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Code snippet

Code snippets are strings or small blocks of reusable code that can be copied and inserted in a code file.

Overview

There are three different variants of code snippets to help cater to varied line length use cases—inline, single line, and multi-line.

Variants

VariantPurpose
InlineA block of text used inline with sentences or paragraphs.
Single lineA single line of code.
Multi-lineMultiple lines of code with the ability to show more or less strings.

When to use

  • Use a code snippet to help the user copy strings of text easily, or if you want to call out key words for the user.
  • Code snippets are typically used in code documentation to help the user get started quickly.

When not to use

  • Do not use a code snippet if you want the user to change the input value. Our code snippets are read only.

Live demo

CodeSnippet
Modifiers

Formatting

Anatomy

Code snippet anatomy
  1. Snippet text: Lines or a block of code.
  2. Copy button (optional): An icon button to copy the code to the clipboard.
  3. Show more button (optional): A ghost button to expand or collapse the code snippet to show more or fewer lines of code.

Placement

Code snippet containers should vertically align to the grid with other form components on a page.

Note: If using an inline code snippet, the snippet will live within a body of text.

Do align code snippet containers to the grid.

Do align code snippet containers to the grid.

Do not align code snippet text to the grid and hang the container.

Do not align code snippet text to the grid and hang the container.

Content

Main elements

Snippet text

  • Make sure the code is using the correct syntax so that the code will not break if the user copies it to their clipboard.

Copy button tooltip

  • The copy button should be accompanied by a tooltip. Tooltip feedback text should be concise and describe the action taken when the user clicks the copy button. By default we display the text “Copied to clipboard”.

Show more button

  • The ghost button text should describe what the button will reveal or hide when the user clicks it. By default we display the text “Show more” or “Show less”.

Further guidance

For further content guidance, see Carbon’s content guidelines.

Universal behaviors

Copy to clipboard

Code snippets by default have a copy functionality that allows users to copy the provided code to their clipboard. The copy icon must be accompanied by a confirmation tooltip that states the successful action of copying an item to the clipboard. Having copy functionality is optional and can be removed if it’s not necessary for your use case.

Code snippet copy to clipboard tooltip

Interactions

Mouse

An inline code snippet can be copied by clicking anywhere on the snippet itself.

Inline code snippet click target

A single line code snippet can be copied by clicking on the “copy” icon or by manually highlighting the text and right clicking “copy”.

Single line code snippet click targets

A multi-line code snippet can be copied by clicking on the copy icon or by manually highlighting the text and right clicking “copy”.

Multi-line code snippet click targets

Keyboard

Copy button:

  • The copy button can be focused by pressing Tab.
  • Once the copy button is in focus, the copy functionality can be activated by pressing either Space or Enter.
  • After the copy button is activated, the focus remains on the button since there is no change in context.

Show more button:

  • The ghost button in the multi-line code snippet can be focused by pressing Tab.
  • Show more or less code by pressing Space or Enter while the ghost button is in focus.

Screen readers

  • VoiceOver: Users can copy code by pressing Space while the copy button has screen reader focus.
  • JAWS: Users can copy code by pressing Space while the copy button has screen reader focus.
  • NVDA: Users can copy code by pressing Space while the copy button has screen reader focus.

Inline

Use inline code snippets within bodies of text. Using code snippets inline helps create emphasis on important key words to copy and makes long bodies of text easier to scan. Refrain from having inline code snippets that extend to multiple lines.

Inline code snippet in context

Single line

Use single line code snippets for longer strings of code that can still be presented on one line.

Single line code snippet in context

Single line overflow content

If the text in a single line code snippet is lengthy, the text overflows into a horizontal scroll.

Single line code snippet with overflow text

Multi-line

Use multi-line code snippets for displaying multiple lines of code.

Multi-line code snippet with overflow text

Multi-line overflow content