I want to use ReadTheDocs, which uses Sphinx, which, in turn, uses restructuredtext.

The reST editors I've found so far are like the 80s word processors where you edited the text to put tags (e.g. "bold on", "bold off", etc.) at the desired spot in the text, then you could see the final result in a different frame. What I am looking for is a post-90s wysiwyg editor, like Word, where you make the screen look the way you want it, and the marked-up text is generated as you work.

For some of you working in the text is most comfortable for you. I'm not looking to take that from you, just make reST editing as comfortable for me as it is for you.

  • For which operating system?
    – unor
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 5:21
  • Welcome to Software Recommendations! What features are needed (e.g. image support)? Shall the generated text just be stored locally, or must it integrate with something else (e.g. a web service)? Any price limit? Please take a look at What is required for a question to contain "enough information"? Then edit your question and fill the gaps. That will increase your chances for good and matching answers dramatically ;)
    – Izzy
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 6:15
  • OSs I use are Windows and Android, but an online version would work too provided I can download the resulting text. As I said in the original post, I intend to use the text for documentation with Sphinx and ReadTheDocs, so it must be transferable to my PC. Obviously, the most efficient would be a Windows version sorting the resulting text locally. Image support is desirable.
    – Den
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 3:11
  • Oh, regarding price: the lower the price, the better. Free is best.
    – Den
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 3:19
  • I don't believe there is such a thing. Mainly because the "market" is too small. It's much easier to build a two-pane editor with the reST source on one side and the rendered preview on the other side, and most programmers and writers seem happy enough with this, so there's not much reason to build the kind of editor you want. I think your best bet is to just use Word and then apply a standalone document converter at the end, like Pandoc.
    – John Y
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 20:15

10 Answers 10


(You have not yet described what platform you want this to run on. I will assume you want a Web app.)

rsted implements a text editor that produces reStructuredText.

(update, 2023) rsted is marked unmaintained, since 2018. The project repository is set to read-only.

  • 1
    Unfortunately the ‘rsted’ project is not a WYSIWYG editor. It is a simple text editor that proposes buttons to automatically add tagged structure for rst, and displays result on right side. It's not so bad, and even the best I could find, but far from WYSIWYG editor. Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 7:03

It's been over two years since I asked this question, but I've now found something like I've wanted. It's called Typora. It is a WYSIWYG editor for markdown(not reST, at least yet).

  • 13
    It's not very helpful to recommend a restructured text editor that doesn't support restructured text.
    – Timmmm
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 13:18

Another solution that was recommended to me is Visual Studio Code with a reStructuredText extension by LeXtudio. It has side-by-by preview and seems to be working well so far.

  • 2
    The question specifically asks for the editing and rendering to happen in the same pane, not two separate ones.
    – John Y
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 17:01

I found this script works very well for me. Live preview, works for any environment, but need to follow its steps to setup.


  • Honestly I can understand why some people might want to have a front end especially if they're using proprietary software like Windows... Can't really rock the command line. I really enjoy using Sphinx and have for many years. While some people might find it a learning curve and might want a gui, I think that time is better spent on improving features and building on the software rather than throwing a face on it. That's just my opinion because I do like the way sphinx, Jekyll, and mkdocs are evolving. Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 12:33

As J. Mani stated, Lyx is a very nice LaTeX WYSIWM editor which could then be converted to RST with Pandoc. In terms of whether it answers the question, there is a serious problem. From my experience with Lyx and its inputs, you may be able to get ResT/Sphinx files out of it, but can you convert back? Lyx has input options for its own native Lyx format, as well as Latex and a few others. But these only work in a subset of the target language. I have tried to make Lyx files from Sphinx, using Latex as an intermediate language, and it was a complete failure. Your experience and mileage may vary, as it often does.


On macOS, I got Marked 2 working. I had Sphinx installed on my MacBook already. In Marked I changed the 'processor' to be _pathto_/rst2html.py. It works great so far! Edit in your favorite text editor with live preview in Marked.

  • I wrote a shell script for Marked 2. if this is your processor then it will either render RST files with rst2html.py or fallback to the default Marked settings. This allows Marked to render both RST and MD files without changing your processor preference.
    – Travler
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 0:34
  • #!/bin/bash RST2HTML="__pathto__/rst2html.py" if [ $MARKED_EXT = "rst" ]; then $RST2HTML /dev/stdin else echo "NOCUSTOM" fi
    – Travler
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 0:39

As @JohnY commented, Pandoc is really of great use here. It can convert documents from one format to other without much trouble. So you can use your favourite editor to produce a document with your favourite format and then use Pandoc to convert it to ReStructuredText or Markdown.

Mostly you may go with HTML format for source document, as it is pretty popular. I use Lyx (in case you don't know, its used to write LaTex docs without having to learn LaTex) to produce source documents with LaTex format. The choice of input format may vary, but what matters is that Pandoc should be able to help you.


RSTPad seems to work well, although it has not been updated since 2017.

It's available for Windows and Mac (and probably Linux if you compile it yourself).


sphinx-gui is desktop GUI for viewing and editing Sphinx docs in reStructuredText, available at https://github.com/audreyr/sphinx-gui

It's open-source, was made with PySide, and was last updated in 2013.

  • Welcome Paul! Please expand on your answer. Thanks! Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 8:02

For some quick edits, https://overbits.herokuapp.com/rsteditor/ works good.

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