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MUP: a Markup Previewer

MUP is a markup previewer. It supports multiple markup formats. You can use it to read markup text, but it is also useful when writing markup text to check how your work looks, thanks to its refresh-as-you-save feature.

MUP in action


  • Supports multiple markup formats, easy to extend
  • Automatically refreshes itself when the document is modified, tries to retain the position in the document after refreshing
  • Skips metadata headers, such as those used by static blog generators like Jekyll
  • Supports gzipped documents, useful to read documentation shipped with Debian packages
  • Comes with a wrapper for man pages

Supported Formats

MUP supports Markdown and reStructuredText using Python modules.

It also supports the following formats using external converters:

  • Markdown
  • GitHub Flavored Markdown
  • Ronn
  • Man pages
  • Asciidoc
  • Mediawiki

External converters are command line tools which are invoked by MUP to convert input files. To be used as an external converter, the tool must accept markup on stdin and produce HTML on stdout.


Start MUP like this:

mup markup_file

To read a man page with mup:

mupman ls


mupman 5 crontab


MUP requires Python 3 and the following Python modules:

  • PyQt5, including PyQt5 WebKit, which can be in a separate package
  • PyYAML
  • PyXDG

It can make use of other Python modules and external tools to render various markup formats.


For Markdown you need to install one of these:

GitHub Flavored Markdown (GFM)

For GitHub Flavored Markdown (Markdown which takes newlines into account) you need to install one of these:

  • kramdown
  • Python Requests module: to render GFM using GitHub Rest API (slow but accurate)


For reStructuredText you need to install the docutils Python module.

Man pages

For man pages you need to install Groff (but it is already installed on most Linux distributions).


For Ronn you need to install Ronn.


For Asciidoc you need to install Asciidoc.


For Mediawiki you need to install Pandoc.


Run ./ install as root.

Editing files

You can edit the current file by clicking on the menu button then select "Open with Editor". This will open the file in the configured editor.

To configure which editor should be used, edit ~/.config/mup/mup.yaml and add the following content:

editor: name-of-your-editor

Note: for now you cannot define arguments for the editor. If you need arguments you will have to write a wrapper shell script.

Defining a new Converter

To declare the foo2html command as a converter for .foo or .foobar files, create a foo.yaml file in /usr/share/mup/converters or in ~/.local/share/mup/converters with the following content:

name: Foo
cmd: foo2html
matches: ["*.foo", "*.foobar"]

If MUP can find the foo2html binary, it will use it whenever it tries to open a .foo file.

Other optional keys:

  • args: Arguments to pass to the command
  • full: Set to true if the command creates a complete HTML document, not just an HTML snippet (defaults to false)
  • online: Set to true if the converter uses an online service. Those are slower than offline ones and are thus not selected by default
  • reference: Set to true if the converter is the reference implementation for the format it handles. A reference converter will be selected by default if available


MUP is managed using the lightweight project management policy.

Get the code from then file pull requests against the dev branch.


Aurélien Gâteau