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24.6 Font Lock Mode

Font Lock mode is a buffer-local minor mode 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. Search-based fontification happens second.