File and Output Formats

JupyterLab provides a unified architecture for viewing and editing data in a wide variety of formats. This model applies whether the data is in a file or is provided by a kernel as rich cell output in a notebook or code console.

For files, the data format is detected by the extension of the file (or the whole filename if there is no extension). A single file extension may have multiple editors or viewers registered. For example, a Markdown file (.md) can be edited in the file editor or rendered and displayed as HTML. You can open different editors and viewers for a file by right-clicking on the filename in the file browser and using the “Open With” submenu:

To use these different data formats as output in a notebook or code console, you can use the relevant display API for the kernel you are using. For example, the IPython kernel provides a variety of convenience classes for displaying rich output:

from IPython.display import display, HTML
display(HTML('<h1>Hello World</h1>'))

Running this code will display the HTML in the output of a notebook or code console cell:

The IPython display function can also construct a raw rich output message from a dictionary of keys (MIME types) and values (MIME data):

from IPython.display import display
display({'text/html': '<h1>Hello World</h1>', 'text/plain': 'Hello World'}, raw=True)

Other Jupyter kernels offer similar APIs.

The rest of this section highlights some of the common data formats that JupyterLab supports by default. JupyterLab extensions can also add support for other file formats.


  • File extension: .md
  • MIME type: text/markdown

Markdown is a simple and popular markup language used for text cells in the Jupyter Notebook.

Markdown documents can be edited as text files or rendered inline:

The Markdown syntax supported in this mode is the same syntax used in the Jupyter Notebook (for example, LaTeX equations work). As seen in the animation, edits to the Markdown source are immediately reflected in the rendered version.


  • File extensions: .bmp, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .svg
  • MIME types: image/bmp, image/gif, image/jpeg, image/png, image/svg+xml

JupyterLab supports image data in cell output and as files in the above formats. In the image file viewer, you can use keyboard shortcuts such as + and - to zoom the image and 0 to reset the zoom level. To edit an SVG image as a text file, right-click on the SVG filename in the file browser and select the “Editor” item in the “Open With” submenu:


  • File extension: .csv
  • MIME type: None

Files with rows of comma-separated values (CSV files) are a common format for tabular data. The default viewer for CSV files in JupyterLab is a high-performance data grid viewer (which can also handle tab- and semicolon-separated values):

To edit a CSV file as a text file, right-click on the file in the file browser and select the “Editor” item in the “Open With” submenu:


  • File extension: .json
  • MIME type: application/json

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) files are common in data science. JupyterLab supports displaying JSON data in cell output or viewing a JSON file using a searchable tree view:

To edit the JSON as a text file, right-click on the filename in the file browser and select the “Editor” item in the “Open With” submenu:


  • File extension: .html
  • MIME type: text/html

JupyterLab supports rendering HTML in cell output and editing HTML files as text in the file editor.


  • File extension: .tex
  • MIME type: text/latex

JupyterLab supports rendering LaTeX equations in cell output and editing LaTeX files as text in the file editor.


  • File extension: .pdf
  • MIME type: application/pdf

PDF is a common standard file format for documents. To view a PDF file in JupyterLab, double-click on the file in the file browser:



  • File extensions: .vg, .vg.json
  • MIME type: application/vnd.vega.v2+json


  • File extensions: .vl, .vl.json
  • MIME type: application/vnd.vegalite.v1+json

Vega and Vega-Lite are declarative visualization grammars that enable visualizations to be encoded as JSON data. For more information, see the documentation of Vega or Vega-Lite. JupyterLab supports rendering Vega 2.x and Vega-Lite 1.x data in files and cell output.

Vega-Lite 1.x files, with a .vl or .vl.json file extension, can be opened by double-clicking the file in the file browser:

The files can also be opened in the JSON viewer or file editor through the “Open With…” submenu in the file browser content menu:

As with other files in JupyterLab, multiple views of a single file remain synchronized, enabling you to interactively edit and render Vega/Vega-Lite visualizations:

The same workflow also works for Vega 2.x files, with a .vg or .vg.json file extension.

Output support for Vega/Vega-Lite in a notebook or code console is provided through third-party libraries such as Altair (Python), the vegalite R package, or Vegas (Scala/Spark).

A JupyterLab extension that supports Vega 3.x and Vega-Lite 2.x can be found here.

Virtual DOM

  • File extensions: .vdom, .json
  • MIME type: application/vdom.v1+json

Virtual DOM libraries such as react.js have greatly improved the experience of rendering interactive content in HTML. The nteract project, which collaborates closely with Project Jupyter, has created a declarative JSON format for virtual DOM data. JupyterLab can render this data using react.js. This works for both VDOM files with the .vdom extension, or within notebook output.

Here is an example of a .vdom file being edited and rendered interactively:

The nteract/vdom library provides a Python API for creating VDOM output that is rendered in nteract and JupyterLab: