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By default when a new document is opened in Kate, the highlighting is set to normal, i.e. none.

Is there any way to change this behavior, with a result that when a new "untitled" document is opened C syntax highlighting is enabled without having to manually change the highlighting mode?

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kate --help didn't give me a command line option to preselect the syntax highlighting, and I also found no setting for empty documents. However, I've got a quite dated KDE running here, so you should check for yourself.

The syntax highlighting of kate is triggered by file extensions. As soon as you save the file with the correct extension the highlighting is applied, so this may be a workaround.

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