help (3)
Dmitry Shachnev Spamalot

This is ReText wiki.

Some useful pages:


For which platforms is ReText available?

ReText is officially supported on Linux.

For Mac OS X, there is a Homebrew repository at https://github.com/samueljohn/homebrew-python

brew tap homebrew/python
brew install retext

Theoretically it can be run on any other platform. If you want to port ReText to your platform, please file a bug and describe required changes.

Why is ReText better than my favourite text editor (Gedit, KWrite)?

It supports text formatting and can save to different file formats (PDF, HTML).

Why is ReText better than my favourite word processor (LibreOffice Writer, KWord, AbiWord)?

Most word processors are very complicated and leave a lot of mess in their output files. ReText gives you the power to control all output formatting. Markdown and reST are WYSIWYM markup languages, so if you save a document as plain text, anyone will be able to see how it has been formatted. ReText also has support for tabs.

What are Markdown and reStructuredText?

Markdown is a text markup language which allows you to create documents of all types (this page is written using Markdown). Some links: website, sourceforge.net guide, basics, syntax, and online renderer.

You may also want to have a look at odt2txt or odt2pandoc scripts that convert ODT files to Markdown files.

reStructuredText is another popular markup language. Some links: website, quick reference, example document, cheat sheet, and online renderer.

Can I use math formulas?

Yes, see MathJax page for details.

Can I use page breaks?

Yes, you can do this in Markdown mode by using "page-break-before: always" style. Example:

Some text here.

Another page starts here.
{: style="page-break-before: always" }

You should enable attr_list Markdown extension before using this (see Configuration file for details).

Why doesn't ReText display title of my reStructuredText document?

When you put a header in the beginning of the file, it's considered as document title, so it won't be displayed. But if you export your document to PDF/HTML, this will be displayed as a title.

According to the specification:

A lone top-level section title can be treated as the document title. Similarly, a lone second-level section title immediately after the "document title" can become the document subtitle. The rest of the sections are then lifted up a level or two. See the DocTitle transform for details.

To work around this issue, put this to your docutils configuration file (i.e. ~/.docutils):

[standalone reader]
doctitle_xform = false

I want to translate ReText into my language.

Anyone is welcome to translate ReText!
There are two ways to do this. The first way is via Transifex web interface.

Alternatively, you can translate the .ts files manually using Qt Linguist. Here are the instructions:

  • Install Qt4 and PyQt4 dev tools (On Ubuntu you need packages qt4-dev-tools, pyqt4-dev-tools, libqt4-dev)
  • Get the code (from Git) and go to its directory
  • Run pylupdate4 retext.py -ts retext_%LANG%.ts (replace %LANG% with code of your language, i.e. retext_fr.ts or retext_pt_BR.ts)
  • Open the generated .ts file with Qt Linguist and make the translation (you can read the one minute guide first)
  • Create a ticket and attach the .ts file there so that we can include it to ReText source code tree
  • Until then, you can compile the translation into a .qm file via Qt Linguist and use it.


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  • Anonymous

    Is it possible to add a menu entry (and keyboard shortcut ideally) to show/hide the button bar? I (like many now) am trying for as minimal a desktop as possible to reduce distractions. Since I don't use any of those buttons (copy, paste, etc.) I'd like to be able to hide the bar.


  • Anonymous

    This is possibly my favourite program, so thanks :-)

    I'd like to change the font size in the text editor. Is this possible?


    • Commited to Git!

      Use editorFontSize setting in the configuration file.

  • MarioZaizar

    Note: right now it's possible to install ReText on Mac OSX Lion.
    You just need install: Python-Markdown~2.0, PyQT-Mac~4.8, Sip~4.12.

    After that you could run the app, but seems like the icons are not being rendered.
    Here is an screenshoot: http://cl.ly/2h2E2f3b3z2R3e410T1k

    May we have some fixes to that specific OSX issues?
    - Mario

    • Hi! You should download the icons pack and extract it into icons sub-directory of your ReText installation directory.

      Last edit: Dmitry Shachnev 2011-09-03

    • Anonymous

      I'd like to try my hand at creating a Homebrew recipe for this.

  • Qt doesn't allow displaying equations in a QTextEdit widget. But you can use pandoc to export to different formats.

