# Custom styles for ODT (and maybe LaTeX and RST) writers #2106

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opened this Issue Apr 22, 2015 · 52 comments

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### matthijskooijman commented Apr 22, 2015

 Currently, you can customize formatting by providing some customized styles in a reference odt/docx file to pandoc. These styles are copied into the generated document and applied to selected elements in the document. However, this only supports a limited, hard-coded list of styles. E.g. the 'Heading 1' style is applied to level-1 headings, the 'Text body' style to regular paragraphs, the 'Bullet Symbols' style to bullets. On top of this, I'd like to be able to specify other styles to use, on a block-by-block basis. My usecase is that I'm writing a book, and my publisher requires the text to be delivered in docx or odt format, using a set of custom styles with non-standard style names. I have two challenges: Regular styles have different names, so I need to use e.g. "Publisher Heading 1" for first-level headings. Some parts of my document must use completely different styles, which have no equivalent in the pandoc AST (e.g. notes for the layouter must use the "Layout Notes" style). If I have some way to specify custom style names in the AST, I can use a pandoc filter to introduce the proper style names in the AST and have the writers use the right styles. Ideally, I'd be able to specify the style names for challenge 2 above directly in my markdown source. Attributes seem like a good fit for this, so that would work out to something like this in markdown: # My Header {style="Fancy Header 1"}  Note that this is already supported by the current markdown parser, and results in this JSON: [{"unMeta":{}}, [{"t":"Header","c":[1,["my-header",[],[["style","Fancy Header 1"]]], [{"t":"Str","c":"My"},{"t":"Space","c":[]},{"t":"Str","c":"Header"}]]}] ]  However, converting this to ODT or DOCX drops the attributes completely. I'm aware that not all elements currently allow specifying styles, but that's another discussion. What I'd like to see is that, for all elements that currently support attributes, the "style" attribute be interpreted as a style name in the ODT and DOCX writes. ODT and DOCX have a distinction between paragraph and character styles, but it seems that using the paragraph styles for block elements and character styles for inline elements is sufficient? Does this sound reasonable? Is the "style" attribute the right fit here? For the HTML writer, the style attribute should contain a bit of raw CSS. I don't think we can have a single syntax that works for both HTML and ODT/DOCX, though perhaps we can have something that allows specifying two distinct attributes to allow working with both? At first glance, the class is more appropriate than an attribute, since a class is also a name that indirectly specifies formatting to be used. However, a class can be specified multiple times, which I don't think is applicable to DOCX / ODT styles? Or perhaps just use the first / last class name specified? I'll likely spend a bit of time implementing this for my own needs, but I'd rather know up-front if this has any chance of being merged. @mpickering, It seems that such a style= attribute could perhaps also be used by an asciidoc reader to fix #1234 / #1235.

### gbjbaanb commented Sep 23, 2015

 It is possible to alter the styles in the docx after the generation is complete. For example, here I set the style for all tables to BlueTableStyle (which is a style in the template dotx I use to generate docx from pandoc). The styles are contained in the document.xml file inside the docx archive. Obviously this is not an ideal solution and being able for pandoc to spit out the desired style name given the right directives would be great, similar to how you can specify them for HTML. I don't see why they would need different input syntax, the use-case for generating different styles based on output type is a can of worms best left closed. 7z x -y %~1.docx word\document.xml sed "s/ word\document2.xml copy word\document2.xml word\document.xml /y 7z u -y %~1.docx word\document.xml 

### krtek4 commented Aug 3, 2016

 I am in the exact same situation : writing a book and the publisher insists on docx file format using their custom styles. Is there any chance this could get implemented ? The workaround proposed works really great when you want to style all given elements the same way, or rename a given style to some other one. But when just some elements needs to use a specific style I don't see how it can be made to work. Thanks !
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### matthijskooijman commented Aug 3, 2016

 @krtek4, I ended up using docutils's rst2odt tool with the --odf-config-file and --stylesheet options to customize the output styles, which ended up suiting by needs just enough (with a few minor customizations to better handle images, code, etc.). I haven't found time to clean up my build process well enough to publish it, but if you're interested I can do a quick sweep, tar it up and send it to you. If so, drop me an email to not further pollute this issue.

