Converting Jupyter Notebooks to Markdown Made Easy with nbconvert

May 23, 2023


As a contributor to an open-source project, I recently found myself tasked with documenting a showcase using Jupyter Notebooks. The challenge was to convert the showcase.ipynb file into a Markdown format that could be easily shared and accessed by project collaborators and users. After trying out various tools and methods, I came across a powerful and reliable solution that stood out from the rest: nbconvert, a tool developed by the Jupyter community.

In this article, I’ll share my experience using nbconvert to convert Jupyter Notebooks to Markdown and explain why it became my go-to tool for this task.

Why Convert Jupyter Notebooks to Markdown?

Jupyter Notebooks are a popular choice for interactive data exploration, analysis, and documentation. They allow you to combine code, text, and visualizations, making them an excellent medium for showcasing your work. However, when it comes to sharing your notebooks with others or integrating them into documentation pipelines, Markdown offers a more accessible and widely supported format.

Markdown is a lightweight markup language that can be easily converted into HTML, PDF, or other formats. By converting Jupyter Notebooks to Markdown, you can maintain the narrative flow, include code snippets, and preserve visualizations while making the content more portable and readable.

Discovering nbconvert:

During my search for a reliable tool to convert Jupyter Notebooks to Markdown, I stumbled upon nbconvert, an official Jupyter community project hosted on GitHub. nbconvert provides a command-line interface (CLI) and a Python API for converting notebooks to various output formats, including Markdown.

Here’s why I found nbconvert to be an excellent choice:

  1. Comprehensive Conversion Capabilities:
    nbconvert offers a wide range of conversion options, allowing you to customize the output according to your requirements. It supports converting notebooks to HTML, LaTeX, PDF, Reveal.js slides, and more. Additionally, it provides advanced options for controlling template selection, syntax highlighting, and code execution during the conversion process.

  2. Simple Command-Line Interface:
    Using nbconvert from the command line is straightforward. With a single command, you can convert a notebook to Markdown, specifying the input and output files. This simplicity makes it easy to integrate nbconvert into your documentation workflows or automation scripts.

  3. Extensibility and Customization:
    nbconvert’s architecture is designed to be extensible, allowing you to customize the conversion process by creating your own templates and pre- or post-processing hooks. This flexibility enables you to tailor the output to match your project’s branding or specific documentation requirements.

Converting showcase.ipynb to Markdown:

Once I discovered nbconvert, converting my showcase.ipynb to Markdown became a breeze. I followed these simple steps:

  1. Install nbconvert:
   pip install nbconvert
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  1. Convert the notebook to Markdown:
   jupyter nbconvert --to markdown showcase.ipynb
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  1. Voilà! The showcase.ipynb file was successfully converted to, ready to be shared and integrated into the project’s documentation.


Converting Jupyter Notebooks to Markdown is a valuable skill for open-source contributors and anyone involved in data science or documentation workflows. Among the various tools available, nbconvert stands out as a reliable and feature-rich solution for this task.

By leveraging nbconvert’s comprehensive conversion capabilities, user-friendly command-line interface, and extensibility, I was able to seamlessly convert my showcase.ipynb to Markdown. With the resulting Markdown file, I could share my work more effectively, collaborate with fellow contributors, and integrate it into the project’s documentation pipeline.

If you’re looking for a powerful and versatile tool to convert your Jupyter Notebooks to Markdown, I highly

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