14. Building the LAMMPS manual

Depending on how you obtained LAMMPS, the doc directory has 2 or 3 sub-directories and optionally 2 PDF files and 2 e-book format files:

src             # content files for LAMMPS documentation
html            # HTML version of the LAMMPS manual (see html/Manual.html)
tools           # tools and settings for building the documentation
Manual.pdf      # large PDF version of entire manual
Developer.pdf   # small PDF with info about how LAMMPS is structured
LAMMPS.epub     # Manual in ePUB e-book format
LAMMPS.mobi     # Manual in MOBI e-book format

If you downloaded LAMMPS as a tarball from the web site, all these directories and files should be included.

If you downloaded LAMMPS from the public SVN or Git repositories, then the HTML and PDF files are not included. Instead you need to create them, in one of three ways:

(a) You can “fetch” the current HTML and PDF files from the LAMMPS web site. Just type “make fetch”. This should create a html_www dir and Manual_www.pdf/Developer_www.pdf files. Note that if new LAMMPS features have been added more recently than the date of your version, the fetched documentation will include those changes (but your source code will not, unless you update your local repository).

(b) You can build the HTML and PDF files yourself, by typing “make html” followed by “make pdf”. Note that the PDF make requires the HTML files already exist. This requires various tools including Sphinx, which the build process will attempt to download and install on your system, if not already available. See more details below.

(c) You can generate an older, simpler, less-fancy style of HTML documentation by typing “make old”. This will create an “old” directory. This can be useful if (b) does not work on your box for some reason, or you want to quickly view the HTML version of a doc page you have created or edited yourself within the src directory. E.g. if you are planning to submit a new feature to LAMMPS.

The generation of all documentation is managed by the Makefile in the doc dir.

Documentation Build Options:

make html         # generate HTML in html dir using Sphinx
make pdf          # generate 2 PDF files (Manual.pdf,Developer.pdf)
                  #   in doc dir via htmldoc and pdflatex
make old          # generate old-style HTML pages in old dir via txt2html
make fetch        # fetch HTML doc pages and 2 PDF files from web site
                  #   as a tarball and unpack into html dir and 2 PDFs
make epub         # generate LAMMPS.epub in ePUB format using Sphinx
make mobi         # generate LAMMPS.mobi in MOBI format using ebook-convert
make clean        # remove intermediate RST files created by HTML build
make clean-all    # remove entire build folder and any cached data

make anchor_check # check for duplicate anchor labels make spelling # spell-check the manual

14.1. Installing prerequisites for HTML build

To run the HTML documentation build toolchain, Python 3 and virtualenv have to be installed. Here are instructions for common setups:

14.1.1. Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install python-virtualenv

14.1.2. Fedora (up to version 21) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS (up to version 7.x)

sudo yum install python3-virtualenv

14.1.3. Fedora (since version 22)

sudo dnf install python3-virtualenv

14.1.4. MacOS X

Python 3

Download the latest Python 3 MacOS X package from https://www.python.org and install it. This will install both Python 3 and pip3.


Once Python 3 is installed, open a Terminal and type

pip3 install virtualenv

This will install virtualenv from the Python Package Index.

Installing prerequisites for PDF build

Building the PDF manual requires a working C++ compiler (to compile the txt2html tool and a working installation of HTMLDOC HTMLDOC has its own list of prerequisites, but in most cases you can install a binary package of it either through your Linux package manager or MacOS (dmg) and Windows installer (msi) packages from its GitHub releases page at

14.2. Installing prerequisites for epub build

14.2.1. ePUB

Same as for HTML. This uses the same tools and configuration files as the HTML tree.

For converting the generated ePUB file to a MOBI format file (for e-book readers like Kindle, that cannot read ePUB), you also need to have the ‘ebook-convert’ tool from the “calibre” software installed. http://calibre-ebook.com/ You first create the ePUB file and then convert it with ‘make mobi’