Sep 16, 2014 - 2 minute read - blag

Simple Pandoc process

So, I recently signed up for a Distributed Systems course at UConn ( It involves a lot of reading and writing reviews. I have always written these class assignments in LaTeX except when I have been expressedly forbidden from using it. However, there’s a whole gamut of problems with writing in LaTeX directly. Partly, you may not always be in a place where your environment is sane. So, being able to store as plaintext/markdown would be awesome. Here’s what I do for the reviews:

  • Every file named after the day it is due – so I don’t have to remember the name of the paper or some other arbitrary thing.

  • Pandoc runs and generates PDF

So, a file for a project due on Sept 9th may look like this and upon run the pandoc command pandoc -V geometry='margin=1in' -f markdown -o sept_9.pdf && open sept_9.pdf your PDF viewer will show you the result. Caveat, this is on a mac, if you are on Linux replace open with xdg-open.


So to make the process even more seamless, I have a Makefile that matches on the basename and compiles it for you:

  pandoc -V geometry='margin=1in' -f markdown -o $*.pdf $*.md && open $*.pdf

So now I just need to run make sept_9 and an updated PDF of that day opens up. I can extend it to support all the format pandoc supports but I’ll leave that until I absolutely must.