bookdown: Authoring Books and Technical Documents with R Markdown

Yihui Xie

December 19, 2016 by Chapman and Hall/CRC
Reference - 138 Pages
ISBN 9781138700109 - CAT# K32139
Series: Chapman & Hall/CRC The R Series

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  • Generate printer-ready books and ebooks from R Markdown documents
  • A markup language easier to learn than LaTeX, and to write elements such as section headers, lists, quotes, figures, tables, and citations
  • Multiple choices of output formats: PDF, LaTeX, HTML, EPUB, and Word.
  • Possibility of including dynamic graphics and interactive applications
  • Support for languages other than R, including C/C++, Python, and SQL, etc.
  • LaTeX equations, theorems, and proofs work for all output formats
  • Can be published to GitHub,, and any web servers


bookdown: Authoring Books and Technical Documents with R Markdown presents a much easier way to write books and technical publications than traditional tools such as LaTeX and Word. The bookdown package inherits the simplicity of syntax and flexibility for data analysis from R Markdown, and extends R Markdown for technical writing, so that you can make better use of document elements such as figures, tables, equations, theorems, citations, and references. Similar to LaTeX, you can number and cross-reference these elements with bookdown. Your document can even include live examples so readers can interact with them while reading the book. The book can be rendered to multiple output formats, including LaTeX/PDF, HTML, EPUB, and Word, thus making it easy to put your documents online. The style and theme of these output formats can be customized.

We used books and R primarily for examples in this book, but bookdown is not only for books or R. Most features introduced in this book also apply to other types of publications: journal papers, reports, dissertations, course handouts, study notes, and even novels. You do not have to use R, either. Other choices of computing languages include Python, C, C++, SQL, Bash, Stan, JavaScript, and so on, although R is best supported. You can also leave out computing, for example, to write a fiction. This book itself is an example of publishing with bookdown and R Markdown, and its source is fully available on GitHub.