    To use it, you need to add a section "Export" to your config file like this:

    rtf=/usr/bin/pandoc -f markdown -t rtf -o %of %if
    docbook=/usr/bin/pandoc -f markdown -t docbook -o %of %if

    where %of and %if will be replaced with input and output filenames at runtime.

    Then you can access this feature via "Export > Other formats". Note: format name should be the same as the extension, since it's appended to the filename.

    Last edit: Dmitry Shachnev 2011-09-03

  • Anonymous

    Dmitry, I just found ReText and I like it very much. I only really miss MathJax. I saw that WebKit support was added only recently -- will you enable javascript support?

    • WebKit engine supports JavaScript. You can enable it by adding useWebKit=true to your configuration file.

      For example, the following link produces an alert window:

      <a onclick="alert('This is JS alert!')">Click here</a>

  • Anonymous

    Hi there!

    Is it possible to implement something like gedit´s external tools? My programming skills are very basic but it would be very useful in order to add some particular features for professional copywriters like me.
    I.E. Several online dictionary look ups, text snippets for automating markup, natural language coulored syntax... Custom shortcuts...

    I'd be glad sharing ideas... If you want to...

    PS. Excuse my language if I made some mistake... English isn't my first or second language :P

    Last edit: Dmitry Shachnev 2012-01-13
    • Syntax highlighting and shortcuts for bold/italics/underlined text are already in git version (which will become 3.0).

      Also, we'll have export extensions there, some other can follow (i.e. actions on selected text).

      Are snippets really needed for Markdown/reST (any examples)? I though tags/symbols boxes are enough for that.


  • Anonymous

    I'm spanish and when I try to type an vowel with accent (á, é, í, ó, ú) get the accent and the vowel sepparated, like 'a, 'e, 'i, 'o and 'u. I must copy-paste the text which is not practical. Is it a bug? Am I missing something?

    • How do you type such characters? I entered Compose + ' + a and got a correct "á" character. I have Qt 4.7.4 installed. If you have problems with the same (or newer) version, please report a bug to Qt bug tracker.

      Last edit: Dmitry Shachnev 2014-11-28

  • Anonymous

    Any chance of adding syntax highlighting to ReText?


  • Anonymous

    Great! I really like the live preview. But I prefer (py)textile over markdown. It allows to add CSS class and id identifiers. So I made a quick hack and changed

     md=markdown.Markdown()   => md=textile


    return md.convert(htmltext)  => md.textile(htmltext)

    and it basically works.

    Would "official" support of textile be a possibility?

    • Looks interesting! I will add support for that in next major release.

      [Update: see my comment below]

      Last edit: Dmitry Shachnev 2012-07-27

      • Anonymous

        Cool! Thank you!!

      • Python-Textile project seems to be unmaintained, they don't even review pull requests... We won't be able to add textile support until they merge the pull request that adds python3 support.


  • Anonymous

    Great program and excellent documentation. You have a small typo on this page, though, that is breaking a link. The link to the Wikipedia page for "WYSIWYM" actually points to "WYSIMYM", which doesn't exist.

    • Thanks, fixed the link!

  • Lorenzo Stanco
    Lorenzo Stanco

    I noticed the exported Google Docs document is updated accross multiple exports until I close and reopen ReText.
    That is, until I left ReText opened, exported document is always the same and get updated on multiple exports (and this is good), but when I close, reopen ReText, reopen my Markdown files and re-export it, a new Google Docs document is created.
    Is it normal? If yes, is there a way to avoid it?

    • Yes, that's normal because the document id is stored in the RAM, not on the disk. I'll try to fix that in the next release, if possible (by the way, in 4.0, Google Docs export will be an export extension, not a standard part of ReText).

  • Lonny

    Wondering if there is a way to theme this? Or at least just have a dark color scheme? Can we manually change some configs somewhere, or will full theming support be forthcoming? Thanks. Otherwise, fully love the program, but I'm still doing most of my typing in FocusWriter to save my eyes.

    • Sure, you can specify a CSS file (documentation) and link it using appStyleSheet option of the configuration file.

      See also ticket 18.


  • Anonymous

    quick report of a minor bug.

    the user is allowed to open infinite nos of print preview window. it is not normal.

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