Expand description

This crate demonstrates an approach to including KaTeX in Rust docs. It tries to balance readable source code, attractive rendered output, and ease of use.

Docs with KaTeX can be generated locally and on docs.rs.


You’ll only need one file: just grab katex-header.html from this project and put it into the root of your project.

Rendering Locally

This project can be documented locally with the following commands. Dependencies are documented separately because you probably don’t want your dependencies’ docs to use KaTeX. Also, dependencies would not build correctly because of relative paths.

cargo doc
RUSTDOCFLAGS="--html-in-header katex-header.html" cargo doc --no-deps --open

Rendering on Docs.rs

Include the following snippet in your Cargo.toml:

rustdoc-args = [ "--html-in-header", "katex-header.html" ]

How to Write KaTeX

Here is some inline $\KaTeX$.

And now for a fancy math expression:

$$ f(x) = \int_{-\infty}^\infty \hat f(\xi)e^{2 \pi i \xi x} d\xi $$

If your math expression has lots of Markdown special characters like _ or *, it may not render correctly because those characters will be processed by Markdown:

$$ \sum^{T-1}{t=1}x{ij} $$

To fix this, you can escape each special character by preceding it with a backslash:

$$ \sum^{T-1}_{t=1}x_{ij} $$

How to Not Write KaTeX

Somehow the section on how to not write KaTeX is longer and more complex than that on how to write KaTeX! I think it’s worth it, because being able to use a single dollar sign for inline math expressions makes the source code a lot more readable.

If you try to write two dollar signs in one paragraph, your text will render as KaTeX! An example: $1.00 + $2.00 = $3.00

Dollar signs inside of code blocks are safe: $1.00 + $2.00 = $3.00.

It’s safe to write a single $ as long as there are no other dollar signs in the same HTML element. This translates to approximately one Markdown paragraph or bullet item.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to write many dollar signs all in the same paragraph, you can surround each one in a <span> element: $1.00 + $2.00 = $3.00.


If you want to use your own set of delimiters, you can change that in katex-header.html. The order of the delimiters is important, so you may wish to consult the KaTeX auto-render docs and source code.

This project currently depends on KaTeX’s official CDN, jsDelivr. I would also like to describe a way to bundle the JS and CSS resources into the project.


  • xss-probe on docs.rs: a Rust crate that injects JS and CSS into rendered docs.rs documentation by using build.rs to rewrite some files on the docs.rs build machine.
  • The curve25519-dalek crate includes lovely rendered KaTeX on their self-hosted docs site.
  • pwnies on docs.rs: a Rust crate that injects JS and CSS into rendered docs.rs documentation using the --html-in-header argument.
  • GitHub issue for pwnies
  • rust-num PR #226: a nice example of KaTeX injection with --html-in-header. In that thread, cuviper highlights a few problems with KaTeX in rustdoc:
    • I would prefer all resources stay local, especially for offline use. KaTeX advertises that it is self-contained to allow bundling, so that should be possible.
    • The injection is a bit fragile, leaning on an environment variable, and RUSTDOCFLAGS isn’t even supported in stable cargo. This also injects into all crates at the time, not just num’s.
    • This won’t work (as-is) for the sub-crates when generated independently. That’s important for docs.rs where everything is independent.
    • Even from the main crate, it won’t work if generated as a dependency in someone else’s docs.
  • katex-doc, a crate that uses a similar technique but with a few differences in implementation.