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mnott Move RTF design template parser to Parser module.
This is rather internal and should not be exposed to the parser.cfg

Signed-off-by: Matthias Nott <>
Latest commit 827e82b Feb 9, 2018


TeXDown - Markdown for LaTeX and Instrument Scrivener


Version 0.0.3


Copyright (c) 2016 - 2018 Matthias Nott (mnott (at)

Licensed under WTFPL.



TeXDown - Use Markdown with LaTeX, and particularly with Scrivener.

        The program was written for two reasons:

         - Markdown gives a more distraction-free writing
           experience compared to LaTeX, even for seasoned
           LaTeX users

         - Scrivener is unbelievably slow at exporting its
           content, even if only into plain text files.

         In other words, I wanted to have something that is much
         faster, and also that is more adapted to typical LaTeX
         commands that I use every day - so that I can structure
         my writings with Scrivener, focusing on the content,
         while at the same time having the full power of LaTeX
         available, immediately.

         To do so, TeXDown does several things:

         Parsing LaTeX files that contain some Markdown into
         LaTeX files.

         Also, do the same on Scrivener databases, extracting
         the contained rtf files, converting them to plain
         text, and then parsing them.

         The program can run both as a script as well as a
         filter. If running as a script, it will take files
         from the command line plus in addition to its own
         command line parameters. If running as a filter, it
         will take the input piped to the program, in addition
         to its own command line parameters.


./ [options] [files ...]

Command line parameters can take any order on the command line.


  General Options:

  -help            brief help message (alternatives: ?, -h)
  -man             full documentation (alternatives: -m)
  -d               debug (alternatives: -debug)
  -n               do not actually parse Markdown into LaTeX
                   (alternative: -no, -nothing)
  -2               Use Scrivener 2 Compatibility mode (default:
                   use Scrivener 3 mode)

  Scrivener Options:

  -p               The scrivener object name(s) (or id(s)) to start with.
                   (alternative: -project)
  -a               Only include all objects, not only those that
                   were marked as to be In Compilation.
                   (alternative: -all)
  -l               Only list the ids and section titles of what would
                   have been included (alternative: -list)
  -c               Use a configuration file to drive TeXDown.
                   (alternative: -cfg)
  -i               Resolve the Scrivener path for a given document id(s).
                   (alternative: -id)
  -s               Search the Scrivener Content.
                   (alternative: -search)

  Other Options:

  -parser          Use a specific parser.cfg
  -documentation   Recreate the (needs pod2markdown)


  • -help

    Print a brief help message and exits.

  • -man

    Prints the manual page and exits.

  • -d

    Print debug information to stderr. You can set the log level as any of OFF, FATAL, ERROR, WARN, INFO, DEBUG, TRACE, ALL. If you don't specify a log level, DEBUG is used. If you don't use the parameter, whatever is specified in log4p.ini is used (probably WARN, but of course you can change that). The more you go from OFF to ALL, the more information you will get.

  • -v

    Put LaTeX comments into the output with the name of the file that has been parsed.

  • -n

    Don't actually parse the Markdown Code into LaTeX code.

  • -2

    Use Scrivener 2 compatibility mode. If you add -2 to the command line, we will attempt to deal with the Scrivener files as if they were done in Scrivener 2. Default is Scrivener 3. This does not include snapshot handling, should we ever implement it - because we never implemented it for Scrivener 2.

  • -p

    The root object(s) in a Scrivener database within the processing should start. If not given, and if yet running on a Scrivener database, the script will assume the root object to have the same name as the Scrivener database.

    If you want to process multiple object trees, just use this command line argument multiple times, or pass multiple arguments to it. For example, you can use

      ./ Dissertation -p Frontmatter Content Backmatter


      ./ Dissertation -p Frontmatter -p Content -p Backmatter

    Each object name can be either an actual name of an object, so for example, if you have an object


    with a whole lot of objects beneath, you can give "XYZ", and you will get everything beneath XYZ, or you can give "Literature", and get everything below that (for example, "XYZ"). If you have more than one objects by that name, you will get trees for all of them.

    Or, assume you would run into some ambiguity, or you would recruit your material from completely disjunct object trees, you can also use absolute path names. So assume you have some folder that contains your front matter and back matter for articles, and then you have some literature folder somewhere, you can do this:

      ./ Dissertation -p /LaTeX/Articles/Frontmatter Literature /LaTeX/Articles/Backmatter

    As a side effect, if you want to print out the entire object hierarchy of your scrivener database, you can do this:

      ./ Dissertation -p / -l

    This will also give you a clue about the associated RTF file names, as the IDs that are listed correspond directly to the rtf file names living in the Files/Docs subdirectory of the Scrivener folder.

