A docutils-compatibility bridge to markdown, enabling you to write markdown with support for tables inside of docutils & sphinx projects.

sphinx, docs, documentation, markdown
pip install sphinx-markdown-parser==0.2.4



A docutils-compatibility bridge to MarkdownParser and CommonMark.

This allows you to write markdown inside of docutils & sphinx projects.

This was built due to limitations of the existing markdown parsers supported by sphinx, specifically recommonmark. Features such as support for tables have been added to this extension.


Recommended Projects


The MarkdownParser is the recommonend parser for the following reasons.

  • It has more features such as tables and extensions
  • It is the parser officially supported by this project

If you insist on using the CommonMarkParser I recommnend using recommonmark directly since we do not officially support that parser.

Parser Source
MarkdownParser https://github.com/Python-Markdown/markdown
CommonMarkParser https://github.com/readthedocs/recommonmark

Getting Started

To use sphinx-markdown-parser inside of Sphinx only takes 2 steps. First you install it:

pip install sphinx-markdown-parser

If using MarkdownParser, you may also want to install some extensions for it:

pip install pymdown-extensions

Then add this to your Sphinx conf.py:

# for MarkdownParser
from sphinx_markdown_parser.parser import MarkdownParser

def setup(app):
    app.add_source_suffix('.md', 'markdown')
    app.add_config_value('markdown_parser_config', {
        'auto_toc_tree_section': 'Content',
        'enable_auto_doc_ref': True,
        'enable_auto_toc_tree': True,
        'enable_eval_rst': True,
        'extensions': [
    }, True)

# for CommonMarkParser
from recommonmark.parser import CommonMarkParser

def setup(app):
    app.add_source_suffix('.md', 'markdown')
    app.add_config_value('markdown_parser_config', {
        'auto_toc_tree_section': 'Content',
        'enable_auto_doc_ref': True,
        'enable_auto_toc_tree': True,
        'enable_eval_rst': True,
        'enable_inline_math': True,
        'enable_math': True,
    }, True)

In order to use reStructuredText in Markdown (for enable_eval_rst to work properly), you must add AutoStructify in conf.py

# At top on conf.py
from sphinx_markdown_parser.transform import AutoStructify

# in setup function after configuration of the parser

This allows you to write both .md and .rst files inside of the same project.


For all links in commonmark that aren't explicit URLs, they are treated as cross references with the :any: role. This allows referencing a lot of things including files, labels, and even objects in the loaded domain.


AutoStructify makes it possible to write your documentation in Markdown, and automatically convert this into rST at build time. See the AutoStructify Documentation for more information about configuration and usage.

To use the advanced markdown to rst transformations you must add AutoStructify to your Sphinx conf.py.

# At top on conf.py (with other import statements)
from sphinx_markdown_parser.transform import AutoStructify

# At the bottom of conf.py
def setup(app):
    app.add_config_value('markdown_parser_config', {
            'url_resolver': lambda url: github_doc_root + url,
            'auto_toc_tree_section': 'Contents',
            }, True)

See https://github.com/rtfd/recommonmark/blob/master/docs/conf.py for a full example.

AutoStructify comes with the following options. See http://recommonmark.readthedocs.org/en/latest/auto_structify.html for more information about the specific features.

  • enable_auto_toc_tree: enable the Auto Toc Tree feature.
  • auto_toc_tree_section: when True, Auto Toc Tree will only be enabled on section that matches the title.
  • enable_auto_doc_ref: enable the Auto Doc Ref feature. Deprecated
  • enable_math: enable the Math Formula feature.
  • enable_inline_math: enable the Inline Math feature.
  • enable_eval_rst: enable the evaluate embedded reStructuredText feature.
  • url_resolver: a function that maps a existing relative position in the document to a http link


You can run the tests by running tox in the top-level of the project.

We are working to expand test coverage, but this will at least test basic Python 2 and 3 compatability.

Why a bridge?

Many python tools (mostly for documentation creation) rely on docutils. But docutils only supports a ReStructuredText syntax.

For instance this issue and this StackOverflow question show that there is an interest in allowing docutils to use markdown as an alternative syntax.

Why another bridge to docutils?

recommonmark uses the python implementation of CommonMark while remarkdown implements a stand-alone parser leveraging parsley.

Both output a docutils document tree and provide scripts that leverage docutils for generation of different types of documents.


recommonmark is mainly derived from remarkdown by Steve Genoud and leverages the python CommonMark implementation.

It was originally created by Luca Barbato, and is now maintained in the Read the Docs (rtfd) GitHub organization.