Universal markup converter

% Pandoc User’s Guide % John MacFarlane % July 15, 2015


pandoc [options] [input-file]…


Pandoc is a [Haskell] library for converting from one markup format to another, and a command-line tool that uses this library. It can read [Markdown], [CommonMark], and (subsets of) [Textile], [reStructuredText], [HTML], [LaTeX], [MediaWiki markup], [TWiki markup], [Haddock markup], [OPML], [Emacs Org-mode], [DocBook], [txt2tags], [EPUB], [ODT] and [Word docx]; and it can write plain text, [Markdown], [reStructuredText], [XHTML], [HTML 5], LaTeX, [ConTeXt], [RTF], [OPML], [DocBook], [OpenDocument], [ODT], [Word docx], [GNU Texinfo], [MediaWiki markup], [DokuWiki markup], [Haddock markup], EPUB, [FictionBook2], [Textile], [groff man] pages, [Emacs Org-Mode], [AsciiDoc], [InDesign ICML], and [Slidy], [Slideous], [DZSlides], [reveal.js] or [S5] HTML slide shows. It can also produce [PDF] output on systems where LaTeX is installed.

Pandoc’s enhanced version of markdown includes syntax for footnotes, tables, flexible ordered lists, definition lists, fenced code blocks, superscript, subscript, strikeout, title blocks, automatic tables of contents, embedded LaTeX math, citations, and markdown inside HTML block elements. (These enhancements, described below under Pandoc’s markdown, can be disabled using the markdown_strict input or output format.)

In contrast to most existing tools for converting markdown to HTML, which use regex substitutions, Pandoc has a modular design: it consists of a set of readers, which parse text in a given format and produce a native representation of the document, and a set of writers, which convert this native representation into a target format. Thus, adding an input or output format requires only adding a reader or writer.

Using pandoc

If no input-file is specified, input is read from stdin. Otherwise, the input-files are concatenated (with a blank line between each) and used as input. Output goes to stdout by default (though output to stdout is disabled for the odt, docx, epub, and epub3 output formats). For output to a file, use the -o option:

pandoc -o output.html input.txt

By default, pandoc produces a document fragment, not a standalone document with a proper header and footer. To produce a standalone document, use the -s or --standalone flag:

pandoc -s -o output.html input.txt

For more information on how standalone documents are produced, see Templates, below.

Instead of a file, an absolute URI may be given. In this case pandoc will fetch the content using HTTP:

pandoc -f html -t markdown

If multiple input files are given, pandoc will concatenate them all (with blank lines between them) before parsing. This feature is disabled for binary input formats such as EPUB, odt, and docx.

The format of the input and output can be specified explicitly using command-line options. The input format can be specified using the -r/--read or -f/--from options, the output format using the -w/--write or -t/--to options. Thus, to convert hello.txt from markdown to LaTeX, you could type:

pandoc -f markdown -t latex hello.txt

To convert hello.html from html to markdown:

pandoc -f html -t markdown hello.html

Supported output formats are listed below under the -t/--to option. Supported input formats are listed below under the -f/--from option. Note that the rst, textile, latex, and html readers are not complete; there are some constructs that they do not parse.

If the input or output format is not specified explicitly, pandoc will attempt to guess it from the extensions of the input and output filenames. Thus, for example,

pandoc -o hello.tex hello.txt

will convert hello.txt from markdown to LaTeX. If no output file is specified (so that output goes to stdout), or if the output file’s extension is unknown, the output format will default to HTML. If no input file is specified (so that input comes from stdin), or if the input files’ extensions are unknown, the input format will be assumed to be markdown unless explicitly specified.

Pandoc uses the UTF-8 character encoding for both input and output. If your local character encoding is not UTF-8, you should pipe input and output through iconv:

iconv -t utf-8 input.txt | pandoc | iconv -f utf-8

Note that in some output formats (such as HTML, LaTeX, ConTeXt, RTF, OPML, DocBook, and Texinfo), information about the character encoding is included in the document header, which will only be included if you use the -s/--standalone option.

Creating a PDF

Earlier versions of pandoc came with a program, markdown2pdf, that used pandoc and pdflatex to produce a PDF. This is no longer needed, since pandoc can now produce pdf output itself. To produce a PDF, simply specify an output file with a .pdf extension. Pandoc will create a latex file and use pdflatex (or another engine, see --latex-engine) to convert it to PDF:

pandoc test.txt -o test.pdf

Production of a PDF requires that a LaTeX engine be installed (see --latex-engine, below), and assumes that the following LaTeX packages are available: amssymb, amsmath, ifxetex, ifluatex, listings (if the --listings option is used), fancyvrb, longtable, booktabs, url, graphicx and grffile (if the document contains images), hyperref, ulem, babel (if the lang variable is set), fontspec (if xelatex or lualatex is used as the LaTeX engine), xltxtra and xunicode (if xelatex is used).


A user who wants a drop-in replacement for may create a symbolic link to the pandoc executable called hsmarkdown. When invoked under the name hsmarkdown, pandoc will behave as if invoked with -f markdown_strict --email-obfuscation=references, and all command-line options will be treated as regular arguments. However, this approach does not work under Cygwin, due to problems with its simulation of symbolic links.


General options

-f FORMAT, -r FORMAT, --from=FORMAT, --read=FORMAT

Specify input format. FORMAT can be native (native Haskell), json (JSON version of native AST), markdown (pandoc’s extended markdown), markdown_strict (original unextended markdown), markdown_phpextra (PHP Markdown Extra extended markdown), markdown_github (github extended markdown), commonmark (CommonMark markdown), textile (Textile), rst (reStructuredText), html (HTML), docbook (DocBook), t2t (txt2tags), docx (docx), odt (ODT), epub (EPUB), opml (OPML), org (Emacs Org-mode), mediawiki (MediaWiki markup), twiki (TWiki markup), haddock (Haddock markup), or latex (LaTeX). If +lhs is appended to markdown, rst, latex, or html, the input will be treated as literate Haskell source: see Literate Haskell support, below. Markdown syntax extensions can be individually enabled or disabled by appending +EXTENSION or -EXTENSION to the format name. So, for example, markdown_strict+footnotes+definition_lists is strict markdown with footnotes and definition lists enabled, and markdown-pipe_tables+hard_line_breaks is pandoc’s markdown without pipe tables and with hard line breaks. See Pandoc’s markdown, below, for a list of extensions and their names.

