Building the Documentation

Start by installing the required dependencies for the documentation.

Required dependencies

You can either install the dependencies locally on your machine, or you can build a Docker image containing them.


If you have Docker, then instead of following the OS-specific installation instructions below, you may choose to build a Docker image:

cd doc

docker build -f Dockerfile.htmldoc -t sympy_htmldoc .

If you choose this option, you can now skip down to the “Build the Docs” section below.


For Debian/Ubuntu:

apt-get install python3-sphinx texlive-latex-recommended dvipng librsvg2-bin imagemagick docbook2x graphviz

Install pip using:

sudo apt install python3-pip

However, you can also create a virtual environment and use pip in it using:

python3 -m venv /path/to/my/venv  # create the venv

Then activate it using:

source /path/to/my/venv/bin/activate  # need to rerun this each time you open a new terminal

After installing pip through either of the two methods given above, run:

python -m pip install -r doc/requirements.txt

If you get mpmath error, install python-mpmath package:

apt-get install python-mpmath

If you get matplotlib error, install python-matplotlib package:

apt-get install python-matplotlib


For Fedora (and maybe other RPM-based distributions), install the prerequisites:

dnf install python3-sphinx librsvg2 ImageMagick docbook2X texlive-dvipng-bin

texlive-scheme-medium librsvg2-tools

python -m pip install -r doc/requirements.txt

If you get mpmath error, install python3-mpmath package:

dnf install python3-mpmath

If you get matplotlib error, install python3-matplotlib package:

dnf install python3-matplotlib


For Mac, first install homebrew:

Then install these packages with homebrew:

brew install imagemagick graphviz docbook librsvg

Install the docs dependencies with either pip or conda:

python -m pip install -r requirements.txt


conda install -c conda-forge --file requirements.txt

Making your Sphinx build successful on the Windows system is tricky because some dependencies like dvipng or docbook2x are not available.

Windows 10

For Windows 10, however, the Windows Subsystem for Linux can be a possible workaround solution, and you can install Ubuntu shell on your Windows system after following the tutorial below:

In your command prompt, run ubuntu to transfer to Linux terminal, and follow the Debian/Ubuntu tutorial above to install the dependencies, and then you can run make html to build. (Note that you also have to install make via apt-get install make.)

If you want to change the directory in your prompt to your working folder of SymPy in the Windows file system, you can prepend cd /mnt/ to your file path in Windows, and run in your shell to navigate to the folder. (Also note that Linux uses / instead of \ for file paths.)

This method provides better compatibility than Cygwin or MSYS2 and more convenience than a virtual machine if you partially need a Linux environment for your workflow, however this method is only viable for Windows 10 64-bit users.


Follow instruction to install Chocolatey

Install make and other dependencies:

choco install make graphviz rsvg-convert imagemagick

Install python dependencies:

pip install -r doc/requirements.txt

Build the Docs


If you chose to build using Docker, and followed the instructions above to build the sympy_htmldoc image, then you can build the docs with:

docker run --rm -v /absolute/path/to/sympy:/sympy sympy_htmldoc

(Be sure to substitute the actual absolute filesystem path to sympy!) This command can be run from any directory.

Local Installation

If you chose to follow OS-specific instructions above and installed the required dependencies locally, the documentation can be built by running the makefile in the doc subdirectory:

cd doc

make html

View the Docs

Once you have built the docs, the generated files will be found under doc/_build/html. To view them in your preferred web browser, use the drop down menu and select “open file”, navigate into the sympy/doc/_build/html folder, and open the index.html file.

Auto-Rebuild with the Live Server

The instructions given above told you how to build the docs once, and load them in the browser. After you make changes to the document sources, you’ll have to manually repeat the build step, and reload the pages in the browser.

There is an alternative approach that sets up a live server, which will monitor the docs directory, automatically rebuild when changes are detected, and automatically reload the page you are viewing in the browser.

If you want to use this option, the procedure again depends on whether you are using Docker, or a local installation.


To start the live server with Docker, you can use:

docker run --rm -it \
     -v /absolute/path/to/sympy:/sympy \
     -p 8000:80 \
     sympy_htmldoc live

and then navigate your browser to localhost:8000. You can use a different port by changing the 8000 in the command. Again, be sure to substitute the actual absolute filesystem path to sympy.

When finished, you can stop the server with ctrl-c in the terminal.

Alternatively, you may run the server in detached mode, using:

docker run --rm -d --name=sympy-livehtml \
     -v /absolute/path/to/sympy:/sympy \
     -p 8000:80 \
     sympy_htmldoc live

and then stop it with:

docker stop sympy-livehtml

Local Installation

If you installed the build dependencies locally, then simply use:

cd doc

make livehtml

to start the server. Your web browser should then automatically open a new tab, showing the index page of the SymPy docs.

When you are finished, you can use ctrl-c in the terminal to stop the server.

PDF Documentation


It is not necessary for the majority of contributors to build the PDF documentation. The PDF documentation will be built automatically on GitHub Actions on pull requests. PDF documentation for each release is included on the GitHub releases page.

If the PDF documentation build fails on GitHub Actions, 99% of the time this is due to bad LaTeX math formatting. Double check that any math you have added is formatted correctly, and make sure you use ``double backticks`` for code (`single backticks` will render as math, not code). See the resources in the style guide for tips on formatting LaTeX math.

Building the PDF documentation requires a few extra dependencies. First you will need to have a TeXLive installation that includes XeLaTeX and latexmk. You will also need to have Chrome or Chromium installed, as it is used to convert some SVG files for the PDF.

On Ubuntu, you can install these with:

apt-get install chromium-browser texlive texlive-xetex texlive-fonts-recommended texlive-latex-extra latexmk lmodern

On Mac, you can use:

brew install texlive

brew install --cask chromium

brew tap homebrew/cask-fonts

brew install font-dejavu

On Windows 10, you can use:

choco install chromium strawberryperl miktex dejavufonts

If DejaVu fonts are not installed in C:\Windows\Fonts, then open ~\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Fonts, select all DejaVu fonts, right-click and click Install for all users.

To build the pdf docs run:

cd doc

make pdf

The resulting PDF will be in:


where <version> is the SymPy version (e.g.,