Customizing RISE

What to configure

Here’s a list of things that can be customized. See below for more details on how to implement those settings.

  • presentation theme

  • transition between slides

  • auto-launch presentation mode

  • where to start the presentation

  • automatic selection of cells

  • slide sizes

  • decoration (header/footer/background)

  • vertical scrollbar

  • chalkboard capabilities

  • using a leap motion controller

  • native reveal.js settings

  • custom CSS

  • keyboard shortcuts

Choosing a theme

You can configure the theme of your presentation (which controls the general look and feel of the presentation) with:

 "rise": {"theme": "sky"}

For a listing of built-in themes to choose from, see the reveal.js theme documentation.

Choosing a transition

The transition configuration defines what happens in between slides:

 "rise": {"transition": "zoom"}

Automatically launch RISE

You can setup your notebook to start immediately with the slideshow view using the autolaunch config option. This typically is very helpful if you plan on publishing slideshows through something like

 "rise": {"autolaunch": true}

Choosing where the slideshow begins

The following configuration changes where the slides begin. By default, RISE will start at the selected slide. To have it start at the first slide instead, use this configuration:

 "rise": {"start_slideshow_at": "beginning"}

Select cells based on the current slide

As you progress into your slideshow, you either move to a new (sub)slide, or show (or hide) a new fragment; whenever any of these events occur, you may wish to have the jupyter selection keep in sync or not; this is the purpose of the auto-select feature.

There are currently two settings that let you change the way auto-select behaves, here are their default values:

 "rise": {"auto_select": "code",
          "auto_select_fragment": true}

auto_select can be any of:

  • code (the first code cell is auto-selected)

  • none (no auto-selection)

  • first (the first cell is auto-selected)

auto_select_fragment is a boolean that states whether auto-selection should select cells based on the current slide as a whole (when set to false) or restrict to the current fragment (when set to true, the default).

These settings are experimental and may change in the future; hopefully the current default behaviour is just fine. We might remove auto_select_fragment as a setting altogether; we might also turn auto_select into a mere boolean, since the current setting auto_select = "first" has not proved of any practical value. Regardless, it seems like the most meaningful combinations as of now are either auto_select = "none" - in which case the other setting is ignored, or auto_select = "code" and auto_select_fragment = true, which now is the default.

Change the width and height of slides

To control the width and height of your slides, use the following configuration:

 "rise": {"width": "90%",
          "height": "90%"}


  • remember that you can always use your browser’s shortcuts to zoom in/out (Cmd/Ctrl + and Cmd/Ctrl -), and this way adjust the slide content to your screen/projector size.

  • this method is often preferable than setting sizes. In particular it is dangerous to set sizes in pixels, as most often you cannot rehearse with the actual projector. We recommend setting relative sizes (in percents) rather than absolute ones (in px or cm).

  • in any case you may want to increase the slide height to ensure that cell outputs fit within a single slide; keep in mind that cell contents tend to take more space as you run your code.

Decorating all slides

RISE offers two levels for inserting a static background. You can either

  • define overlay, in which case you take full control,

  • or you can define header, footer and backimage.

So if you define overlay, the 3 latter options will be ignored.


It is possible to add the config option overlay to build a constant background. It is wrapped in a<div>, so it can be text or html. In this case, the user is entirely responsible for styling. For example:

 "rise": {
     "overlay": "<div class='myheader'><h2>my company</h2></div><div class='myfooter'><h2>the date</h2></div>"

Enable a right scroll bar

To enable a right scroll bar when your content exceeds the slide vertical height, use the following configuration:

 "rise": {"scroll": true}

Enable chalkboard capabilities

Starting RISE 5.4.1, we provide some new chalkboard capabilities. To enable them, use the following configuration:

 "rise": {"enable_chalkboard": true}

When enabled, this plugin adds two buttons next to the help button. The first one provides you with a black board. The second one allows you to draw on top of the current slide.