-t FORMAT, -w FORMAT, --to=FORMAT, --write=FORMAT

Specify output format. FORMAT can be native (native Haskell), json (JSON version of native AST), plain (plain text), markdown (pandoc’s extended markdown), markdown_strict (original unextended markdown), markdown_phpextra (PHP Markdown extra extended markdown), markdown_github (github extended markdown), commonmark (CommonMark markdown), rst (reStructuredText), html (XHTML 1), html5 (HTML 5), latex (LaTeX), beamer (LaTeX beamer slide show), context (ConTeXt), man (groff man), mediawiki (MediaWiki markup), dokuwiki (DokuWiki markup), textile (Textile), org (Emacs Org-Mode), texinfo (GNU Texinfo), opml (OPML), docbook (DocBook), opendocument (OpenDocument), odt (OpenOffice text document), docx (Word docx), haddock (Haddock markup), rtf (rich text format), epub (EPUB v2 book), epub3 (EPUB v3), fb2 (FictionBook2 e-book), asciidoc (AsciiDoc), icml (InDesign ICML), slidy (Slidy HTML and javascript slide show), slideous (Slideous HTML and javascript slide show), dzslides (DZSlides HTML5 + javascript slide show), revealjs (reveal.js HTML5 + javascript slide show), s5 (S5 HTML and javascript slide show), or the path of a custom lua writer (see Custom writers, below). Note that odt, epub, and epub3 output will not be directed to stdout; an output filename must be specified using the -o/--output option. If +lhs is appended to markdown, rst, latex, beamer, html, or html5, the output will be rendered as literate Haskell source: see Literate Haskell support, below. Markdown syntax extensions can be individually enabled or disabled by appending +EXTENSION or -EXTENSION to the format name, as described above under -f.

-o FILE, --output=FILE

Write output to FILE instead of stdout. If FILE is -, output will go to stdout. (Exception: if the output format is odt, docx, epub, or epub3, output to stdout is disabled.)


Specify the user data directory to search for pandoc data files. If this option is not specified, the default user data directory will be used. This is


in unix,

C:\Documents And Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\pandoc

in Windows XP, and


in Windows 7. (You can find the default user data directory on your system by looking at the output of pandoc --version.) A reference.odt, reference.docx, default.csl, epub.css, templates, slidy, slideous, or s5 directory placed in this directory will override pandoc’s normal defaults.


Give verbose debugging output. Currently this only has an effect with PDF output.

-v, --version

Print version.

-h, --help

Show usage message.

Reader options

-R, --parse-raw

Parse untranslatable HTML codes and LaTeX environments as raw HTML or LaTeX, instead of ignoring them. Affects only HTML and LaTeX input. Raw HTML can be printed in markdown, reStructuredText, HTML, Slidy, Slideous, DZSlides, reveal.js, and S5 output; raw LaTeX can be printed in markdown, reStructuredText, LaTeX, and ConTeXt output. The default is for the readers to omit untranslatable HTML codes and LaTeX environments. (The LaTeX reader does pass through untranslatable LaTeX commands, even if -R is not specified.)

-S, --smart

Produce typographically correct output, converting straight quotes to curly quotes, --- to em-dashes, -- to en-dashes, and ... to ellipses. Nonbreaking spaces are inserted after certain abbreviations, such as “Mr.” (Note: This option is significant only when the input format is markdown, markdown_strict, textile or twiki. It is selected automatically when the input format is textile or the output format is latex or context, unless --no-tex-ligatures is used.)


Selects the pandoc <= behavior for parsing smart dashes: - before a numeral is an en-dash, and -- is an em-dash. This option is selected automatically for textile input.


Specify the base level for headers (defaults to 1).


Specify classes to use for indented code blocks–for example, perl,numberLines or haskell. Multiple classes may be separated by spaces or commas.


Specify a default extension to use when image paths/URLs have no extension. This allows you to use the same source for formats that require different kinds of images. Currently this option only affects the markdown and LaTeX readers.


Specify an executable to be used as a filter transforming the Pandoc AST after the input is parsed and before the output is written. The executable should read JSON from stdin and write JSON to stdout. The JSON must be formatted like pandoc’s own JSON input and output. The name of the output format will be passed to the filter as the first argument. Hence,

pandoc --filter ./ -t latex

is equivalent to

pandoc -t json | ./ latex | pandoc -f json -t latex

The latter form may be useful for debugging filters.

Filters may be written in any language. Text.Pandoc.JSON exports toJSONFilter to facilitate writing filters in Haskell. Those who would prefer to write filters in python can use the module pandocfilters, installable from PyPI. See for the module and several examples. There are also pandoc filter libraries in PHP, perl, and javascript/node.js.

Note that the EXECUTABLE will be sought in the user’s PATH, and not in the working directory, if no directory is provided. If you want to run a script in the working directory, preface the filename with ./.

-M KEY[=VAL], --metadata=KEY[:VAL]

Set the metadata field KEY to the value VAL. A value specified on the command line overrides a value specified in the document. Values will be parsed as YAML boolean or string values. If no value is specified, the value will be treated as Boolean true. Like --variable, --metadata causes template variables to be set. But unlike --variable, --metadata affects the metadata of the underlying document (which is accessible from filters and may be printed in some output formats).


Normalize the document after reading: merge adjacent Str or Emph elements, for example, and remove repeated Spaces.

