Code Highlighting and Marked Preview Styles in nvALT

Everyone loves nvALT, but the markdown preview you get out of the box isn’t anything special. Although there are some instructions on customizing the markdown preview in nvALT, he doesn’t go into specifics about where to find new styles or exactly how to import them.

Personally, I like the previews that I get in Marked, another one of Brett Terpstra‘s creations. Knowing that the markdown preview styles are stored in a plain CSS file in nvALT, I figured it was the same for Marked.

The first place I looked was in ~/Library/Application Support/Marked, but I only found a Custom CSS folder that stored all of the custom stylesheets I had added. This makes sense since these are user settings. The core styles that aren’t editable by the user came with the application, which is why I checked the package contents of the application next, this is where I found the CSS files.

Note: You can view the package contents by going to the file, right-clicking and selecting “Show Package Contents”.

I opened up github.css, copied the entire stylesheet and brought it over to my ~/Library/Application Support/Notational Velocity/custom.css file for nvALT. I restarted the program selected a different note (thanks Brett) and the new styles were live!

Further Customizations

If you look in the ~/Library/Application Support/Notational Velocity directory, you’ll notice that the template for the markdown preview is actually just an HTML file. As you can see, jQuery is being loaded from the Google CDN, so you should be able to import any external JS/CSS you’d like.

<script src=""></script>

I haven’t played around with this much yet, but I did setup highlight.js to provide code highlighting. All I had to do was include a JS and CSS file from the download instructions and then call the init method. You can copy and paste the following code.