If you find bugs, errors, omissions or other things that need improvement, please create an issue or a pull request at Contributions are always welcome!

Development Installation

Make sure that the necessary prerequisites are installed. Then, instead of pip-installing the latest release from PyPI, you should get the newest development version (a.k.a. “master”) with Git:

git clone
cd nbsphinx
python3 -m pip install -e .

… where -e stands for --editable.

When installing this way, you can quickly try other Git branches (in this example the branch is called “another-branch”):

git checkout another-branch

If you want to go back to the “master” branch, use:

git checkout master

To get the latest changes from Github, use:

git pull --ff-only

Building the Documentation

If you make changes to the documentation, you should create the HTML pages locally using Sphinx and check if they look OK.

Initially, you might need to install a few packages that are needed to build the documentation:

python3 -m pip install -r doc/requirements.txt

To (re-)build the HTML files, use:

python3 build_sphinx

If you want to check the LaTeX output, use:

python3 build_sphinx -b latex

Again, you’ll probably have to use python instead of python3. The generated files will be available in the directories build/sphinx/html/ and build/sphinx/latex/, respectively.

Building Themes

The nbsphinx documentation is available in over 30 different HTML themes, with each having its own branch ending in -theme.

To simplify the building and testing of themes, which is especially needed when changing CSS, we provide you with command line tool to build all themes or a user specified subset. The tool is located at and can be run with:


Before doing that, the required dependencies can be obtained with:

python3 --requirements

This will create a list of dependencies in theme_comparison/theme_requirements.txt. The dependencies can then be installed with:

python3 -m pip install -r theme_comparison/theme_requirements.txt

If you just want to build a subset of the themes (e.g. alabaster and sphinx_rtd_theme), simply run:

python3 alabaster rtd

For more information run:

python3 --help


Unfortunately, the currently available automated tests are very limited. Contributions to improve the testing situation are of course also welcome!

The nbsphinx documentation also serves as a test case. However, the resulting HTML/LaTeX/PDF files have to be inspected manually to check whether they look as expected.

Sphinx’s warnings can help spot problems, therefore it is recommended to use the -W flag to turn Sphinx warnings into errors while testing:

python3 build_sphinx -W

This flag is also used for continuous integration on Github Actions (see the files .github/workflows/*.yml) and CircleCI (see the file .circleci/config.yml).

Sphinx has a linkcheck builder that can check whether all URLs used in the documentation are still valid. This is also part of the continuous integration setup on CircelCI.