How to Highlight Syntax in TextWrangler

Updated July 20, 2017

TextWrangler is a free text editor program released by Bare Bones Software for MacOS X computer systems and iOS-based devices such as the Apple iPad and iPhone. TextWrangler is useful as an editor of source code for program or webpage development, as it has a syntax colouring option that makes it easier to parse through large files of code. Syntax highlighting is not enabled by default, so you must turn it on in the program's options to use it.

Double-click the TextWrangler application icon to launch the program. You can also double-click on a TextWrangler document file to start the program.

Click the TextWrangler menu button, which is the second button from the left on the top menu bar.

Select "Preferences" from the TextWrangler menu. The "TextWrangler Preferences" window will appear.

Click "Editor Defaults" in left panel in the "TextWrangler Preferences" window. The "Editor Defaults Preferences" window will appear.


To view a list of languages that TextWrangler will parse for syntax to highlight, click the "Languages" option in the "Text Wrangler Preferences" window. You must save the file to the hard drive before syntax colouring will display; you must also have a correct file extension. Select "Text Colors" from the left panel of the "Text Wrangler Preferences" window to change syntax colours.

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About the Author

Jacob Michael has been a freelance writer since 2010, with expertise in computers, cooking, travel and other topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is pursuing a master's degree in American studies.