(PHP 4, PHP 5, PHP 7, PHP 8)

highlight_fileSyntax highlighting of a file


highlight_file(string $filename, bool $return = false): string|bool

Prints out or returns a syntax highlighted version of the code contained in filename using the colors defined in the built-in syntax highlighter for PHP.

Many servers are configured to automatically highlight files with a phps extension. For example, example.phps when viewed will show the syntax highlighted source of the file. To enable this, add this line to the httpd.conf:

AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps



Path to the PHP file to be highlighted.


Set this parameter to true to make this function return the highlighted code.

Return Values

If return is set to true, returns the highlighted code as a string instead of printing it out. Otherwise, it will return true on success, false on failure.


Version Description
8.3.0 The resulting HTML has changed.



Care should be taken when using the highlight_file() function to make sure that you do not inadvertently reveal sensitive information such as passwords or any other type of information that might create a potential security risk.


When the return parameter is used, this function uses internal output buffering so it cannot be used inside an ob_start() callback function.

See Also

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User Contributed Notes 1 note

csst0266 at cs dot uoi dot gr
19 years ago
Here is a simple, yet useful, tip... Issuing the following command under a Unix-like OS:

ln -s your_script.php your_script.phps

Will result in the creation of a symbolic link (called your_script.phps) to the source code (your_script.php). This way you have (apart from the source code .php) the highlighted version of your script (.phps) accessible via your web browser.
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