mkdocstrings works by processing special expressions in your Markdown files.
The syntax is as follows:
::: identifier YAML block
Resources on YAML
YAML can sometimes be a bit tricky, particularly on indentation. Here are some resources that other users found useful to better understand YAML's peculiarities.
identifier is a string identifying the object you want to document. The format of an identifier can vary from one handler to another. For example, the Python handler expects the full dotted-path to a Python object:
The YAML block is optional, and contains some configuration options:
handler: the name of the handler to use to collect and render this object. By default, it will use the value defined in the Global options's
options: a dictionary of options passed to the handler's methods responsible both for collecting and rendering the documentation. These options can be defined globally (in
mkdocs.yml, see Global options), locally (as described here), or both.
Example with the Python handler
# Documentation for `MyClass` ::: my_package.my_module.MyClass handler: python options: members: - method_a - method_b show_root_heading: false show_source: false
nav: - "My page": my_page.md
class MyClass: """Print print print!""" def method_a(self): """Print A!""" print("A!") def method_b(self): """Print B!""" print("B!") def method_c(self): """Print C!""" print("C!")
Print print print!
It is also possible to integrate a mkdocstrings identifier into a Markdown header:
## ::: my_package.my_module.MyClass options: show_source: false
The above is equivalent to:
::: my_package.my_module.MyClass options: show_source: false heading_level: 2
mkdocstrings accepts a few top-level configuration options in
default_handler: The handler that is used by default when no handler is specified.
custom_templates: The path to a directory containing custom templates. The path is relative to the current working directory. See Theming.
handlers: The handlers' global configuration.
enable_inventory: Whether to enable inventory file generation. See Cross-references to other projects / inventories
enabled(New in version 0.20): Whether to enable the plugin. Defaults to
true. Can be used to reduce build times when doing local development. Especially useful when used with environment variables (see example below).
watch(deprecated): A list of directories to watch while serving the documentation. See Watch directories. Deprecated in favor of the now built-in
watchfeature of MkDocs.
plugins: - mkdocstrings: enabled: !ENV [ENABLE_MKDOCSTRINGS, true] custom_templates: templates default_handler: python handlers: python: options: show_source: false
The handlers global configuration can then be overridden by local configurations:
::: my_package.my_module.MyClass options: show_source: true
Some handlers accept additional global configuration. Check the documentation for your handler of interest in Handlers.
Cross-references are written as Markdown reference-style links:
With a custom title: [`Object 1`][full.path.object1] With the identifier as title: [full.path.object2]
<p>With a custom title: <a href="https://example.com/page1#full.path.object1"><code>Object 1</code></a><p> <p>With the identifier as title: <a href="https://example.com/page2#full.path.object2">full.path.object2</a></p>
Any item that was inserted using the autodoc syntax (e.g.
::: full.path.object1) is possible to link to by using the same identifier with the cross-reference syntax (
[example][full.path.object1]). But the cross-references are also applicable to the items' children that get pulled in.
Finding out the anchor¤
If you're not sure which exact identifier a doc item uses, you can look at its "anchor", which your Web browser will show in the URL bar when clicking an item's entry in the table of contents. If the URL is
https://example.com/some/page.html#full.path.object1 then you know that this item is possible to link to with
[example][full.path.object1], regardless of the current page.
Cross-references to any Markdown heading¤
Changed in version 0.15
Linking to any Markdown heading used to be the default, but now opt-in is required.
If you want to link to any Markdown heading, not just mkdocstrings-inserted items, please enable the autorefs plugin for MkDocs by adding
plugins: - search - autorefs - mkdocstrings: [...]
Note that you don't need to (
pip) install anything more; this plugin is guaranteed to be pulled in with mkdocstrings.
## Hello, world! Testing
## Something else Please see the [Hello, World!][hello-world] section.
<p>Please see the <a href="doc1.html#hello-world">Hello, World!</a> section.</p>
Cross-references to a sub-heading in a docstring¤
New in version 0.14
If you have a Markdown heading inside your docstring, you can also link directly to it. In the example below you see the identifier to be linked is
foo.bar--tips, because it's the "Tips" heading that's part of the
foo.bar object, joined with "
def bar(): """Hello, world! # Tips - Stay hydrated. """
Check out the [tips][foo.bar--tips]
<p>Check out the <a href="doc1.html#foo.bar--tips">tips</a></p>
The above tip about Finding out the anchor also applies the same way here.
You may also notice that such a heading does not get rendered as a
<h1> element directly, but rather the level gets shifted to fit the encompassing document structure. If you're curious about the implementation, check out mkdocstrings.handlers.rendering.HeadingShiftingTreeprocessor and others.
Cross-references to other projects / inventories¤
New in version 0.16
Python developers coming from Sphinx might know about its
intersphinx extension, that allows to cross-reference items between several projects. mkdocstrings has a similar feature.
To reference an item from another project, you must first tell mkdocstrings to load the inventory it provides. Each handler will be responsible of loading inventories specific to its language. For example, the Python handler can load Sphinx-generated inventories (
In the following snippet, we load the inventory provided by
plugins: - mkdocstrings: handlers: python: import: - https://installer.readthedocs.io/en/stable/objects.inv
Now it is possible to cross-reference
installer's items. For example:
See [installer.records] to learn about records.
<p>See <a href="https://installer.readthedocs.io/en/stable/api/records/#module-installer.records">installer.records</a> to learn about records.</p>
See installer.records to learn about records.
You can of course select another version of the inventory, for example:
plugins: - mkdocstrings: handlers: python: import: # latest instead of stable - https://installer.readthedocs.io/en/latest/objects.inv
In case the inventory file is not served under the base documentation URL, you can explicitly specify both URLs:
plugins: - mkdocstrings: handlers: python: import: - url: https://cdn.example.com/version/objects.inv base_url: https://docs.example.com/version
Absolute URLs to cross-referenced items will then be based on
https://docs.example.com/version/ instead of
Reciprocally, mkdocstrings also allows to generate an inventory file in the Sphinx format. It will be enabled by default if the Python handler is used, and generated as
objects.inv in the final site directory. Other projects will be able to cross-reference items from your project.
To explicitly enable or disable the generation of the inventory file, use the global
plugins: - mkdocstrings: enable_inventory: false
Deprecated since version 0.19
Instead, use the built-in
watch feature of MkDocs.
You can add directories to watch with the
watch key. It accepts a list of paths.
plugins: - mkdocstrings: watch: - src/my_package_1 - src/my_package_2
When serving your documentation and a change occur in one of the listed path, MkDocs will rebuild the site and reload the current page.
watch feature doesn't have special effects
Adding directories to the
watch list doesn't have any other effect than watching for changes. For example, it will not tell the Python handler to look for packages in these paths (the paths are not added to the
PYTHONPATH variable). If you want to tell Python where to look for packages and modules, see Python Handler: Finding modules.