-p, --preserve-tabs

Preserve tabs instead of converting them to spaces (the default). Note that this will only affect tabs in literal code spans and code blocks; tabs in regular text will be treated as spaces.


Specify the number of spaces per tab (default is 4).


Specifies what to do with insertions and deletions produced by the MS Word “track-changes” feature. accept (the default), inserts all insertions, and ignores all deletions. reject inserts all deletions and ignores insertions. all puts in both insertions and deletions, wrapped in spans with insertion and deletion classes, respectively. The author and time of change is included. all is useful for scripting: only accepting changes from a certain reviewer, say, or before a certain date. This option only affects the docx reader.


Extract images and other media contained in a docx or epub container to the path DIR, creating it if necessary, and adjust the images references in the document so they point to the extracted files. This option only affects the docx and epub readers.

General writer options

-s, --standalone

Produce output with an appropriate header and footer (e.g. a standalone HTML, LaTeX, or RTF file, not a fragment). This option is set automatically for pdf, epub, epub3, fb2, docx, and odt output.


Use FILE as a custom template for the generated document. Implies --standalone. See Templates below for a description of template syntax. If no extension is specified, an extension corresponding to the writer will be added, so that --template=special looks for special.html for HTML output. If the template is not found, pandoc will search for it in the templates subdirectory of the user data directory (see --data-dir). If this option is not used, a default template appropriate for the output format will be used (see -D/--print-default-template).

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

Set the template variable KEY to the value VAL when rendering the document in standalone mode. This is generally only useful when the --template option is used to specify a custom template, since pandoc automatically sets the variables used in the default templates. If no VAL is specified, the key will be given the value true.

-D FORMAT, --print-default-template=FORMAT

Print the system default template for an output FORMAT. (See -t for a list of possible *FORMAT*s.) Templates in the user data directory are ignored.


Print a system default data file. Files in the user data directory are ignored.


Disable text wrapping in output. By default, text is wrapped appropriately for the output format.


Specify length of lines in characters (for text wrapping).

--toc, --table-of-contents

Include an automatically generated table of contents (or, in the case of latex, context, and rst, an instruction to create one) in the output document. This option has no effect on man, docbook, slidy, slideous, s5, docx, or odt output.


Specify the number of section levels to include in the table of contents. The default is 3 (which means that level 1, 2, and 3 headers will be listed in the contents).


Disables syntax highlighting for code blocks and inlines, even when a language attribute is given.


Specifies the coloring style to be used in highlighted source code. Options are pygments (the default), kate, monochrome, espresso, zenburn, haddock, and tango. For more information on syntax highlighting in pandoc, see [Syntax highlighting], below.

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

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

-B FILE, --include-before-body=FILE

Include contents of FILE, verbatim, at the beginning of the document body (e.g. after the <body> tag in HTML, or the \begin{document} command in LaTeX). This can be used to include navigation bars or banners in HTML documents. This option can be used repeatedly to include multiple files. They will be included in the order specified. Implies --standalone.

-A FILE, --include-after-body=FILE

Include contents of FILE, verbatim, at the end of the document body (before the </body> tag in HTML, or the \end{document} command in LaTeX). This option can be be used repeatedly to include multiple files. They will be included in the order specified. Implies --standalone.

Options affecting specific writers


Produce a standalone HTML file with no external dependencies, using data: URIs to incorporate the contents of linked scripts, stylesheets, images, and videos. The resulting file should be “self-contained,” in the sense that it needs no external files and no net access to be displayed properly by a browser. This option works only with HTML output formats, including html, html5, html+lhs, html5+lhs, s5, slidy, slideous, dzslides, and revealjs. Scripts, images, and stylesheets at absolute URLs will be downloaded; those at relative URLs will be sought relative to the working directory (if the first source file is local) or relative to the base URL (if the first source file is remote). --self-contained does not work with --mathjax.


Deprecated synonym for --self-contained.

-5, --html5

Produce HTML5 instead of HTML4. This option has no effect for writers other than html. (Deprecated: Use the html5 output format instead.)


Use <q> tags for quotes in HTML.


Use only ascii characters in output. Currently supported only for HTML output (which uses numerical entities instead of UTF-8 when this option is selected).


Use reference-style links, rather than inline links, in writing markdown or reStructuredText. By default inline links are used.


Use ATX style headers in markdown and asciidoc output. The default is to use setext-style headers for levels 1-2, and then ATX headers.


Treat top-level headers as chapters in LaTeX, ConTeXt, and DocBook output. When the LaTeX template uses the report, book, or memoir class, this option is implied. If beamer is the output format, top-level headers will become \part{..}.

-N, --number-sections

Number section headings in LaTeX, ConTeXt, HTML, or EPUB output. By default, sections are not numbered. Sections with class unnumbered will never be numbered, even if --number-sections is specified.


Offset for section headings in HTML output (ignored in other output formats). The first number is added to the section number for top-level headers, the second for second-level headers, and so on. So, for example, if you want the first top-level header in your document to be numbered “6”, specify --number-offset=5. If your document starts with a level-2 header which you want to be numbered “1.5”, specify --number-offset=1,4. Offsets are 0 by default. Implies --number-sections.


Do not convert quotation marks, apostrophes, and dashes to the TeX ligatures when writing LaTeX or ConTeXt. Instead, just use literal unicode characters. This is needed for using advanced OpenType features with XeLaTeX and LuaLaTeX. Note: normally --smart is selected automatically for LaTeX and ConTeXt output, but it must be specified explicitly if --no-tex-ligatures is selected. If you use literal curly quotes, dashes, and ellipses in your source, then you may want to use --no-tex-ligatures without --smart.


Use listings package for LaTeX code blocks

-i, --incremental

Make list items in slide shows display incrementally (one by one). The default is for lists to be displayed all at once.


Specifies that headers with the specified level create slides (for beamer, s5, slidy, slideous, dzslides). Headers above this level in the hierarchy are used to divide the slide show into sections; headers below this level create subheads within a slide. The default is to set the slide level based on the contents of the document; see Structuring the slide show, below.


