LaTeX vs. reStructuredText

Since 2007, I use LaTeX. I have used it for documentation, essays and especially for lab reports and other stuff at university. Since around 2011, I know about reStructuredText and use it for most of my documentation, and for a single lab report. My website is also done in reStructuredText, which is very elegant for web content.

Both seem powerful for the stuff I need. LaTeX is page oriented, reStructuredText can be compiled to an endless webpage, but also to LaTeX. With pandoc, both formats can be converted into each other, so there is really no limit on using both.

How is LaTeX better then reStructuredText?

better typography

Okay, this is not really something that reStructuredText is bad at, it is just the browsers that are not as good at that.

powerful citation system

BibTeX is a really powerful solution for citations. reStructuredText has references, but they are pretty much just footnotes.


Syntax highlighting with LaTeX code in it could be very useful for a bigger scientific document where there are a couple formulas to explain. On the other hand, they do not really belong into the source code anyway.

greater user base

In academia, everyone knows LaTeX, and most of the stuff is made with LaTeX. Therefore, it might be beneficial do use what everyone else uses.


reStructuredText can be extended to, but LaTeX is a complete programming language with a ton of packages for it.


In some of the problem sets, I already used TikZ to get some nice drawings. In a bachelor's thesis, there are going to be lots of drawings. In reStructuredText, there is some TikZ support, but it does not use the exact same fonts.

How is reStructuredText better than LaTeX?

easy syntax

A reStructuredText is very clear to read and edit. I can read LaTeX "fluently" by now, but it is still kind of awkward.


When content is available in reStructuredText, it can easily be used in websites that are made with Sphinx. Then, Sphinx can create a neat website and good looking PDFs using pdflatex.

quick syntax highlighting

With the code directive, one can easily pretty print source code in any context. minted is more powerful, but also more cumbersome to use.