Standalone reStructuredText editor with live preview (native app)
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reStructuredText editor with live preview.



  • live preview with autoscroll
  • configurable orientation (horizontal / vertical)
  • search & replace
  • toolbar with common elements:
    • headings
    • bold, italic
    • inline code
    • code blocks
    • horizontal rule
    • lists
    • link
    • image
  • inserting highlighted code blocks (Pygments)
    • autocomplete for known lexer names
  • built-in help pages
    • syntax cheat sheet
    • directives
  • export to PDF

Known limitations

  • UTF-8 documents only

Implementation details

  • the application contains an embedded Python interpreter
    • Python libraries are located in the application's directory / bundle
  • the Docutils library is used to convert RST to HTML on the fly
    • the converstion is done in a separate thread
    • resources/preview/ overrides some of the HTML writer's methods to insert additional tags and attributes
  • HTML output is displayed using Qt WebEngine
    • external links are delegated to QDesktopServices
    • autoscroll is implemented in JavaScript
    • the preview is "frozen" during loading and autoscrolling to allow for smooth transitions (a previously rendered frame is used for the duration)



  • QT 5.8 & Qt Creator
  • Python 2.7 (32bit or 64bit depending on the used compiler)
  • Pygments (tested with 2.1.3)
  • Docutils (tested with 0.13, revision 7975)

Build configuration


  • The paths used below (such as C:/python) are just examples. Use actual paths :)
  • Use forward slashes in all paths. Omit trailing slashes.
  • OS X notes and examples assume that Python 2.7 has been installed using Homebrew. Your paths may vary.

Copy, name it and set the following variables:

    • Python linker flags
    • Windows: -LC:/python/libs -lpython27
    • OS X: use the python-config utility to determine linker flags:
      • python2.7-config --ldflags
    • path to a directory containing Python's header files
      • Windows: C:/python/include
      • OS X: /usr/include/python2.7
    • path to a directory containing:
      • - the Python standard library as a ZIP archive
      • pygments, docutils - library directories (these cannot be inside
      • any .pyd, .dll and .so modules that should be available in a standard Python installation
    • .pyc files should be excluded

Windows deployment

  1. Use the Windows Deployment Tool with the release binary to fetch required DLLs.

    Example: windeployqt.exe --release --no-translations rstpad.exe

  2. Locate and copy the correct python27.dll file or the application won't work on machines without Python 2.7 installed.

    • possible locations depend on how you've installed Python and on its version:
      • C:\Windows\System\python27.dll
      • C:\Windows\SysWoW64\python27.dll
    • make sure you're ussing the correct version (32 vs 64bit)

OS X deployment

Use the Mac Deployment Tool to convert the resulting application into a .dmg file:

macdeployqt -dmg

Other platforms

Not tested yet. You're on your own :)