### josdirksen commented Aug 31, 2016

 I'm writing a book for Packt, which also uses a crappy docx template. I'm now using pandoc to convert my markdown file to docx, and afer that use a couple of XSLT steps to convert the styles from pandoc to the styles required by the template from Packt. This seems to work ok for the styles I'm currently using (basic bullets, lists, images etc.) I haven't needed tables yet, but that should also be doable I guess. If you're interested let me know.

### krtek4 commented Aug 31, 2016

 Hi @josdirksen, Finally I am use rst2odt like @matthijskooijman suggested. The tool allows for custom mapping from node types to ODT styles. For now I am able to manage with that quite well. Hadn't thought of XSLT at the time, but that is also definitively a great idea :) Good continuation with your book.
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### mb21 commented Feb 4, 2017 • edited

 Is this request fulfilled with http://pandoc.org/MANUAL.html#custom-styles-in-docx-output ? (at least for docx)

### krtek4 commented Feb 4, 2017

 As far as I can tell, this is exactly what is needed for docx. It is really similar to the feature I am using in rst2odt

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### mb21 commented Feb 5, 2017 • edited

 Since this feature was implemented in docx, we might think about doing the same for ODT, ICML and maybe LaTeX and RST writers...
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### matthijskooijman commented Feb 6, 2017

 From a quick glance at the docs, I think what I requested in this issue would be made possible with that new feature. However, I've long since finished writing my book, so I have no specific interest in this feature anymore, so feel free to close this issue (or leave it open if someone else wants to do actual testing of the feature and report back).

### simongareste commented Feb 28, 2017

 @mb21: I am very much interested in this for odt, and available to test.
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### mb21 commented Feb 28, 2017

 @simongareste Personally, I'm not too familiar with the ODT format... feel free to take a look at the writer generating the OpenDocument format and the one packaging it into a .odt zip, pull requests welcome!

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### marcban commented May 10, 2017 • edited

 Unfortunately I'm not a Haskell developer, but here are some specs to help a little: source md file : this is a custom style span in content.xml part of .odt file, this should generate:  this is a custom style span  in styles.xml part, this should add a style (if not present) under  tag, with value:   I propose that the custom style is bold by default, so that it will be visible in the output. Of course, by using a custom template, the user can define his own style.

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### mb21 commented Nov 3, 2017 • edited

 I'm reposting here some discussion from the now closed #2542 +++ Mauro Bieg [Dec 31 15 09:38 ]: In LaTeX those divs/spans could be rendered as custom environments/commands. This was actually proposed by hadley in #168 (comment), or do you think the concepts are not analogous enough? +++ jgm: I want to avoid generating environments and commands that aren't defined (and similarly for styles in Word and ICML). If we parse the styles, and thus know what is available, that may not be a big problem. In LaTeX it's harder, because commands and environments may be defined in included packages. The idea of having a special prefix like style- might be a good one. Since the following already works for docx output: ::: {custom-style=poetry} My example poem, is bad. :::  the idea is to change the syntax (and probably AST representation) to use a class with the style- prefix: ::: style-poetry My example poem, is bad. :::  and make it work for ODT and ICML (and maybe even LaTeX and RST) as well (although for RST output, pandoc already uses the role attribute). For example LaTeX output: \begin{poetry} My example poem, is bad. \end{poetry} 