Wrap sections in <div> tags (or <section> tags in HTML5), and attach identifiers to the enclosing <div> (or <section>) rather than the header itself. See Header identifiers, below.


Specify a method for obfuscating mailto: links in HTML documents. none leaves mailto: links as they are. javascript obfuscates them using javascript. references obfuscates them by printing their letters as decimal or hexadecimal character references.


Specify a prefix to be added to all automatically generated identifiers in HTML and DocBook output, and to footnote numbers in markdown output. This is useful for preventing duplicate identifiers when generating fragments to be included in other pages.

-T STRING, --title-prefix=STRING

Specify STRING as a prefix at the beginning of the title that appears in the HTML header (but not in the title as it appears at the beginning of the HTML body). Implies --standalone.

-c URL, --css=URL

Link to a CSS style sheet. This option can be be used repeatedly to include multiple files. They will be included in the order specified.


Use the specified file as a style reference in producing an ODT. For best results, the reference ODT should be a modified version of an ODT produced using pandoc. The contents of the reference ODT are ignored, but its stylesheets are used in the new ODT. If no reference ODT is specified on the command line, pandoc will look for a file reference.odt in the user data directory (see --data-dir). If this is not found either, sensible defaults will be used.


Use the specified file as a style reference in producing a docx file. For best results, the reference docx should be a modified version of a docx file produced using pandoc. The contents of the reference docx are ignored, but its stylesheets and document properties (including margins, page size, header, and footer) are used in the new docx. If no reference docx is specified on the command line, pandoc will look for a file reference.docx in the user data directory (see --data-dir). If this is not found either, sensible defaults will be used. The following styles are used by pandoc: [paragraph] Normal, Body Text, First Paragraph, Compact, Title, Subtitle, Author, Date, Abstract, Bibliography, Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, Heading 4, Heading 5, Heading 6, Block Text, Footnote Text, Definition Term, Definition, Caption, Table Caption, Image Caption, Figure, Figure With Caption, TOC Heading; [character] Default Paragraph Font, Body Text Char, Verbatim Char, Footnote Reference, Hyperlink; [table] Normal Table.


Use the specified CSS file to style the EPUB. If no stylesheet is specified, pandoc will look for a file epub.css in the user data directory (see --data-dir). If it is not found there, sensible defaults will be used.


Use the specified image as the EPUB cover. It is recommended that the image be less than 1000px in width and height. Note that in a markdown source document you can also specify cover-image in a YAML metadata block (see [EPUB Metadata], below).


Look in the specified XML file for metadata for the EPUB. The file should contain a series of Dublin Core elements, as documented at For example:

 <dc:rights>Creative Commons</dc:rights>

By default, pandoc will include the following metadata elements: <dc:title> (from the document title), <dc:creator> (from the document authors), <dc:date> (from the document date, which should be in [ISO 8601 format]), <dc:language> (from the lang variable, or, if is not set, the locale), and <dc:identifier id="BookId"> (a randomly generated UUID). Any of these may be overridden by elements in the metadata file.

Note: if the source document is markdown, a YAML metadata block in the document can be used instead. See below under [EPUB Metadata].


Embed the specified font in the EPUB. This option can be repeated to embed multiple fonts. Wildcards can also be used: for example, DejaVuSans-*.ttf. However, if you use wildcards on the command line, be sure to escape them or put the whole filename in single quotes, to prevent them from being interpreted by the shell. To use the embedded fonts, you will need to add declarations like the following to your CSS (see --epub-stylesheet):

@font-face {
font-family: DejaVuSans;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: normal;
@font-face {
font-family: DejaVuSans;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: bold;
@font-face {
font-family: DejaVuSans;
font-style: italic;
font-weight: normal;
@font-face {
font-family: DejaVuSans;
font-style: italic;
font-weight: bold;
body { font-family: "DejaVuSans"; }

Specify the header level at which to split the EPUB into separate “chapter” files. The default is to split into chapters at level 1 headers. This option only affects the internal composition of the EPUB, not the way chapters and sections are displayed to users. Some readers may be slow if the chapter files are too large, so for large documents with few level 1 headers, one might want to use a chapter level of 2 or 3.


Use the specified LaTeX engine when producing PDF output. The default is pdflatex. If the engine is not in your PATH, the full path of the engine may be specified here.


Use the given string as a command-line argument to the latex-engine. If used multiple times, the arguments are provided with spaces between them. Note that no check for duplicate options is done.

Citation rendering


Set the bibliography field in the document’s metadata to FILE, overriding any value set in the metadata, and process citations using pandoc-citeproc. (This is equivalent to --metadata bibliography=FILE --filter pandoc-citeproc.) If --natbib or --biblatex is also supplied, pandoc-citeproc is not used, making this equivalent to --metadata bibliography=FILE. If you supply this argument multiple times, each FILE will be added to bibliography.


Set the csl field in the document’s metadata to FILE, overriding any value set in the metadata. (This is equivalent to --metadata csl=FILE.) This option is only relevant with pandoc-citeproc.


Set the citation-abbreviations field in the document’s metadata to FILE, overriding any value set in the metadata. (This is equivalent to --metadata citation-abbreviations=FILE.) This option is only relevant with pandoc-citeproc.


Use natbib for citations in LaTeX output. This option is not for use with the pandoc-citeproc filter or with PDF output. It is intended for use in producing a LaTeX file that can be processed with pdflatex and bibtex.


Use biblatex for citations in LaTeX output. This option is not for use with the pandoc-citeproc filter or with PDF output. It is intended for use in producing a LaTeX file that can be processed with pdflatex and bibtex or biber.

Math rendering in HTML

-m [URL], --latexmathml[=URL]

Use the LaTeXMathML script to display embedded TeX math in HTML output. To insert a link to a local copy of the LaTeXMathML.js script, provide a URL. If no URL is provided, the contents of the script will be inserted directly into the HTML header, preserving portability at the price of efficiency. If you plan to use math on several pages, it is much better to link to a copy of the script, so it can be cached.


