N-doped carbons were prepared from a commercial activated carbon (AC) by heat treatments in pure NH3, an NH3-air mixture, and NO and these were used for a model reaction of aerobic oxidation of xanthene to xanthone (XO). The catalytic activity of AC for the title reaction was greatly enhanced by N-doping and the enhancement in the activity depended on the N source gasses used. The effectiveness of the three gases for both N-doping and enhancing the activity was in an order of NH3-air > NH3 > NO. The temperature of N-doping also affected the catalyst activity but not so significantly. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) indicated the presence of pyridine-type and pyrrole-fpyridone-type N species. The catalytic activity of N-doped carbon was correlated with the ratio of the amount of pyridine-type N against that of ether-type O species. The structures of the active sites were discussed on the basis of the XPS and reaction results. Metal-free N-doped AC was less active than a commercial Rut AC catalyst but more active than a commercial Pd/AC one. The activity of N-carbon slightly decreased after the first recycling but it remained almost the same during the following two-time recycling.