# How does minted work from a point of LaTeX-User?

The package minted is one of the most famous package for highlighting source code. But how does it work?

The package minted based on two pillars. The TeX-pillar fancyvrb and the external pillar pygments. In a very simple speech you can say minted combines the verbatim ability of fancyvrb with the great highlighting of source code by pygments.

The basic procedure of minted can be described with the following steps:

1. Write everything of the environment in an external file with the extension .pyg
2. Run the tool pygmentize on the generated file and create a new one with the extension .out.pyg(BTW: This step is the reason for using shell-escape)
3. Input the new file .out.pyg

Let us use a simple example.

% arara: pdflatex: { shell: true }
\documentclass[]{article}
\usepackage{minted}
\begin{document}
\begin{minted}{c}
/* Hello World program */
#include<stdio.h>
main()
{
printf("Hello World");

}
\end{minted}
\end{document}


Related to the three steps above the following is done:

1. A new file is generated \jobname.pyg

/* Hello World program */
#include<stdio.h>
main()
{
printf("Hello World");

}

2. A new file \jobname.out.pyg is generate with the following contents

\begin{Verbatim}[commandchars=\\\{\}, ]
\PY{c+cm}{/* Hello World program */}
\PY{c+cp}{\PYZsh{}include\PYZlt{}stdio.h\PYZgt{}}
\PY{n}{main}\PY{p}{()}
\PY{p}{\PYZob{}}
\PY{n}{printf}\PY{p}{(}\PY{l+s}{\PYZdq{}Hello World\PYZdq{}}\PY{p}{);}
\PY{p}{\PYZcb{}}
\end{Verbatim}

3. The new file is included and the result will be:

Let us go more in detail.

In step 2 you see that every string is highlighted by the command \PY. This command has two mandatory arguments. The first one says how to highlight and the second one what to highlight. The kind of highlighting is depending on the used style. How the style is used, is related to the frontmatter. In our case latex.py. The style files can be found here.

For a LaTeX user it's easier to understand LaTeX commands instead of any python language. So let us take the example above.

Create a new file named e.g. testpyg.pyg with the contents above:

/* Hello World program */
#include<stdio.h>
main()
{
printf("Hello World");
}


Now go to the terminal and run the following command (the same is done by minted)

pygmentize -l c -O full -f latex -F tokenmerge -o testpyg.tex testpyg.pyg


After this step you have a new tex-file with shows all definitions which can be manipulated. The relevant code is:

\makeatletter
\def\PY@reset{\let\PY@it=\relax \let\PY@bf=\relax%
\let\PY@ul=\relax \let\PY@tc=\relax%
\let\PY@bc=\relax \let\PY@ff=\relax}
\def\PY@tok#1{\csname PY@tok@#1\endcsname}
\def\PY@toks#1+{\ifx\relax#1\empty\else%
\PY@tok{#1}\expandafter\PY@toks\fi}
\def\PY@do#1{\PY@bc{\PY@tc{\PY@ul{%
\PY@it{\PY@bf{\PY@ff{#1}}}}}}}
\def\PY#1#2{\PY@reset\PY@toks#1+\relax+\PY@do{#2}}

\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gd\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.63,0.00,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gu\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.50,0.00,0.50}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gt\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.27,0.87}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gs\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gr\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{1.00,0.00,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@cm\endcsname{\let\PY@it=\textit\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.25,0.50,0.50}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@vg\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.10,0.09,0.49}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@m\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.40,0.40,0.40}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@mh\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.40,0.40,0.40}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@go\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.53,0.53,0.53}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@ge\endcsname{\let\PY@it=\textit}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@vc\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.10,0.09,0.49}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@il\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.40,0.40,0.40}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@cs\endcsname{\let\PY@it=\textit\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.25,0.50,0.50}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@cp\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.74,0.48,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gi\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.63,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gh\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.00,0.50}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@ni\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.60,0.60,0.60}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nl\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.63,0.63,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nn\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.00,1.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@no\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.53,0.00,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@na\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.49,0.56,0.16}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nb\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nc\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.00,1.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nd\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.67,0.13,1.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@ne\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.82,0.25,0.23}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nf\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.00,1.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@si\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.40,0.53}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@s2\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.13,0.13}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@vi\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.10,0.09,0.49}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nt\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@nv\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.10,0.09,0.49}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@s1\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.13,0.13}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@sh\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.13,0.13}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@sc\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.13,0.13}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@sx\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@bp\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@c1\endcsname{\let\PY@it=\textit\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.25,0.50,0.50}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@kc\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@c\endcsname{\let\PY@it=\textit\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.25,0.50,0.50}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@mf\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.40,0.40,0.40}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@err\endcsname{\def\PY@bc##1{\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}\fcolorbox[rgb]{1.00,0.00,0.00}{1,1,1}{\strut ##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@kd\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@ss\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.10,0.09,0.49}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@sr\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.40,0.53}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@mo\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.40,0.40,0.40}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@kn\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@mi\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.40,0.40,0.40}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@gp\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.00,0.50}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@o\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.40,0.40,0.40}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@kr\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@s\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.13,0.13}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@kp\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@w\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.73,0.73}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@kt\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.69,0.00,0.25}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@ow\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.67,0.13,1.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@sb\endcsname{\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.13,0.13}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@k\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.00,0.50,0.00}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@se\endcsname{\let\PY@bf=\textbf\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.40,0.13}{##1}}}
\expandafter\def\csname PY@tok@sd\endcsname{\let\PY@it=\textit\def\PY@tc##1{\textcolor[rgb]{0.73,0.13,0.13}{##1}}}

\def\PYZbs{\char\\}
\def\PYZus{\char\_}
\def\PYZob{\char\{}
\def\PYZcb{\char\}}
\def\PYZca{\char\^}
\def\PYZam{\char\&}
\def\PYZlt{\char\<}
\def\PYZgt{\char\>}
\def\PYZsh{\char\#}
\def\PYZpc{\char\%}
\def\PYZdl{\char\\$}
\def\PYZhy{\char\-}
\def\PYZsq{\char\'}
\def\PYZdq{\char\"}
\def\PYZti{\char\~}
% for compatibility with earlier versions
\def\PYZat{@}
\def\PYZlb{[}
\def\PYZrb{]}
\makeatother


Based on this information it was possible to create special solutions for e.g. Emphasise a particular keyword in minted

• My understanding is that minted v2.0 will do away with some (all?) writing to external files; you might have to revise your answer when that new version gets officially released. – jub0bs Jun 3 '14 at 7:29
• @Jubobs: Indeed. I will update my answer later. – Marco Daniel Jun 6 '14 at 17:46
• I do like your answer, though. Concise but informative. – jub0bs Jun 6 '14 at 17:47
• @Jubobs: I studied minted v2.0 and there is no difference in the algorithm. minted v2.0 has some extra feature for saving the files but this don't change the run of pygmentize – Marco Daniel Jun 8 '14 at 9:57
• I've read a few posts by the new maintainer (see this one) suggesting that he has added some "caching support". However, I haven't studied minted 2.0` myself, so I'm not sure what he's referring to. – jub0bs Jun 8 '14 at 10:08