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Python documentation viewer

Project description

viewdoc is a Python package documentation viewer. It converts reST-formatted text to HTML and displays it in a browser window. The viewer is typically used to check a package’s long description before uploading it to PyPI.


viewdoc works with Python 2.7 - 3.10 and all released versions of setuptools.

Use pip install jarn.viewdoc to install the viewdoc script.


viewdoc [options] [rst-file|egg-dir]


-s style, --style=style, or --style
Select the custom style added to the HTML output.
-b browser, --browser=browser
Select the browser used for display. For a list of names see the webbrowser module.
-c config-file, --config-file=config-file
Use config-file instead of the default ~/.viewdoc.
-l, --list-styles
List available styles and exit.
-h, --help
Print the help message and exit.
-v, --version
Print the version string and exit.
Disable output colors.
Print HTML to stdout.


The reST file to view.
The Python package whose long description to view. Defaults to the current working directory.


viewdoc reads style information from its configuration file ~/.viewdoc. Edit this file to add your own styles.

Built-in Styles

Browser default with margins.
New PyPI style with Google Fonts.
PyPI-like style without Google Fonts (the default).


2.4 - 2022-02-26

  • Support Python 2.7 - 3.10. [stefan]
  • Fix code block background color in pypi style. [stefan]
  • Keep links underlined in pypi style. [stefan]
  • Add output colors. [stefan]
  • Do not require if setup.cfg exists. [stefan]
  • Move metadata to setup.cfg. [stefan]
  • Move tests out of jarn.viewdoc namespace. [stefan]
  • Include tests in sdist but not in wheel. [stefan]

2.3 - 2019-01-28

  • Support python -m jarn.viewdoc. [stefan]

2.2 - 2019-01-25

  • Drop Python 2.6 support, add Python 3.7. [stefan]
  • Update styles in light of new PyPI (warehouse). [stefan]
  • Default to sans style because new PyPI uses Google Fonts. [stefan]
  • Convert dashes to underscores in config parser optionxform. [stefan]

2.1 - 2017-10-06

  • Add [stefan]

2.0 - 2017-07-20

  • Update pypi stylesheet (grey code blocks). [stefan]
  • Automatically upgrade stylesheet information. [stefan]
  • Add -b option to specify the browser to use. [stefan]
  • Protect against bad or incomplete locale settings. [stefan]

1.8 - 2017-01-30

  • Support Python 2.6 - 3.6 without 2to3. [stefan]

1.7 - 2014-03-22

  • Update PyPI stylesheet links in the face of new [stefan]
  • Add new pypi style and rename previous one to classic. [stefan]

1.6 - 2013-11-21

  • Support Python 3.x. [stefan]

1.5 - 2012-07-11

  • Restore Python 2.5 compatibility. [stefan]

1.4 - 2011-11-25

  • Warn if ~/.viewdoc has errors instead of raising an exception. [stefan]

1.3 - 2011-10-31

  • Be more careful with what we put on the PYTHONPATH. [stefan]
  • Add small style to the default config. [stefan]

1.2 - 2011-07-19

  • Pass the PYTHONPATH to subprocesses. [stefan]
  • Avoid temp file when extracting the long description. [stefan]
  • Add -l option to list available styles. [stefan]
  • Add –style shortcut for -s style. [stefan]

1.1 - 2011-02-08

  • Add -s option to select styles on the command line. [stefan]
  • In pypi style, only underline reference links. [stefan]

1.0 - 2010-12-30

  • Initial release [stefan]

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