Carnap's Pandoc

Within Carnap, shared documents and problem sets are created using pandoc markdown, a simple formatting language (akin to LaTeX) developed by John McFarlane as part of the Pandoc project. Pandoc markdown extends John Gruber's original markdown syntax with some additional niceties.

It would be a little redundant to give the full specifications for pandoc markdown here, since there are many excellent resources already available. See, instead,

  1. John Gruber's original markdown specification.
  2. The Pandoc user's guide

If you learn best from example, it's also possible to download the source code for documents shared on from the shared document list, available at The pandoc source for this document, should you wish to inspect it, is available here.

You can create pandoc documents in any text editing program. Pandoc is nothing but plain text that is written with some special notation to indicate how text is to be formatted. For example, you can write *italic* to generate the text "italic". However, there are some very good text-editor plugins and dedicated applications available for working with Pandoc. These provide extra features like live previews of the formatted text. A list of these can be found here. An online pandoc editor, with live previews of what the rendered document will look like, can be found at

Pandoc Extensions

Carnap's pandoc parser incorporates the following pandoc extensions:

For more details, about each of these extensions, please see the Pandoc Users Guide.


General Pattern

Carnap's exercises are created by including special code blocks within a pandoc document. A code block looks something like this:


To indicate which type of exercise you want to create, you apply classes and data attributes to the code block. That would look something like this:

~~~{.SOMECLASS .ANOTHER attribute="value"}

with classes indicated by a leading ., and attributes assigned with the = sign, and surrounded by quotes.

The leading label within the body of the code block will be used to generate an anchor tag to your exercise, so that you can link directly to the exercise at the URL ASSIGNMENTURL#exercise-label where ASSIGNMENTURL is the URL for the assignment, and label is the label you gave to that particular exercise.

Some common attributes

Here are some common attributes that can be applied to to any exercise

Name Effect
points Sets a custom point value
submission Controls how work is submitted. Set to "none" to disable submission
options Exercise-specific options

the options attribute might require some extra explanation. This attribute is set to a string of space separated words, indicating what special options are set for the exercise-block it is attached to. Different types of exercises allow for different options.

Random problems

When you create a problem set, the different problems within a code block will generally be assigned numbers or some other identifier. So you might write


If the same identifier is used for a contiguous series of problems (all part of the same code block and next to one another), then when the problem set is assigned and viewed by a student, one of the problems in the series will be chosen randomly and displayed. So, for example given


Students will see PROBLEM A or PROBLEM B, but not both. A student reloading the page will continue to see the same problem, so if they see PROBLEM A on the first viewing, they'll continue to see PROBLEM A.

The selection of a random problem only takes place when the document is viewed as an assignment, so when the document is viewed through the instructor's "manage documents" tab, all the variant problems will be displayed.

Choose-One problems

If more than one problem is given the same label but the problems are not part of the same code block or are not next to one another, then both problems will be displayed. However, within each assignment, a student can submit at most one problem with a given label. So if you want to give your students the option to choose just one of several problems to complete, you can set those problems to all share a single label.

Exercise Types

There are currently eight types of exercises:

  1. Syntax Checking
  2. Translation
  3. Truth Tables
  4. Derivations
  5. Model Checking
  6. Qualitative Problems
  7. Sequent Calculus Problems
  8. Gentzen-Prawitz Natural Deduction Problems

To learn more about each one, follow the links above.

Other Features

Formula Parsing

Carnap's formula parser can be used to render and display formulas and sequents inline within a pandoc document. So for example, writing something like


Will produce the output AxF(x)\/Ex-F(x).

Any system that's available for derivations can be used in the formula parser. The available propositional systems are: prop montagueSC LogicBookSD LogicBookSDPlus hausmanSL howardSnyderSL ichikawaJenkinsSL hausmanSL magnusSL magnusSLPlus thomasBolducAndZachTFL thomasBolducAndZachTFL2019 gamutMPND, gamutIPND gamutPND gamutPNDPlus tomassiPL and hardegreeSL. The available first-order systems are: firstOrder montagueQC magnusQL thomasBolducAndZachFOL thomasBolducAndZachFOL2019 thomasBolducAndZachFOLPlus2019 LogicBookPD LogicBookPDPlus gamutND hausmanPL howardSnyderPL ichikawaJenkinsQL hardegreePL goldfarbAltND goldfarbNDPlus and goldfarbAltNDPlus. The available set theory systems are: elementarySetTheory and separativeSetTheory. The available second-order systems are: secondOrder and PolySecondOrder. The available propositional modal logic systems are: hardegreeL hardegreeK hardegreeT hardegreeB hardegreeD hardegree4 and hardegree5. The available predicate modal logic system is hardegreeMPL, and the available "world theory" system is hardegreeWTL.

Custom CSS

The standard bootstrap CSS that is used for styling the appearance of an assignment can be overriden by including a CSS entry as part of a yaml metadata block within a carnap pandoc document.

The CSS entry can include either a url for a single CSS stylesheet, like so:


or for several stylesheets, like so:


The stylesheets can be hosted anywhere, including on the Carnap server. In order to host a stylesheet, just upload it as if it were a pandoc document, but be sure to give it the filetype extension "css", so name it something like "mystylesheet.css". You'll then able able to access it with a metadata block of the form:


For more details about hosting your own stylesheets, please take a look at the documentation for the instructor dashboard.