BBCode in RichTextLabel


Label nodes are great for displaying basic text, but they have limits. If you want to change the color of the text, or its alignment, that change affects all of the text in the Label node. You can't have only one part of the text be one color, or only one part of the text be centered. To get around this limitation you would use a RichTextLabel.

RichTextLabel allows the display of complex text markup in a Control. It has a built-in API for generating the markup, but can also parse a BBCode.

Note that the BBCode tags can also be used, to some extent, in the XML source of the class reference.

Using BBCode

For uniformly formatted text you can write in the "Text" property, but if you want to use BBCode markup you should use the "Text" property in the "Bb Code" section instead (bbcode_text). Writing to this property will trigger the parsing of your markup to format the text as requested. Before this happens, you need to toggle the "Enabled" checkbox in the "Bb Code" section (bbcode_enabled).


For example, BBCode [color=blue]blue[/color] would render the word "blue" with a blue color.


You'll notice that after writing in the BBCode "Text" property the regular "Text" property now has the text without the BBCode. While the text property will be updated by the BBCode property, you can't edit the text property or you'll lose the BBCode markup. All changes to the text must be done in the BBCode parameter.


For BBCode tags such as [b] (bold), [i] (italics) or [code] to work, you must set up custom fonts for the RichTextLabel node first.

There are no BBCode tags to control vertical centering of text yet.







Makes {text} bold.



Makes {text} italics.



Makes {text} underline.



Makes {text} strikethrough.



Makes {text} use the code font (which is typically monospace).



Makes {text} horizontally centered.



Makes {text} horizontally right-aligned.



Makes {text} fill the RichTextLabel's width.



Increase the indentation level of {text}.



Show {url} as such, underline it and make it clickable.

url (ref)


Makes {text} reference <url> (underlined and clickable).



Insert image at resource {path}.

resized image


Insert image at resource {path} using <width> (keeps ratio).

resized image


Insert image at resource {path} using <width>×<height>.



Use custom font at <path> for {text}.



Change {text} color; use name or # format, such as #ff00ff.



Creates a table with <number> of columns.



Adds cells with the {text} to the table.

Built-in color names

List of valid color names for the [color=<name>] tag:

  • aqua

  • black

  • blue

  • fuchsia

  • gray

  • green

  • lime

  • maroon

  • navy

  • purple

  • red

  • silver

  • teal

  • white

  • yellow

Hexadecimal color codes

For opaque RGB colors, any valid 6-digit hexadecimal code is supported, e.g. [color=#ffffff]white[/color].

For transparent RGB colors, any 8-digit hexadecimal code can be used, e.g. [color=#88ffffff]translucent white[/color]. In this case, note that the alpha channel is the first component of the color code, not the last one.

Image vertical offset

You use a custom font for your image in order to align it vertically.

  1. Create a BitmapFont resource

  2. Set this bitmap font with a positive value for the ascent property, that's your height offset

  3. Set the BBCode tag this way: [font=<font-path>][img]{image-path}[/img][/font]

Animation effects

BBCode can also be used to create different text animation effects. Five customizable effects are provided out of the box, and you can easily create your own.



Wave makes the text go up and down. Its tag format is [wave amp=50 freq=2][/wave]. amp controls how high and low the effect goes, and freq controls how fast the text goes up and down.



Tornao makes the text move around in a circle. Its tag format is [tornado radius=5 freq=2][/tornado]. radius is the radius of the circle that controls the offset, freq is how fast the text moves in a circle.



Shake makes the text shake. Its tag format is [shake rate=5 level=10][/shake]. rate controls how fast the text shakes, level controls how far the text is offset from the origin.



Fade creates a fade effect over the text that is not animated. Its tag format is [fade start=4 length=14][/fade]. start controls the starting position of the falloff relative to where the fade command is inserted, length controls over how many characters should the fade out take place.



Rainbow gives the text a rainbow color that changes over time. Its tag format is [rainbow freq=0.2 sat=10 val=20][/rainbow]. freq is the number of full rainbow cycles per second, sat is the saturation of the rainbow, val is the value of the rainbow.

