LaTeX customization

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LaTeX customization

Unlike the HTML builders, the latex builder does not benefit from prepared themes. The Options for LaTeX output, and particularly the latex_elements variable, provides much of the interface for customization. For example:

# inside
latex_engine = 'xelatex'
latex_elements = {
    'fontpkg': r'''
\setmainfont{DejaVu Serif}
\setsansfont{DejaVu Sans}
\setmonofont{DejaVu Sans Mono}
    'preamble': r'''
\cftsetpnumwidth {1.25cm}\cftsetrmarg{1.5cm}
    'fncychap': r'\usepackage[Bjornstrup]{fncychap}',
    'printindex': r'\footnotesize\raggedright\printindex',
latex_show_urls = 'footnote'


Keep in mind that backslashes must be doubled in Python string literals to avoid interpretation as escape sequences. Alternatively, you may use raw strings as is done above.

The latex_elements configuration setting

A dictionary that contains LaTeX snippets overriding those Sphinx usually puts into the generated .tex files. Its 'sphinxsetup' key is described separately.

Keys that you may want to override include:


Paper size option of the document class ('a4paper' or 'letterpaper')

Default: 'letterpaper'


Point size option of the document class ('10pt', '11pt' or '12pt')

Default: '10pt'


The value of the px when used in image attributes width and height. The default value is '0.75bp' which achieves 96px=1in (in TeX 1in = 72bp = 72.27pt.) To obtain for example 100px=1in use '0.01in' or '0.7227pt' (the latter leads to TeX computing a more precise value, due to the smaller unit used in the specification); for 72px=1in, simply use '1bp'; for 90px=1in, use '0.8bp' or '0.803pt'.

Default: '0.75bp'

New in version 1.5.


A string which will be positioned early in the preamble, designed to contain \\PassOptionsToPackage{options}{foo} commands.


It may be also used for loading LaTeX packages very early in the preamble. For example package fancybox is incompatible with being loaded via the 'preamble' key, it must be loaded earlier.


New in version 1.4.


“babel” package inclusion, default '\\usepackage{babel}' (the suitable document language string is passed as class option, and english is used if no language.) For Japanese documents, the default is the empty string.

With XeLaTeX and LuaLaTeX, Sphinx configures the LaTeX document to use polyglossia, but one should be aware that current babel has improved its support for Unicode engines in recent years and for some languages it may make sense to prefer babel over polyglossia.


After modifiying a core LaTeX key like this one, clean up the LaTeX build repertory before next PDF build, else left-over auxiliary files are likely to break the build.

Default: '\\usepackage{babel}' ( for Japanese documents)

Changed in version 1.5: For latex_engine set to 'xelatex', the default is '\\usepackage{polyglossia}\n\\setmainlanguage{}'.

Changed in version 1.6: 'lualatex' uses same default setting as 'xelatex'

Changed in version 1.7.6: For French, xelatex and lualatex default to using babel, not polyglossia.


Font package inclusion. The default is:


For 'xelatex' and 'lualatex' however the default is to use the GNU FreeFont.

Changed in version 1.2: Defaults to when the language uses the Cyrillic script.

Changed in version 2.0: Incorporates some font substitution commands to help support occasional Greek or Cyrillic in a document using 'pdflatex' engine.

Changed in version 4.0.0:

  • The font substitution commands added at 2.0 have been moved to the 'fontsubstitution' key, as their presence here made it complicated for user to customize the value of 'fontpkg'.

  • The default font setting has changed: it still uses Times and Helvetica clones for serif and sans serif, but via better, more complete TeX fonts and associated LaTeX packages. The monospace font has been changed to better match the Times clone.


Inclusion of the “fncychap” package (which makes fancy chapter titles), default '\\usepackage[Bjarne]{fncychap}' for English documentation (this option is slightly customized by Sphinx), '\\usepackage[Sonny]{fncychap}' for internationalized docs (because the “Bjarne” style uses numbers spelled out in English). Other “fncychap” styles you can try are “Lenny”, “Glenn”, “Conny”, “Rejne” and “Bjornstrup”. You can also set this to to disable fncychap.

Default: '\\usepackage[Bjarne]{fncychap}' for English documents, '\\usepackage[Sonny]{fncychap}' for internationalized documents, and for Japanese documents.


