How to contribute

First of all, if anything is incorrect or something is missing on this page (or any other for that matter), please send in a pull request. It is important that setting up the development environment is as painless as possible.

Setting up the development environment

Unfortunately there are quite some steps involved in setting up a development environment. If you don’t want to do this and know how Vagrant works, see the bottom of this section on how to use that instead.

OS specific dependencies

Some dependencies are OS specific. Ofcourse you need to have LaTeX installed, but that also comes in some different packages on most systems.

For Ubuntu and other Debian based systems:

sudo apt-get install python3 python3-dev virtualenv \
    texlive-pictures texlive-science texlive-latex-extra \

Getting the source code

You need your own fork of the Github repository by using the Github fork button. You will then need to clone your version of the repo using the normal way, something like this:

git clone
cd pylatex

Make your own branch for your specific feature or fix (don’t do this just on master):

git checkout -b your-nice-feature

Python environment setup

This method will use a virtual environment, this is the easiest way to get all the dependencies.

  1. Create a virtualenv by running:

    virtualenv venv -p python3
  2. Activate it by running (you should do this whenever you start working on your changes):

    . venv/bin/activate
  3. Install all the development dependencies inside the virtual environment by running:

    pip install -r dev_requirements.txt

Vagrant support

This might be an easier way to obtain a development environment, but the script is not very well maintained and might not work anymore. If everything goes as planned Vagrant will launch and configure a small virtual machine with all necessary tools for you, so that you can start working with PyLaTeX right away.

With Vagrant already installed, you can start the virtual machine with $ vagrant up and then use $ vagrant ssh to ssh into it. Your source files will be located under /vagrant. To run all unit tests and build the documentation run $ ./ -p python3 -c from that directory.

You can download or read more about Vagrant on

Some tips before starting

  1. Look at the code that is already there when creating something new, for instance the classes for tables.
  2. To learn how to squash commits, read this blog. Ignore the word of caution, since that only applies to main repositories on which people base their own work. You can do this when you have a couple of commits that could be merged together. This mostly happens when you have commits that fix a typo or bug you made in a pull request and you fix that in a new commit.

Some rules

There are two things that are needed for every pull request:

  1. Run the script before making a pull request to check if you didn’t break anything.
  2. Follow the PEP8 style guide and make sure it passes pyflakes (this is also tested with the script).

These are also tested for by Travis, but please test them yourself as well.

Depending on your type of changes some other things are needed as well.

  1. If you add new arguments, function or classes, add them to tests/ without forgetting to name the arguments. That way it is easy to see when the external API is changed in the future.
  2. Change docstrings when necessary. For instance when adding new arguments or changing behaviour.
  3. If you fix something, add a test so it won’t break again.
  4. If your change is user facing, add it to the changelog so it will be mentioned in the next release. Its location is at docs/source/changelog.rst.
  5. If you add something new, show it off with an example. If you don’t do this, I will probably still merge your pull request, but it is always nice to have examples of features.