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Once the Docutils package is unpacked, you will discover a "tools" directory containing several front ends for common Docutils processing. Rather than a single all-purpose program, Docutils has many small front ends, each specialized for a specific "Reader" (which knows how to interpret a file in context), a "Parser" (which understands the syntax of the text), and a "Writer" (which knows how to generate a specific data format).

Most front ends have common options and the same command-line usage pattern:

toolname [options] [<source> [<destination]]

(The exceptions are and See for concrete examples. Each tool has a "--help" option which lists the command-line options and arguments it supports. Processing can also be customized with configuration files.

The two arguments, "source" and "destination", are optional. If only one argument (source) is specified, the standard output (stdout) is used for the destination. If no arguments are specified, the standard input (stdin) is used for the source as well.

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