reStructuredText Standard Definition Files

Author: David Goodger
Revision: 7302
Date: 2012-01-03
Copyright: This document has been placed in the public domain.


This document describes standard definition files, such as sets of substitution definitions and interpreted text roles, that can be included in reStructuredText documents. The "include" directive has a special syntax for these standard definition files, angle brackets around the file name:

.. include:: <filename.txt>

The individual data files are stored with the Docutils source code in the "docutils" package, in the docutils/parsers/rst/include directory.

Substitution Definitions

Many of the standard definition files contain sets of substitution definitions, which can be used in documents via substitution references. For example, the copyright symbol is defined in isonum.txt as "copy":

.. include:: <isonum.txt>

Copyright |copy| 2003 by John Q. Public, all rights reserved.

Individual substitution definitions can also be copied from definition files and pasted into documents. This has two advantages: it removes dependencies, and it saves processing of unused definitions. However, multiple substitution definitions add clutter to the document.

Substitution references require separation from the surrounding text with whitespace or punctuation. To use a substitution without intervening whitespace, you can use the disappearing-whitespace escape sequence, backslash-space:

.. include:: isonum.txt

Copyright |copy| 2003, BogusMegaCorp\ |trade|.

Custom substitution definitions may use the "unicode" directive. Whitespace is ignored and removed, effectively sqeezing together the text:

.. |copy|   unicode:: U+000A9 .. COPYRIGHT SIGN
.. |BogusMegaCorp (TM)| unicode:: BogusMegaCorp U+2122
   .. with trademark sign

Copyright |copy| 2003, |BogusMegaCorp (TM)|.

In addition, the "ltrim", "rtrim", and "trim" options may be used with the "unicode" directive to automatically trim spaces from the left, right, or both sides (respectively) of substitution references:

.. |---| unicode:: U+02014 .. em dash

Character Entity Sets

The following files contain substitution definitions corresponding to XML character entity sets, from the following standards: ISO 8879 & ISO 9573-13 (combined), MathML, and XHTML1. They were generated by the tools/dev/ program from the input file unicode.xml, which is maintained as part of the MathML 2 Recommentation XML source.

Entity Set File Description
isoamsa.txt Added Mathematical Symbols: Arrows
isoamsb.txt Added Mathematical Symbols: Binary Operators
isoamsc.txt Added Mathematical Symbols: Delimiters
isoamsn.txt Added Mathematical Symbols: Negated Relations
isoamso.txt Added Mathematical Symbols: Ordinary
isoamsr.txt Added Mathematical Symbols: Relations
isobox.txt Box and Line Drawing
isocyr1.txt Russian Cyrillic
isocyr2.txt Non-Russian Cyrillic
isodia.txt Diacritical Marks
isogrk1.txt Greek Letters
isogrk2.txt Monotoniko Greek
isogrk3.txt Greek Symbols
isogrk4.txt [1] Alternative Greek Symbols
isolat1.txt Added Latin 1
isolat2.txt Added Latin 2
isomfrk.txt [1] Mathematical Fraktur
isomopf.txt [1] Mathematical Openface (Double-struck)
isomscr.txt [1] Mathematical Script
isonum.txt Numeric and Special Graphic
isopub.txt Publishing
isotech.txt General Technical
mmlalias.txt MathML aliases for entities from other sets
mmlextra.txt [1] Extra names added by MathML
xhtml1-lat1.txt XHTML Latin 1
xhtml1-special.txt XHTML Special Characters
xhtml1-symbol.txt XHTML Mathematical, Greek and Symbolic Characters
[1](1, 2, 3, 4, 5) There are *-wide.txt variants for each of these character entity set files, containing characters outside of the Unicode basic multilingual plane or BMP (wide-Unicode; code points greater than U+FFFF). Most pre-built Python distributions are "narrow" and do not support wide-Unicode characters. Python can be built with wide-Unicode support though; consult the Python build instructions for details.

For example, the copyright symbol is defined as the XML character entity &copy;. The equivalent reStructuredText substitution reference (defined in both isonum.txt and xhtml1-lat1.txt) is |copy|.

S5/HTML Definitions

The "s5defs.txt" standard definition file contains interpreted text roles (classes) and other definitions for documents destined to become S5/HTML slide shows.