### DaveJarvis commented Nov 7, 2017 • edited

 Writing custom-style everywhere a custom style is required is redundant and differs in behaviour from HTML output. Consider: ::: {.projection} Executing reverse bias polarity on neurowafer 1 of 7. Estimated time remaining: 3h 39m 57s ::: Thanks to #168, this produces the expected output: 
Executing reverse bias polarity on neurowafer 1 of 7. Estimated time remaining: 3h 39m 57s
 However, when the output is ConTeXt, this produces the astonishing result: \starttyping Executing reverse bias polarity on neurowafer 1 of 7. Estimated time remaining: 3h 39m 57s \stoptyping I consider it astonishing because the {.projection} class is swallowed, silently, instead of being retained in some manner, such as: \starttyping[class=projection] Executing reverse bias polarity on neurowafer 1 of 7. Estimated time remaining: 3h 39m 57s \stoptyping Since pandoc cannot presume environments exist, it would be convenient if there was a command line argument that indicates that they do. Consider: pandoc -t context --tex-environments --top-level-division=chapter file.md -o file.tex  Here, the --tex-environments option indicates that the developer (author) has created the required environments and that pandoc can use them. For ConTeXt, this could resemble: \startprojection \starttyping Executing reverse bias polarity on neurowafer 1 of 7. Estimated time remaining: 3h 39m 57s \stoptyping \stopprojection Returning to the HTML output, if the source document contains: ::: {.style-projection} Executing reverse bias polarity on neurowafer 1 of 7. Estimated time remaining: 3h 39m 57s ::: This would produce: 
Executing reverse bias polarity on neurowafer 1 of 7. Estimated time remaining: 3h 39m 57s
 Clearly, the style- is superfluous and would only be necessary because there is no other way to coerce pandoc into generating LaTeX/ConTeXt environments. IMO, a command line argument would allow the Markdown document to be written as per the author's descriptive intent, without being encumbered with knowledge of the internal workings of pandoc (that is, how it treats Markdown differently depending on whether the output is HTML or TeX). WDYT? @adityam? @jgm?

### jcbagneris commented Nov 9, 2017

 Hello there, I do agree that it would be convenient to have a way to tell pandoc "create an environment, I know what I am doing" but instead of a general option, I guess that an extension would be more adapted. Something in the line of: pandoc -f markdown -t latex+create_envs  That would allow for the extension to be output dependent, which is probably needed. Fenced divs are great, let's make good use of those :) Thanks

### DaveJarvis commented Nov 9, 2017

 An extension would also work, though my preference would be for slightly different names: pandoc -f markdown -t context+environments pandoc -f markdown -t latex+environments

### jcbagneris commented Nov 10, 2017

 Ah, I just meant to advocate for extension vs. option. I don't really care about the name, provided it's meaningful. +environments is ok for me.

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### mb21 commented Dec 11, 2017

 In order to use the fenced div class syntax for custom-styles, the user has to specify his intent to use the div as such an environment - either by switching on an extension (e.g. +environment) or using a prefix like style- on the class. The prefix is more verbose, but also more explicit: you then could have multiple divs in the same document and have only some converted to custom-styles aka environments. The writers could then strip the style- prefix when creating the style name. Do you think writing style- a few times is so bad?
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### iandol commented Dec 12, 2017

 On the duplicate #4139, I had asked for just a simple translation from ::: style ::: to a paragraph style in a format such as DOCX. The argument here is that to make this universal across other writers like LaTeX, an implicit conversion is not preferred by @jgm (although implicit conversion is the default for HTML presently). So the current options are to manually enable a universal mechanism (via either style- in the document or a +environment). A third option is that this could depend on the writer, implicit for ODT/DOCX/HTML, explicit for LaTex and friends that change the actual output structure. I suspect this is also not preferred by @jgm, but Pandoc already has implicit HTML support and I think a div.class is semantically identical to a paragraph.style which is why the implicit rule could be extended to this type of document structured output...

### DaveJarvis commented Dec 12, 2017 • edited

 Do you think writing style- a few times is so bad? Yes. It's redundant, verbose, inconsistent, and assumes pandoc-specific implementation knowledge. (Aside, there's no way to know how many times a style will be used in a given document.) The writers could then strip the style- prefix when creating the style name. Seems to violate the KISS principle: it incurs extra work (post-processing) to strip the prefix. Simpler (for writers) to not use or require a prefix altogether.
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### mb21 commented Dec 13, 2017

 @DaveJarvis but you agree that the toggle-by-extension-approach has the disadvantage that in one document, you cannot use some divs for custom-styling while using other divs for other purposes, right?

