. While just the syntax highlighting alone is not a problem, the way it completes quotes, and auto indents makes it somewhat annoying to say the least.

I asked on Twitter, and found a thread on the support forums, but unfortunately couldn’t find a solution on either. It turns out the solution was actually a lot simpler than I thought. Watch this quick video to see how to disable it:

As a quick outline, here’s what you have to do:

  • Login to your WordPress 2.8 admin panel
  • Navigate to either the theme or plugin editor (doesn’t matter which)
  • Click the “Screen Options” tab located in the top right corner
  • Then click the “Disable syntax highlighting” link

To enable it again, follow the same steps and click the “Enable syntax highlighting’ link instead. Another method of disabling/enabling is to append ?codepress=off or ?codepress=on to the end of the Theme Editor URL.

Hat tip to Eric Sizemore (as mentioned in the video) for pointing this out to me.


Leland Fiegel was the original founder of ThemeLab. He is a web developer who loves WordPress and blogging.

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  • Eric Sizemore

    And to think I almost created a plugin for it, until I found that, hehe. :) Thanks for the mention ;)

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  • Deven

    New codpress editor lags a lot on all three main browsers and thanks to your tip finally i disabled it. Its a really pathetic feature from wordpress i have ever seen in any of the new versions.

  • Adam

    Dude, your a legend, i never thought to look in the screen option

    This syntax highlighter is so broken, it’s unusable – It just completely locks up in Opera 10, and trying to use copy/past in both firefox & IE8 causes me no end of just crazy weird stuff happening

    Thanks alot

  • Leland

    @Eric: No problem. Again, thanks for pointing that out. I didn’t even that “Screen Options” tab before.

    @Deven: I tried in Firefox and it lagged a little bit when loading the page, haven’t tried the others (IE, Opera, Safari maybe?).

    @Adam: I think I know what you mean about the “weird stuff.” When trying to code in it, I can’t really explain it, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore. It wasn’t just the auto-identing and quote completion, but other weird things too.

    Almost reverted back to 2.7.1 on my test site just because the theme editor is pretty important to me. Good thing I didn’t have to do that though. :)

  • Parrothead

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    To think if I’d just examined the new interface I would have found it…..

    The ease of editing the backend is, to me, what makes WordPress so great. The addition of this editor just about put me off it all together.

    Saved my sanity.

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  • kwatog

    thank you for this. like you, I was excited with the syntax highlighting until I used it.

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  • Enk.

    I can’t see any Screen Options tab on my Editor or any Appearance Area Page. What should I do? :s

  • Leland

    @Enk: Looks like you’re using WordPress 2.8.4 on your site.

    Syntax highlighting was removed in 2.8.1 due to browser incompatibility:

  • Enk.

    Wow, that was fast.
    Many thanks ! :)

    I thought, there’s some problem with my installation ! :)