Using Jupytext in Jupyter

Paired notebooks

Jupytext can write a given notebook to multiple files. In addition to the original notebook file, Jupytext can save the input cells to a text file — either a script or a Markdown document. Put the text file under version control for a clear commit history. Or refactor the paired script, and reimport the updated input cells by simply refreshing the notebook in Jupyter.

Per-notebook configuration

Select the pairing for a given notebook using either the Jupytext menu in Jupyter Notebook, or the Jupytext commands in JupyterLab.

These command simply add a "jupytext": {"formats": "ipynb,md"}-like entry in the notebook metadata. You could also set that metadata yourself with Edit/Edit Notebook Metadata in Jupyter Notebook. In JupyterLab, use this extension.

The pairing information for one or multiple notebooks can be set on the command line:

jupytext --set-formats ipynb,py [--sync] notebook.ipynb

You can pair a notebook to as many text representations as you want (see our World population notebook in the demo folder). Format specifications are of the form



  • ext is one of ipynb, md, Rmd, jl, py, R, sh, cpp, q. Use the auto extension to have the script extension chosen according to the Jupyter kernel.
  • format_name (optional) is either light (default for scripts), nomarker, percent, hydrogen, sphinx (Python only), spin (R only) — see the format specifications.
  • path, prefix and suffix allow to save the text representation to files with different names, or in a different folder.

If you want to pair a notebook to a python script in a subfolder named scripts, set the formats metadata to ipynb,scripts//py. If the notebook is in a notebooks folder and you want the text representation to be in a scripts folder at the same level, set the Jupytext formats to notebooks//ipynb,scripts//py.

Jupytext accepts a few additional options. These options should be added to the "jupytext" section in the metadata — use either the metadata editor or the --opt/--format-options argument on the command line.

  • comment_magics: By default, Jupyter magics are commented when notebooks are exported to any other format than markdown. If you prefer otherwise, use this boolean option, or is global counterpart (see below).
  • notebook_metadata_filter: By default, Jupytext only exports the kernelspec and jupytext metadata to the text files. Set "jupytext": {"notebook_metadata_filter": "-all"} if you want that the script has no notebook metadata at all. The value for notebook_metadata_filter is a comma separated list of additional/excluded (negated) entries, with all a keyword that allows to exclude all entries.
  • cell_metadata_filter: By default, cell metadata autoscroll, collapsed, scrolled, trusted and ExecuteTime are not included in the text representation. Add or exclude more cell metadata with this option.

Global configuration

Jupytext’s contents manager also accepts global options. These options have to be set on Jupytext’s contents manager, so please first include the following line in your .jupyter/ file:

c.NotebookApp.contents_manager_class = "jupytext.TextFileContentsManager"

We start with the default format pairing. Say you want to always associate every .ipynb notebook with a .md file (and reciprocally). This is simply done by adding the following to your Jupyter configuration file:

# Always pair ipynb notebooks to md files
c.ContentsManager.default_jupytext_formats = "ipynb,md"

(and similarly for the other formats).

In case the percent format is your favorite, add the following to your .jupyter/ file:

# Use the percent format when saving as py
c.ContentsManager.preferred_jupytext_formats_save = "py:percent"

and then, Jupytext will understand "jupytext": {"formats": "ipynb,py"} as an instruction to create the paired Python script in the percent format.

To disable global pairing for an individual notebook, set formats to a single format, e.g.: "jupytext": {"formats": "ipynb"}

Metadata filtering

You can specify which metadata to include or exclude in the text files created by Jupytext by setting c.ContentsManager.default_notebook_metadata_filter (notebook metadata) and c.ContentsManager.default_cell_metadata_filter (cell metadata). They accept a string of comma separated keywords. A minus sign - in front of a keyword means exclusion.

Suppose you want to keep all the notebook metadata but widgets and varInspector in the YAML header. For cell metadata, you want to allow ExecuteTime and autoscroll, but not hide_output. You can set

c.ContentsManager.default_notebook_metadata_filter = "all,-widgets,-varInspector"
c.ContentsManager.default_cell_metadata_filter = "ExecuteTime,autoscroll,-hide_output"

If you want that the text files created by Jupytext have no metadata, you may use the global metadata filters below. Please note that with this setting, the metadata is only preserved in the .ipynb file.

c.ContentsManager.default_notebook_metadata_filter = "-all"
c.ContentsManager.default_cell_metadata_filter = "-all"

NB: All these global options (and more) are documented here.

Can I edit a notebook simultaneously in Jupyter and in a text editor?

When saving a paired notebook using Jupytext’s contents manager, Jupyter updates both the .ipynb and its text representation. The text representation can be edited outside of Jupyter. When the notebook is refreshed in Jupyter, the input cells are read from the text file, and the output cells from the .ipynb file.

It is possible (and convenient) to leave the notebook open in Jupyter while you edit its text representation. However, you don’t want that the two editors save the notebook simultaneously. To avoid this:

  • deactivate Jupyter’s autosave, by either toggling the "Autosave notebook" menu entry or run %autosave 0 in a cell of the notebook (see in the faq how to deactivate autosave permanently)
  • and refresh the notebook when you switch back from the editor to Jupyter.

In case you forgot to refresh, and saved the Jupyter notebook while the text representation had changed, no worries: Jupyter will ask you which version you want to keep:

When that occurs, please choose the version in which you made the latest changes. And give a second look to our advice to deactivate the autosaving of notebooks in Jupyter.

How to open scripts with either the text or notebook view in Jupyter?

With Jupytext’s contents manager for Jupyter, scripts and Markdown documents gain a notebook icon. If you don’t see the notebook icon, double check the contents manager configuration.

By default, Jupyter Notebook open scripts and Markdown documents as notebooks. If you want to open them with the text editor, select the document and click on edit:

In JupyterLab this is slightly different. Scripts and Markdown document also have a notebook icon. But they open as text by default. Open them as notebooks with the Open With -> Notebook context menu (available in JupyterLab 0.35 and above):

If do not want to classify scripts or Markdown documents as notebooks, please use the notebook_extension option. For instance, if you want to get the notebook icon only for .ipynb and .Rmd files, set

c.ContentsManager.notebook_extensions = "ipynb,Rmd"

Please note that, with the above setting, Jupyter will not let you open scripts as notebooks. If you still want to do so, use Jupytext command line (see below) to first convert or pair the script to an .ipynb notebook.