    Finally, if you pass an integer number - like 123 - as project, this will be treated as if you wanted to directly address the Scrivener asset id as reported by -l. This option allows for incredible shorthand, but should rather be used for testing: those ids, after all, can change, and you should not base your logic on them.

  • -a

    Disrespect the Scrivener metadata field IncludeInCompilation, which can be set from Scrivener. By default, we respect this metadata field. Since it can be set at every level, if we detect it to be unset at level n in the document tree, we will not follow down into the children of that tree, even if they have it set. This allows us to easily exclude whole trees of content from the compilation - except if we chose to include all nodes using the -a switch.

  • -l

    Rather than actually printing the parsed content, only print the document IDs and titles that would have been included.

    Those document IDs correspond to RTF files which you would find in the Files/Docs subdirectory; hence this option might be useful for you to understand which file corresponds to which Scrivener object.

  • -c

    Use a configuration file to drive TeXDown. This essentially wraps TeXDown in itself. If you use -c, you can remove the need to specify all your projects on the command line. Here is a sample configuration file:

      ; TeXDown Configuration File
      ; parser=parser.cfg
      ; Research Design
      p=/LaTeX/Article/Frontmatter, "Research Design", /LaTeX/Article/Backmatter
      ; ROI - Literature Review
      p=/LaTeX/Article/Frontmatter, "ROI - Literature Review", /LaTeX/Article/Backmatter

    Let's assume we have saved this file as Dissertation.ini, into the same directory where we are also having our Scrivener directory Dissertation.scriv. The above file works as follows: You can specify some variables with "scopes" (like, "rd"), and this will serve as an indirection to define which projects really to use.

    So for example, if you call the program like so (I'm using -l in the subsequent examples because listing the assets rather than converting them will make it clearer for you what happens; at the end, you'd of course remove the -l and pipe the output somewhere):

      ./ Dissertation -l -c

    you are not even saying which project or which configuration file to use. So what TeXDown will do is to assume that the configuration file lives in the same directory that your Dissertation.scriv is in, and is named Dissertation.ini. It will also assume that you expect to have a scope [Dissertation] within that file, and within that section, you have a project definition like p=something.

    If you are more specific, you can make a call like so:

      ./ Dissertation -l -c -p roilr

    In that case, you are still not specifying your configuration file, so it will be treated as in the previous case. But you are saying that you want to call the scope [roilr], in which case the project definition is taken from that scope.

    To be even more specific, you can explicitly say which configuration file to use:

      ./ Dissertation -l -c Dissertation.ini

    This is going to look for the Dissertation.ini configuration file, in some location (you can now give a complete path to it), and since we yet forgot again, which project to actually use, it is going to default to the Dissertation scope in that file.

    Let's be really specific and also say, which project to use with that configuration file:

      ./ Dissertation -l -c Dissertation.ini -p roilr

    Of course, you can now be really crazy and run a number of projects in a row:

      ./ Dissertation -l -c -p roilr rd Dissertation

    This will tell TeXDown, again, to use Dissertation.ini out of the same directory where the referred to Dissertation.scriv lives, and to then process the scopes roilr, rd, and Dissertation, in that order.

    Of course, this somehow only makes sense if you can specify a different output file, or intermediate processing, which I've not yet implemented. But that's, at the end, once it is done, the what [GLOBAL] section will be for: There we'll be able to specify e.g. the default LaTeX command to process the output.

  • -i

    This option allows you to find the path to a Scrivener document in your library, if you only know its document id. This is useful if you use, for example, a find command on the command line, searching for a given content. So for example, let's define a bash command that will allow you to search for file contents:

      ff () { find . -type f -iname "*$1" -print0 | xargs -0 grep -i "$2" ; }

    Just enter the above line at the command line. If you like it, you can put it into your ~/.profile

    Let's use that to find some content in our Scrivener directory. I am looking for all the files where I happen to have used the command \parta. Here's how to look for it (from the current directory):

      ff rtf parta

    etc. So this is great because it shows me where I was using that command. The question of course is, where will I find these documents from within Scrivener? Here's how:

      ./ Dissertation -i 216 281
      /Trash/LaTeX - Front Matter/

    Thus we can now easily look at the /Dissertation node, which contains that \parta statement, while we can probably ignore the other document that was found in the trash.

