6. Style Conventions and Content Layout

The edX documentation is authored using reStructuredText markup syntax. For a description and complete documentation, see reStructuredText .

For a sample .rst file that contains examples of the markup used by the edX documentation team, see the edx-documentation/en_us/edx_style_guide/source/ExampleRSTFile.rst file.


.rst Formatting



Book or guide name


Building and Running an edX Course

When you provide the title of the guide in addition to a cross-reference to a specific section or topic in the guide, link the section or topic and then place the name of the guide in italics. Otherwise, make the title the cross reference link instead of presenting it in italics.

Translator guidance is that strings in italic font should be translated.

Code samples


The member fields of this dictionary are display_name and usage_key.

Use monospace markup only for strings that should not be translated, including code, settings, commands, SQL table columns, and event names.

For longer examples, such as XML templates that include text that can be translated, use the code block markup and include a comment for translators with explicit instructions.

.. Translators: In the following XML code block, do not translate any .. text that is between the < > characters.

<problem display_name="webGLDemo">
In the image below, click the cone.

Programming elements


The event_type parameter enables downstream processing.

An XBlock must set has_score to True.

Follow the same rules as for code samples. Programming elements include attributes, classes, events, functions, methods, parameters, and properties.

Identify the element type on first mention. Element names only need an article when the text also includes the element type.

  • Set the has_score property to True.

  • Set has_score to True.

  • Incorrect: Set the has_score to true.

Unnamed icons

“brief description”

Select “back 30 seconds” on the playback bar.

In most cases, icons have mouseover help text. If the icon has help text, use that text as the name of the control and use **bold** like other UI elements.

New term

optional: link to glossary definition

This section provides conceptual and procedural information about using :ref:`teams_g` in your courses.

Add new terms to the glossary. If you want to be sure that people understand how you are using the term, provide a link to the glossary definition. Do not italicize newly introduced terms.

User interface controls


From the Tools menu, select Import.

In the discussion navigation pane, select Filter messages like this.

For more information about user interface controls in edX products, see Documenting User Interface Interactions.

Translator guidance is that strings in boldface font can be translated.

User input


In the Show Calculator field, type true.

Follow the same rules as for code samples. The assumption is that values presented in monospace font must be entered exactly as documented, and that translated versions of the value are not acceptable.

If the user input value can be translated, add a “Translator:” comment to that effect.


Surround with braces ({}).

…in the format {org}-{course}-{run}-{site}.mongo.

Avoid angle brackets (< >) because rST uses angle brackets to identify XML examples.