Convert TeX math to MathML (in docbook as well as html and html5). In standalone html output, a small javascript (or a link to such a script if a URL is supplied) will be inserted that allows the MathML to be viewed on some browsers.


Use jsMath to display embedded TeX math in HTML output. The URL should point to the jsMath load script (e.g. jsMath/easy/load.js); if provided, it will be linked to in the header of standalone HTML documents. If a URL is not provided, no link to the jsMath load script will be inserted; it is then up to the author to provide such a link in the HTML template.


Use MathJax to display embedded TeX math in HTML output. The URL should point to the MathJax.js load script. If a URL is not provided, a link to the MathJax CDN will be inserted.


Enclose TeX math in <eq> tags in HTML output. These can then be processed by gladTeX to produce links to images of the typeset formulas.


Render TeX math using the mimeTeX CGI script. If URL is not specified, it is assumed that the script is at /cgi-bin/mimetex.cgi.


Render TeX formulas using an external script that converts TeX formulas to images. The formula will be concatenated with the URL provided. If URL is not specified, the Google Chart API will be used.


Use [KaTeX] to display embedded TeX math in HTML output. The URL should point to the katex.js load script. If a URL is not provided, a link to the KaTeX CDN will be inserted.


The URL should point to the katex.css stylesheet. If this option is not specified, a link to the KaTeX CDN will be inserted. Note that this option does not imply --katex.

Options for wrapper scripts


Print information about command-line arguments to stdout, then exit. This option is intended primarily for use in wrapper scripts. The first line of output contains the name of the output file specified with the -o option, or - (for stdout) if no output file was specified. The remaining lines contain the command-line arguments, one per line, in the order they appear. These do not include regular Pandoc options and their arguments, but do include any options appearing after a -- separator at the end of the line.


Ignore command-line arguments (for use in wrapper scripts). Regular Pandoc options are not ignored. Thus, for example,

pandoc --ignore-args -o foo.html -s foo.txt -- -e latin1

is equivalent to

pandoc -o foo.html -s


When the -s/--standalone option is used, pandoc uses a template to add header and footer material that is needed for a self-standing document. To see the default template that is used, just type

pandoc -D FORMAT

where FORMAT is the name of the output format. A custom template can be specified using the --template option. You can also override the system default templates for a given output format FORMAT by putting a file templates/default.FORMAT in the user data directory (see --data-dir, above). Exceptions: For odt output, customize the default.opendocument template. For pdf output, customize the default.latex template.

Templates may contain variables. Variable names are sequences of alphanumerics, -, and _, starting with a letter. A variable name surrounded by $ signs will be replaced by its value. For example, the string $title$ in


will be replaced by the document title.

To write a literal $ in a template, use $$.

Some variables are set automatically by pandoc. These vary somewhat depending on the output format, but include metadata fields (such as title, author, and date) as well as the following:

contents specified by -H/--include-in-header (may have multiple values)
non-null value if --toc/--table-of-contents was specified
contents specified by -B/--include-before-body (may have multiple values)
contents specified by -A/--include-after-body (may have multiple values)
body of document
language code for HTML or LaTeX documents
base URL for Slidy documents (defaults to
base URL for Slideous documents (defaults to slideous)
base URL for S5 documents (defaults to s5/default)
base URL for reveal.js documents (defaults to reveal.js)
reveal.js or LaTeX beamer theme
reveal.js transition
font size (10pt, 11pt, 12pt) for LaTeX documents
document class for LaTeX documents
option for LaTeX documentclass, e.g. oneside; may be repeated for multiple options
options for LaTeX geometry class, e.g. margin=1in; may be repeated for multiple options
adjusts line spacing (requires the setspace package)
font package to use for LaTeX documents (with pdflatex): TeXLive has bookman (Bookman), utopia or fourier (Utopia), fouriernc (New Century Schoolbook), times or txfonts (Times), mathpazo or pxfonts or mathpple (Palatino), libertine (Linux Libertine), arev (Arev Sans), and the default lmodern, among others.
mainfont, sansfont, monofont, mathfont, CJKmainfont
fonts for LaTeX documents (works only with xelatex and lualatex). Note that if CJKmainfont is used, the xeCJK package must be available.
colortheme for LaTeX beamer documents
fonttheme for LaTeX beamer documents
color for internal links in LaTeX documents (red, green, magenta, cyan, blue, black)
color for links in table of contents in LaTeX documents
color for external links in LaTeX documents
color for citation links in LaTeX documents
causes links to be printed as footnotes in LaTeX documents
include table of contents in LaTeX documents
level of section to include in table of contents in LaTeX documents
title of table of contents (works only with EPUB and docx)
include list of figures in LaTeX documents
include list of tables in LaTeX documents
bibliography to use for resolving references
bibliography style in LaTeX, when used with --natbib
section number in man pages
header in man pages
footer in man pages

Variables may be set at the command line using the -V/--variable option. Variables set in this way override metadata fields with the same name.

Templates may contain conditionals. The syntax is as follows:


This will include X in the template if variable has a non-null value; otherwise it will include Y. X and Y are placeholders for any valid template text, and may include interpolated variables or other conditionals. The $else$ section may be omitted.

When variables can have multiple values (for example, author in a multi-author document), you can use the $for$ keyword:

<meta name="author" content="$author$" />

You can optionally specify a separator to be used between consecutive items:

$for(author)$$author$$sep$, $endfor$

A dot can be used to select a field of a variable that takes an object as its value. So, for example:

$$ ($author.affiliation$)

If you use custom templates, you may need to revise them as pandoc changes. We recommend tracking the changes in the default templates, and modifying your custom templates accordingly. An easy way to do this is to fork the pandoc-templates repository ( and merge in changes after each pandoc release.

