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Converter from latex to edX XML format course content files

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Build Status Coverage Status PyPi Downloads PyPi Version License AGPLv3

This is version 1.6 of the open-source latex2edx compiler for generating interactive MITx / edX courses from LaTeX

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This system is particularly useful for producing interactive course content where the expressive power of LaTeX is helpful, e.g. with math, physics, CS content. latex2edx provides interactivity via the introduction of a basic new macro, the "answer box" \edXabox, which defines a mechanism for student input, as well as how that input is to be graded. Also introduced are structural macros for defining course structure.

Version 1.2 provides, in addition, structured access to the adaptive hint system built into the edX platform, via a generalized hints system. This system allows hints to be provided for custom, multiple-choice, option, and numerical response problems, based on student responses.
The hint system provided by latex2edx allows authors to specify hints via pattern matching, based on matching strings, numerical value ranges, mathematical symbols and functions, and arbitrary boolean combinations of patterns.

Version 1.3 adds documentation, and the edXvideo and edXdiscussion macros.

See project homepage:

and detailed documentation:

Version 1.4 adds the edXlti macro, provides better edXshowhide operation, adds the coderesponse answer box type, adds wrapclass functionality for abox.

Version 1.5 adds unit tests for courses. With the --output-course-unit-tests option, an output filename can be specified, where answer box unit tests are written in YAML format. This "course unit test" set can then be used with the edxcut package, to execute unit tests on a running edx course instance.

Version 1.6 works under python3.7, and PlasTex 2.1


  • python 3.7
  • python-lxml
  • plastex
  • beautifulsoup4
  • latex2dnd
  • pyyaml


Install using this command:

pip install -e git+

Note that xmllint and lxml are required; for ubuntu, this may work:

apt-get install libxml2-utils python-lxml

PlasTeX ( is also required, but should be installed automatically by the pip install.


Usage: latex2edx [options] filename.tex

  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --verbose         verbose error messages
  -o OUTPUT_FN, --output-xbundle=OUTPUT_FN
                        Filename for output xbundle file
  -d OUTPUT_DIR, --output-directory=OUTPUT_DIR
                        Directory name for output course XML files
  -c CONFIG_FILE, --config-file=CONFIG_FILE
                        configuration file to load
  -m, --merge-chapters  merge chapters into existing course directory
  -P, --update-policy-file
                        update policy.json from settings in latex file
                        suppress policy settings from XML files
  --suppress-verticals  do not automatically add extra verticals needed for Studio compatibility
  -S, --section-only    export only edXsections (sequentials) -- no course or chapters
  -x, --xml-only        export only xbundle xml file -- no separate course content
  --units-only          export only units, including problem, html -- no course, chapter, section
  --timestamp           add timestamps at the bottom of each HTML page
                        additional revision number to add to the timestamp
                        minimum number of elements in HTML, for a timestamp to be added
  --popups              enable equation and figure popup windows on clicking their references
  --add-wrap            add a standard latex wrapper, with documentclass and begin{document}...end{document}
  --allow-directories   allow subdirectory structure in the xml output
                        filename in which to output answer box unit test set (YAML format) for the course, made for testing with edxcut


See live demo course:

The source code for the demo course is here:

Here is an annotated input tex file which generates the source for an edX course:


\usepackage{edXpsl}	% edX "problem specification language"


% edXcourse: {course_number}{course display_name}[optional arguments like semester]
\begin{edXcourse}{MIT.latex2edx}{latex2edx demo course}[semester="2014 Spring"]

% edXchapter: {chapter display_name}[optional arguments like url_name]
\begin{edXchapter}{Basic examples}

% edXsection: {section display_name}[optional arguments like url_name]
% this turns into a <sequential> in the XML
\begin{edXsection}{Basic example problems}

% edXvertical: {vertical display_name}[optional arguments like url_name]

% edXproblem: {problem display_name}{attributes: url_name, weight, attempts}
\begin{edXproblem}{Numerical response}{attempts=10}

What is the numerical value of $\pi$?

% \edXabox: answer box, specifying question type and expected response
\edXabox{expect="3.14159" type="numerical" tolerance='0.01' }




  • v1.0: python package; unit tests; xbundle and modular code
  • v1.1.0: Support for jsinput, custom mathjax filtering, formularesponse
  • .1: Fix optargs bug with plastex
  • .2: Allow spaces in semester; give example in README
  • .3: Fix bug in eqnarray table widths
  • .4: Fix showhide to work under firefox
  • .5: Allow multiple correct answers in multichoice
  • .6: Add \edXgitlink for link to specific line in source file
  • .7: Add \edXaskta for "Ask TA!" buttons
  • .8: bugfix for edxxml
  • .9: Allow \edXtext to have attributes option, eg \begin{edXtext}{My Name}[url_name=text_url_name]
  • .10: check imported python scripts for syntax errors
  • v1.2.0: General hint system for problems
  • .1: All python scripts syntax checked
  • .2: New option -P for generating policy.json from tex; handles, e.g. start, end, due, graded
  • v1.3.0: Add documentation, abox unit tests, edXvideo, edXdiscussion
  • .1: Add regexp mapping to hints; add \edXdndtex command; allow texbox for customresponse
  • .2: Fix edXmath environment to use verbatim
  • .3: Ensure edXinclude doesn't leave contents within a p; nicer error messages for include, with linenum
  • .4: Include linenum, filename in more error msgs; add --section-only, --xml-only, --units-only output fmts
  • v1.4.0: Enable cross-referencing with \ref and \label; add --popups output fmt for eqns and figs; add ToC generation with \tocref and \toclabel
  • .1: allow user-specified extra xml filters ; allow variables in math expressions
  • v1.5.0: provide course unit tests of answer boxes; the course unit test YAML file can be used with the edxcut package
  •     to perform unit tests of running courses on an edx platform instance
  • v1.5.1: Add multicode for asynchronously graded problems
  • v1.5.2: Allow .dndspec files to be used instead of just .tex, e.g.: \edXdndtex{dnd_file.dndspec}
  • v1.5.3: Add \edXsplittest
  • v1.5.4: Add \marginote{note text}{anchor text}
  • v1.5.5: Add command options: --timestamp --timestamp-revision --timestamp-threshold 5
  • v1.5.6: Add \html{tag}[attributes] for custom HTML
  • v1.6.0: Migrate to python3
  • v1.6.1: Minor readme update
  • v1.6.2: Fixes to ensure ampersands are not doubly escaped in math

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