  • -s

    This option is an extension on the manual grep of the -i option: It allows you to perform a search on any of your scrivener projects. The search string can be plain text, or even a regular expression. So here's how we are going to search for all the sections that we have in our roilr project as defined per configuration file:

      ./ Dissertation -c -p roilr  -s "section"
      [     322] /ROI - Literature Review/coakes - 2011 - sustainable innovation and right to market: \section[Coakes, Smith, and Alwis (201
      [     335] /ROI - Literature Review/desouza - 2011 - intrapreneurship managing ideas within your: \section[Desouza (2011)]{\citet{Desouz
      [     348] /ROI - Literature Review/dyduch - 2008 - corporate entrepreneurship measurement for improving organizational: \section[Dyduch (2008)]{\citet{Dyduch:
      [     361] /ROI - Literature Review/hornsby - 2002 - middle managers' perception of the internal environment: \section[Hornsby, Kuratko and Zahra (2
      [     175] /ROI - Literature Review/zahra - 2015 - corporate entrepreneurship as knowledge creation and conversion: \section[Zahra (2015)]{\citet{Zahra:20
      [     167] /ROI - Literature Review/zahra - 1993 - a conceptual model of entrepreneurship as firm behavior: \section[Zahra (1993)]{\citet{Zahra:19

    Let's assume we want to see only those sections which have Zahra in them:

      ./ Dissertation -c -p roilr -s "section.*Zahra"
      [     361] /ROI - Literature Review/hornsby - 2002 - middle managers' perception of the internal environment: \section[Hornsby, Kuratko and Zahra (2
      [     175] /ROI - Literature Review/zahra - 2015 - corporate entrepreneurship as knowledge creation and conversion: \section[Zahra (2015)]{\citet{Zahra:20
      [     167] /ROI - Literature Review/zahra - 1993 - a conceptual model of entrepreneurship as firm behavior: \section[Zahra (1993)]{\citet{Zahra:19

    Let's search for those where Zahra is the first author, measured by that it is close to the section tag:

      ./ Dissertation -c -p roilr -s "section.{1,5}?Zahra"
      [     175] /ROI - Literature Review/zahra - 2015 - corporate entrepreneurship as knowledge creation and conversion: \section[Zahra (2015)]{\citet{Zahra:2015aa}}
      [     167] /ROI - Literature Review/zahra - 1993 - a conceptual model of entrepreneurship as firm behavior: \section[Zahra (1993)]{\citet{Zahra:1993aa}}

    Finally, as we can combine this with the other command line parameters, let's not have TeXDown parse the markdown code first, but search for all places where we may have left \section commands in plain LaTeX code:

      ./ Dissertation -p / -n -s '\\section'
      [      94] /Dissertation/LaTeX - Front Matter/01 - Appendix/03 - Symbols/00 - Manual: % \section{Some Greek symbols}

    Don't forget to use four \\\\ if you use double quotes, or two \\, if you use single quotes.

  • -documentation

    Use pod2markdown to recreate the documentation / You need to configure your location of pod2markdown at the top, if you want to do this (it's really an option for me, only...)



Put the script somewhere and make it executable:

cp ~/Desktop
chmod 755 ~/Desktop/

(Desktop is probably not the best place to put it, but just to make the point.) Also, make sure that you reference the right version of Perl. At the beginning of the script, you see a reference to /usr/bin/env perl. This should normally work; if it does not find perl, you may want to replace it with the actual location of perl on your system. Use, on the command line, this command to find out where you actually have your Perl:

which perl

Chances are, it is /usr/bin/perl

Next, there are a couple of packages that we use. If you start the program and get a message like so:

Can't locate RTF/TEXT/ in @INC ....

Then this means you don't have the package RTF::TEXT::Converter installed with your Perl installation. All the packages that are on your system are listed at the top of

use Getopt::Long;
use Pod::Usage;
use File::Basename;
use RTF::TEXT::Converter;
use XML::LibXML;
use Tie::IxHash;

So in the above case, where we were missing the RTF::TEXT::Converter, you could do this:

sudo cpan install RTF::TEXT::Converter

If you run into compilation problems, you might also first want to upgrade your CPAN:

sudo cpan -u

Like man cpan says about upgrading all modules, "Blindly doing this can really break things, so keep a backup." In other words, for TeXDown, use the upgrade only if an install failed.