Additional preamble content. One may move all needed macros into some file mystyle.tex.txt of the project source repertory, and get LaTeX to import it at run time:

'preamble': r'\input{mystyle.tex.txt}',
# or, if the \ProvidesPackage LaTeX macro is used in a file mystyle.sty
'preamble': r'\usepackage{mystyle}',

It is then needed to set appropriately latex_additional_files, for example:

latex_additional_files = ["mystyle.sty"]



Latex figure float alignment. Whenever an image doesn’t fit into the current page, it will be ‘floated’ into the next page but may be preceded by any other text. If you don’t like this behavior, use ‘H’ which will disable floating and position figures strictly in the order they appear in the source.

Default: 'htbp' (here, top, bottom, page)

New in version 1.3.


Additional document content (right before the indices).


New in version 1.5.


Additional LaTeX packages. For example:

latex_elements = {
    'packages': r'\usepackage{isodate}'

The specified LaTeX packages will be loaded before hyperref package and packages loaded from Sphinx extensions.


If you’d like to load additional LaTeX packages after hyperref, use 'preamble' key instead.


New in version 2.3.


Additional footer content (before the indices).


Deprecated since version 1.5: Use 'atendofbody' key instead.

Keys that don’t need to be overridden unless in special cases are:


The default is the empty string. Example: 'extraclassoptions': 'openany' will allow chapters (for documents of the 'manual' type) to start on any page.


New in version 1.2.

Changed in version 1.6: Added this documentation.


LaTeX allows by default at most 6 levels for nesting list and quote-like environments, with at most 4 enumerated lists, and 4 bullet lists. Setting this key for example to '10' (as a string) will allow up to 10 nested levels (of all sorts). Leaving it to the empty string means to obey the LaTeX default.


  • Using this key may prove incompatible with some LaTeX packages or special document classes which do their own list customization.

  • The key setting is silently ignored if \usepackage{enumitem} is executed inside the document preamble. Use then rather the dedicated commands of this LaTeX package.

Default: 6

New in version 1.5.


“inputenc” package inclusion.

Default: '\\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}' when using pdflatex, else .


If using utf8x in place of utf8 it is mandatory to extend the LaTeX preamble with suitable \PreloadUnicodePage{} commands, as per the utf8x documentation (texdoc ucs on a TeXLive based TeX installation). Else, unexpected and possibly hard-to-spot problems (i.e. not causing a build crash) may arise in the PDF, in particular regarding hyperlinks.

Even if these precautions are taken, PDF build via pdflatex engine may crash due to upstream LaTeX not being fully compatible with utf8x. For example, in certain circumstances related to code-blocks, or attempting to include images whose filenames contain Unicode characters. Indeed, starting in 2015, upstream LaTeX with pdflatex engine has somewhat enhanced native support for Unicode and is becoming more and more incompatible with utf8x. In particular, since the October 2019 LaTeX release, filenames can use Unicode characters, and even spaces. At Sphinx level this means e.g. that the image and figure directives are now compatible with such filenames for PDF via LaTeX output. But this is broken if utf8x is in use.

Changed in version 1.4.3: Previously '\\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}' was used for all compilers.


“cmap” package inclusion.

Default: '\\usepackage{cmap}'

New in version 1.2.


Customize this from its default '\\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}' to:

  • '\\usepackage[X2,T1]{fontenc}' if you need occasional Cyrillic letters (физика частиц),

  • '\\usepackage[LGR,T1]{fontenc}' if you need occasional Greek letters (Σωματιδιακή φυσική).

Use [LGR,X2,T1] rather if both are needed.


  • Do not use this key for a latex_engine other than 'pdflatex'.

  • If Greek is main language, do not use this key. Since Sphinx 2.2.1, xelatex will be used automatically as latex_engine.

  • The TeX installation may need some extra packages. For example, on Ubuntu xenial, packages texlive-lang-greek and cm-super are needed for LGR to work. And texlive-lang-cyrillic and cm-super are needed for support of Cyrillic.

Changed in version 1.5: Defaults to '\\usepackage{fontspec}' when latex_engine is 'xelatex'.

Changed in version 1.6: 'lualatex' uses fontspec per default like 'xelatex'.

