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Thin wrapper for pandoc.

Project description

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pypandoc provides a thin wrapper for pandoc, a universal document converter.


  • Install pandoc
  • Ubuntu/Debian: sudo apt-get install pandoc
  • Fedora/Red Hat: sudo yum install pandoc
  • Mac OS X with Homebrew: brew install pandoc
  • Machine with Haskell: cabal-install pandoc
  • Windows: There is an installer available here
  • FreeBSD port
  • Or see
  • pip install pypandoc
  • To use pandoc filters, you must have the relevant filter installed on your machine


The basic invocation looks like this: pypandoc.convert('input', 'output format'). pypandoc tries to infer the type of the input automatically. If it’s a file, it will load it. In case you pass a string, you can define the format using the parameter. The example below should clarify the usage:

import pypandoc

output = pypandoc.convert('', 'rst')

# alternatively you could just pass some string to it and define its format
output = pypandoc.convert('#some title', 'rst', format='md')
# output == 'some title\r\n==========\r\n\r\n'

If you pass in a string (and not a filename), convert expects this string to be unicode or utf-8 encoded bytes. convert will always return a unicode string.

It’s also possible to directly let pandoc write the output to a file. This is the only way to convert to some output formats (e.g. odt, docx, epub, epub3, pdf). In that case convert() will return an empty string.

import pypandoc

output = pypandoc.convert('', 'docx', outputfile="somefile.docx")
assert output == ""

In addition to format, it is possible to pass extra_args. That makes it possible to access various pandoc options easily.

output = pypandoc.convert(
    '<h1>Primary Heading</h1>',
    'md', format='html',
# output == '# Primary Heading\r\n'
output = pypandoc.convert(
    '# Primary Heading',
    'html', format='md',
# output == '<h2 id="primary-heading">Primary Heading</h2>\r\n'

pypandoc now supports easy addition of pandoc filters.

filters = ['pandoc-citeproc']
pdoc_args = ['--mathjax',
output = pd.convert(source=filename,

Please pass any filters in as a list and not a string.

Please refer to pandoc -h and the official documentation for further details.

Dealing with Formatting Arguments

Pandoc supports custom formatting though -V parameter. In order to use it through pypandoc, use code such as this:

output = pypandoc.convert('', 'pdf', outputfile='demo.pdf',
  extra_args=['-V', 'geometry:margin=1.5cm'])

Note that it’s important to separate -V and its argument within a list like that or else it won’t work. This gotcha has to do with the way subprocess.Popen works.

Getting Pandoc Version

As it can be useful sometimes to check what Pandoc version is available at your system, pypandoc provides an utility for this. Example:

version = pypandoc.get_pandoc_version()


Contributions are welcome. When opening a PR, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  1. Before implementing, please open an issue for discussion.
  2. Make sure you have tests for the new logic.
  3. Make sure your code passes flake8
  4. Add yourself to contributors at unless you are already there. In that case tweak your contributions.

Note that for citeproc tests to pass you’ll need to have pandoc-citeproc installed.

IMPORTANT! Currently Travis build is a bit broken. If you have any idea on how to debug that, please see #55.


  • Valentin Haenel - String conversion fix
  • Daniel Sanchez - Automatic parsing of input/output formats
  • Thomas G. - Python 3 support
  • Ben Jao Ming - Fail gracefully if pandoc is missing
  • Ross Crawford-d’Heureuse - Encode input in UTF-8 and add Django example
  • Michael Chow - Decode output in UTF-8
  • Janusz Skonieczny - Support Windows newlines and allow encoding to be specified.
  • gabeos - Fix help parsing
  • Marc Abramowitz - Make fail hard if pandoc is missing, Travis, Dockerfile, PyPI badge, Tox, PEP-8, improved documentation
  • Daniel L. - Add extra_args example to README
  • Amy Guy - Exception handling for unicode errors
  • Florian Eßer - Allow Markdown extensions in output format
  • Philipp Wendler - Allow Markdown extensions in input format
  • Jan Schulz - Handling output to a file, Travis to work on newer version of Pandoc, return code checking, get_pandoc_version
  • Aaron Gonzales - Added better filter handling
  • David Lukes - Enabled input from non-plain-text files and made sure tests clean up template files correctly if they fail
  • valholl - Set up licensing information correctly and include examples to distribution version


pypandoc is available under MIT license. See LICENSE for more details.

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