6

I'm using Pandoc to write a document using Markdown. I have a section that includes a bunch of identically-sized square images in PNG format. I would like to lay out these images four per page in a 2-by-2 grid. Below each one, I would like to show a caption (e.g. "Figure 1: ...."). I would like the images to be scaled and spaced appropriately to fit the available space.

I'm assuming that in order to achieve such a result, the use of LaTeX will be needed. Is there a simple structure that I can use to achieve the layout that I want (including the page breaks)?

  • AFAIK, Pandoc questions are considered in general off-topic in this forum. Perhaps you should ask the pandoc mailing list/newsgroup. – erreka Jun 16 '15 at 17:08
  • @elford: Sorry for the confusion. I assumed it was on-topic as there are over 100 questions tagged as pandoc-related. Specifically, I'm looking for a TeX technique that will give me the output that I want. – Jason R Jun 16 '15 at 17:11
  • You can see the discussion of this policy on the meta site. You may wait for an answer for a while, but don't be surprised if your question is closed/deleted. – erreka Jun 16 '15 at 17:16
  • @elford: I don't see anything in those questions that would indicate that it's off-topic. I'm actually specifically asking for a TeX solution to the problem, so I think it should be on point. I only included the fact that I'm using Pandoc/Markdown as a detail in case it has relevance to the solution. – Jason R Jun 16 '15 at 17:32
  • You're right: my apologies. I'm myself rather new to pandoc, so if I were you I would also try on the above mentioned newsgroup. – erreka Jun 16 '15 at 18:13
4

A recently published third-party filter, pandoc-csv2table is able to convert CSV spreadsheet data (Comma Separated Values) into tables and insert the required table code into Pandoc-generated documents.

pandoc-csv2table Source Code

The filter source code is hosted on GitHub (Open Source) here:

cabal-based Installation

You can install it via cabal (Haskell software package management). This installation will end up in your user ${HOME}/.cabal/ directory. To bootstrap, you'd need a system-installed cabal or ghc-platform package installed. Then:

cabal update
cabal install cabal-install
# this last command will install the most recent `cabal` into ${HOME}/.cabal/bin/

# Now include this directory into your ${PATH}:
export PATH=${HOME}/.cabal/bin:${PATH}

# Last, install the latest Pandoc packages, including that filter:
cabal install pandoc pandoc-citeproc pandoc-csv2table

Manual Installatioon

Alternatively, there is a standalone file for this filter here:

You can clone it, make it executable and save it anywhere in your $PATH.

Using pandoc-csv2table

This filter "abuses" the Markdown format for fenced_code_blocks. It looks like this:

  1. Putting CSV data into fenced block

    This could look like the following, where all lines inside the fenced block represent comma-separated fields of table cell data:

    ```` {.table}
    a,b,c,d
    1,2,3,4
    I,II,III,IV
    ````
    
  2. Inserting CSV data from external file

    This could look like the following, where the fenced block is empty, but references an external file via "source=myfile.csv":

    ```` {.table source="myfile.csv"}
    ````
    

Adding attributes to the fenced blocks

The fenced blocks can also include additional attributes:

  • type=grid|multiline|pipe : set the table type.

  • caption="Your description of the table" : set the table caption.

  • aligns=CLRD : this controls the alignment of the table's columns (starting from left): C for centered, L for left-aligned, R for right-aligned, D for default.

  • header=yes|no : This determines whether the first row of cells should be formatted as column headers or not.