Changed in version 2.0: 'lualatex' executes \defaultfontfeatures[\rmfamily,\sffamily]{} to disable TeX ligatures transforming << and >> as escaping working with pdflatex/xelatex failed with lualatex.

Changed in version 2.0: Detection of LGR, T2A, X2 to trigger support of occasional Greek or Cyrillic letters ('pdflatex').

Changed in version 2.3.0: 'xelatex' executes \defaultfontfeatures[\rmfamily,\sffamily]{} in order to avoid contractions of -- into en-dash or transforms of straight quotes into curly ones in PDF (in non-literal text paragraphs) despite smartquotes being set to False.


Ignored if 'fontenc' was not configured to use LGR or X2 (or T2A). In case 'fontpkg' key is configured for usage with some TeX fonts known to be available in the LGR or X2 encodings, set this one to be the empty string. Else leave to its default.

Ignored with latex_engine other than 'pdflatex'.

New in version 4.0.0.


For the support of occasional Greek letters.

It is ignored with 'platex', 'xelatex' or 'lualatex' as latex_engine and defaults to either the empty string or to '\\usepackage{textalpha}' for 'pdflatex' depending on whether the 'fontenc' key was used with LGR or not. Only expert LaTeX users may want to customize this key.

It can also be used as r'\usepackage{textalpha,alphabeta}' to let 'pdflatex' support Greek Unicode input in math context. For example :math:`α` (U+03B1) will render as \(\alpha\).

Default: '\\usepackage{textalpha}' or if fontenc does not include the LGR option.

New in version 2.0.


“geometry” package inclusion, the default definition is:


with an additional [dvipdfm] for Japanese documents. The Sphinx LaTeX style file executes:


which can be customized via corresponding ‘sphinxsetup’ options.

Default: '\\usepackage{geometry}' (or '\\usepackage[dvipdfm]{geometry}' for Japanese documents)

New in version 1.5.

Changed in version 1.5.2: dvipdfm option if latex_engine is 'platex'.

New in version 1.5.3: The ‘sphinxsetup’ keys for the margins.

Changed in version 1.5.3: The location in the LaTeX file has been moved to after \usepackage{sphinx} and \sphinxsetup{..}, hence also after insertion of 'fontpkg' key. This is in order to handle the paper layout options in a special way for Japanese documents: the text width will be set to an integer multiple of the zenkaku width, and the text height to an integer multiple of the baseline. See the hmargin documentation for more.


“hyperref” package inclusion; also loads package “hypcap” and issues \urlstyle{same}. This is done after sphinx.sty file is loaded and before executing the contents of 'preamble' key.


Loading of packages “hyperref” and “hypcap” is mandatory.

New in version 1.5: Previously this was done from inside sphinx.sty.


“maketitle” call. Override if you want to generate a differently styled title page.


If the key value is set to r'\newcommand\sphinxbackoftitlepage{}\sphinxmaketitle', then will be typeset on back of title page ('manual' docclass only).

Default: '\\sphinxmaketitle'

Changed in version 1.8.3: Original \maketitle from document class is not overwritten, hence is re-usable as part of some custom setting for this key.

New in version 1.8.3: \sphinxbackoftitlepage optional macro. It can also be defined inside 'preamble' key rather than this one.


Value that prefixes 'release' element on title page. As for title and author used in the tuples of latex_documents, it is inserted as LaTeX markup.

Default: 'Release'


“tableofcontents” call. The default of '\\sphinxtableofcontents' is a wrapper of unmodified \tableofcontents, which may itself be customized by user loaded packages. Override if you want to generate a different table of contents or put content between the title page and the TOC.

Default: '\\sphinxtableofcontents'

Changed in version 1.5: Previously the meaning of \tableofcontents itself was modified by Sphinx. This created an incompatibility with dedicated packages modifying it also such as “tocloft” or “etoc”.


Commands used to display transitions. Override if you want to display transitions differently.

Default: '\n\n\\bigskip\\hrule\\bigskip\n\n'

New in version 1.2.

Changed in version 1.6: Remove unneeded {} after \\hrule.


“makeindex” call, the last thing before \begin{document}. With '\\usepackage[columns=1]{idxlayout}\\makeindex' the index will use only one column. You may have to install idxlayout LaTeX package.

