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What is PageBot?

PageBot® is a scriptable page layout, vector graphics and typography environment that enables designers to create high quality documents in various print-ready and web-based formats. It is available as a Python library with multi-platform support based on Flat and as a Mac OS X extension that uses DrawBot.

PageBot consists of three abstraction levels:

  • Builders, the libraries and formats PageBot usesto generate the final result, for example DrawBot, Flat and markup languages.
  • Contexts that provide a fixed API for the builders.
  • Documents, Views and Elements, our format independent classes.

The official PageBot documentation can be found at


Pagebot runs on Python 3. We recommend updating to version 3.7 / 3.8.

System Wide

Cross platform installation:

pip install pagebot

Upgrade to the latest if already installed:

pip install pagebot --upgrade

Virtual Environment

To setup pagebot and its requirements in a virtual environment:

pip install virtualenv
mkdir ~/virtualenvironment
virtualenv ~/virtualenvironment/pagebot
cd ~/virtualenvironment/pagebot/bin
source activate
pip install pagebot

Mac OS X

pip install pagebotosx

See also


from pagebot.document import Document
from pagebot.elements import newRect
from pagebot.conditions import Center2Center, Middle2Middle
from pagebot.toolbox.units import pt
from pagebot.toolbox.color import color

W, H = pt(500, 400)
doc = Document(w=W, h=H, autoPages=1)
page = doc[1]

# Create a new rectangle element with position conditions
newRect(parent=page, fill=color('red'), size=pt(240, 140),
    # Show measure lines on the element.
    conditions=[Center2Center(), Middle2Middle()])
# Make the page apply all conditions.
# Export the document page as png, so it shows as web image.

Issue Tracking

Bugs, enhancements and requested features can be added to the GitHub issue tracker:

External Links


  • PageBot generated website: It also includes entry points for studies and workshops on how to work with PageBot.
  • The TYPETR Upgrade website is an example where the HTML/CSS code and all illustrations are generated by PageBot scripts.

Feature Description

Current Functionality

Current features include:

  • Various types of Element objects can be placed on a page or inside other Element objects.
  • Grids can be defined through style measurements and views.
  • Page templates (or templates for any other element combination) can be defined and applied.
  • Automatic layout conditions for elements, for example even distribution across or floating down parent elements.
  • Specialized views on a Document, such as plain pages, spreads and other layout of page groups, optional with crop-marks, registration-mark, color-strips, file name, etc. The result of all views can be placed on pages as illustration.
  • Graphics - using all Drawbot drawing tools.
  • All image filtering supplied by Drawbot ImageObject.
  • Cascading styles, where Element values inherit from parent Elements, similar to CSS behavior.
  • Text flows are using the macOS FormattedString for all typographic parameters.
  • Random Text generator for headlines and articles.
  • Read text from MarkDown and XML (.MD .XML)
  • Support large amount of text processing functions:
    • centered, left, right and justified
    • Text to fit a box and elastic box to fit text
    • Tabular setting
    • Text Flow from one element to another.
    • Variable Font UI access and instance creation based on fontTools
    • Access to font metrics.
    • Outline Font access modification.
    • Space, groups and kerning access and modifcation.
    • OT layout and feature access and modification.
  • 3D Positioning of points, for future usage.
  • Motion Graphics, export as animated .gif and .mov files, keyframing timeline,
  • Export to PDF, PNG, JPG, SVG, (animated) GIF, MOV, XML, through programmable views.
  • Build web sites, pre-compiling all images used into the formats that can be displayed by browsers (.PNG .JPG .SVG)
  • Automatic table of contents, image references, quote references, etc. from composed documents.

Types of Publications

  • PageBot stationary and publications as scripted templates
  • Specimens for TN library
  • Recreation of legacy type specimens as PageBot templates
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Newsletters
  • Books
  • Parametric corporate identities including their styleguides, stationary and business card templates.
  • Parametric advertizements (connecting to existing ad-systems)
  • Online documents, such as single page websites
  • Wayfindng templates for signs and maps
  • T-Shirt templates
  • Templates with embedded information for graphic- and typographic education.

Unit Testing

PageBot uses Python's native doctest library to perform unit tests:

Note: doctest can be run in Sublime with cmd-B

Future Developments

  • Element classes supporting various types of graphs, info-graphics, maps, PageBot document layout, Variable Font axes layout, font metrics.
  • Font class supporting CFF (.otf) and UFO.
  • Views for thumbnail page overview, combined booklet-sheets for print, site-maps, etc.
  • Add export of text to MarkDown .md files.
  • Add export to online documents, such as HTML/CSS/JS for specific designs of web pages, such as Kirby.
  • Export to WordPress® PHP sites.
  • Export to Ruby®/Sketchup® data files.
  • Add export to Angular® files.
  • Export to InDesign® and Illustrator®, as close as possible translating PageBot elements to the native file format of these applications.
  • Time line, definition and editing, length and fps.
  • Integrate the PageBot manual builder with other export functions of the library.
  • Add more unit-tests to guarantee the integrity of the library and output consistency.
  • Automatic support of ornament frames, in connection to the Element borders and the layout of exiting (TN) border fonts.


  • The core library, tutorials and basic examples for PageBot are available under the MIT Open Source license. Some depencendies have been included in this repository and are available under their own licenses. See also the LICENSE.

PageBot® is a registered trademark U.S. Serial Number: 87-457,280 Owner: Buro Petr van Blokland + Claudia Mens VOF Docket/Reference Number: 1538-25