When running as a filter, TeXDown will simply take the content from STDIN and process it, taking any command line parameters in addition. So for example, you could call it like this:

cat document.tex | ./ -v

Or like this:

./ -v <document.tex

The result will be on STDOUT, which means you can also pipe the output into something else. For example a file:

cat document.tex | ./ > output.tex

And of course even to itself:

cat document.tex | ./ -n | ./ -v


If running as a script, TeXDown will take all parameters that it does not understand as either command line parameters or as values thereof, and try to detect whether these are files. It will then process those files one after another, in the order they are given on the command line. The output will again go to STDOUT. So for example:

./ -v test.tex test2.tex test3.tex >document.tex

In case you want to run TeXDown against data that is in a Scrivener database, you just pass the directory of that database to it. So let's assume we've a Scrivener database Dissertation in the current directory.

This actually means that in reality, you would have a directory Dissertation.scriv, within which, specifically, you would find a file Dissertation.scrivx, along with some other directories. This Dissertation.scrivx is actually an XML file which we are going to parse in order to locate the content that we want to parse from LaTeX containing Markdown, to only LaTeX. The XML file Dissertation.scrivx basically contains the mapping between the names of objects that you give in the Scrivener Application, and the actual representations of those files on the disk. Scrivener holds its files in a directory like Dissertation.scriv/Files/Docs with numbered filenames like 123.rtf.

So what TeXDown will do is that it will first detect whether a file given on the command line is actually a Scrivener database, then it will try to locate the .scrivx file within that, to then parse it in order to find out the root folder that you wanted the processing to start at. It will then, one after another, try to locate the related rtf files, convert them to plain text, and then parse those.

So for example, assuming you have a Scrivener database Dissertation in the current directory, you can do this:

./ Dissertation

Notice that we did not use the -projects parameter to specify the root folder at which you want to start your processing. If this is the case, TeXDown will try to locate a folder that has the same name as the database - in the above example, it will just use Dissertation.

So if you want to specify another root folder, you can do so:

./ Dissertation -p Content

Piping the result into some file:

./ Dissertation -p Content >document.tex

If you do not have the Scrivener project in your working directory, you can chose any other way to call it, so like:

./ ../my/writings/Dissertation.scriv/
./ ../my/writings/Dissertation
./ ~/Desktop/Dissertation.scriv

etc. The program is very graceful as to whether you actually specify the extension .scriv, whether you have absolute or relative paths, or whether you have trailing slashes. It will just try to do the right thing if you call it with something stupid like

./ $(pwd)/./Dissertation.scriv/./././

You can also specify multiple Scrivener databases; at this moment, they will all share the same root folder to start with.


If you want to add your own parsers, have a look at the source code of the file. It is pretty well documented.


At this moment, TeXDown works on single lines only. In other words, we do not support tags that span multiple lines. We have just added limited, and ugly, support for itemizes, which works sufficiently well with Scrivener: Scrivener gives at best two levels of itemizes anyway. For more complex ones, and enumerates, you still will need to use plain LaTeX. We also don't support tables so far: I believe this is strongly overrated, as real LaTeX users won't contend with simple tables anyhow.

Practically, this means that you will e.g. have to have your footnotes in one line, like __This is a footnote__ - of course you can at any time also use actual LaTeX commands, and if you do not want to see them in Scrivener, you can just escape them using <!-- \footnote{This is another footnote.} -->


The Markdown code that this program uses is neither MultiMarkDown (mmd) nor Pandoc compatible, since these were too limited as to their support of LaTeX.

Here are the options that we support at this moment:


Very simply, start your line with one or multiple hash marks (#). The number you use defines the level of the section heading. Also, TeXDown will create labels for each section, where the label is the same as the section name, with all spaces replaced by dashes:

# This is a part


\part{This is a part}\label{This-is-a-part}

Likewise, for

## Section

### Subsection

#### Subsubsection

##### Paragraph

###### Subparagraph

Optionally, you can add short forms of the headings - those that are going to be put into the table of contents - for all levels like so:

##[Shortform] Longform



Alternatively, you can exclude the section from the table of contents by way of the starred form:

##* Section Heading


\section*{Section Heading}\label{Section Heading}


HTML comments like <!-- ... --> are removed and replaced by a single space. Scrivener needs those to not show some content in its scrivenings view, so that's why it makes sense to keep them in Scrivener, and only remove them when parsing.