Default: '\\makeindex'


“printindex” call, the last thing in the file. Override if you want to generate the index differently, append some content after the index, or change the font. As LaTeX uses two-column mode for the index it is often advisable to set this key to '\\footnotesize\\raggedright\\printindex'. Or, to obtain a one-column index, use '\\def\\twocolumn[#1]{#1}\\printindex' (this trick may fail if using a custom document class; then try the idxlayout approach described in the documentation of the 'makeindex' key).

Default: '\\printindex'


Customization of fancyvrb LaTeX package.

The default value is '\\fvset{fontsize=auto}' which means that the font size will adjust correctly if a code-block ends up in a footnote. You may need to modify this if you use custom fonts: '\\fvset{fontsize=\\small}' if the monospace font is Courier-like.

Default: '\\fvset{fontsize=auto}'

New in version 1.8.

Changed in version 2.0: For 'xelatex' and 'lualatex' defaults to '\\fvset{fontsize=\\small}' as this is adapted to the relative widths of the FreeFont family.

Changed in version 4.0.0: Changed default for 'pdflatex'. Previously it was using '\\fvset{fontsize=\\small}'.

Changed in version 4.1.0: Changed default for Chinese documents to '\\fvset{fontsize=\\small,formatcom=\\xeCJKVerbAddon}'

Keys that are set by other options and therefore should not be overridden are:

'docclass' 'classoptions' 'title' 'release' 'author'

The sphinxsetup configuration setting

New in version 1.5.

The 'sphinxsetup' key of latex_elements provides a LaTeX-type customization interface:

latex_elements = {
    'sphinxsetup': 'key1=value1, key2=value2, ...',

It defaults to empty. If non-empty, it will be passed as argument to the \sphinxsetup macro inside the document preamble, like this:

\sphinxsetup{key1=value1, key2=value2,...}

The colors used in the above are provided by the svgnames option of the “xcolor” package:

latex_elements = {
    'passoptionstopackages': r'\PassOptionsToPackage{svgnames}{xcolor}',

It is possible to insert further uses of the \sphinxsetup LaTeX macro directly into the body of the document, via the help of the raw directive. This chapter is styled in the PDF output using the following at the start of the chaper:

.. raw:: latex


The below is included at the end of the chapter:

.. raw:: latex


LaTeX syntax for boolean keys requires lowercase true or false e.g 'sphinxsetup': "verbatimwrapslines=false". If setting the boolean key to true, =true is optional. Spaces around the commas and equal signs are ignored, spaces inside LaTeX macros may be significant. Do not use quotes to enclose values, whether numerical or strings.


Controls the depth of the collapsable bookmarks panel in the PDF. May be either a number (e.g. 3) or a LaTeX sectioning name (e.g. subsubsection, i.e. without backslash). For details, refer to the hyperref LaTeX docs.

Default: 5

New in version 4.0.0.

hmargin, vmargin

The dimensions of the horizontal (resp. vertical) margins, passed as hmargin (resp. vmargin) option to the geometry package. Example:

'sphinxsetup': 'hmargin={2in,1.5in}, vmargin={1.5in,2in}, marginpar=1in',

Japanese documents currently accept only the one-dimension format for these parameters. The geometry package is then passed suitable options to get the text width set to an exact multiple of the zenkaku width, and the text height set to an integer multiple of the baselineskip, with the closest fit for the margins.

Default: 1in (equivalent to {1in,1in})


For Japanese 'manual' docclass with pointsize 11pt or 12pt, use the nomag extra document class option (cf. 'extraclassoptions' key of latex_elements) or so-called TeX “true” units:

'sphinxsetup': 'hmargin=1.5truein, vmargin=1.5truein, marginpar=5zw',

New in version 1.5.3.


The \marginparwidth LaTeX dimension. For Japanese documents, the value is modified to be the closest integer multiple of the zenkaku width.

Default: 0.5in

New in version 1.5.3.


Boolean to specify if code-blocks and literal includes are framed. Setting it to false does not deactivate use of package “framed”, because it is still in use for the optional background colour.

Default: true.


Boolean to specify if long lines in code-block‘s contents are wrapped.

