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A set of custom Pandoc writers for converting to BBCode.


2bbcode is a project hosting custom pandoc writers, written in Lua, which allow to convert to BBCode any input format supported by pandoc.

Since pandoc ships with a built-in Lua interpreter, using 2bbcode wrtiers doesn’t require installing Lua on the system.

There are several 2bbcode writers in this project, addressing different BBCode flavors:

  • 2bbcode.lua – the original 2bbcode writer by @lilydjwg, targeting the BBCode used by FluxBB.
  • bbcode_phpbb.lua – a fork of 2bbcode.lua by @tajmone, targeting the BBCode used by phpBB.
  • bbcode_hubzilla.lua – a fork of 2bbcode_phpbb.lua by @slobinger, targeting the BBCode used by Hubzilla.
  • bbcode_steam.lua – writer for steam flavour bbcode by @0x00002a.

About Pandoc

Pandoc is a cross-platform FOSS command line tool for converting documents from one format to another. It natively supports more than 20 input formats and over 40 output formats, and can be extended to work with custom input (reader) and outupt (writer) formats through external scripts – likes the custom BBCode writers in this project.

Pandoc is written in Haskell, and precompiled binary releases for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are available for download.

Pandoc was originally created by John MacFarlane, a philosophy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now maintained collaboratively on GitHub.

About BBCode

BBCode (Bulletin Board Code) is a lightweight markup language used by many message boards to format posts. From Wikipedia:

BBCode was introduced in 1998 by the messageboard software Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) implemented in Perl. In 2000 BBCode was used in phpBB – an internet forum system written in PHP. vBulletin also uses BBCode.

BBCode tags work in a similar way to HTML tags, but square brackets are employed instead of angle brackets, and no paragraph tag is needed:

Here comes a [b]bold word[/d].

BBCode has fewer tags than HTML, intended to cover simple formatting cases.

Since different implementations of BBCode employ different subsets of tags, there are different flavors of BBCode, and while the most common tags should work across all BBCode implementations, advanced formatting tags might not.

System Requirements

Just pandoc:

For more information, see Pandoc Setup.

Linux Usage


Required 2bbcode Linux files:

  • bbcode.lua
  • 2bbcode
./2bbcode FORMAT <input >output

FORMAT defaults to markdown_github. Use pandoc --list-input-formats to list acceptable formats.


Required 2bbcode_phpbb Linux files:

  • bbcode_phpbb.lua
  • 2bbcode_phpbb
./2bbcode_phpbb FORMAT <input >output

Same as with 2bbcode, except for scripts names.

Windows Usage

If you want to use 2bbcode globally, put all the required *.lua and *.bat files in a same folder which is on the system %PATH%.


Required 2bbcode Windows files:

  • bbcode.lua
  • 2bbcode.bat
  • gfm2bbcode.bat
  1. Using 2bbcode.bat via command line:

    2bbcode filename.ext

    creates filename.bbcode.

    Pandoc will guess input format from input file’s extension. This batch script allows conversion from any pandoc supported input format. For markdown input files, it will default to pandoc’s extended Markdown.

  2. Using gfm2bbcode.bat via command line:


    This will convert the GitHub-Flavored (no hard-linebreaks) input markdown file to filename.bbcode. This batch script invokes pandoc with the following settings:

    --smart --wrap=none --normalize -f markdown_github-hard_line_breaks

    … which is most likely what you’re looking for when working with GitHub related markdown files.

  3. Using 2bbcode.bat and gfm2bbcode.bat from Windows File Explorer:

    Just drag’n’drop input file over 2bbcode.bat or gfm2bbcode.bat, a converted *.bbcode file will be created in the same folder as input file.


Required 2bbcode_phpbb Windows files:

  • bbcode_phpbb.lua
  • 2bbcode_phpbb.bat
  • gfm2bbcode_phpbb.bat

Use is the same as with 2bbcode, except for scripts names.

Pandoc Setup


You have different choices for setting up pandoc:

  1. Use pandoc’s msi installer
  2. Install via Chocolatey
  3. Use pandoc executable in standalone mode

The advised choice is #2 – install via Chocolatey!

Pandoc MSI Installer

Pandoc for Windows ships with an msi installer.

When asked, choose “install pandoc for current user” (best choice).

Pandoc via Chocolatey

Since Pandoc doesn’t (can’t) check for updates, the best method of installation is via Chocolatey (or ChocolateyGUI):

Chocolatey handles silent installation and updates in the background (using default options), and helps you keeping pandoc always updated to the latest release.

Pandoc Standalone

If you prefer to use pandoc in standalone mode, you’ll need to extract pandoc binary executable from the installer file – for some reasons, the standalone version is no longer available for download. The installer contains two binary files (pandoc.exe and pandoc-citeproc.exe), the html User’s Guide and the license files.

  1. Dowload the pandoc msi installer (eg: pandoc-1.XX-windows.msi)
  2. Unpack it (using 7-Zip) and extract and rename the pandocEXE file to pandoc.exe
  3. Optionally (if you need to use CiteProc for working with citations and bibliography files) also extract pandoc_citeprocEXE and rename it to pandoc_citeproc.exe.

Make sure that pandoc.exe (and, eventually, pandoc_citeproc.exe) is reachable via %PATH%, or just put it in the same folder as the 2bbcode.lua script and the documents you want to convert (this is a good solution if you want to keep all your work within one folder).

Pandoc Supported Input Formats

As of pandoc v1.19, the supported input formats are:

You can view a list of all input formats supported in pandoc by typing:

pandoc --list-input-formats


A set of custom Pandoc writers for converting to BBCode.





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