### DaveJarvis commented Dec 13, 2017 • edited

 you cannot use some divs for custom-styling while using other divs for other purposes There can be options for both scenarios. For example, the custom styles could be explicitly listed once on the command line (or read from an external data source), rather than repeated throughout the text, freeing the unlisted div demarcations for other purposes. Or, depending on what list is shorter, an option to list the unstyled divs may be useful. Also, a style- prefix suggests that the class is used for style-ing, which hints at presentation logic. As you pointed out, classes can be used for more than styling. Whether and how content marked with classes is styled or otherwise manipulated belongs outside of the document. $pandoc --styled poetry,stanza,prose ...$ pandoc --styled-file styled.txt ... $cat styled.txt poetry stanza prose$ pandoc --unstyled foo,bar ... $pandoc --unstyled-file unstyled.txt ...$ cat unstyled.txt foo bar 
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### mb21 commented Dec 14, 2017

 So we have three options now (the exact naming/implementation is also still debatable): mark up divs with style- prefixed class +environments extension that would tell pandoc to treat all divs as custom-styled-environments --styled argument that lists all divs to be styled I'd like to get some feedback from more people on which of the three they prefer... @jgm?
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### jkr commented Dec 14, 2017

 I think I prefer (a) explicit over implict, and (b) not having to change the command-line every time you change the source file (or consult a long file as reference for the sake of constructing a command line). For those reasons, FWIW, I guess I like the first option (style-) and pretty strongly dislike the others. I think +environments could have major side-effects in moving to word-processing docs, where you might not even know the names of all possible styles in your reference file. Keeping a list of all environments to be made into a custom style seems overly difficult to maintain. I can't think of another place in pandoc where the user has to specify content from within the document on the command line. So -- style- seems the best of the three. Perhaps the least elegant, but more easier to use and maintain precisely for that reason. BUT I'm not sure I see why style-* is preferable to custom-style=* (or some shorter key-value attr, style=*). It saves a few keystrokes, and replaces an = with a hyphen, at the expense of parsing values, and essentially creating an inconsistent ad-hoc syntax for certain class attributes. It's not a big deal, but it seems a bit more obscure for not that much gain.

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### hadley commented Feb 27, 2018

 I too would love to see this feature (in any of the proposed forms), and I'd be happy to supply some consulting dollars if that would help.
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### jkr commented Feb 27, 2018

 I actually just introduced an extension (+styles) to *read* custom-styles from docx (allowing your own styles to round-trip between the two). So we're getting somewhere. I continue to think that the "custom-style" kv format is the least likely to step on other's toes, and to distinguish between things you want to be a div for other reasons (maybe filters) and those you want to target specific divs in the output format. Anyway, now that the extnension is there, the implementation (for writers at least) is pretty straightforward, so long as we all agree on what syntax we want in the output formats. I'm assuming LaTeX would be:
...
=> \begin{foo}...\end{foo} ... => \bar{...} But I'm not sure about the others. Given how tricky the zipped outputs could be, I imagine ODT would be a bit tricky. We could also extend this to other readers, but it would require extra parsing. Soo, in LaTeX, an unrecongized command could map to these with the extension enabled. But I imagine that's a lot more work. Hadley Wickham writes: … I too would love to see this feature (in any of the proposed forms), and I'd be happy to supply some consulting dollars if that would help. -- You are receiving this because you commented. Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub: #2106 (comment)

### hadley commented Feb 27, 2018 • edited

 Ok, awesome! Thanks for the update. Just let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

### marcban commented Feb 28, 2018

 actually, for the ODT format, the output would be quite simple for example, for span style, in content.xml part of .odt file, this would generate:  this is a custom style span  in styles.xml part, this should add a style (if not present) under office:styles tag, with value:  

### fintelkai commented Mar 7, 2018

 I would really really like this. I'm imagining writing ::: whisper ::: Psst! - except for those possibilities that we are properly ignoring :::  in an md file destined to be a LaTeX beamer presentation. And then my whisper environment (defined in my custom document class) could take care of the typesetting (small, grayed out, etc.)
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### jgm commented Mar 8, 2018

 @fintelkai - you don't need to wait for this to get implemented. It's really easy to make this work using lua filters (requires a recent pandoc version). Create whisper.lua: function Div(el) if el.classes:includes("whisper") then return { pandoc.RawBlock("latex", "\\begin{whisper}"), el, pandoc.RawBlock("latex", "\\end{whisper}") } end end Then run with --lua-filter whisper.lua, and your whisper Div will be magically transformed into a whisper environment.

