Unfortunately, when I try to edit an XML, trying to read that dark blue against black is murder. I am amazed that Googling "joe editor change highlighting" returns nothing! Is it really impossible to change the colours, while using the binary that came w/the RPM? I'm using joe 3.1

  • Someone had the same problem. Give this Github a try. Welcome to U&L.SE – eyoung100 Sep 19 '14 at 19:05
  • @ECarterYoung Is that really the easiest way? I'm not sure what's more difficult to look at: dark blue against black or those jsf files. – PenguinLust Sep 19 '14 at 21:43
  • I found this, but there's no way to tel joeftyperc what highlighting to use unless you create a syntax file, which is whats at git hub – eyoung100 Sep 19 '14 at 21:57
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    You can also overwrite the colors globally in your .joerc file (e.g. in $HOME/.joerc, if missing copy from /etc/joe/joerc). For XML add a line saying "=Tag white". May cause collateral damage in other syntaxes. – cmur2 Mar 3 '15 at 11:53
  • It would be nice if Joe had similar thing to Vim, which can be told that you are using dark screen background and it will use alternate coloring schema: vim.wikia.com/wiki/Better_colors_for_syntax_highlighting But no such luck I guess. – Gnudiff Aug 16 '17 at 8:52

To be very specific and change the dark blue on black highlighting for PHP scripts in Joe:

In Ubuntu 16.04 and with Joe 4.1-2, edit:


And change:

=Constant_sq blue

To some other color of your choosing:

=Constant_sq yellow

As mentioned you'll need to edit the appropriate .jsf file for your scripting language of choice, and the affected variable. To fix XML recoloring, edit xml.jsf and change:

=Tag blue


=Tag yellow.

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  • Unfortunately support for these overrides have been removed in newer versions of Joe, so the solution no longer works. Since the answer is correct for the version this question was asked for, I have posted a new question here: unix.stackexchange.com/q/536796/151014 – nafmo Aug 23 '19 at 8:12

Coloring files could also reside in /etc/joe/syntax/, just copy appropriate file to ~/.joe/syntax/ and edit it.

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  • I'm using a different system now (which runs Joe 3.7) but neither directory exists here. – PenguinLust Feb 10 '16 at 14:28
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    You can just create the directory. – Carl Smith Feb 13 '17 at 0:48

As an variant, you could modify coloring at /usr/share/joe/syntax/xxxxx.jsf syntax coloring rules file (there xxxxx is an needed syntax name mentioned in /etc/joe/joerc or .joerc for file type). That works nice for me for php coloring (the same issue - killing blue or red on black).

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