Share this page

Learn X in Y minutes

Where X=restructured text (RST)

RST is a file format formely created by Python community to write documentation (and so, is part of Docutils).

RST files are simple text files with lightweight syntax (comparing to HTML).


To use Restructured Text, you will have to install Python and the docutils package.

docutils can be installed using the commandline:

$ easy_install docutils

If your system has pip, you can use it too:

$ pip install docutils

File syntax

A simple example of the file syntax:

.. Lines starting with two dots are special commands. But if no command can be found, the line is considered as a comment

Main titles are written using equals signs over and under

Note that there must be as many equals signs as title characters.

Title are underlined with equals signs too

Subtitles with dashes

You can  put text in *italic* or in **bold**, you can "mark" text as code with double backquote ``print()``.

Lists are as simple as in Markdown:

- First item
- Second item
    - Sub item


* First item
* Second item
    * Sub item

Tables are really easy to write:

=========== ========
Country     Capital
=========== ========
France      Paris
Japan       Tokyo
=========== ========

More complex tables can be done easily (merged columns and/or rows) but I suggest you to read the complete doc for this :)

There are multiple ways to make links:

- By adding an underscore after a word : Github_ and by adding the target URL after the text (this way has the advantage to not insert unnecessary URLs inside readable text).
- By typing a full comprehensible URL : (will be automatically converted to a link)
- By making a more Markdown-like link: `Github <>`_ .

.. _Github

How to Use It

RST comes with docutils where you have rst2html, for example:

$ rst2html myfile.rst output.html

Note : On some systems the command could be

But there are more complex applications that use the RST format:


Got a suggestion? A correction, perhaps? Open an Issue on the Github Repo, or make a pull request yourself!

Originally contributed by DamienVGN, and updated by 6 contributor(s).