Project documentation with Markdown.
MkDocs is a fast, simple and downright gorgeous static site generator that's geared towards building project documentation. Documentation source files are written in Markdown, and configured with a single YAML configuration file.
MkDocs builds completely static HTML sites that you can host on GitHub pages, Amazon S3, or anywhere else you choose.
Great themes available
Preview your site as you work
The built-in dev-server allows you to preview your documentation as you're writing it. It will even auto-reload and refresh your browser whenever you save your changes.
Easy to customize
Get your project documentation looking just the way you want it by customizing the theme.
Install with a Package Manager
If you have and use a package manager (such as apt-get, dnf, homebrew, yum, chocolatey, etc.) to install packages on your system, then you may want to search for a "MkDocs" package and, if a recent version is available, install it with your package manager (check your system's documentation for details). That's it, you're done! Skip down to Getting Started.
If your package manager does not have a recent "MkDocs" package, you can still use your package manager to install "Python" and "pip". Then you can use pip to install MkDocs.
$ python --version Python 2.7.2 $ pip --version pip 1.5.2
MkDocs supports Python versions 2.7, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5 and pypy.
If you are installing Python on Windows, be sure to check the box to have Python added to your PATH if the installer offers such an option (it's normally off by default).
If you're using a recent version of Python, the Python package manager, pip, is most likely installed by default. However, you may need to upgrade pip to the lasted version:
pip install --upgrade pip
mkdocs package using pip:
pip install mkdocs
You should now have the
mkdocs command installed on your system. Run
--version to check that everything worked okay.
$ mkdocs --version mkdocs, version 0.15.3
If you are using Windows, some of the above commands may not work out-of-the-box.
A quick solution may be to preface every Python command with
python -m pip install mkdocs python -m mkdocs
For a more permanent solution, you may need to edit your
variable to include the
Scripts directory of your Python installation.
Recent versions of Python include a script to do this for you. Navigate to
your Python installation directory (for example
C:\Python34\), open the
Scripts folder, and run the
win_add2path.py file by double
clicking on it. Alternatively, you can download the script and run it
Getting started is super easy.
mkdocs new my-project cd my-project
Take a moment to review the initial project that has been created for you.
There's a single configuration file named
mkdocs.yml, and a folder named
docs that will contain your documentation source files. Right now the
folder just contains a single documentation page, named
MkDocs comes with a built-in dev-server that lets you preview your documentation
as you work on it. Make sure you're in the same directory as the
configuration file, and then start the server by running the
$ mkdocs serve INFO - Building documentation... INFO - Cleaning site directory [I 160402 15:50:43 server:271] Serving on http://127.0.0.1:8000 [I 160402 15:50:43 handlers:58] Start watching changes [I 160402 15:50:43 handlers:60] Start detecting changes
http://127.0.0.1:8000/ in your browser, and you'll see the default
home page being displayed:
The dev-server also supports auto-reloading, and will rebuild your documentation whenever anything in the configuration file, documentation directory, or theme directory changes.
docs/index.md document in your text editor of choice, change the
initial heading to
MkLorum, and save your changes. Your browser will
auto-reload and you should see your updated documentation immediately.
Now try editing the configuration file:
mkdocs.yml. Change the
site_name setting to
MkLorum and save the file.
Your browser should immediately reload, and you'll see your new site name take effect.
Now add a second page to your documentation:
curl 'https://jaspervdj.be/lorem-markdownum/markdown.txt' > docs/about.md
As our documentation site will include some navigation headers, you may want to
edit the configuration file and add some information about the order, title, and
nesting of each page in the navigation header by adding a
site_name: MkLorum pages: - Home: index.md - About: about.md
Save your changes and you'll now see a navigation bar with
items on the left as well as
Next items on the
Try the menu items and navigate back and forth between pages. Then click on
Search. A search dialog will appear, allowing you to search for any text on
any page. Notice that the search results include every occurrence of the search
term on the site and links directly to the section of the page in which the
search term appears. You get of all that with no effort or configuration on your
Theming our documentation
Now change the configuration file to alter how the documentation is displayed by
changing the theme. Edit the
mkdocs.yml file and add a
site_name: MkLorum pages: - Home: index.md - About: about.md theme: readthedocs
Save your changes, and you'll see the ReadTheDocs theme being used.
Changing the Favicon Icon
By default, MkDocs uses the MkDocs favicon icon. To use a different icon, create
img subdirectory in your
docs_dir and copy your custom
to that directory. MkDocs will automatically detect and use that file as your
Building the site
That's looking good. You're ready to deploy the first pass of your
documentation. First build the documentation:
This will create a new directory, named
site. Take a look inside the
$ ls site about fonts index.html license search.html css img js mkdocs sitemap.xml
Notice that your source documentation has been output as two HTML files named
about/index.html. You also have various other media that's
been copied into the
site directory as part of the documentation theme. You
even have a
sitemap.xml file and
If you're using source code control such as
git you probably don't want to
check your documentation builds into the repository. Add a line containing
site/ to your
echo "site/" >> .gitignore
If you're using another source code control tool you'll want to check its documentation on how to ignore specific directories.
After some time, files may be removed from the documentation but they will still
reside in the
site directory. To remove those stale files, just run
mkdocs build --clean
Other Commands and Options
There are various other commands and options available. For a complete list of
commands, use the
To view a list of options available on a given command, use the
with that command. For example, to get a list of all options available for the
build command run the following:
mkdocs build --help
The documentation site that you just built only uses static files so you'll be
able to host it from pretty much anywhere. GitHub project pages and Amazon
S3 may be good hosting options, depending upon your needs. Upload the contents
of the entire
site directory to wherever you're hosting your website from and
you're done. For specific instructions on a number of common hosts, see the
Deploying your Docs page.