Contribute to this guide

guideCode blocks

The CodeBlock feature allows inserting and editing blocks of pre–formatted code into the WYSIWYG editor. Each code block has a specific programming language assigned (e.g. “Java” or “CSS”; this is configurable) and supports basic editing tools, for instance, changing the line indentation using the keyboard.

Code blocks is a perfect feature to present programming- or software-related issues in an accessible, attractive form that is easily readable. A great tool for education, support documents or training content, it visually presents code listings, snippets or software elements.

If you would like to use inline code formatting in your WYSIWYG editor, check out the basic text styles feature with its support for inline <code> element.

# Demo

Use the code block toolbar button and the type dropdown to insert a desired code block. Alternatively, start the line with ``` to format it as a code block thanks to the autoformatting feature. To add a paragraph underneath a code block, just use the double caret function (press Enter twice).

Here are some CKEditor 5 features that you may find helpfully similar:

  • Basic text styles – Use the code formatting for short inline code chunks.
  • Block quote – Include block quotations or pull quotes in your rich-text content.
  • Block indentation – Set indentation for text blocks such as paragraphs or lists.
  • Autoformatting – Format the content on the go with Markdown code.

# Configuring code block languages

Each code block can be assigned a programming language. The language of the code block is represented as a CSS class of the <code> element, both when editing and in the editor data:

<pre><code class="language-javascript">window.alert( 'Hello world!' )</code></pre>

It is possible to configure which languages are available to the users. You can use the codeBlock.languages configuration and define your own languages. For example, the following editor supports only two languages (CSS and HTML):

    .create( document.querySelector( '#editor' ), {
        codeBlock: {
            languages: [
                { language: 'css', label: 'CSS' },
                { language: 'html', label: 'HTML' }
    } )
    .then( ... )
    .catch( ... );

By default, the CSS class of the <code> element in the data and editing is generated using the language property (prefixed with “language-”). You can customize it by specifying an optional class property. You can set multiple classes but only the first one will be used as defining language class:

    .create( document.querySelector( '#editor' ), {
        codeBlock: {
            languages: [
                // Do not render the CSS class for the plain text code blocks.
                { language: 'plaintext', label: 'Plain text', class: '' },

                // Use the "php-code" class for PHP code blocks.
                { language: 'php', label: 'PHP', class: 'php-code' },

                // Use the "js" class for JavaScript code blocks.
                // Note that only the first ("js") class will determine the language of the block when loading data.
                { language: 'javascript', label: 'JavaScript', class: 'js javascript js-code' },

                // Python code blocks will have the default "language-python" CSS class.
                { language: 'python', label: 'Python' }
    } )
    .then( ... )
    .catch( ... );

The first language defined in the configuration is considered the default one. This means it will be applied to code blocks loaded from the data that have no CSS class specified (or no class matching the configuration). It will also be used when creating new code blocks using the toolbar button. By default it is “Plain text” (the language-plaintext CSS class).

# Integration with code highlighters

Although live code block highlighting is impossible when editing in CKEditor 5 (learn more), the content can be highlighted when displayed in the frontend (e.g. in blog posts, messages, etc.).

The code language configuration helps to integrate with external code highlighters (e.g. highlight.js or Prism). Please refer to the documentation of the highlighter of your choice and make sure the CSS classes configured in codeBlock.languages correspond with the code syntax auto–detection feature of the highlighter.

# Tips and tweaks

# Editing text around code blocks

There could be situations when there is no obvious way to set the caret before or after a block of code and type. This can happen when the code block is preceded or followed by a widget (e.g. a table) or when the code block is the first or the last child of the document (or both).

  • To type before the code block: Put the selection at the beginning of the first line of the code block and press Enter. Move the selection to the empty line that has been created and press Enter again. A new paragraph that you can type in will be created before the code block.

    The animation shows typing before the code blocks in CKEditor 5 rich text editor.

  • To type after the code block: Put the selection at the end of the last line of the code block and press Enter twice. A new paragraph that you can type in will be created after the code block.