If true, line breaks may happen at spaces (the last space before the line break will be rendered using a special symbol), and at ascii punctuation characters (i.e. not at letters or digits). Whenever a long string has no break points, it is moved to next line. If its length is longer than the line width it will overflow.

Default: true


Boolean to specify if long lines in code-block‘s contents should be forcefully wrapped to never overflow due to long strings.


It is assumed that the Pygments LaTeXFormatter has not been used with its texcomments or similar options which allow additional (arbitrary) LaTeX mark-up.

Also, in case of latex_engine set to 'pdflatex', only the default LaTeX handling of Unicode code points, i.e. utf8 not utf8x is allowed.

Default: false

New in version 3.5.0.


A number. If an unbreakable long string has length larger than the total linewidth plus this number of characters, and if verbatimforcewraps mode is on, the input line will be reset using the forceful algorithm which applies breakpoints at each character.

Default: 3

New in version 3.5.0.


A number. If verbatimforcewraps mode applies, and if after applying the line wrapping at spaces and punctuation, the first part of the split line is lacking at least that number of characters to fill the available width, then the input line will be reset using the forceful algorithm.

As the default is set to a high value, the forceful algorithm is triggered only in overfull case, i.e. in presence of a string longer than full linewidth. Set this to 0 to force all input lines to be hard wrapped at the current available linewidth:

latex_elements = {
    'sphinxsetup': "verbatimforcewraps, verbatimmaxunderfull=0",

This can be done locally for a given code-block via the use of raw latex directives to insert suitable \sphinxsetup (before and after) into the latex file.

Default: 100

New in version 3.5.0.


Boolean to specify if code-blocks display “continued on next page” and “continued from previous page” hints in case of pagebreaks.

Default: true

New in version 1.6.3.

Changed in version 1.7: the default changed from false to true.

verbatimcontinuedalign, verbatimcontinuesalign

Horizontal position relative to the framed contents: either l (left aligned), r (right aligned) or c (centered).

Default: r

New in version 1.7.


Boolean to specify if long lines in parsed-literal‘s contents should wrap.

Default: true

New in version 1.5.2: set this option value to false to recover former behaviour.


Boolean to specify if line breaks are allowed inside inline literals: but extra potential break-points (additionally to those allowed by LaTeX at spaces or for hyphenation) are currently inserted only after the characters . , ; ? ! / and \. Due to TeX internals, white space in the line will be stretched (or shrunk) in order to accommodate the linebreak.

Default: true

New in version 1.5: set this option value to false to recover former behaviour.

Changed in version 2.3.0: added potential breakpoint at \ characters.


When a long code line is split, the last space character from the source code line right before the linebreak location is typeset using this.

Default: \textcolor{red}{\textvisiblespace}


A LaTeX macro inserted at start of continuation code lines. Its (complicated…) default typesets a small red hook pointing to the right:


Changed in version 1.5: The breaking of long code lines was added at 1.4.2. The default definition of the continuation symbol was changed at 1.5 to accommodate various font sizes (e.g. code-blocks can be in footnotes).


The colour for titles (as configured via use of package “titlesec”.)

Default: {rgb}{0.126,0.263,0.361}


Colours set via 'sphinxsetup' must obey the syntax of the argument of the color/xcolor packages \definecolor command.


A colour passed to hyperref as value of linkcolor and citecolor.

Default: {rgb}{0.208,0.374,0.486}.


A colour passed to hyperref as value of filecolor, menucolor, and urlcolor.

Default: {rgb}{0.216,0.439,0.388}


The background colour for code-blocks.

Default: {rgb}{1,1,1} (white)


The frame color.

Default: {rgb}{0,0,0} (black)


The color for highlighted lines.

Default: {rgb}{0.878,1,1}

New in version 1.6.6.


Starting with this colour, and for all others following, the names declared to “color” or “xcolor” are prefixed with “sphinx”.


The separation between code lines and the frame.

Default: \fboxsep


The width of the frame around code-blocks.

Default: \fboxrule


The separation between contents and frame for contents and topic boxes.

Default: 5pt


The width of the lateral “shadow” to the right.

Default: 4pt


The width of the frame around topic boxes.

Default: \fboxrule

noteBorderColor, hintBorderColor, importantBorderColor, tipBorderColor

The colour for the two horizontal rules used by Sphinx in LaTeX for styling a note type admonition.

