Converting to RST

Installing pandoc

Pandoc is a powerful document-transformation utility. We’ll use it to do simple conversions, but it is capable of much more. Visit the pandoc website for installation instructions for your platform.


Using a terminal, navigate to the directory containing the documents you wish to convert. Next, issue the following command for each file you’d like to convert:

pandoc -s --toc -f <from format> -t rst myfile.<from format>

-s tells pandoc to produce a standalone document

--toc tells pandoc to produce a table of contents (optional)

-t tells pandoc to produce reStructuredText output

-f tells pandoc the input format. It should be one of the following:

Format Description
commonmark Markdown variant
docbook XML-based markup
docx Microsoft Word
epub Ebook format
haddock Doc format produced by tool used on Haskell code
html HTML
json JSON pandoc AST
latex Older typesetting syntax
markdown Simple formatting syntax meant to produce HTML
markdown_github Github flavored markdown
markdown_mmd Multi-markdown flavored markdown
markdown_phpextra PHP flavored markdown
markdown_strict Markdown with no added pandoc features
mediawiki Popular wiki language
native Pandoc native Haskell
odt Open document text (used by LibreOffice)
opml Outline processor markup language
org Org mode for Emacs
rst reStructuredText
t2t Wiki-like formatting syntax
textile A formatting syntax similar to RST and markdown
twiki Popular wiki formatting syntax

Fixing the converted document

How much you’ll need to fix the converted document depends on which file format you’re converting from. Here are a couple of things to watch out for:

  1. Multi-line titles need to be converted to single line
  2. Standalone “**” characters
  3. ***bolded*** should be **bolded**
  4. Mangled tables

Previewing edits

Web-based has an excellent RST previewing tool that highlights RST errors with line numbers.