Converting MediaWiki Markup to LaTeX

Update: Don’t use this. Use Pandoc instead!

Today I had a large document written in MediaWiki markup. The document was a simple one consisting only of paragraphs, all possible heading levels, and flat lists. There were no mathematical expressions or images — nothing fancy whatsoever. I wanted this document available in LaTeX markup so that I could have a nice, professional looking printout.

After some brief searching I couldn’t find a practical, simple script to convert the document to LaTeX markup (I didn’t look very hard). Everything I found wanted to do the conversion the opposite way that was needed. It ended up that writing and debugging my own Perl script to do the job only took me about 30 minutes.

Here are the main guts to give you the gist of it,

while (<>) {
    # Sections

    # Special characters

    # Lists
    if (m/^\* / &amp;&amp; !$listmode) {
        print "\\begin{itemize}\n";
        $listmode = 1;
    if (!m/^\* / &amp;&amp; $listmode) {
        print "\\end{itemize}\n";
        $listmode = 0;
    s/^\* /\\item{} /;


Here is some sample input markup and output,

The script will write out all the header and footer markup (including title page and table of contents, which is what I needed) so that the output can go right into LaTeX for processing. The script is very far from being complete in terms of a “MediaWiki to LaTeX converter”, and I have no intention on making it any more complete either. It does only what I needed it to do: handle a few special characters, convert headings, and create lists. I am providing it here in case someone finds it useful or interesting. Perhaps it may serve as a stepping stone for creating something more complete.

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null program

Chris Wellons (PGP)
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