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Math Render Plugin For Pelican

This plugin gives pelican the ability to render mathematics. It accomplishes this by using the MathJax javascript engine.

The plugin also ensures that Typogrify and recognized math "play" nicely together, by ensuring Typogrify does not alter math content.

Both Markdown and reStructuredText is supported.


  • Pelican version 3.6 or above is required.
  • Typogrify version 2.0.7 or higher is needed for Typogrify to play "nicely" with this plugin. If this version is not available, Typogrify will be disabled for the entire site.
  • BeautifulSoup4 is required to correct summaries. If BeautifulSoup4 is not installed, summary processing will be ignored, even if specified in user settings.


To enable, ensure that render_math plugin is accessible. Then add the following to

PLUGINS = ["render_math"]

Your site is now capable of rendering math math using the mathjax JavaScript engine. No alterations to the template is needed, just use and enjoy!

However, if you wish, you can set the auto_insert setting to False which will disable the mathjax script from being automatically inserted into the content. You would only want to do this if you had control over the template and wanted to insert the script manually.


In the past, using Typgogrify would alter the math contents resulting in math that could not be rendered by MathJax. The only option was to ensure that Typogrify was disabled in the settings.

The problem has been rectified in this plugin, but it requires at a minimum Typogrify version 2.0.7 (or higher). If this version is not present, the plugin will disable Typogrify for the entire site.


Pelican creates summaries by truncating the contents to a specified user length. The truncation process is oblivious to any math and can therefore destroy the math output in the summary.

To restore math, BeautifulSoup4 is used. If it is not installed, no summary processing will happen.

Load custom LaTeX macros

If you use the same macros over and over, it's a good idea to not repeat yourself defining them in multiple Markdown or reStructuredText documents. What you can do instead is tell the plugin absolute paths for text files containing macro definitions.

If the same macro name has multiple definitions, the last one is used and a warning is printed to stdout.

See below in the Usage section for examples.



No alteration is needed to a template for this plugin to work. Just install the plugin and start writing your Math.


Certain MathJax rendering options can be set. These options are in a dictionary variable called MATH_JAX in the pelican settings file.

The dictionary can be set with the following keys:

  • align: [string] controls how displayed math will be aligned. Can be set to either 'left', 'right' or 'center'. Default Value: 'center'.
  • auto_insert: [boolean] will insert the mathjax script into content that it is detected to have math in it. Setting it to false is not recommended. Default Value: True
  • indent: [string] if align not set to 'center', then this controls the indent level. Default Value: '0em'.
  • show_menu: [boolean] controls whether the mathjax contextual menu is shown. Default Value: True
  • process_escapes: [boolean] controls whether mathjax processes escape sequences. Default Value: True
  • mathjax_font: [string] will force mathjax to use the chosen font. Current choices for the font is sanserif, typewriter or fraktur. If this is not set, it will use the default font settings. Default Value: default
  • latex_preview: [string] controls the preview message users are shown while mathjax is rendering LaTex. If set to 'Tex', then the TeX code is used as the preview (which will be visible until it is processed by MathJax). Default Value: 'Tex'
  • color: [string] controls the color of the mathjax rendered font. Default Value: 'inherit'
  • linebreak_automatic: [boolean] If set, Mathjax will try to intelligently break up displayed math (Note: It will not work for inline math). This is very useful for a responsive site. It is turned off by default due to it potentially being CPU expensive. Default Value: False
  • tex_extensions: [list] a list of latex extensions accepted by mathjax. Default Value: [] (empty list)
  • responsive: [boolean] tries to make displayed math render responsively. It does by determining if the width is less than responsive_break (see below) and if so, sets align to left, indent to 0em and linebreak_automatic to True. Default Value: False (defaults to False for backward compatibility)
  • responsive_break: [integer] a number (in pixels) representing the width breakpoint that is used when setting responsive_align to True. Default Value: 768
  • process_summary: [boolean] ensures math will render in summaries and fixes math in that were cut off. Requires BeautifulSoup4 be installed. Default Value: True
  • force_tls: [boolean] forces mathjax script to load from cdn using https. If set to false, will use document.location.protocol Default Value: False
  • message_style: [string] This value controls the verbosity of the messages in the lower left-hand corner. Set it to None to eliminate all messages. Default Value: normal
  • macros: [list] each element of the list is a [string] containing the absolute path to a file with macro definitions. Default Value: []

Settings Examples

Make math render in blue, displaymath align to the left and load macros from /home/user/latex-macros.tex:

macros = ['/home/user/latex-macros.tex']
MATH_JAX = {'color': 'blue', 'align': 'left', 'macros': macros}

Use the color and mhchem extensions:

MATH_JAX = {'tex_extensions': ['color.js','mhchem.js']}

Resulting HTML

Inlined math is wrapped in span tags, while displayed math is wrapped in div tags. These tags will have a class attribute that is set to math which can be used by template designers to alter the display of the math.


This plugin implements a custom extension for markdown resulting in math being a "first class citizen" for Pelican.

###Inlined Math Math between $..$, for example, $x^2$, will be rendered inline with respect to the current html block. Note: To use inline math, there must not be any whitespace before the ending $. So for example:

  • Relevant inline math: $e=mc^2$
  • Will not render as inline math: $40 vs $50

###Displayed Math Math between $$..$$, for example, $$x^2$$, will be rendered centered in a new paragraph.

###Latex Macros Latex macros are supported, and are automatically treated like displayed math (i.e. it is wrapped in div tag). For example, begin{equation} x^2 \end{equation}, will be rendered in its own block with a right justified equation number at the top of the block. This equation number can be referenced in the document. To do this, use a label inside of the equation format and then refer to that label using ref. For example: begin{equation} \label{eq} X^2 \end{equation}. Now refer to that equation number by $\ref{eq}$.


If there is math detected in reStructuredText document, the plugin will automatically set the math_output configuration setting to MathJax.

###Inlined Math Inlined math needs to use the math role:

The area of a circle is :math:`A_\text{c} = (\pi/4) d^2`.

###Displayed Math Displayed math uses the math block:

.. math::

  α_t(i) = P(O_1, O_2, … O_t, q_t = S_i λ)


A plugin for the pelican blog to allow it render mathematics in Latex.






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