Example with 2x2 grid containing images

Now for an example, where 4 square images are inserted into a grid of 2x2 table cells. Here the Markdown, in a file called 2x2.md

```` {.table type="multiline" aligns="RL" caption="2x2 images in a table" header="no"}
"![](red.png)","![](green.png)"
"![](blue.png)","![](black.png)"
```` 

Here different outputs, generated by different Pandoc commands:

  1. HTML output*

    pandoc --filter pandoc-csv2table 2x2.md -t html
    
    <table>
    <caption>2x2 images in a table</caption>
    <colgroup>
    <col width="20%" />
    <col width="20%" />
    </colgroup>
    <tbody>
    <tr class="odd">
    <td align="right"><img src="red.png" alt="" /></td>
    <td align="left"><img src="green.png" alt="" /></td>
    </tr>
    <tr class="even">
    <td align="right"><img src="blue.png" alt="" /></td>
    <td align="left"><img src="black.png" alt="" /></td>
    </tr>
    </tbody>
    </table>
    
  2. Markdown output (when type=grid)

    pandoc --filter pandoc-csv2table 2x2.md -t markdown
    
    +------------------+-------------------+
    | ![](red.png)     | ![](green.png)    |
    +------------------+-------------------+
    | ![](blue.png)    | ![](black.png)    |
    +------------------+-------------------+
    
    : 2x2 images in a table
    

    Of course, you could easily write this grid_table Markdown directly, without the help of the pandoc-csv2table filter. But for more crowded tables, this gets painful, and it is easier to prepare an external CSV file.

  3. Markdown output (when type=multiline)

    pandoc --filter pandoc-csv2table 2x2.md -t markdown
    
      -------------- --------------
        ![](red.png) ![](green.png)
       ![](blue.png) ![](black.png)
      -------------- --------------
    
      : 2x2 images in a table
    

    Of course, you could easily write this multiline_table Markdown directly, without the help of the pandoc-csv2table filter. But for more crowded tables, this gets painful, and it is easier to prepare an external CSV file.

  4. LaTeX output (when type=grid)

    \begin{longtable}[c]{@{}ll@{}}
    \caption{2x2 images in a table}\tabularnewline
    \toprule
    \endfirsthead
    \toprule
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.21\columnwidth}\raggedright\strut
    \begin{figure}[htbp]
    \centering
    \includegraphics{red.png}
    \caption{}
    \end{figure}
    \strut\end{minipage} &
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.22\columnwidth}\raggedright\strut
    \begin{figure}[htbp]
    \centering
    \includegraphics{green.png}
    \caption{}
    \end{figure}
    \strut\end{minipage}\tabularnewline
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.21\columnwidth}\raggedright\strut
    \begin{figure}[htbp]
    \centering
    \includegraphics{blue.png}
    \caption{}
    \end{figure}
    \strut\end{minipage} &
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.22\columnwidth}\raggedright\strut
    \begin{figure}[htbp]
    \centering
    \includegraphics{black.png}
    \caption{}
    \end{figure}
    \strut\end{minipage}\tabularnewline
    \bottomrule
    \end{longtable}
    

    Writing above LaTeX manually is not so easy already, it is also quite error-prone. pandoc-csv2table is already a great help here!

  5. LaTeX output (when type=multiline)

    \begin{longtable}[c]{@{}rl@{}}
    \caption{2x2 images in a table}\tabularnewline
    \toprule
    \endfirsthead
    \toprule
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.19\columnwidth}\raggedleft\strut
    \includegraphics{red.png}
    \strut\end{minipage} &
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.19\columnwidth}\raggedright\strut
    \includegraphics{green.png}
    \strut\end{minipage}\tabularnewline
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.19\columnwidth}\raggedleft\strut
    \includegraphics{blue.png}
    \strut\end{minipage} &
    \begin{minipage}[t]{0.19\columnwidth}\raggedright\strut
    \includegraphics{black.png}
    \strut\end{minipage}\tabularnewline
    \bottomrule
    \end{longtable}
    

    Writing above LaTeX manually is also difficult and it is error-prone. pandoc-csv2table is a great help here too!

Screenshots

PDF output (directly generated with pandoc -o my.pdf 2x2.md --filter pandoc-csv2tale, without editing intermediate LaTeX)

PDF screenshot

HTML output

HTML screenshot

Summary

Writing only CSV files, and letting pandoc-csv2table create the LaTeX code is a big alleviation.

If it doesn't produce the perfect LaTeX code for you, then you can still use it to get some basic table code generated for free, which you can then fine-tune. Or which you can insert into your Markdown sources as raw_tex snippet, if you prefer...

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