Pandoc’s markdown

Pandoc understands an extended and slightly revised version of John Gruber’s [markdown] syntax. This document explains the syntax, noting differences from standard markdown. Except where noted, these differences can be suppressed by using the markdown_strict format instead of markdown. An extensions can be enabled by adding +EXTENSION to the format name and disabled by adding -EXTENSION. For example, markdown_strict+footnotes is strict markdown with footnotes enabled, while markdown-footnotes-pipe_tables is pandoc’s markdown without footnotes or pipe tables.


Markdown is designed to be easy to write, and, even more importantly, easy to read:

A Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. – John Gruber

This principle has guided pandoc’s decisions in finding syntax for tables, footnotes, and other extensions.

There is, however, one respect in which pandoc’s aims are different from the original aims of markdown. Whereas markdown was originally designed with HTML generation in mind, pandoc is designed for multiple output formats. Thus, while pandoc allows the embedding of raw HTML, it discourages it, and provides other, non-HTMLish ways of representing important document elements like definition lists, tables, mathematics, and footnotes.


A paragraph is one or more lines of text followed by one or more blank lines. Newlines are treated as spaces, so you can reflow your paragraphs as you like. If you need a hard line break, put two or more spaces at the end of a line.

Extension: escaped_line_breaks

A backslash followed by a newline is also a hard line break. Note: in multiline and grid table cells, this is the only way to create a hard line break, since trailing spaces in the cells are ignored.


There are two kinds of headers, Setext and atx.

Setext-style headers

A setext-style header is a line of text “underlined” with a row of = signs (for a level one header) or - signs (for a level two header):

A level-one header

A level-two header

The header text can contain inline formatting, such as emphasis (see Inline formatting, below).

Atx-style headers

An Atx-style header consists of one to six # signs and a line of text, optionally followed by any number of # signs. The number of # signs at the beginning of the line is the header level:

## A level-two header

### A level-three header ###

As with setext-style headers, the header text can contain formatting:

# A level-one header with a [link](/url) and *emphasis*

Extension: blank_before_header

Standard markdown syntax does not require a blank line before a header. Pandoc does require this (except, of course, at the beginning of the document). The reason for the requirement is that it is all too easy for a # to end up at the beginning of a line by accident (perhaps through line wrapping). Consider, for example:

I like several of their flavors of ice cream:
#22, for example, and #5.

Header identifiers

Extension: header_attributes

Headers can be assigned attributes using this syntax at the end of the line containing the header text:

{#identifier .class .class key=value key=value}

Thus, for example, the following headers will all be assigned the identifier foo:

# My header {#foo}

## My header ##    {#foo}

My other header   {#foo}

(This syntax is compatible with PHP Markdown Extra.)

Note that although this syntax allows assignment of classes and key/value attributes, writers generally don’t use all of this information. Identifiers, classes, and key/value attributes are used in HTML and HTML-based formats such as EPUB and slidy. Identifiers are used for labels and link anchors in the LaTeX, ConTeXt, Textile, and AsciiDoc writers.

Headers with the class unnumbered will not be numbered, even if --number-sections is specified. A single hyphen (-) in an attribute context is equivalent to .unnumbered, and preferable in non-English documents. So,

# My header {-}

is just the same as

# My header {.unnumbered}

Extension: auto_identifiers

A header without an explicitly specified identifier will be automatically assigned a unique identifier based on the header text. To derive the identifier from the header text,

  • Remove all formatting, links, etc.
  • Remove all footnotes.
  • Remove all punctuation, except underscores, hyphens, and periods.
  • Replace all spaces and newlines with hyphens.
  • Convert all alphabetic characters to lowercase.
  • Remove everything up to the first letter (identifiers may not begin with a number or punctuation mark).
  • If nothing is left after this, use the identifier section.

Thus, for example,

Header Identifier

Header identifiers in HTML header-identifiers-in-html Dogs?–in my house? dogs--in-my-house [HTML], [S5], or [RTF]? html-s5-or-rtf 3. Applications applications 33 section

These rules should, in most cases, allow one to determine the identifier from the header text. The exception is when several headers have the same text; in this case, the first will get an identifier as described above; the second will get the same identifier with -1 appended; the third with -2; and so on.

These identifiers are used to provide link targets in the table of contents generated by the --toc|--table-of-contents option. They also make it easy to provide links from one section of a document to another. A link to this section, for example, might look like this:

See the section on
[header identifiers](#header-identifiers-in-html-latex-and-context).

Note, however, that this method of providing links to sections works only in HTML, LaTeX, and ConTeXt formats.

If the --section-divs option is specified, then each section will be wrapped in a div (or a section, if --html5 was specified), and the identifier will be attached to the enclosing <div> (or <section>) tag rather than the header itself. This allows entire sections to be manipulated using javascript or treated differently in CSS.

Extension: implicit_header_references

Pandoc behaves as if reference links have been defined for each header. So, instead of

[header identifiers](#header-identifiers-in-html)

you can simply write

[header identifiers]


[header identifiers][]


[the section on header identifiers][header identifiers]

If there are multiple headers with identical text, the corresponding reference will link to the first one only, and you will need to use explicit links to link to the others, as described above.

Like regular reference links, these references are case-insensitive.

Explicit link reference definitions always take priority over implicit header references. So, in the following example, the link will point to bar, not to #foo:

# Foo

[foo]: bar

See [foo]

Block quotations

Markdown uses email conventions for quoting blocks of text. A block quotation is one or more paragraphs or other block elements (such as lists or headers), with each line preceded by a > character and a space. (The > need not start at the left margin, but it should not be indented more than three spaces.)

> This is a block quote. This
> paragraph has two lines.
> 1. This is a list inside a block quote.
> 2. Second item.

A “lazy” form, which requires the > character only on the first line of each block, is also allowed:

> This is a block quote. This
paragraph has two lines.

> 1. This is a list inside a block quote.
2. Second item.