Single and double quotes are converted to their typographical forms:

'abc' => `abc'
"abc" => ``abc''

As a bonus triple quotes are correctly transformed into their typographical versions:

'''abc''' => ``\thinspace`abc'\thinspace''


Footnotes are written between double underscores like so:

__This is a footnote__  => \footnote{This is a footnote}

If you don't like having your footnotes directly in your text, in Scrivener, you can also add footnotes to any place of the text, using Scrivener's footnote option. TeXDown will detect these (not the comments, only the footnotes), and automatically convert them into Markdown, and then onwards to LaTeX. If you have newlines in your Scrivener footnotes, these are going to be removed. Since the footnotes are first converted to Markdown, they themselves can also contain Markdown.


Citations are the strongest part of using Markdown over LaTeX. Consider this scenario:

\citeauthor{Nott:2016} wrote about Markdown, that ``citations
are the strongest part of using Markdown over LaTeX.''
(\citeyear[20-30]{Nott:2016}) He also holds that using a simple
Perl script, you can \emph{very much} simplify the problem

The previous paragraph, in TeXDown Markdown, can be written like this:

[a#Nott:2016] wrote about Markdown, that "citations
are the strongest part of using Markdown over LaTeX."
(20-30)[yp#Nott:2016] He also holds that using a simple
Perl script, you can **very much** simplify the problem

So here are the citations that we support. Let's assume that Nott:2016 is our citation key (you just comma-separate them if you have more than one).



[#Nott:2016]    => \citep{Nott:2016}
[p#Nott:2016]   => \citep{Nott:2016}


[a#Nott:2016]   => \citeauthor{Nott:2016}


[c#Nott:2016]   => \cite{Nott:2016}


[t#Nott:2016]   => \citet{Nott:2016}


[y#Nott:2016]   => \citeyear{Nott:2016}
[yp#Nott:2016]   => (\citeyear{Nott:2016})

The above [yp#] form is a bonus since it is very often used after actual quotations (see samples above.) You can memorize it using "year, parenthesis."


Simple Page Ranges

If you want to add page ranges to it, you add those in round parentheses, to any of the above forms. So for example:

(20-30)[yp#Nott:2016] => (\citeyear[20-30]{Nott:2016})

Annotated Page Ranges

Of course, you can really write about anything into there:

(20-30, emphasis ours)[yp#Nott:2016]

Shorthand for ibd.

If you are referring to the same thing again, you can do this - with all forms - by adding an "i" just in front of the "#":

[i#Nott:2016]         => \citep[ibd.]{Nott:2016}
[ypi#Nott:2016]       => (\citeyear[ibd.]{Nott:2016})


To add a label, you simply do this:

[l# A Label]          => \label{A-Label}

Leading spaces are removed, and other spaces are converted to dashes, just like when using labels that are automatically generated along with section headers.


References are simple. Assume you somewhere have a label "abc":

[r# abc]    => \ref{abc}
[vr# abc]   => \vref{abc}
[pr# abc]   => \pageref{abc}
[er# abc]   => \eqref{abc}


Finally, for emphasizing things, you can do this:

**This is bold**        => \textbf{This is bold}
*This is emphasized*    => \emph{This is emphasized}

In Scrivener, you can actually, alternatively, also just use the visual controls to typeset text in italics or boldface; those are converted to TeXDown markdown, and then further on to LaTeX code.


Let's do a crazy thing: Use a two line TeXDown file:

(As [a#Nott:2016] said, "TeXdown is quite easy." (20)[yp#Nott:2002])__[a#Nott:2005] had **already** said: "This is the **right** thing to do" (20--23, **emphasis** ours)[ypi#Nott:2016]____Debatable.__

and parse it by TeXDown;

cat crazy.tex | ./

(As \citeauthor{Nott:2016} said, ``TeXdown is quite easy.'' (\citeyear[20]{Nott:2002}))\footnote{\citeauthor{Nott:2005} had \emph{already} said: ``This is the \emph{right} thing to do'' (20--23, \emph{emphasis} ours)(\citeyear[ibd.]{Nott:2016})}\footnote{Debatable.}

Agreed, both are probably not all that readable, but it makes the point that you can even nest those commands.


If you see problems with the parser, then a good idea might be to do just what I had shown in the previous section: Just put the problematic code into a text file and run it manually. If you find problems, try to fix them with the %parser (see source code), and if you don't want to do that, you can always use plain LaTeX code anyway!