AutoStructify Component

AutoStructify is a component in recommonmark that takes a parsed docutil AST by CommonMarkParser, and transform it to another AST that introduces some of more. This enables additional features of recommonmark syntax, to introduce more structure into the final generated document.

Configuring AutoStructify

The behavior of AutoStructify can be configured via a dict in document setting. In sphinx, you can configure it by The following snippet is what is actually used to generate this document, see full code at

github_doc_root = ''
def setup(app):
    app.add_config_value('recommonmark_config', {
            'url_resolver': lambda url: github_doc_root + url,
            'auto_toc_tree_section': 'Contents',
            }, True)

All the features are by default enabled

List of options

  • enable_auto_toc_tree: whether enable Auto Toc Tree feature.
  • auto_toc_tree_section: when enabled, Auto Toc Tree will only be enabled on section that matches the title.
  • enable_auto_doc_ref: whether enable Auto Doc Ref feature.
  • enable_math: whether enable Math Formula
  • enable_inline_math: whether enable Inline Math
  • enable_eval_rst: whether Embed reStructuredText is enabled.
  • url_resolver: a function that maps a existing relative position in the document to a http link

Auto Toc Tree

One of important command in tools like sphinx is toctree. This is a command to generate table of contents and tell sphinx about the structure of the documents. In markdown, usually we manually list of contents by a bullet list of url reference to the other documents.

AutoStructify will transforms bullet list of document URLs

* [Title1](
* [Title2](

will be translated to the AST of following reStructuredText code

.. toctree::
   :maxdepth: 1


You can also find the usage of this feature in of this document.

Auto Doc Ref

It is common to refer to another document page in one document. We usually use reference to do that. AutoStructify will translate these reference block into a structured document reference. For example

[API Reference](

will be translated to the AST of following reStructuredText code

:doc:`API Reference </api_ref>`

And it will be rendered as API Reference

URL Resolver

Sometimes in a markdown, we want to refer to the code in the same repo. This can usually be done by a reference by reference path. However, since the generated document is hosted elsewhere, the relative path may not work in generated document site. URL resolver is introduced to solve this problem.

Basically, you can define a function that maps an relative path of document to the http path that you wish to link to. For example, the setting mentioned in the beginning of this document used a resolver that maps the files to github. So [parser code](../recommonmark/ will be translated into parser code

Note that the reference to the internal document will not be passed to url resolver, and will be linked to the internal document pages correctly, see Auto Doc Ref.

Codeblock Extensions

In markdown, you can write codeblocks fenced by (at least) three backticks (```). The following is an example of codeblock.

``` language
some code block

Codeblock extensions are mechanism that specialize certain codeblocks to different render behaviors. The extension will be trigger by the language argument to the codeblck

Syntax Highlight

You can highlight syntax of codeblocks by specifying the language you need. For example,

def function():
    return True

will be rendered as

def function():
    return True

Math Formula

You can normally write latex math formula with math codeblock. See also Inline Math.


E = m c^2

will be rendered as

\[E = m c^2 \]

Embed reStructuredText

Recommonmark also allows embedding reStructuredText syntax in the codeblocks. There are two styles for embedding reStructuredText. The first is enabled by eval_rst codeblock. The content of codeblock will be parsed as reStructuredText and insert into the document. This can be used to quickly introduce some of reStructuredText command that not yet available in markdown. For example,

.. autoclass:: recommonmark.transform.AutoStructify

will be rendered as

class recommonmark.transform.AutoStructify(document, startnode=None)

Bases: docutils.transforms.Transform

Automatically try to transform blocks to sphinx directives.

This class is designed to handle AST generated by CommonMarkParser.

This example used to use sphinx autodoc to insert document of AutoStructify class definition into the document.

The second style is a shorthand of the above style. It allows you to leave off the eval_rst .. portion and directly render directives. For example,

``` important:: Its a note! in markdown!

will be rendered as


Its a note! in markdown!

An Advanced Example

``` sidebar:: Line numbers and highlights

       highlights the lines.
       shows the line numbers as well.
       shown at the top of the code block.
       may be referenced with `:ref:` later.

``` code-block:: markdown
     :emphasize-lines: 3,5
     :caption: An example code-block with everything turned on.
     :name: Full code-block example

     # Comment line
     import System
     # Long lines in code blocks create a auto horizontal scrollbar

will be rendered as

An example code-block with everything turned on.
# Comment line
import System
# Long lines in code blocks create a auto horizontal scrollbar

The <div style="clear: right;"></div> line clears the sidebar for the next title.

Inline Math

Besides the Math Formula, you can also write latex math in inline codeblock text. You can do so by inserting \(\) in the beginning and end of inline codeblock.


This formula `$ y=\sum_{i=1}^n g(x_i) $`

will be rendered as:

This formula \( y=\sum_{i=1}^n g(x_i) \)