Pandoc Latex

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Pandoc handles Latex equations nicely, all the equations are converted into Word equation editor so there is no requirement of MathType. Pandoc可以很好地处理Latex方程,所有方程都转换成Word里用Equation Editor编辑的公式,因此不需要MathType。 但是,目前没有使用Equation Editor对MS Word中的公式进行正确编号的好方法,常见的方法是创建一个三列表,将公式放在中间列中,将公式编号放在右列中。.

  1. Pandoc Latex Free
  2. Pandoc Latex Block
  3. Pandoc Latex Foam
  4. Pandoc Latex Adhesive
  5. Pandoc Latexmk
  6. Pandoc Latex Preamble

Either you've already heard of pandoc or if you have searched online for markdown to pdf or similar, you are sure to come across pandoc. This tutorial will help you use pandoc to generate pdf and epub from a GitHub style markdown file. The main motivation for this blog post is to highlight what customizations I did to generate pdf and epub versions for self-publishing my ebooks. It wasn't easy to arrive at the set-up I ended up with, so I hope this will be useful for those looking to use pandoc to generate pdf and epub formats. This guide is specifically aimed at technical books that has code snippets.

Merged changes from the pandoc default LaTeX template. Fix broken travis build by modifying the -resource-path. When specifying the resource path via -resource-path the template will be searched there since pandoc A pandoc latex template is just a regular latex file with some placeholder variables in it. You can print the default template with pandoc -D latex default.latex. This means, that you can use any existing latex file and just add those variables to make a template. Convert from CommonMark Creole DocBook DokuWiki FB2 Haddock markup HTML JATS Jira Jupyter Notebook (ipynb) LaTeX Man Markdown (pandoc) Markdown (GitHub-flavored) Markdown (PHP Markdown Extra) Markdown (strict) MediaWiki MultiMarkdown Muse Native (Pandoc AST) OPML Org Mode reStructuredText Txt2Tags Textile TikiWiki TWiki Vimwiki.


If you use a debian based distro like Ubuntu, the below steps are enough for the demos in this tutorial. If you get an error or warning, search that issue online and you'll likely find what else has to be installed.

I first downloaded deb file from pandoc: releases and installed it. Followed by packages needed for pdf generation.

Pandoc Latex

For more details and guide for other OS, refer to pandoc: installation

Minimal example🔗

Once pandoc is working on your system, try generating a sample pdf without any customization.

See repo for all the input and output files referred in this tutorial.

Here is input markdown file and -f is used to specify that the input format is GitHub style markdown. The -o option specifies the output file type based on extension. The default output is probably good enough. But I wished to customize hyperlinks, inline code style, add page breaks between chapters, etc. This blog post will discuss these customizations one by one.

pandoc has its own flavor of markdown with many useful extensions — see pandoc: pandocs-markdown for details. GitHub style markdown is recommended if you wish to use the same source (or with minor changes) in multiple places.


It is advised to use markdown headers in order without skipping — for example, H1 for chapter heading and H2 for chapter sub-section, etc is fine. H1 for chapter heading and H3 for sub-section is not. Using the former can give automatic index navigation on ebook readers.

On Evince reader, the index navigation for above sample looks like this:

Chapter breaks🔗

As observed from previous demo, by default there are no chapter breaks. Searching for a solution online, I got this piece of tex code:

This can be added using -H option. From pandoc manual,

-H FILE, --include-in-header=FILE

Include contents of FILE, verbatim, at the end of the header. Thiscan be used, for example, to include special CSS or JavaScript inHTML documents. This option can be used repeatedly to include multiplefiles in the header. They will be included in the order specified.Implies --standalone.