Default: {rgb}{0,0,0} (black)

noteborder, hintborder, importantborder, tipborder

The width of the two horizontal rules.

Default: 0.5pt

warningBorderColor, cautionBorderColor, attentionBorderColor, dangerBorderColor, errorBorderColor
The colour for the admonition frame.

Default: {rgb}{0,0,0} (black)

warningBgColor, cautionBgColor, attentionBgColor, dangerBgColor, errorBgColor

The background colours for the respective admonitions.

Default: {rgb}{1,1,1} (white)

warningborder, cautionborder, attentionborder, dangerborder, errorborder

The width of the frame.

Default: 1pt


LaTeX macros inserted at the start of the footnote text at bottom of page, after the footnote number.

Default: \mbox{ }


LaTeX macros inserted before the footnote mark. The default removes possible space before it (else, TeX could insert a line break there).

Default: \leavevmode\unskip

New in version 1.5.


default \sffamily\bfseries. Sets the font used by headings.

LaTeX macros and environments

The “LaTeX package” file sphinx.sty loads various components providing support macros (aka commands), and environments, which are used in the mark-up produced on output from the latex builder, before conversion to pdf via the LaTeX toolchain. Also the “LaTeX class” files sphinxhowto.cls and sphinxmanual.cls define or customize some environments. All of these files can be found in the latex build repertory.

Some of these provide facilities not available from pre-existing LaTeX packages and work around LaTeX limitations with lists, table cells, verbatim rendering, footnotes, etc…

Others simply define macros with public names to make overwriting their defaults easy via user-added contents to the preamble. We will survey most of those public names here, but defaults have to be looked at in their respective definition files.


Sphinx LaTeX support code is split across multiple smaller-sized files. Rather than adding code to the preamble via latex_elements['preamble'] it is also possible to replace entirely one of the component files of Sphinx LaTeX code with a custom version, simply by including a modified copy in the project source and adding the filename to the latex_additional_files list. Check the LaTeX build repertory for the filenames and contents.

Changed in version 4.0.0: split of sphinx.sty into multiple smaller units, to facilitate customization of many aspects simultaneously.


  • Text styling commands:

    • \sphinxstrong,

    • \sphinxbfcode,

    • \sphinxemail,

    • \sphinxtablecontinued,

    • \sphinxtitleref,

    • \sphinxmenuselection,

    • \sphinxaccelerator,

    • \sphinxcrossref,

    • \sphinxtermref,

    • \sphinxoptional.

    New in version 1.4.5: Use of \sphinx prefixed macro names to limit possibilities of conflict with LaTeX packages.

  • More text styling:

    • \sphinxstyleindexentry,

    • \sphinxstyleindexextra,

    • \sphinxstyleindexpageref,

    • \sphinxstyletopictitle,

    • \sphinxstylesidebartitle,

    • \sphinxstyleothertitle,

    • \sphinxstylesidebarsubtitle,

    • \sphinxstyletheadfamily,

    • \sphinxstyleemphasis,

    • \sphinxstyleliteralemphasis,

    • \sphinxstylestrong,

    • \sphinxstyleliteralstrong,

    • \sphinxstyleabbreviation,

    • \sphinxstyleliteralintitle,

    • \sphinxstylecodecontinued,

    • \sphinxstylecodecontinues.

    New in version 1.5: These macros were formerly hard-coded as non customizable \texttt, \emph, etc…

    New in version 1.6: \sphinxstyletheadfamily which defaults to \sffamily and allows multiple paragraphs in header cells of tables.

    New in version 1.6.3: \sphinxstylecodecontinued and \sphinxstylecodecontinues.

    New in version 3.0: \sphinxkeyboard

  • \sphinxtableofcontents: A wrapper (defined differently in sphinxhowto.cls and in sphinxmanual.cls) of standard \tableofcontents. The macro \sphinxtableofcontentshook is executed during its expansion right before \tableofcontents itself.

    Changed in version 1.5: Formerly, the meaning of \tableofcontents was modified by Sphinx.

    Changed in version 2.0: Hard-coded redefinitions of \[email protected] and \[email protected] formerly done during loading of 'manual' docclass are now executed later via \sphinxtableofcontentshook. This macro is also executed by the 'howto' docclass, but defaults to empty with it.

