Asciidoctor Diagram is a set of extensions for Asciidoctor, the Ruby-based AsciiDoc processor. These extensions allow you to embed plain text diagrams inside your AsciiDoc documents using one of the following syntaxes:

Additionally Asciidoctor Diagram includes a basic meme generator extension.

The extension takes care of running the diagram processor to generate the images from the input text and insert them into the rendered document.

This gem was inspired by the AsciiDoc PlantUML filter for AsciiDoc Python.


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Add this line to your application’s Gemfile:

gem 'asciidoctor-diagram'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install asciidoctor-diagram

Additional Requirements

Certain diagram types require other tools to be installed seperately.

  • Block/Seq/Act/Nw diag: the block/seq/act/nw diag Python packages

  • Graphviz: the Graphviz package

  • Meme: ImageMagick

  • Mermaid: the Mermaid CLI and PhantomJS 1.9.x

  • PlantUML: Graphviz package for certain diagram types.

  • Shaape: the Shaape Python package

  • WaveDrom: the WaveDrom editor application


Enable the extensions

The diagram extensions consist of a set of block processors for Asciidoctor. In order to use extensions you should need to invoke Asciidoctor via the Ruby API. In your script you can then either require one or more of the following files:

  1. asciidoctor-diagram: to enable all the diagramming extensions

  2. asciidoctor-diagram/blockdiag: to enable the block/act/seq/nw diag extension

  3. asciidoctor-diagram/ditaa: to enable the ditaa extension

  4. asciidoctor-diagram/graphviz: to enable the graphviz extension

  5. asciidoctor-diagram/meme: to enable the mermaid extension

  6. asciidoctor-diagram/mermaid: to enable the mermaid extension

  7. asciidoctor-diagram/plantuml: to enable the plantuml extension

  8. asciidoctor-diagram/shaape: to enable the shaape extension

  9. asciidoctor-diagram/wavedrom: to enable the wavedrom extension

Requiring one or more of these files will automatically register the extensions for all processed documents. If you need more fine grained control over when the extensions are enabled or not, asciidoctor-diagram/ditaa/extension, asciidoctor-diagram/graphviz/extension and asciidoctor-diagram/plantuml/extension can be used instead. These load the extensions themselves but do not register them. You should then register the extensions yourself at the appropriate time using the Asciidoctor::Extensions API.

Using the extensions

Once the extensions are enabled the following block types becomes available for your documents:

  • blockdiag, actdiag, seqdiag, nwdiag, rackdiag and packetdiag

  • ditaa

  • graphviz

  • meme

  • mermaid

  • plantuml

  • shaape

  • wavedrom

Detailed descriptions of the supported syntax inside these blocks is available on websites of the respective projects.

At this point you can start adding diagrams to your application. Here’s an example to get you started:

["plantuml", "asciidoctor-diagram-classes", "png"]
class BlockProcessor
class DiagramBlock
class DitaaBlock
class PlantUmlBlock

BlockProcessor <|-- DiagramBlock
DiagramBlock <|-- DitaaBlock
DiagramBlock <|-- PlantUmlBlock

All the diagram blocks except meme support the following attributes:

  1. target (1st positional attribute): the basename of the file to generate. If not specified an auto-generated name will be used.

  2. format (2nd positional attribute): the output format. PlantUML blocks support png, svg and txt. Graphviz, Shaape and BlockDiag support png and svg. Ditaa only supports png.

Once you have all of this in place and your original AsciiDoc file contains a diagram block, it’s time to build it into an HTML file with Asciidoctor Diagram magic! When executing Asciidoctor, you must reference the Adciidoctor Diagram library, otherwise your diagram blocks won’t be recognized as such. When executing Asciidoctor from the command line, do it using the -r parameter to reference this external library:

$ asciidoctor -r asciidoctor-diagram doc.adoc

If you don’t want to embed your diagram code in your document then you can use the diagram extension as block macros. The target of diagram block macro should refer to the file containing the diagram source code. The attributes for the block macros are the same as for the inline blocks. The example above in block macro form becomes

plantuml::mydiagram.puml["asciidoctor-diagram-classes", "png"]

The meme extension

The meme extension provides a basic 'Advice Animal' style image generator. It’s usage is easiest to explain with an example.

meme::doge.jpg[Perhaps haters...,Just hate to \\ love?]

The target of the block macro tells the extension which image to use as background. The first two positional attributes are top and bottom and are used for the top and bottom label. Occurrences of ` \\ ` are interpreted as line breaks.

The block macro also supports the following named attributes:

  1. fillColor: the fill color for the text. Defaults to white.

  2. strokeColor: the outline color for the text. Defaults to black.

  3. strokeWidth: the width of the text outline. Defaults to 2.

  4. font: the font face to use for the text. Defaults to Impact.

  5. options: a comma separate list of flags that modify the image rendering. Currently only noupcase is supported which disable upper casing the labels.

  6. target (3rd positional attribute): the basename of the file to generate. If not specified an auto-generated name will be used.

  7. format (4th positional attribute): the output image format. The meme extension supports png and gif.


  1. Fork it

  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)

  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')

  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)

  5. Create new Pull Request