The pandoc invocation now looks like:

You can add further customization to headings, for example use sectionfont{underlineclearpage} to underline chapter names or sectionfont{LARGEclearpage} to allow chapter names to get even bigger. Here's some more links to read about various customizations:

Changing settings via -V option🔗

-V KEY[=VAL], --variable=KEY[:VAL]

Set the template variable KEY to the value VAL when rendering thedocument in standalone mode. This is generally only useful when the--template option is used to specify a custom template, since pandocautomatically sets the variables used in the default templates. Ifno VAL is specified, the key will be given the value true.

The -V option allows to change variable values to customize settings like page size, font, link color, etc. As more settings are changed, better to use a simple script to call pandoc instead of typing the whole command on terminal.

  • mainfont is for normal text
  • monofont is for code snippets
  • geometry for page size and margins
  • linkcolor to set hyperlink color
  • to increase default font size, use -V fontsize=12pt
    • See stackoverflow: change font size if you need even bigger size options

Using xelatex as the pdf-engine allows to use any font installed in the system. One reason I chose DejaVu was because it supported Greek and other Unicode characters that were causing error with other fonts. See tex.stackexchange: Using XeLaTeX instead of pdfLaTeX for some more details.

The pandoc invocation is now through a script:

Do compare the pdf generated side by side with previous output before proceeding.

On my system, DejaVu Serif did not have italic variation installed, so I had to use sudo apt install ttf-dejavu-extra to get it.

Syntax highlighting🔗

One option to customize syntax highlighting for code snippets is to save one of the pandoc themes and editing it. See stackoverflow: What are the available syntax highlighters? for available themes and more details (as a good practice on stackoverflow, go through all answers and comments — the linked/related sections on sidebar are useful as well).

Edit the above file to customize the theme. Use sites like colorhexa to help with color choices, hex values, etc. For this demo, the below settings are changed:

Inline code

Similar to changing background color for code snippets, I found a solution online to change background color for inline code snippets.

Add --highlight-style pygments.theme and --include-in-header inline_code.tex to the script and generate the pdf again.

With pandoc -f gfm -o sample_2.pdf the output would be:

With ./ sample_2_syn.pdf the output is:

For my Python re(gex)? book, by chance I found that using ruby instead of python for REPL code snippets syntax highlighting was better. Snapshot from ./ sample_3.pdf result is shown below. For python directive, string output gets treated as a comment and color for boolean values isn't easy to distinguish from string values. The ruby directive treats string value as expected and boolean values are easier to spot.

Bullet styling🔗

This stackoverflow Q&A helped for bullet styling.

Comparing pandoc -f gfm -o sample_4.pdf vs ./ sample_4_bullet.pdf gives:

PDF properties🔗

This tex.stackexchange Q&A helped to change metadata. See also pspdfkit: What’s Hiding in Your PDF? and discussion on HN.

./ sample_4_bullet_prop.pdf gives:

Adding table of contents🔗

There's a handy option --toc to automatically include table of contents at top of the generated pdf. You can control number of levels using --toc-depth option, the default is 3 levels. You can also change the default string Contents to something else using -V toc-title option.

./ sample_1_toc.pdf gives:

Adding cover image🔗

To add something prior to table of contents, cover image for example, you can use a tex file and include it verbatim. Create a tex file (named as cover.tex here) with content as shown below:

Then, modify the previous script by adding --include-before-body cover.tex and tada — you get the cover image before table of contents. thispagestyle{empty} helps to avoid page number on the cover page, see also tex.stackexchange: clear page.

The bash script invocation is now ./ sample_5.pdf.

You'll need at least one image in input markdown file, otherwise settings won't apply to the cover image and you may end up with weird output. used in the command above includes an image. And be careful to use escapes if the image path can contain tex metacharacters.

Stylish blockquote🔗

By default, blockquotes (lines starting with > in markdown) are just indented in the pdf output. To make them standout, tex.stackexchange: change the background color and border of blockquote helped.

Create quote.tex with the contents as shown below. You can change the colors to suit your own preferred style.

The bash script invocation is now ./ sample_5_quote.pdf. The difference between default and styled blockquote is shown below.

