How to add line numbers for code blocks in Pelican


Dheepak Krishnamurthy


August 18, 2015

I’ve found that line numbering with word wrap could only be achieved in Pelican by a certain set of steps. I’ve listed the CSS and the Plugin I’ve used to get that to work.

Update: I’ve removed line numbers because it is selected along with the code if someone wants to copy. I’ll post here if I find a better solution.

Add the following lines in your theme.css:

/* For use with the code_line-number_word-wrap_switcher_jquery.js Pelican plugin */
code {
  overflow: auto;
  /* This uses `white-space: pre-wrap` to get elements within <pre> tags to wrap.
    Python, for code chunks within three backticks (```), doesn't wordwrap code lines by default,
    because they're within <pre> tags, which don't wrap by default.
    which is specifically about this parsing issue,
    even though that link's discussion is talking about GitHub. */
  white-space: pre-wrap; /* css-3 */
  white-space: -moz-pre-wrap; /* Mozilla, since 1999 */
  white-space: -pre-wrap; /* Opera 4-6 */
  white-space: -o-pre-wrap; /* Opera 7 */
  word-wrap: break-word; /* Internet Explorer 5.5+ */

/* Following,
use CSS to add line numbers to all spans that have the class 'code-line' */

.highlight pre {
  counter-reset: linecounter;
  padding-left: 2em;
.highlight pre span.code-line {
  counter-increment: linecounter;
  padding-left: 1em;
  text-indent: -1em;
  display: inline-block;
.highlight pre span.code-line:before {
  content: counter(linecounter);
  padding-right: 1em;
  display: inline-block;
  color: grey;
  text-align: right;

Then, we turn off the default linenums in codehilite. Also add the following pelican-plugin.

MD_EXTENSIONS = ['fenced_code', 'codehilite(css_class=highlight, linenums=False)', ]

PLUGINS = ['better_codeblock_line_numbering']



BibTeX citation:
  author = {Krishnamurthy, Dheepak},
  title = {How to Add Line Numbers for Code Blocks in {Pelican}},
  date = {2015-08-18},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
D. Krishnamurthy, “How to add line numbers for code blocks in Pelican,” Aug. 18, 2015.