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This repository shows how to create a lesson using The Carpentries lesson template, and is itself an example of the use of that template. Please see for a rendered version of this material, including detailed instructions on design, setup, and formatting.

Quick Instructions

  1. Do not fork this repository directly on GitHub. Instead, please follow the instructions in the setup instructions to create a repository for your lesson by importing material from the styles repository.

  2. Once you have created your repository, run bin/ to create standard lesson-specific files. You must edit several values in _config.yml so that GitHub Pages will render your lesson correctly.

  3. Please read the episodes of this lesson to format your material.

  4. Please keep the master copy of your lesson in your repository's gh-pages branch, since that is what is automatically published as a website by GitHub.

  5. To preview material, please run make serve from the command line to launch Jekyll with the correct parameters, or push to your repository's gh-pages branch and let GitHub take care of the rendering.

  6. Run make lesson-check to check that your files follow our formatting rules.

  7. If you find an error or omission in this documentation, please file an issue in this repository. If you find an error or omission in the lesson template, please file an issue in the styles repository instead.


The layout of this repository is explained in this site's episodes. In brief:

  1. The source for pages that appear as top-level items in the navigation bar are stored in the root directory, including the home page (, the reference page (, and the setup instructions (

  2. Source files for lesson episodes are stored in _episodes; _episodes/ generates /01-xyz/index.html, which can be linked to using /01-xyz/.

  3. If you are writing lessons in R Markdown, source files go in _episodes_rmd. You must run make lesson-rmd to turn these into Markdown in _episodes and commit those Markdown files to the repository (since GitHub won't run anything except Jekyll to format material). You must also commit any figures generated from your lessons, which are stored in the fig directory.

  4. Files that appear under the "extras" menu are stored in _extras.

  5. Figures are stored in the fig directory, data sets in data, source code in code, and miscellaneous files in files.

Getting Started

  1. Run bin/ to create files that can't be stored in the template repository (because they would cause repeated merge conflicts), then edit _config.yml as described in the documentation.

  2. Run make lesson-check at any time to check that your lesson files follow our formatting rules. If you come across formatting issues that the checker doesn't report, please file an issue in the styles repository.

  3. For a list of helpful commands run make in this directory. If you are looking for things to work on, please see the list of issues for this repository.