Customizing epub🔗

For a long time, I thought epub didn't make sense for programming books. Turned out, I wasn't using the right ebook readers. FBReader is good for novels but not ebooks with code snippets. When I used atril and calibre ebook-viewer, the results were good.

I didn't know how to use css before trying to generate the epub version. Somehow, I managed to take the default epub.css provided by pandoc and customize it as close as possible to the pdf version. The modified epub.css is available from the repo. The bash script to generate the epub is shown below and invoked as ./ sample_5.epub. Note that pygments.theme is same as the pdf customization discussed before.

Resource links🔗

More options and workflows for generating ebooks:

  • pandoc-latex-template — a clean pandoc LaTeX template to convert your markdown files to PDF or LaTeX
  • Jupyter Book — open source project for building beautiful, publication-quality books and documents from computational material
    • See also fastdoc — the output of fastdoc is an asciidoc file for each input notebook. You can then use asciidoctor to convert that to HTML, DocBook, epub, mobi, and so forth
  • Asciidoctor
  • Sphinx


  • picular: search engine for colors and colorhexa

Learn how to write a Makefile in order to generate professional looking documents from human-friendly Markdown sources.

LaTeX is a great markup language to write documents such as scientific articles or lessons,but writing directly in LaTeX sometimes results in very complex documents with many packages and macros.100% of the writing time isn’t focused on content as you have to format with the markup language.

Pandoc is a powerful multi-format document converter, and it is able to convert Markdown1 to LaTeX.So Pandoc is capable of writing the LaTeX corresponding to what you wrote as Markdown saving your time.And if you need a complex LaTeX command that Pandoc doesn’t support you can directly put LaTeX in the Markdown.

I am going to guide you through the creation of a Makefile2 to compile Markdown documents to PDF through XeTeX3.

  • Add some custom LaTeX header commands

Do I really need a Makefile?

Coming soon…

Pandoc Latex Free

Basic Makefile

Pandoc Latex Block

The idea is to create a directory in which you will be able to call make command to compile all Markdown documents inside.

The following is the content of a minimal Makefile file that builds and document2.mdto build/document1.pdf and build/document2.pdf using XeTeX.

DEP contains all files that may be included in documents.Changes to those files (here those who end in .sty, .tex, .jpg or .png) will imply a new compilation next time make is called.

Add some custom LaTeX header commands

Pandoc Latex Foam

To modify Pandoc LaTeX output, you can modify Pandoc LaTeX template, or more simply just append commands in the header.I personally prefer the second method which seems cleaner and doesn’t touch Pandoc internal files.

You can append code in the header directly in a parameter or pass a file.

Include a file in LaTeX header

The following shows an example creating a page footer using fancyhdr package.

First of all, create a file header.tex containing the custom LaTeX header:

Now pass the file to Pandoc by appending a parameter in the Makefile:

Directly add commands to LaTeX header

It’s quite the same that previously except everything is done inside the Makefile:

Change document font family

The following describes how to change the font to TeX Gyre Pagella.

XeLaTeX uses OpenType fonts so you have to download your font in an OpenType format and place it in a fonts directory. You will have a structure like this one:

Pandoc Latex Adhesive

Then in the Makefile add four parameters to Pandoc:

Resulting Makefile

Pandoc Latexmk

TL;DR. To summarise, the following Makefile groups all previous modifications. That is actually my daily driver:

Bonus: convert your old documents to Markdown


Pandoc is able to convert many types of document such as Word (.docx) and LaTeX (.tex) to Markdown (.md).

Pandoc Latex Preamble

Just try something like:

  1. According to Wikipedia: “Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax.” All this website content was written in Markdown! ↩

  2. According to Wikipedia: “A Makefile is a file containing a set of directives used with by make build automation tool to generate a target/goal.” ↩

  3. XeTeX is a TeX/LaTeX engine using Unicode and supporting OpenType font. ↩