Custom BBCode tags and text effects

You can extend the RichTextEffect resource type to create your own custom BBCode tags. You begin by extending the RichTextEffect resource type. Add the tool prefix to your GDScript file if you wish to have these custom effects run within the editor itself. The RichTextLabel does not need to have a script attached, nor does it need to be running in tool mode.

There is only one function that you need to extend: _process_custom_fx(char_fx). Optionally, you can also provide a custom BBCode identifier simply by adding a member name bbcode. The code will check the bbcode property automatically or will use the name of the file to determine what the BBCode tag should be.


This is where the logic of each effect takes place and is called once per character during the draw phase of text rendering. This passes in a CharFXTransform object, which holds a few variables to control how the associated character is rendered:

  • identity specifies which custom effect is being processed. You should use that for code flow control.

  • relative_index tells you how far into a given custom effect block you are in as an index.

  • absolute_index tells you how far into the entire text you are as an index.

  • elapsed_time is the total amount of time the text effect has been running.

  • visible will tell you whether the character is visible or not and will also allow you to hide a given portion of text.

  • offset is an offset position relative to where the given character should render under normal circumstances.

  • color is the color of a given character.

  • Finally, env is a Dictionary of parameters assigned to a given custom effect. You can use get() with an optional default value to retrieve each parameter, if specified by the user. For example [custom_fx spread=0.5 color=#FFFF00]test[/custom_fx] would have a float spread and Color color parameters in its ` env` Dictionary. See below for more usage examples.

The last thing to note about this function is that it is necessary to return a boolean true value to verify that the effect processed correctly. This way, if there's a problem with rendering a given character, it will back out of rendering custom effects entirely until the user fixes whatever error cropped up in their custom effect logic.

Here are some examples of custom effects:


extends RichTextEffect
class_name RichTextGhost

# Syntax: [ghost freq=5.0 span=10.0][/ghost]

# Define the tag name.
var bbcode = "ghost"

func _process_custom_fx(char_fx):
    # Get parameters, or use the provided default value if missing.
    var speed = char_fx.env.get("freq", 5.0)
    var span = char_fx.env.get("span", 10.0)

    var alpha = sin(char_fx.elapsed_time * speed + (char_fx.absolute_index / span)) * 0.5 + 0.5
    char_fx.color.a = alpha
    return true


extends RichTextEffect
class_name RichTextPulse

# Syntax: [pulse color=#00FFAA height=0.0 freq=2.0][/pulse]

# Define the tag name.
var bbcode = "pulse"

func _process_custom_fx(char_fx):
    # Get parameters, or use the provided default value if missing.
    var color = char_fx.env.get("color", char_fx.color)
    var height = char_fx.env.get("height", 0.0)
    var freq = char_fx.env.get("freq", 2.0)

    var sined_time = (sin(char_fx.elapsed_time * freq) + 1.0) / 2.0
    var y_off = sined_time * height
    color.a = 1.0
    char_fx.color = char_fx.color.linear_interpolate(color, sined_time)
    char_fx.offset = Vector2(0, -1) * y_off
    return true


extends RichTextEffect
class_name RichTextMatrix

# Syntax: [matrix clean=2.0 dirty=1.0 span=50][/matrix]

# Define the tag name.
var bbcode = "matrix"

func _process_custom_fx(char_fx):
    # Get parameters, or use the provided default value if missing.
    var clear_time = char_fx.env.get("clean", 2.0)
    var dirty_time = char_fx.env.get("dirty", 1.0)
    var text_span = char_fx.env.get("span", 50)

    var value = char_fx.character

    var matrix_time = fmod(char_fx.elapsed_time + (char_fx.absolute_index / float(text_span)), \
                           clear_time + dirty_time)

    matrix_time = 0.0 if matrix_time < clear_time else \
                  (matrix_time - clear_time) / dirty_time

    if value >= 65 && value < 126 && matrix_time > 0.0:
        value -= 65
        value = value + int(1 * matrix_time * (126 - 65))
        value %= (126 - 65)
        value += 65
    char_fx.character = value
    return true

This will add a few new BBCode commands, which can be used like so:

[center][ghost]This is a custom [matrix]effect[/matrix][/ghost] made in
[pulse freq=5.0 height=2.0][pulse color=#00FFAA freq=2.0]GDScript[/pulse][/pulse].[/center]