Custom Sphinx configuration

Jupyter Book uses the excellent documentation tool Sphinx, to build your book and manage citations, cross-references, and extensibility.

While Jupyter Book comes pre-configured with several Sphinx extensions, power-users may wish to add their own extensions and configuration. This page describes how to do so.


Adding your own Sphinx configuration and extensions may cause Jupyter Book to behave unpredictably. Use at your own risk!

Custom Sphinx extensions

To enable your own Sphinx extensions when building a Jupyter Book, use the following configuration in your _config.yml file:

   - extension1
   - extension2

Any extensions that are listed will be appended to the list of Sphinx extensions at build time.


Make sure that you have your extension installed on your machine, or Sphinx won’t know how to build the extensions.

An example: sphinx-tabs

For example, let’s say you’d like to include tabbed content in your book. There is a sphinx-extension for that. To enable it, we’ll do the following:

  • Install sphinx-tabs. Here’s the command to do so:

    pip install sphinx-tabs
  • Add sphinx-tabs content to your book. Here’s an example with MyST markdown:

    ```{tab} Line one
    Beautiful is better than ugly. ✨
    ```{tab} Line two
    Explicit is better than implicit. ❗
    ```{tab} Line three
    Simple is better than complex. 😵
  • Activate sphinx-tabs in _config.yml. The sphinx-tabs documentation says we activate it in sphinx by adding extensions = ["sphinx_tabs.tabs"], so we’ll add it to our Jupyter Book like so:

      - sphinx_tabs.tabs

Now, Jupyter Book will know how to interpret the {tabs} directive (and any other directives that sphinx-tabs supports).

For example, here is a rendered version of the tab code pasted above:

The Zen of Python, in 3 tabs.

Beautiful is better than ugly. ✨

Explicit is better than implicit. ❗

Simple is better than complex. 😵

Custom CSS or Javascript

If you’d like to include custom CSS rules or Javascript scripts in your book, you can do so by adding them to a folder called _static in your book’s folder. Any files that end in .css or .js in this folder will automatically be copied into your built book HTML and linked in the header of each page.

For example, to include a custom CSS file myfile.css in a Jupyter Book folder with the following structure:

├── _config.yml
├── _toc.yml

Add the static file here:

├── _config.yml
├── _toc.yml
└── _static
    └── myfile.css

The rules should then automatically be applied to your site. In general, these CSS and JS files will be loaded after others are loaded on your page, so they should overwrite pre-existing rules and behaviour.

An example: Justify the text

If you want the text of you book to be justified instead of left aligned then create myfile.css under mybook/_static with the following CSS:

p {
    text-align: justify;

Manual sphinx configuration

You may also directly override the key-value pairs that Sphinx normally has you configure in To do so, use the following section of _config.yml:

    key1: value1
    key2: value2


Any options set in this section will override default configurations set by Jupyter Book. Use at your own risk!


If you wish to inspect a representation of the generated configuration, which Jupyter Book will pass to Sphinx, you can run from the command-line:

jb config sphinx mybookname/

Fine control of parsing and execution

As discussed in the components of Jupyter Book, two of the principle components of Jupyter Book are sphinx extensions; MyST-Parser, for Markdown parsing, and MyST-NB, for notebook execution and output rendering.

These two extensions are highly customisable via Sphinx configuration. Some their configuration is already exposed in the _config.yml, but you can also directly set configuration, see:

Defining TeX Macros

You can add LaTeX macros for the whole book by defining them under the Macros option of the TeX block. For example, the following two macros have been pre-defined in the Sphinx configuration

          "N": "\\mathbb{N}"
          "floor": ["\\lfloor#1\\rfloor", 1]
          "bmat" : ["\\left[\\begin{array}"]
          "emat" : ["\\end{array}\\right]"]

You can also define TeX macros for a specific file by introducing them at the beginning of the file under a math directive. For example



The commands can be used inside a math directive, $$ or inline $, for example:

A = \bmat{} 1 & 1 \\ 2 & 1\\ 3 & 2 \emat{},\ b=\bmat{} 2\\ 3 \\ 4\emat{},\ \gamma = 0.5

will be rendered as:

\[\begin{split} A = \bmat{} 1 & 1 \\ 2 & 1\\ 3 & 2 \emat{},\ b=\bmat{} 2\\ 3 \\ 4\emat{},\ \gamma = 0.5 \end{split}\]


To have “bare” LaTeX rendered in HTML, you must either set in your _config.yml:

  myst_extended_syntax: true

or more specifically:

    myst_amsmath_enable: true

Then you can include:

  \int_0^\infty \frac{x^3}{e^x-1}\,dx = \frac{\pi^4}{15}
(4)\[\begin{equation} \int_0^\infty \frac{x^3}{e^x-1}\,dx = \frac{\pi^4}{15} \end{equation}\]