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I have a long string with boolean logic like

("Mercedes Benz" or "Audi" not "Volkswagen" not "truck") but much longer and more complex (with several parenthesis etc.)

I wonder how I can make this string more readable for me and others, I think indenting and coloring could help.

Is there a way to format this string automatically with emacs to make reading it easier?

Example string (which does not necessarily makes sense logically!)

("Mercedes Benz" or (Benz not Carl not Carl* not female ) or "Daimler Chrysler" or "Daimler corporation" or daimler or chrysler or amg or car or automobile or automotive or "automo* manufactur*" )


  • and
  • or
  • not
  • nor
  • xor

Text strings

  • like that: "Daimler Chrysler"
  • or just words like daimler Benz etc.


  • *
share|improve this question
I'm not sure what you're asking. Syntax highlighting is available but depends on the language. What language are you using? Elisp? – SlowLearner Jul 11 '13 at 9:49
not really. It is a search term like used for a search engine (similar to google) to filter interesting content. It looks very similar to elisp, so maybe a syntax highlighting and formatting (with line breaks and indentation) for elisp could help. Unfortunately, I can not paste the real example here. – MostlyHarmless Jul 11 '13 at 11:19

Defining font-locking can be tricky. You would need to post an example of the syntax you want highlighted, even if a pseudo-example. Keep in mind too that if you want to highlight keywords such as or and and then, because these can often be part of larger terms, you will need a regular expression that can distinguish these when they are being used as keywords. E.g., is whitespace enough to distinguish them in your context?

In sum, give an example --- we cannot guess the syntax you are trying to work with.

share|improve this answer
thanks for your help! I've added a longer example string which should cover all general syntax – MostlyHarmless Jan 29 '14 at 9:26

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