Build your book

Once you’ve added content and configured your book, it’s time to build outputs for your book. We’ll use the jupyter-book build command line tool for this.

Currently, there are two kinds of supported outputs: an HTML website for your book, and a PDF that contains all of the pages of your book that is built from the book HTML. In this tutorial, we’ll focus on building HTML outputs.


In order to build the HTML for each page, you should have followed the steps in Overview and Create your book’s source files. You should have a collection of notebook/Markdown files in your mybookname/ folder, a _toc.yml file that defines the structure of your book, and any configuration you’d like in the _config.yml file.

Build your book’s HTML

Now that your book’s content is in your book folder and you’ve defined your book’s structure in _toc.yml, you can build the HTML for your book.

Do so by running the following command:

jupyter-book build mybookname/

This will generate a fully-functioning HTML site using a static site generator. The site will be placed in the _build/html folder. You can then open the pages in the site by navigating to that folder and opening the html files with your web browser.


You can also use the short-hand jb for jupyter-book. E.g.,: jb build mybookname/.

Source vs build files

At this point, you have created a combination of Jupyter notebooks, markdown files, and configuration files, including _toc.yml and _config.yml. These files are your source files. The source files comprise all of the content and configuration that Jupyter Book needs to build your book.

In addition, you have created a collection of outputs in the _build folder. The _build folder contains all of your static website build files. The build files contain all of the output from Jupyter Book’s build command. These files are only used to view your content in a browser or to share with others.

The best practice for publishing your book is to use separate branches for your source and your build files. For example, you may tell git to ignore your _build folder on your main branch, and push the outputs in your _build folder to a branch called gh-pages. We’ll cover some of this later on.

A note on page cacheing

By default, Jupyter Book will only build the HTML for pages that have been updated since the last time you built the book.

If you’d like to force Jupyter Book to re-build a particular page, you can either edit the corresponding file in your book’s folder, or delete that page’s HTML in the _build/html folder.

You can also signal a full re-build using the --all option:

jupyter-book build --all mybookname/

Preview your built HTML

To preview your book, you can open the generated HTML files in your browser. Either double-click the html file in your local folder, or enter the absolute path to the file in your browser navigation bar adding file:// at the beginning (e.g. file://Users/my_path_to_book/_build/index.html).

Take a look at the web page that was generated from the markdown page that you created. Note how the links you inserted were automatically resolved to point to the right place. This is how you can keep consistent pointers from one section of your book to another.

Next step: publish your book

Now that you’ve created the HTML for your book, it’s time to publish it online. That’s covered in the next section.