Among the block elements that can be contained in a block quote are other block quotes. That is, block quotes can be nested:

> This is a block quote.
> > A block quote within a block quote.

Extension: blank_before_blockquote

Standard markdown syntax does not require a blank line before a block quote. Pandoc does require this (except, of course, at the beginning of the document). The reason for the requirement is that it is all too easy for a > to end up at the beginning of a line by accident (perhaps through line wrapping). So, unless the markdown_strict format is used, the following does not produce a nested block quote in pandoc:

> This is a block quote.
>> Nested.

Verbatim (code) blocks

Indented code blocks

A block of text indented four spaces (or one tab) is treated as verbatim text: that is, special characters do not trigger special formatting, and all spaces and line breaks are preserved. For example,

    if (a > 3) {
      moveShip(5 * gravity, DOWN);

The initial (four space or one tab) indentation is not considered part of the verbatim text, and is removed in the output.

Note: blank lines in the verbatim text need not begin with four spaces.

Fenced code blocks

Extension: fenced_code_blocks

In addition to standard indented code blocks, Pandoc supports fenced code blocks. These begin with a row of three or more tildes (~) and end with a row of tildes that must be at least as long as the starting row. Everything between these lines is treated as code. No indentation is necessary:

if (a > 3) {
  moveShip(5 * gravity, DOWN);

Like regular code blocks, fenced code blocks must be separated from surrounding text by blank lines.

If the code itself contains a row of tildes or backticks, just use a longer row of tildes or backticks at the start and end:

code including tildes

Extension: backtick_code_blocks

Same as fenced_code_blocks, but uses backticks (`) instead of tildes (~).

Extension: fenced_code_attributes

Optionally, you may attach attributes to fenced or backtick code block using this syntax:

~~~~ {#mycode .haskell .numberLines startFrom="100"}
qsort []     = []
qsort (x:xs) = qsort (filter (< x) xs) ++ [x] ++
               qsort (filter (>= x) xs)

Here mycode is an identifier, haskell and numberLines are classes, and startFrom is an attribute with value 100. Some output formats can use this information to do syntax highlighting. Currently, the only output formats that uses this information are HTML and LaTeX. If highlighting is supported for your output format and language, then the code block above will appear highlighted, with numbered lines. (To see which languages are supported, do pandoc --version.) Otherwise, the code block above will appear as follows:

<pre id="mycode" class="haskell numberLines" startFrom="100">

A shortcut form can also be used for specifying the language of the code block:

qsort [] = []

This is equivalent to:

``` {.haskell}
qsort [] = []

If the fenced_code_attributes extension is disabled, but input contains class attribute(s) for the codeblock, the first class attribute will be printed after the opening fence as a bare word.

To prevent all highlighting, use the --no-highlight flag. To set the highlighting style, use --highlight-style. For more information on highlighting, see [Syntax highlighting], below.

Line blocks

Extension: line_blocks

A line block is a sequence of lines beginning with a vertical bar (|) followed by a space. The division into lines will be preserved in the output, as will any leading spaces; otherwise, the lines will be formatted as markdown. This is useful for verse and addresses:

| The limerick packs laughs anatomical
| In space that is quite economical.
|    But the good ones I've seen
|    So seldom are clean
| And the clean ones so seldom are comical

| 200 Main St.
| Berkeley, CA 94718

The lines can be hard-wrapped if needed, but the continuation line must begin with a space.

| The Right Honorable Most Venerable and Righteous Samuel L.
  Constable, Jr.
| 200 Main St.
| Berkeley, CA 94718

This syntax is borrowed from [reStructuredText].


Bullet lists

A bullet list is a list of bulleted list items. A bulleted list item begins with a bullet (*, +, or -). Here is a simple example:

* one
* two
* three

This will produce a “compact” list. If you want a “loose” list, in which each item is formatted as a paragraph, put spaces between the items:

* one

* two

* three

The bullets need not be flush with the left margin; they may be indented one, two, or three spaces. The bullet must be followed by whitespace.

List items look best if subsequent lines are flush with the first line (after the bullet):

* here is my first
  list item.
* and my second.

But markdown also allows a “lazy” format:

* here is my first
list item.
* and my second.

The four-space rule

A list item may contain multiple paragraphs and other block-level content. However, subsequent paragraphs must be preceded by a blank line and indented four spaces or a tab. The list will look better if the first paragraph is aligned with the rest:

  * First paragraph.


  * Second paragraph. With a code block, which must be indented
    eight spaces:

        { code }

List items may include other lists. In this case the preceding blank line is optional. The nested list must be indented four spaces or one tab:

* fruits
    + apples
        - macintosh
        - red delicious
    + pears
    + peaches
* vegetables
    + broccoli
    + chard

As noted above, markdown allows you to write list items “lazily,” instead of indenting continuation lines. However, if there are multiple paragraphs or other blocks in a list item, the first line of each must be indented.

+ A lazy, lazy, list

+ Another one; this looks
bad but is legal.

    Second paragraph of second
list item.

Note: Although the four-space rule for continuation paragraphs comes from the official markdown syntax guide, the reference implementation,, does not follow it. So pandoc will give different results than when authors have indented continuation paragraphs fewer than four spaces.

The markdown syntax guide is not explicit whether the four-space rule applies to all block-level content in a list item; it only mentions paragraphs and code blocks. But it implies that the rule applies to all block-level content (including nested lists), and pandoc interprets it that way.

Ordered lists

Ordered lists work just like bulleted lists, except that the items begin with enumerators rather than bullets.

In standard markdown, enumerators are decimal numbers followed by a period and a space. The numbers themselves are ignored, so there is no difference between this list:

1.  one
2.  two
3.  three

and this one:

5.  one
7.  two
1.  three

Extension: fancy_lists

Unlike standard markdown, Pandoc allows ordered list items to be marked with uppercase and lowercase letters and roman numerals, in addition to arabic numerals. List markers may be enclosed in parentheses or followed by a single right-parentheses or period. They must be separated from the text that follows by at least one space, and, if the list marker is a capital letter with a period, by at least two spaces.[^2]

[^2]: The point of this rule is to ensure that normal paragraphs starting with people’s initials, like

    B. Russell was an English philosopher.

do not get treated as list items.