It also reacts to the following additional keyboard commands:

  • [ to turn the whole space into an empty chalkboard

  • ] to start adding free drawings to the current slide

  • \ to download chalkboard drawing

  • = to reset chalkboard drawing on the current slide

  • - to clear the chalkboard

Usage with Leap Motion

Reveal.js supports the Leap Motion controller. To control RISE slides with the Leap, put the reveal leap plugin options in your config with the following parameters:

 "rise": {
     "leap_motion": {
        "naturalSwipe"  : true,     # Invert swipe gestures
        "pointerOpacity": 0.5,      # Set pointer opacity to 0.5
        "pointerColor"  : "#d80000" # Red pointer"nat.png"

To disable it:

 "rise": {
     "leap_motion": "none"

reveal.js configuration options

reveal.js offers a few configuration of its own, as described in reveal.js’s documentation. Out of this category, RISE will pass through the following settings:

  • controls to enable or disable the lower right navigation arrows

  • progress to enable or disable the thin progress bar at the bottom of the slideshow

  • slideNumber that allows you to turn off, or customize, slide numbers. Set to boolean false to turn off, see reveal.js’s doc for more details

  • center to enable or disable vertical centering of slide contents

  • as well as history.

Adding custom CSS

RISE looks for two css files to apply CSS changes on top of the slideshow view:

  • First, it attempts to load rise.css, and hence this will be applied to all notebooks in the current directory;

  • Second, it attempts to load the_notebook_name.css and so this will hence be only applied to the_notebook_name.ipynb.

Both files need to be placed alongside with the notebook of interest, i.e. in the same directory. You can see some examples using this customization with RISE/examples/showflow.ipynb.

NOTE. The implementation of this feature is rather rough, both css files are blindly included without checking for their existence, which may result in error messages in your browser console, complaining about No such file or directory. These messages can be safely ignored. See also about this.

How to customize

RISE can be customized in a lot of ways. As of RISE version 5.3, you can:

  1. use nbextensions_configurator; this tool offers an interactive way to enable, disable and tweak all notebook extensions - see screenshot below;

  2. define settings in JSON files, typically by using python scripts;

  3. you can also embed settings in a specific notebook’s metadata;

  4. and you can also provide your own css file(s), that can supersede styling of the various DOM pieces.

The configurator

You may need to install and enable additional modules, refer to this github repo for more details on Jupyter notebook extensions.

In a nutshell:

pip3 install jupyter_contrib_nbextensions
jupyter contrib nbextension install


conda install -c conda-forge jupyter_nbextensions_configurator

You should then see a fourth tab in jupyter’s directory views, as depicted below. Settings are stored in JSON format, typically in


Using python

As an alternative way, you can tweak your local user’s settings with a script rather than from the configurator. For example you can use python like shown in this example below, that leverages the JSON config manager from traitlets:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
from traitlets.config.manager import BaseJSONConfigManager
from pathlib import Path
path = Path.home() / ".jupyter" / "nbconfig"
cm = BaseJSONConfigManager(config_dir=str(path))
        "theme": "sky",
        "transition": "zoom",
        "start_slideshow_at": "selected",


Notebook metadata

These settings can also be stored in your notebook metadata, which holds a JSON object, that can be edited through Jupyter’s standard menu (Edit → Edit Notebook Metadata); typically it would look like this:

    "rise": {
        "theme": "serif",
        "transition": "zoom",

You can edit notebook metadata as follows

Note on legacy naming

For the remaining of this section, let us forget about custom CSS for a while, and concentrate on the first 3 configuration methods : configurator, JSON files, and notebook metadata.

In all this document we refer to settings stored in a JSON key or filename rise. You may also see some notebooks using the livereveal key instead, which is an older name for the same project. FOr backward compatibility, both names are actually taken into account, however you should know that rise will take precedence on livereveal if the same setting in defined under both names.

You are encouraged to always use the rise naming as much as possible.