### fintelkai commented Mar 8, 2018

 @jgm Whoa, insert your favorite "mind blown" gif! Thanks, John.
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### jkr commented Mar 8, 2018 • edited

 @fintelkai: note that you can also use this basic idea to make a more general (but still very short) script beyond just the whisper class. Let's say you wanted any class of the form tex-foo to produce a block of type foo. You could do this: function Div(el) local kls, _ = el.classes:find_if(function (s) return string.match(s, "^tex%-") end) if kls then local texkls = kls:gsub("^tex%-","",1) if texkls then return { pandoc.RawBlock("latex", "\\begin{" .. texkls .. "}"), el, pandoc.RawBlock("latex", "\\end{" .. texkls .. "}")} end end end call this texclass.lua, then given this markdown file ::: tex-whisper ::: this that ::: Hello ::: shouting yay ::: ::: tex-shouting ::: beep boop ::: running pandoc input.md --lua-filter=texclass.lua -t latex would get you: \begin{whisper} this that \end{whisper} Hello yay \begin{shouting} beep boop \end{shouting} 

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### bumatic commented Jun 17, 2018

 It's great that paragraph styles can be preserved when converting docx -> md -> docx now! A feature that I was long waiting for. For me (and judging from this and a bunch of other open issues for others as well), it would be great if these custom styles could be written to icml (and odt and possibly all other output formats). I know this takes time and I appreciate the effort. Really! In case this can be achieved with lua-filters for writing to icml similar to the solution @jgm proposed to @fintelkai on March 8, 2018 (see above) for latex, I’d really appreciate any specific pointers? I tried my best figuring out myself, but wasn't able to.

### matthewlehew commented Jun 27, 2018

 I would also second the issue @bumatic raised: the custom-style kv syntax would be great if it could write to icml paragraph styles.

### glassdimly commented Jul 22, 2018

 If anyone finds their way here, as I did, wanting to transfer custom styles from html or md into a docx file, this has already been implemented here.
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### jzeneto commented Jul 23, 2018

 For anyone who needs custom styles in ODT: I've written a couple of lua filters, and among them is odt-custom-styles.lua, which accomplishes that almost well: https://github.com/jzeneto/pandoc-odt-filters "Almost" because to do that I turned everything inside a custom-styled-div or -span into a raw block/inline with opendocument type (if and only if the output format is odt). For this I had to figure out and write filters for every element. (I've put all these element filters in another lua file, util.lua, for reuse in other filters, that needs to be in the same directory of odt-custom-styles.lua.)
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### jzeneto commented Jul 23, 2018 • edited

 To add to discussion about ODT, I think it's not needed to add custom styles to styles.xml, as @marcban suggested, nor turn them to default style if not defined, as @iandol suggested, because at least LibreOffice already reads undefined styles as default styles. Keeping custom style allows manually checking if styles were applied (by opening odt file with zip tool, and looking at content.xml), and also is easier to implement, I think.

### glassdimly commented Jul 23, 2018

 @jzeneto Thank you, your repo is amazing, and just what I'm looking for. For those on the thread, specifically see this filter.

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### ksesong commented Dec 3, 2018 • edited

 I've been trying to build a filter for ICML writers based on @jzeneto's custom filter, but I can't find a way to make it work. We essentially have to substitute the default  with the custom version , and add another entry in the  (page 36 for reference) for each custom style. Is this feasible with custom filters?

### mb21 added a commit to mb21/pandoc that referenced this issue Dec 9, 2018

 ICML writer: support custom-styles 
see jgm#2106
 83f8920 

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### mb21 commented Dec 9, 2018

 @ksesong It turned out that it's actually quite easy to do in the ICML writer itself. See #5137...

### kprussing commented Dec 10, 2018

 From the LaTeX output perspective, one problem with converting the class to an environment is: inevitably someone will want to pass arguments (positional, optional, and potentially keyword) to the environment. I don't see how to specify those arguments in a way that would not interfere with other writers. We already have a few examples of filters for LaTeX to convert the class to to an environment, and I've been playing with a filter that uses data attributes to pass the environment and arguments. To me, this seems more like a problem for filters and explicit markup than the core readers.

### jgm added a commit that referenced this issue Dec 12, 2018

 ICML writer: support custom-styles (#5137) 
see #2106
 e4340b3 

### daamien added a commit to daamien/pandoc that referenced this issue Dec 27, 2018

 ICML writer: support custom-styles (jgm#5137) 
see jgm#2106
 78f2cd9