python3 -m pip install nbsphinx --user
If you want to install it system-wide for all users (assuming you have
the necessary rights), just drop the
If you suddenly change your mind, you can un-install it with:
python3 -m pip uninstall nbsphinx
Depending on your Python installation, you may have to use
python3. Recent versions of Python already come with
pip pre-installed. If you don’t have it, you can install it
To upgrade to the newest release, use the
python3 -m pip install nbsphinx --upgrade --user
If you don’t want to use
pip, you can also try to install
nbsphinx with your package manager. For example, there is a package
for conda-forge and
Linux. Note that those might not provide the latest releases.
The stand-alone program pandoc is used to
convert Markdown content to something Sphinx can understand. You have to
install this program separately, ideally with your package manager. If
you are using
conda, you can select the
conda-forge channel to install the
pandoc package. If that
doesn’t work out for you, have a look at
The use of
nbsphinx is temporary, but will likely stay
that way for a long time, see issue
To get proper syntax highlighting in code cells, you’ll need an
appropriate Pygments lexer. This of course depends on the programming
language of your Jupyter notebooks (more specifically, the
pygments_lexer metadata of your notebooks).
For example, if you use Python in your notebooks, you’ll have to have
IPython package installed:
python3 -m pip install IPython --user
You’ll most likely have this installed already.
For example, if you use Python, you should install the
python3 -m pip install ipykernel --user
Again, it’s very likely that you have that installed already.
In the directory with your notebook files, run this command (assuming you have Sphinx installed already):
python3 -m sphinx.quickstart
Answer the questions that appear on the screen. In case of doubt, just
<Return> key repeatedly to take the default values.
After that, there will be a few brand-new files in the current directory. You’ll have to make a few changes to the file named conf.py. You should at least check if those two variables contain the right things:
extensions = [ 'nbsphinx', 'sphinx.ext.mathjax', ] exclude_patterns = ['_build', '**.ipynb_checkpoints']
conf.py is in place, edit the file named
add the file names of your notebooks (with or without the
extension) to the
If you are using the
sphinx.ext.autosummary Sphinx extension, there
is a bug in Sphinx (below version
prevents notebooks from being parsed. As a work-around you can
explicitly list all the files for which autosummary should be ran using
conf.py. For example,
autosummary_generate = ['myfile1.rst', 'myfile2.rst']
To create the HTML pages, use this command:
python3 -m sphinx <source-dir> <build-dir>
If you have many notebooks, you can do a parallel build by using the
python3 -m sphinx <source-dir> <build-dir> -j<number-of-processes>
For example, if your source files are in the current directory and you have 4 CPU cores, you can run this:
python3 -m sphinx . _build -j4
Afterwards, you can find the main HTML file in
Subsequent builds will be faster, because only those source files which
have changed will be re-built. To force re-building all source files,
To create LaTeX output, use:
python3 -m sphinx <source-dir> <build-dir> -b latex
Sphinx can automatically check if the links you are using are still valid. Just invoke it like this:
python3 -m sphinx <source-dir> <build-dir> -b linkcheck
Watching for Changes with
If you think it’s tedious to run the Sphinx build command again and again while you make changes to your notebooks, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a way to avoid that: sphinx-autobuild!
It can be installed with
python3 -m pip install sphinx-autobuild --user
You can start auto-building your files with
sphinx-autobuild <source-dir> <build-dir>
This will start a local webserver which will serve the generated HTML pages at http://localhost:8000/. Whenever you save changes in one of your notebooks, the appropriate HTML page(s) will be re-built and when finished, your browser view will be refreshed automagically. Neat!
You can also abuse this to auto-build the LaTeX output:
sphinx-autobuild <source-dir> <build-dir> -b latex
However, to auto-build the final PDF file as well, you’ll need an
additional tool. Again, you can use
latexmk for this (see
above). Change to the build directory and run
latexmk -pdf -pvc
If your PDF viewer isn’t opened because of LaTeX build errors, you can
use the command line flag
-f to force creating a PDF file.
Automatic Creation of HTML and PDF output on readthedocs.org¶
There are two different methods, both of which are described below.
In both cases, you’ll first have to create an account on https://readthedocs.org/ and connect your Github/Bitbucket account. Instead of connecting, you can also manually add any publicly available Git/Subversion/Mercurial/Bazaar repository.
After doing the steps described below, you only have to “push” to your repository, and the HTML pages and the PDF file of your stuff are automagically created on readthedocs.org. Awesome!
You can even have different versions of your stuff, just use Git tags and branches and select in the readthedocs.org settings (under “Admin”, “Versions”) which of those should be created.
If your new versions are not automatically built, go to the “Settings” of your Github repository, continue to “Integrations & services”, and make sure that “ReadTheDocs” is listed and activated in the “Services” section. If not, use “Add service”. There is probably a similar thing for Bitbucket and others.
If you want to execute notebooks (see Controlling Notebook
Execution), you’ll need to install the
appropriate Jupyter kernel. In the examples below, the IPython kernel
ist installed from the packet
Create a file named
requirements.txt(or whatever name you wish) in your repository containing the required pip packages:
sphinx>=1.4 ipykernel nbsphinx
You can also install directly from Github et al., using a specific branch/tag/commit, e.g.
In the “Advanced Settings” on readthedocs.org, specify the path to your
requirements.txtfile (or however you called it) in the box labeled “Requirements file”. Kinda obvious, isn’t it?
Still in the “Advanced Settings”, make sure the right Python interpreter is chosen. This must be the same version (2.x or 3.x) as you were using in your notebooks!
Create a file named
readthedocs.ymlin the main directory of your repository, containing the name of yet another file:
conda: file: readthedocs-environment.yml
Create the file mentioned above. You can choose whatever name you want (it may also live in a subdirectory, e.g.
doc/environment.yml), it just has to match whatever is specified in
readthedocs.yml. The second file describes a conda environment and should contain something like this:
channels: - conda-forge dependencies: - python==3.5 - sphinx>=1.4 - pandoc - nbconvert - ipykernel - pip: - nbsphinx
You can of course add further
pippackages. You can also install packages directly from Github et al., using a specific branch/tag/commit, e.g.
- pip: - git+https://github.com/spatialaudio/nbsphinx.git@master
The specification of the
conda-forge channel is necessary for the
pandoc package, which is not part of the default channel.
Most of the “Advanced Settings” on readthedocs.org will be ignored if
you have a
If you have a very long repository name (or branch name), you might run into this quite obscure problem: ‘placeholder too short’.
nbsphinx extension does not provide its own theme, you can use
any of the available themes or create a custom
if you feel like it.
The following (incomplete) list of themes contains several links for each theme:
- The documentation (or the official sample page) of this theme (if available, see also the documentation of the built-in Sphinx themes)
- How the
nbsphinxdocumentation looks when using this theme
- How to enable this theme using either
readthedocs.ymland theme-specific settings (in some cases)
Sphinx’s Built-In Themes¶
- sphinx_rtd_theme: example, usage
- bootstrap: example, usage
- cloud: example, usage
- sphinx_py3doc_enhanced_theme: example, usage
- basicstrap: example, usage
- dotted: example, usage
- better: example, usage
- guzzle_sphinx_theme: example, usage
- julia: example, usage
- jupyter: example, usage
If you know of another Sphinx theme that should be included here, please open an issue on Github.