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A simple Pandoc template to build documents and ebooks.

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Pandoc book template

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This repository contains a simple template for building Pandoc documents; Pandoc is a suite of tools to compile markdown files into readable files (PDF, EPUB, HTML...).



Please, check this page for more information. On ubuntu, it can be installed as the pandoc package:

sudo apt-get install pandoc

This template uses make to build the output files, so don't forget to install it too:

sudo apt-get install make

To export to PDF files, make sure to install the following packages:

sudo apt-get install texlive-fonts-recommended texlive-xetex

Folder structure

Here's a folder structure for a Pandoc book:

my-book/         # Root directory.
|- build/        # Folder used to store builded (output) files.
|- chapters/     # Markdowns files; one for each chapter.
|- images/       # Images folder.
|  |- cover.png  # Cover page for epub.
|- metadata.yml  # Metadata content (title, author...).
|- Makefile      # Makefile used for building our books.

Setup generic data

Edit the metadata.yml file to set configuration data (note that it must start and end with

title: My book title
author: Daniel Herzog
rights: MIT License
lang: en-US
tags: [pandoc, book, my-book, etc]
abstract: |
  Your summary.
mainfont: DejaVu Sans

Filter preferences:

- pandoc-crossref

linkReferences: true

You can find the list of all available keys on this page.

Creating chapters

Creating a new chapter is as simple as creating a new markdown file in the chapters/ folder; you'll end up with something like this:


Pandoc and Make will join them automatically ordered by name; that's why the numeric prefixes are being used.

All you need to specify for each chapter at least one title:

# Introduction

This is the first paragraph of the introduction chapter.


This is the first subsection.


This is the second subsection.

Each title (#) will represent a chapter, while each subtitle (##) will represent a chapter's section. You can use as many levels of sections as markdown supports.

Manual control over page ordering

You may prefer to have manual control over page ordering instead of using numeric prefixes.

To do so, replace

CHAPTERS = chapters/*.md
in the Makefile with your own order. For example:
CHAPTERS += $(addprefix ./chapters/,\\\\\

Links between chapters

Anchor links can be used to link chapters within the book:

// chapters/
# Introduction

For more information, check the [Usage] chapter.

// chapters/



If you want to rename the reference, use this syntax:

For more information, check [this](#usage) chapter.

Anchor names should be downcased, and spaces, colons, semicolons... should be replaced with hyphens. Instead of

Chapter title: A new era
, you have:

Links between sections

It's the same as anchor links:

# Introduction


For more information, check the [Second] section.



Or, with al alternative name:

For more information, check [this](#second) section.

Inserting objects

Text. That's cool. What about images and tables?

Insert an image

Use Markdown syntax to insert an image with a caption:

![A cool seagull.](images/seagull.png)

Pandoc will automatically convert the image into a figure, using the title (the text between the brackets) as a caption.

If you want to resize the image, you may use this syntax, available since Pandoc 1.16:

![A cool seagull.](images/seagull.png){ width=50% height=50% }

Insert a table

Use markdown table, and use the

syntax to add a caption:
| Index | Name |
| ----- | ---- |
| 0     | AAA  |
| 1     | BBB  |
| ...   | ...  |

Table: This is an example table.

Insert an equation

Wrap a LaTeX math equation between

delimiters for inline (tiny) formulas:
This, $\mu = \sum_{i=0}^{N} \frac{x_i}{N}$, the mean equation, ...

Pandoc will transform them automatically into images using online services.

If you want to center the equation instead of inlining it, use double

$$\mu = \sum_{i=0}^{N} \frac{x_i}{N}$$

Here's an online equation editor.

Cross references

Originally, this template used LaTeX labels for auto numbering on images, tables, equations or sections, like this:

Please, admire the gloriousnes of Figure \ref{seagull_image}.

A cool seagull.\label{seagull_image}

However, these references only works when exporting to a LaTeX-based format (i.e. PDF, LaTeX).

In case you need cross references support on other formats, this template now support cross references using Pandoc filters. If you want to use them, use a valid plugin and with its own syntax.

Using pandoc-crossref is highly recommended, but there are other alternatives which use a similar syntax, like pandoc-xnos.

First, enable the filter on the Makefile by updating the

variable with your new filter(s):
FILTER_ARGS = --filter pandoc-crossref

Then, you may use the filter cross references. For example, pandoc-crossref uses

for definitions and
for referencing. Some examples:
List of references:

  • Check @fig:seagull.
  • Check @tbl:table.
  • Check @eq:equation.

List of elements to reference:

A cool seagull{#fig:seagull}

$$ y = mx + b $$ {#eq:equation}

Index Name
... ...

Table: This is an example table. {#tbl:table}

Check the desired filter settings and usage for more information (pandoc-crossref usage).

Content filters

If you need to modify the MD content before passing it to pandoc, you may use

. By setting this makefile variable, it will be passed to the markdown content before passing it to pandoc. For example, to replace all occurrences of
you may use a
CONTENT_FILTERS = sed 's/@pagebreak/"

To use multiple filters, you may include multiple pipes on the

  sed 's/@pagebreak/"
"/g' | \ sed 's/@image/[Cool image](\/images\/image.png)/g'


This template uses Makefile to automatize the building process. Instead of using the pandoc cli util, we're going to use some make commands.

Export to PDF

Please note that PDF file generation requires some extra dependencies (~ 800 MB):

sudo apt-get install texlive-xetex ttf-dejavu

After installing the dependencies, use this command:

make pdf

The generated file will be placed in build/pdf.

Export to EPUB

Use this command:

make epub

The generated file will be placed in build/epub.

Export to HTML

Use this command:

make html

The generated file(s) will be placed in build/html.

Export to DOCX

Use this command:

make docx

The generated file(s) will be placed in build/docx.

Extra configuration

If you want to configure the output, you'll probably have to look the Pandoc Manual for further information about pdf (LaTeX) generation, custom styles, etc, and modify the Makefile file accordingly.


Output files are generated using pandoc templates. All templates are located under the

folder, and may be modified as you will. Some basic format templates are already included on this repository, ion case you need something to start with.


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