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pandoc Dockerfiles

This repo contains a collection of Dockerfiles to build various pandoc container images.


Available Images

Docker images hosted here have a "core" version and a "latex" version:

  • core: pandoc and pandoc-citeproc, as well as the appropriate backend for the full lua filtering backend (lua filters can call external modules).
  • latex: builds on top of the core image, and provides an as-minimal-as-possible latex installation in addition. This includes all packages that pandoc might use, and any libraries needed by these packages (such as image libraries needed by the latex graphics packages).

From there, the tagging scheme is either X.Y, X.Y.Z, latest, or edge.

  • X.Y or X.Y.Z: an official pandoc release (e.g., 2.6). Once an X.Y tag is pushed, it will not be re-built (unless there is a problem). Pandoc releases versions such as 2.7 or 2.7.1 (there is no 2.7.0), which is where the optional .Z comes from.
  • latest: the latest tag points to the most recent X.Y release. For example, if tags 2.5 and 2.6 were available online, latest would be the same image as 2.6.
  • edge: the "bleeding edge" tag clones the master branch of pandoc and pandoc-citeproc. This tag is a moving target, and will be re-built at least once a month. The CI scripts have a cron job to build each image stack on the first of the month. However, changes to the master branch of this repository may also result in the edge tag being updated sooner.

Current latest Tag

The current latest tag for all images points to pandoc version 2.16.2.

Alpine Linux

  • Core image: pandoc/core
    • To build locally: make alpine
  • Latex image: pandoc/latex
    • To build locally: make alpine-latex


Note: this section describes how to use the docker images. Please refer to the pandoc manual for usage information about pandoc.

Docker images are pre-provisioned computing environments, similar to virtual machines, but smaller and cleverer. You can use these images to convert document wherever you can run docker images, without having to worry about pandoc or its dependencies. The images bring along everything they need to get the job done.

Basic Usage

  1. Install Docker if you don't have it already.

  2. Start up Docker. Usually you will have an application called "Docker" on your computer with a rudimentary graphical user interface (GUI). You can also run this command in the command-line interface (CLI):

    open -a Docker
  3. Open a shell and navigate to wherever the files are that you want to convert.

    cd path/to/source/dir

    You can always run pwd to check whether you're in the right place.

  4. Run docker by entering the below commands in your favorite shell.

    Let's say you have a in your working directory that you'd like to convert to HTML.

    docker run --rm --volume "`pwd`:/data" --user `id -u`:`id -g` pandoc/latex:2.6

    The --volume flag maps some directory on your machine (lefthand side of the colons) to some directory in the container (righthand side), so that you have your source files available for pandoc to convert. pwd is quoted to protect against spaces in filenames.

    Ownership of the output file is determined by the user executing pandoc in the container. This will generally be a user different from the local user. It is hence a good idea to specify for docker the user and group IDs to use via the --user flag.

    pandoc/latex:2.6 declares the image that you're going to run. It's always a good idea to hardcode the version, lest future releases break your code.

    It may look weird to you that you can just add at the end of this line, but that's just because the pandoc/latex:2.6 will simply prepend pandoc in front of anything you write after pandoc/latex:2.6 (this is known as the ENTRYPOINT field of the Dockerfile). So what you're really running here is pandoc, which is a valid pandoc command.

    If you don't have the current docker image on your computer yet, the downloading and unpacking is going to take a while. It'll be (much) faster the next time. You don't have to worry about where/how Docker keeps these images.

Pandoc Scripts

Pandoc commands have a way of getting pretty long, and so typing them into the command line can get a little unwieldy. To get a better handle of long pandoc commands, you can store them in a script file, a simple text file with an *.sh extension such as


The first line, known as the shebang tells the container that the following commands are to be executed as shell commands. In our case, we really don't use a lot of shell magic, we just call pandoc in the second line (though you can get fancier, if you like). Notice that the #!/bin/sh will not get you a full bash shell, but only the more basic ash shell that comes with Alpine linux on which the pandoc containers are based. This won't matter for most uses, but if you want to write writing more complicated scripts you may want to refer to the ash manual.

Once you have stored this script, you must make it executable by running the following command on it (this may apply only to UNIX-type systems):

chmod +x

You only have to do this once for each script file.

You can then run the completed script file in a pandoc docker container like so:

docker run --rm --volume "`pwd`:/data" --entrypoint "/data/" pandoc/latex:2.6

Notice that the above did specify pandoc, and you can't just omit it as in the simpler command above. This is because the --entrypoint flag overrides the ENTRYPOINT field in the docker file (pandoc, in our case), so you must include the command.

GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from GitHub that allows you to automatically run code on GitHub's servers on every push (or a bunch of other GitHub events).

Such continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) may be useful for many pandoc users. Perhaps, you're using pandoc convert some markdown source document into HTML and deploy the results to a webserver. If the source document is under version control (such as git), you might want pandoc to convert and deploy on every commit. That is what CI/CD does.

To use pandoc on GitHub Actions, you can leverage the docker images of this project.

To learn more how to use the docker pandoc images in your GitHub Actions workflow, see these examples.

Building custom images

The official images are bare-bones, providing everything required to use pandoc and Lua filters, but not much more. Often, one will want to have additional software available. This is best achieved by building custom Docker images.

For example, one may want to use advanced spellchecking as demonstrated in the [spellcheck] in the Lua filters collection. This requires the aspell package as well as language-specific packages. A good solution would be to define a new Dockerfile and to use pandoc/core as the base package:

FROM pandoc/core:latest
RUN apk --no-cache add aspell aspell-en aspell-fr

Create a new image by running docker build --tag=pandoc-with-aspell . in the directory containing the Dockerfile. Now you can use pandoc-with-aspell instead of pandoc/core to get access to spellchecking in your image.

See Docker documentation for more details, for example part 2 of the Get Started guide.


Maintenance Notes

Managing new Pandoc Releases

See the release checklist.


Code in this repository is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2.0 or later.