Get started#

This is a short step-by-step tutorial to get started with the Sphinx Book Theme.


This documentation and the examples below are written with MyST Markdown, a form of markdown that works with Sphinx. For more information about MyST markdown, and to use MyST markdown with your Sphinx website, see the MyST-parser documentation


You should be relatively familiar with the Sphinx ecosystem, and have it installed locally on your computer.


If you don’t already have a Sphinx site ready to customize, you can create one with:


Install and activate the theme#

First install sphinx-book-theme with pip:

pip install sphinx-book-theme

then, activate the theme in your Sphinx configuration (

html_theme = "sphinx_book_theme"

This will activate the Sphinx Book Theme for your documentation.


You may need to comment-out your html_theme_options configuration depending on your previous theme.

Add a source repository button to your theme#

There are several ways that you can customize the Sphinx Book Theme. For this tutorial, we’ll add a pointer to a GitHub repository for our theme.

To add a button that links to the repository for your documentation, add the following configuration in

html_theme_options = {
    "repository_url": "{your-docs-url}",
    "use_repository_button": True,

When you build your documentation, your header should now include a small GitHub logo that has a link to the repository.

See also

See Add a link to your repository for more information.

Customize your left sidebar#

There are a few major areas of the page that you can customize with the book theme. The most common is the primary sidebar (by default, on the left of the page).

Sidebar elements are defined as HTML templates by Sphinx, Sphinx extensions, and the current theme. You may specify which pages should contain which sidebar elements using the html_sidebars configuration. We’ll skip this step in this tutorial, but if you’d like to learn more, see Control the left sidebar items.

Let’s customize the logo of our site. To do so, we’ll edit the html_logo and html_title configuration options.

To add a site logo, follow these steps:

  1. Put an image in your documentation’s root (e.g., myimage.png).

  2. Add a line to your file that looks like this:

    html_logo = "path/to/myimage.png"

    Where the path is relative to your file.

Next we’ll customize the title of the site. To do so, add a line to your file that looks like this:

html_title = "My site title"

This title will now be placed underneath the logo.

Add some margin content to a page#

There are a few special kinds of content that this theme supports, largely inspired by the Tufte CSS theme styles. One kind of content is margin content. This allows you to “pop out” content to the side of the page, in the margins. Add some margin content to a page by adding the following directive (written with MyST Markdown).

```{margin} Look, some margin content!
On wider screens, this content will pop out to the side!

On wide screens, margin content will pop out to the side of the page and allow content underneath it to move upwards. This allows you to provide extra information without interrupting the flow of information.

There are many other things that you can do with the Sphinx Book Theme. Now that you’ve gotten a start, check out the other sections to the left to learn more about how to use it.