    The animation shows typing after the code blocks in CKEditor 5 rich text editor.

# Changing line indentation

You can change the indentation of the code using keyboard shortcuts and toolbar buttons:

  • To increase indentation: Select the line (or lines) you want to indent. Hit the Tab key or press the “Increase indent” button in the toolbar.
  • To decrease indentation: Select the line (or lines) the indent should decrease. Hit the Shift+Tab keys or press the “Decrease indent” button in the toolbar.

The animation shows changing indention inside code blocks in CKEditor 5 rich text editor.

The indentation created this way can be changed. Use the codeBlock.indentSequence configuration to choose some other character (or characters) of your preference (e.g. four spaces). By default, the indentation changes by a single tab (\t) character.

You can disable the indentation tools and their associated keystrokes altogether by setting the codeBlock.indentSequence configuration to false.

# Preserving line indentation

To speed up the editing, when typing in a code block, the indentation of the current line is preserved when you hit Enter and create a new line. If you want to change the indentation of the new line, take a look at some easy ways to do that.

The animation shows preserving indention inside code blocks in CKEditor 5 rich text editor.

# Installation

To add the code blocks feature to your rich-text editor, install the @ckeditor/ckeditor5-code-block package:

npm install --save @ckeditor/ckeditor5-code-block

Then add it to your plugin list and the toolbar configuration:

import CodeBlock from '@ckeditor/ckeditor5-code-block/src/codeblock';

    .create( document.querySelector( '#editor' ), {
        plugins: [ CodeBlock, ... ],
        toolbar: [ 'codeBlock', ... ]
    } )
    .then( ... )
    .catch( ... );

Read more about installing plugins.

# Common API

The CodeBlock plugin registers:

  • The 'codeBlock' split button with a dropdown allowing to choose the language of the block.

  • The 'codeBlock' command.

    The command converts selected WYSIWYG editor content into a code block. If no content is selected, it creates a new code block at the place of the selection.

    You can choose which language the code block is written in when executing the command. The language will be set in the editor model and reflected as a CSS class visible in the editing view and the editor (data) output:

    editor.execute( 'codeBlock', { language: 'css' } );

    When executing the command, you can use languages defined by the codeBlock.languages configuration. The default list of languages is as follows:

    codeBlock.languages: [
        { language: 'plaintext', label: 'Plain text' }, // The default language.
        { language: 'c', label: 'C' },
        { language: 'cs', label: 'C#' },
        { language: 'cpp', label: 'C++' },
        { language: 'css', label: 'CSS' },
        { language: 'diff', label: 'Diff' },
        { language: 'html', label: 'HTML' },
        { language: 'java', label: 'Java' },
        { language: 'javascript', label: 'JavaScript' },
        { language: 'php', label: 'PHP' },
        { language: 'python', label: 'Python' },
        { language: 'ruby', label: 'Ruby' },
        { language: 'typescript', label: 'TypeScript' },
        { language: 'xml', label: 'XML' }

    Note: If you execute the command with a specific language when the selection is anchored in a code block, and use the additional forceValue: true parameter, it will update the language of this particular block.

    editor.execute( 'codeBlock', { language: 'java', forceValue: true } );

    Note: If the selection is already in a code block, executing the command will convert the block back into plain paragraphs.

  • The 'indentCodeBlock' and 'outdentCodeBlock' commands.

    Both commands are used by the Tab and Shift+Tab keystrokes as described in the section about indentation:

    • The 'indentCodeBlock' command is enabled when the selection is anchored anywhere in the code block and it allows increasing the indentation of the lines of code. The indentation character (sequence) is configurable using the codeBlock.indentSequence configuration.
    • The 'outdentCodeBlock' command is enabled when the indentation of any code lines within the selection can be decreased. Executing it will remove the indentation character (sequence) from these lines, as configured by codeBlock.indentSequence.

We recommend using the official CKEditor 5 inspector for development and debugging. It will give you tons of useful information about the state of the editor such as internal data structures, selection, commands, and many more.

# Contribute

The source code of the feature is available on GitHub in