This documentation is for an old version of IPython. You can find docs for newer versions here.

Converting notebooks to other formats

Newly added in the 1.0 release of IPython is the nbconvert tool, which allows you to convert an .ipynb notebook document file into various static formats.

Currently, nbconvert is provided as a command line tool, run as a script using IPython. A direct export capability from within the IPython Notebook web app is planned.

The command-line syntax to run the nbconvert script is:

$ ipython nbconvert --to FORMAT notebook.ipynb

This will convert the IPython document file notebook.ipynb into the output format given by the FORMAT string.

The default output format is html, for which the --to argument may be omitted:

$ ipython nbconvert notebook.ipynb

IPython provides a few templates for some output formats, and these can be specified via an additional --template argument.

The currently supported export formats are:

  • --to html

    • --template full (default)

      A full static HTML render of the notebook. This looks very similar to the interactive view.

    • --template basic

      Simplified HTML, useful for embedding in webpages, blogs, etc. This excludes HTML headers.

  • --to latex

    Latex export. This generates NOTEBOOK_NAME.tex file, ready for export.

    • --template article (default)

      Latex article, derived from Sphinx’s howto template.

    • --template report

      Latex report, providing a table of contents and chapters.

    • --template basic

      Very basic latex output - mainly meant as a starting point for custom templates.

  • --to pdf

    Generates a PDF via latex. Supports the same templates as --to latex.

  • --to slides

    This generates a Reveal.js HTML slideshow. It must be served by an HTTP server. The easiest way to do this is adding --post serve on the command-line. The serve post-processor proxies Reveal.js requests to a CDN if no local Reveal.js library is present. To make slides that don’t require an internet connection, just place the Reveal.js library in the same directory where your_talk.slides.html is located, or point to another directory using the --reveal-prefix alias.

  • --to markdown

    Simple markdown output. Markdown cells are unaffected, and code cells indented 4 spaces.

  • --to rst

    Basic reStructuredText output. Useful as a starting point for embedding notebooks in Sphinx docs.

  • --to script

    Convert a notebook to an executable script. This is the simplest way to get a Python (or other language, depending on the kernel) script out of a notebook. If there were any magics in an IPython notebook, this may only be executable from an IPython session.

  • --to notebook

    New in version 3.0.

    This doesn’t convert a notebook to a different format per se, instead it allows the running of nbconvert preprocessors on a notebook, and/or conversion to other notebook formats. For example:

    ipython nbconvert --to notebook --execute mynotebook.ipynb

    will open the notebook, execute it, capture new output, and save the result in mynotebook.nbconvert.ipynb.

    ipython nbconvert --to notebook --nbformat 3 mynotebook

    will create a copy of mynotebook.ipynb in mynotebook.v3.ipynb in version 3 of the notebook format.

    If you want to convert a notebook in-place, you can specify the ouptut file to be the same as the input file:

    ipython nbconvert --to notebook mynb --output mynb

    Be careful with that, since it will replace the input file.


nbconvert uses pandoc to convert between various markup languages, so pandoc is a dependency when converting to latex or reStructuredText.

The output file created by nbconvert will have the same base name as the notebook and will be placed in the current working directory. Any supporting files (graphics, etc) will be placed in a new directory with the same base name as the notebook, suffixed with _files:

$ ipython nbconvert notebook.ipynb
$ ls
notebook.ipynb   notebook.html    notebook_files/

For simple single-file output, such as html, markdown, etc., the output may be sent to standard output with:

$ ipython nbconvert --to markdown notebook.ipynb --stdout

Multiple notebooks can be specified from the command line:

$ ipython nbconvert notebook*.ipynb
$ ipython nbconvert notebook1.ipynb notebook2.ipynb

or via a list in a configuration file, say mycfg.py, containing the text:

c = get_config()
c.NbConvertApp.notebooks = ["notebook1.ipynb", "notebook2.ipynb"]

and using the command:

$ ipython nbconvert --config mycfg.py

LaTeX citations

nbconvert now has support for LaTeX citations. With this capability you can:

  • Manage citations using BibTeX.
  • Cite those citations in Markdown cells using HTML data attributes.
  • Have nbconvert generate proper LaTeX citations and run BibTeX.

For an example of how this works, please see the citations example in the nbconvert-examples repository.