Order of precedence

The order of precedence between these 3 sources of configuration is as follows:

  • a setting defined in the notebook’s metadata is always valid; among these, as described above, settings in the rise category will override those defined in livereveal if both entries apply;

  • if still undefined, a setting defined in the configurator will be valid; Finally, the following priorities apply:

  • if still undefined, a setting defined in any of the JSON files considered by your jupyter server will be taken into account. Here again, rise.json supersedes livereveal.json in case of an overlap.

Apart from that, the scope of what is configurable through these various channels (configurator, JSON and metadata) is identical, so it is possible to use the configurator as some sort of an online reference manual, as it describes each and every setting.

Local setting vs hosted infrastructure

At this point you need to be aware that:

  • settings changed through the configurator or JSON files - are stored on your own file system, typically in your home directory, and so are only be applicable to people using this notebook server; generally it is used for user preferences or such.

  • a contrario settings embedded in a specific notebook’s metadata will be applicable to all users that get their hands on that notebook, even if they end up in a mybinder instance via github.

Keyboard shortcuts and Jupyter actions

Here are the Jupyter actions registered by RISE:

action name                key      behaviour
RISE:slideshow            alt-r  enter/exit RISE Slideshow
RISE:smart-exec                  execute cell, move to the next if on same slide
RISE:toggle-slide        shift-i (un)set current cell as a Slide cell
RISE:toggle-subslide     shift-b (un)set current cell as a Sub-slide cell
RISE:toggle-fragment     shift-g (un)set current cell as a Fragment cell
RISE:toggle-notes                (un)set current cell as a Notes cell
RISE:toggle-skip                 (un)set current cell as a Skip cell
RISE:render-all-cells            render all cells (all cells go to command mode)
RISE:edit-all-cells              edit all cells (all cells go to edit mode)
RISE:rise-nbconfigurator shift-c open the nbconfigurator pane in another tab

Some, but not all, come bound to default keyboard shortcuts. There are 2 ways you can change the bindings

Through JSON

Like the other settings described in this section, you can define shortcuts in JSON with e.g.

 "rise": {
     "shortcuts": {
         "slideshow": "alt-a",
         "edit-all-cells": "ctrl-e"

With the above settings, RISE would not bind the default Alt-R key to RISE:slideshow, but it would bind Alt-A instead. It would also bind RISE:edit-all-cells to Ctrl-e.

Through custom.js

You can also use these actions in some regular javascript code, typically your ~/.jupyter/custom/custom.js. Here is an example that will attach one of these actions to a custom keyboard shortcut:

        function(Jupyter) {

            let command_shortcuts = Jupyter.keyboard_manager.command_shortcuts;

            // set / unset the 'Slide' tag in slideshow metadata
                'alt-a', 'RISE:slideshow');

Note that with this approach, you will end up with the RISE:slideshow action bound to both Alt-R and Alt-A.

Keyboard shortcut editors

The actions exposed to Jupyter are also present in Jupyter’s mainstream keyboard shortcuts editor, that you can use to (un)define your custom shortcuts.

Native keyboard shortcuts for reveal.js and reveal.js plug-ins

Some custom keyboard shortcuts may be defined in RISE to override the default keyboard shortcuts of reveal.js and/or its plug-ins.

The key bindings can be defined via the nbextensions_configurator or directly in JSON.

The table below shows the avaialble key bindings:

module      action               default key  behaviour
main        firstSlide           home         jump to first slide
main        lastSlide            end          jump to last slide
main        toggleOverview       w            toggles slide overview
main        fullscreenHelp       f            show fullscreen help
main        riseHelp             ?            show the RISE help
chalkboard  clear                -            clear full size chalkboard
chalkboard  reset                =            reset chalkboard data on current slide
chalkboard  toggleChalkboard     [            toggle full size chalkboard
chalkboard  toggleNotesCanvas    ]            toggle notes (slide-local)
chalkboard  download             \            download recorded chalkboard drawing

In JSON the native reveal.js keyboard shortcuts can be defined as shown in the example below:

 "rise": {
     "reveal_shortcuts": {
         "main": {
            "toggleOverview": "tab"
         "chalkboard": {
            "clear": "ctrl-k"