This rule will not prevent

    (C) 2007 Joe Smith

from being interpreted as a list item.  In this case, a backslash
escape can be used:

    (C\) 2007 Joe Smith

The fancy_lists extension also allows ‘#’ to be used as an ordered list marker in place of a numeral:

#. one
#. two

Extension: startnum

Pandoc also pays attention to the type of list marker used, and to the starting number, and both of these are preserved where possible in the output format. Thus, the following yields a list with numbers followed by a single parenthesis, starting with 9, and a sublist with lowercase roman numerals:

 9)  Ninth
10)  Tenth
11)  Eleventh
       i. subone
      ii. subtwo
     iii. subthree

Pandoc will start a new list each time a different type of list marker is used. So, the following will create three lists:

(2) Two
(5) Three
1.  Four
*   Five

If default list markers are desired, use #.:

#.  one
#.  two
#.  three

Definition lists

Extension: definition_lists

Pandoc supports definition lists, using the syntax of PHP Markdown Extra with some extensions.[^3]

Term 1

:   Definition 1

Term 2 with *inline markup*

:   Definition 2

        { some code, part of Definition 2 }

    Third paragraph of definition 2.

Each term must fit on one line, which may optionally be followed by a blank line, and must be followed by one or more definitions. A definition begins with a colon or tilde, which may be indented one or two spaces.

A term may have multiple definitions, and each definition may consist of one or more block elements (paragraph, code block, list, etc.), each indented four spaces or one tab stop. The body of the definition (including the first line, aside from the colon or tilde) should be indented four spaces. However, as with other markdown lists, you can “lazily” omit indentation except at the beginning of a paragraph or other block element:

Term 1

:   Definition
with lazy continuation.

    Second paragraph of the definition.

If you leave space before the definition (as in the example above), the text of the definition will be treated as a paragraph. In some output formats, this will mean greater spacing between term/definition pairs. For a more compact definition list, omit the space before the definition:

Term 1
  ~ Definition 1

Term 2
  ~ Definition 2a
  ~ Definition 2b

Note that space between items in a definition list is required. (A variant that loosens this requirement, but disallows “lazy” hard wrapping, can be activated with compact_definition_lists: see Non-pandoc extensions, below.)

[^3]: I have been influenced by the suggestions of David Wheeler.

Numbered example lists

Extension: example_lists

The special list marker @ can be used for sequentially numbered examples. The first list item with a @ marker will be numbered ‘1’, the next ‘2’, and so on, throughout the document. The numbered examples need not occur in a single list; each new list using @ will take up where the last stopped. So, for example:

(@)  My first example will be numbered (1).
(@)  My second example will be numbered (2).

Explanation of examples.

(@)  My third example will be numbered (3).

Numbered examples can be labeled and referred to elsewhere in the document:

(@good)  This is a good example.

As (@good) illustrates, ...

The label can be any string of alphanumeric characters, underscores, or hyphens.

Compact and loose lists

Pandoc behaves differently from on some “edge cases” involving lists. Consider this source:

+   First
+   Second:
	-   Fee
	-   Fie
	-   Foe

+   Third

Pandoc transforms this into a “compact list” (with no <p> tags around “First”, “Second”, or “Third”), while markdown puts <p> tags around “Second” and “Third” (but not “First”), because of the blank space around “Third”. Pandoc follows a simple rule: if the text is followed by a blank line, it is treated as a paragraph. Since “Second” is followed by a list, and not a blank line, it isn’t treated as a paragraph. The fact that the list is followed by a blank line is irrelevant. (Note: Pandoc works this way even when the markdown_strict format is specified. This behavior is consistent with the official markdown syntax description, even though it is different from that of

Ending a list

What if you want to put an indented code block after a list?

-   item one
-   item two

    { my code block }

Trouble! Here pandoc (like other markdown implementations) will treat { my code block } as the second paragraph of item two, and not as a code block.

To “cut off” the list after item two, you can insert some non-indented content, like an HTML comment, which won’t produce visible output in any format:

-   item one
-   item two

<!-- end of list -->

    { my code block }

You can use the same trick if you want two consecutive lists instead of one big list:

1.  one
2.  two
3.  three

<!-- -->

1.  uno
2.  dos
3.  tres

Horizontal rules

A line containing a row of three or more *, -, or _ characters (optionally separated by spaces) produces a horizontal rule:

*  *  *  *



Four kinds of tables may be used. The first three kinds presuppose the use of a fixed-width font, such as Courier. The fourth kind can be used with proportionally spaced fonts, as it does not require lining up columns.

Extension: table_captions

A caption may optionally be provided with all 4 kinds of tables (as illustrated in the examples below). A caption is a paragraph beginning with the string Table: (or just :), which will be stripped off. It may appear either before or after the table.

Extension: simple_tables

Simple tables look like this:

  Right     Left     Center     Default
-------     ------ ----------   -------
     12     12        12            12
    123     123       123          123
      1     1          1             1

Table:  Demonstration of simple table syntax.

The headers and table rows must each fit on one line. Column alignments are determined by the position of the header text relative to the dashed line below it:[^4]

  • If the dashed line is flush with the header text on the right side but extends beyond it on the left, the column is right-aligned.
  • If the dashed line is flush with the header text on the left side but extends beyond it on the right, the column is left-aligned.
  • If the dashed line extends beyond the header text on both sides, the column is centered.
  • If the dashed line is flush with the header text on both sides, the default alignment is used (in most cases, this will be left).

[^4]: This scheme is due to Michel Fortin, who proposed it on the Markdown discussion list.

The table must end with a blank line, or a line of

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