  • \sphinxmaketitle: Used as the default setting of the 'maketitle' latex_elements key. Defined in the class files sphinxmanual.cls and sphinxhowto.cls.

    Changed in version 1.8.3: Formerly, \maketitle from LaTeX document class was modified by Sphinx.

  • \sphinxbackoftitlepage: For 'manual' docclass, and if it is defined, it gets executed at end of \sphinxmaketitle, before the final \clearpage. Use either the 'maketitle' key or the 'preamble' key of latex_elements to add a custom definition of \sphinxbackoftitlepage.

    New in version 1.8.3.

  • \sphinxcite: A wrapper of standard \cite for citation references.


  • A figure may have an optional legend with arbitrary body elements: they are rendered in a sphinxlegend environment. The default definition issues \small, and ends with \par.

    New in version 1.5.6: Formerly, the \small was hardcoded in LaTeX writer and the ending \par was lacking.

  • Environments associated with admonitions:

    • sphinxnote,

    • sphinxhint,

    • sphinximportant,

    • sphinxtip,

    • sphinxwarning,

    • sphinxcaution,

    • sphinxattention,

    • sphinxdanger,

    • sphinxerror.

    They may be \renewenvironment ‘d individually, and must then be defined with one argument (it is the heading of the notice, for example Warning: for warning directive, if English is the document language). Their default definitions use either the sphinxheavybox (for the last 5 ones) or the sphinxlightbox environments, configured to use the parameters (colours, border thickness) specific to each type, which can be set via 'sphinxsetup' string.

    Changed in version 1.5: Use of public environment names, separate customizability of the parameters, such as noteBorderColor, noteborder, warningBgColor, warningBorderColor, warningborder, …

  • The contents directive (with :local: option) and the topic directive are implemented by environment sphinxShadowBox.

    New in version 1.4.2: Former code refactored into an environment allowing page breaks.

    Changed in version 1.5: Options shadowsep, shadowsize, shadowrule.

  • The literal blocks (via :: or code-block), are implemented using sphinxVerbatim environment which is a wrapper of Verbatim environment from package fancyvrb.sty. It adds the handling of the top caption and the wrapping of long lines, and a frame which allows pagebreaks. Inside tables the used environment is sphinxVerbatimintable (it does not draw a frame, but allows a caption).

    Changed in version 1.5: Verbatim keeps exact same meaning as in fancyvrb.sty (also under the name OriginalVerbatim); sphinxVerbatimintable is used inside tables.

    New in version 1.5: Options verbatimwithframe, verbatimwrapslines, verbatimsep, verbatimborder.

    New in version 1.6.6: Support for :emphasize-lines: option

    New in version 1.6.6: Easier customizability of the formatting via exposed to user LaTeX macros such as \sphinxVerbatimHighlightLine.

  • The bibliography uses sphinxthebibliography and the Python Module index as well as the general index both use sphinxtheindex; these environments are wrappers of the thebibliography and respectively theindex environments as provided by the document class (or packages).

    Changed in version 1.5: Formerly, the original environments were modified by Sphinx.


  • Every text paragraph in document body starts with \sphinxAtStartPar. Currently, this is used to insert a zero width horizontal skip which is a trick to allow TeX hyphenation of the first word of a paragraph in a narrow context (like a table cell). For 'lualatex' which does not need the trick, the \sphinxAtStartPar does nothing.

    New in version 3.5.0.

  • The section, subsection, … headings are set using titlesec’s \titleformat command.

  • For the 'manual' docclass, the chapter headings can be customized using fncychap’s commands \ChNameVar, \ChNumVar, \ChTitleVar. File sphinx.sty has custom re-definitions in case of fncychap option Bjarne.

    Changed in version 1.5: Formerly, use of fncychap with other styles than Bjarne was dysfunctional.


As an experimental feature, Sphinx can use user-defined template file for LaTeX source if you have a file named _templates/latex.tex_t in your project.

Additional files longtable.tex_t, tabulary.tex_t and tabular.tex_t can be added to _templates/ to configure some aspects of table rendering (such as the caption position).

New in version 1.6: currently all template variables are unstable and undocumented.