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A Simple Tool and Python-Module for Documenting YAML Files

Author: Hartmut Goebel <>
Copyright: 2015-2019 by Hartmut Goebel
Licence:GNU General Public Licence v3 or later (GPLv3+)

This tool allows you writing documentation directly into YAML-files as comments. These comments will then be converted to text and the YAML-code goes into literal blocks.

This is some kind of literate programming, except that you do not write code into your text, but text into your code. This difference allows to process the YAML file directly without any pre-processing.


yaml2rst [-h] [--strip-regex regex] infile outfile

positional arguments:
  infile               YAML-file to read (`-` for stdin)
  outfile              rst-file to write (`-` for stdout)

optional arguments:
  -h, --help           show this help message and exit
  --strip-regex regex  Regex which will remove everything it matches. Can be
                       used to remove fold markers from headings for example.
                       Example to strip out [[[,]]] fold markers:
                       '\s*(:?\[{3}|\]{3})\d?$'. Check the README for more

How it works

This script takes all lines beginning with # (and lines consisting of only a #) as text-lines. Everything else will be treated as "code". The text-lines will get the # removed and the "code" will get spaces prepended.

Additionally at the start and at the end of a "code"-block, lines are added as required by reStructuredText. Also at the begin of a "code"-block, a :: is added if required.

--strip-regex can be used to remove matching characters from text-lines when needed. Refer to documentation about Folding marks support for details.


You can find example yaml-input, rst-output and generated html in the examples directory. You may also view the generated html online at

Related Tools

  • yaml4rst is a linting/checking/reformatting tool for YAML files documented with inline RST which goes hand in hand with yaml2rst.


yaml2rst was originally developed 2015 and maintained by Hartmut Goebel. In 2019 the project moved to the debops project for which yaml2rst was developed.


A Simple Tool and Python-Module for Documenting YAML Files







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