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pypm install sphinx-bootstrap-theme

How to install sphinx-bootstrap-theme

  1. Download and install ActivePython
  2. Open Command Prompt
  3. Type pypm install sphinx-bootstrap-theme
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Lastest release
version 0.3.1 on Jan 9th, 2014

This Sphinx theme integrates the Twitter Bootstrap CSS / JavaScript framework with various layout options, hierarchical menu navigation, and mobile-friendly responsive design. It is configurable, extensible and can use any number of different Bootswatch CSS themes.

Introduction and Demos

The theme is introduced and discussed in the following posts:

Examples of the theme in use for some public projects:

The theme demo website also includes an examples page for some useful illustrations of getting Sphinx to play nicely with Bootstrap (also take a look at the examples source for the underlying reStructuredText).


Installation from PyPI is fairly straightforward:

  1. Install the package:

    $ pip install sphinx_bootstrap_theme
  2. Edit the "conf.py" configuration file to point to the bootstrap theme:

    # At the top.
    import sphinx_bootstrap_theme
    # ...
    # Activate the theme.
    html_theme = 'bootstrap'
    html_theme_path = sphinx_bootstrap_theme.get_html_theme_path()


The can be customized in varying ways (some a little more work than others).

Theme Options

The theme provides many built-in options that can be configured by editing your "conf.py" file:

# (Optional) Logo. Should be exactly 24x24 px to fit the nav. bar.
# Path should be relative to the static files directory.
html_logo = "my_logo.png"

# Theme options are theme-specific and customize the look and feel of a
# theme further.
html_theme_options = {
    # Navigation bar title. (Default: ``project`` value)
    'navbar_title': "Demo",

    # Tab name for entire site. (Default: "Site")
    'navbar_site_name': "Site",

    # A list of tuples containing pages or urls to link to.
    # Valid tuples should be in the following forms:
    #    (name, page)                 # a link to a page
    #    (name, "/aa/bb", 1)          # a link to an arbitrary relative url
    #    (name, "http://example.com", True) # arbitrary absolute url
    # Note the "1" or "True" value above as the third argument to indicate
    # an arbitrary url.
    'navbar_links': [
        ("Examples", "examples"),
        ("Link", "http://example.com", True),

    # Render the next and previous page links in navbar. (Default: true)
    'navbar_sidebarrel': True,

    # Render the current pages TOC in the navbar. (Default: true)
    'navbar_pagenav': True,

    # Global TOC depth for "site" navbar tab. (Default: 1)
    # Switching to -1 shows all levels.
    'globaltoc_depth': 2,

    # Include hidden TOCs in Site navbar?
    # Note: If this is "false", you cannot have mixed ``:hidden:`` and
    # non-hidden ``toctree`` directives in the same page, or else the build
    # will break.
    # Values: "true" (default) or "false"
    'globaltoc_includehidden': "true",

    # HTML navbar class (Default: "navbar") to attach to <div> element.
    # For black navbar, do "navbar navbar-inverse"
    'navbar_class': "navbar navbar-inverse",

    # Fix navigation bar to top of page?
    # Values: "true" (default) or "false"
    'navbar_fixed_top': "true",

    # Location of link to source.
    # Options are "nav" (default), "footer" or anything else to exclude.
    'source_link_position': "nav",

    # Bootswatch (http://bootswatch.com/) theme.
    # Options are nothing with "" (default) or the name of a valid theme
    # such as "amelia" or "cosmo".
    # Note that this is served off CDN, so won't be available offline.
    'bootswatch_theme': "united",

    # Choose Bootstrap version.
    # Values: "3" (default) or "2" (in quotes)
    'bootstrap_version': "3",

Note for the navigation bar title that if you don't specify a theme option of navbar_title that the "conf.py" project string will be used. We don't use the html_title or html_short_title values because by default those both contain version strings, which the navigation bar treats differently.

Bootstrap Versions

The theme supports Bootstrap v2.3.2 and v3.0.0 via the bootstrap_version theme option (of "2" or "3"). Some notes regarding version differences:

  • Bootstrap 3 has dropped support for sub-menus, so while supported by this theme, they will not show up in site or page menus.
  • Internally, "navbar.html" is the Sphinx template used for Bootstrap v3 and "navbar-2.html" is the template used for v2.

The theme option bootswatch_theme integrates (the totally awesome) Bootswatch library, so you can choose between the various themes. The themes, however, are served off a CDN, not from static files, which means that if you are offline, you will see "normal", un-themed Bootstrap for your documentation.

This seemed like the best compromise between the size issues with statically including all of the various Bootswatch themes and actually making them available online.

Extending "layout.html"

As a more "hands on" approach to customization, you can override any template in this Sphinx theme or any others. A good candidate for changes is "layout.html", which provides most of the look and feel. First, take a look at the "layout.html" file that the theme provides, and figure out what you need to override. As a side note, we have some theme-specific enhancements, such as the navbarextra template block for additional content in the navbar.

Then, create your own "_templates" directory and "layout.html" file (assuming you build from a "source" directory):

$ mkdir source/_templates
$ touch source/_templates/layout.html

Then, configure your "conf.py":

templates_path = ['_templates']

Finally, edit your override file "source/_templates/layout.html":

{# Import the theme's layout. #}
{% extends "!layout.html" %}

{# Add some extra stuff before and use existing with 'super()' call. #}
{% block footer %}
  <h2>My footer of awesomeness.</h2>
  {{ super() }}
{% endblock %}
Adding Custom CSS

Alternately, you could add your own custom static media directory with a CSS file to override a style, which in the demo would be something like:

$ mkdir source/_static
$ touch source/_static/my-styles.css

Then, in "conf.py", edit this line:

html_static_path = ["_static"]

You will also need the override template "source/_templates/layout.html" file configured as above, but with the following code:

{# Import the theme's layout. #}
{% extends "!layout.html" %}

{# Include our new CSS file into existing ones. #}
{% set css_files = css_files + ['_static/my-styles.css']%}

Then, in the new file "source/_static/my-styles.css", add any appropriate styling, e.g. a bold background color:

footer {
  background-color: red;

Theme Notes


The theme places the global TOC, local TOC, navigation (prev, next) and source links all in the top Bootstrap navigation bar, along with the Sphinx search bar on the left side.

The global (site-wide) table of contents is the "Site" navigation dropdown, which is a configurable level rendering of the toctree for the entire site. The local (page-level) table of contents is the "Page" navigation dropdown, which is a multi-level rendering of the current page's toc.


The theme offers Twitter Bootstrap v2.x and v3.x, both of which rely on jQuery v.1.9.x. As the jQuery that Bootstrap wants can radically depart from the jQuery Sphinx internal libraries use, the library from this theme is integrated via noConflict() as $jqTheme.

You can override any static JS/CSS files by dropping different versions in your Sphinx "_static" directory.


Contributions to this project are most welcome. Please make sure that the demo site builds cleanly, and looks like what you want. First build the demo:

$ fab clean && fab demo

Then, view the site in the development server:

$ fab demo_server

Also, if you are adding a new type of styling or Sphinx or Bootstrap construct, please add a usage example to the "Examples" page.


Sphinx Bootstrap Theme is licensed under the MIT license.

Twitter Bootstrap is licensed under the Apache license.

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Last updated Jan 9th, 2014

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