Make Static HTML Documentation for a Package

Generate an attractive and useful website from a source package. 'pkgdown' converts your documentation, vignettes, 'README', and more to 'HTML' making it easy to share information about your package online.

Travis-CI buildstatus AppVeyor buildstatus Lifecycle:maturing CRANStatus Codecov testcoverage

pkgdown is designed to make it quick and easy to build a website for your package. You can see pkgdown in action at this is the output of pkgdown applied to the latest version of pkgdown. Learn more in vignette("pkgdown") or ?build_site.


# Install release version from CRAN
# Install development version from GitHub


Run pkgdown from the package directory each time you release your package:


This will generate a docs/ directory. The home page will be generated from your package’s, and a function reference will be generated from the documentation in the man/ directory. If you are using GitHub, the easiest way to make this your package website is to check into git, then go to settings for your repo and make sure that the GitHub pages source is set to “master branch /docs folder”. Be sure to update the URL on your github repository homepage so others can easily navigate to your new site.

To customise your site, create _pkgdown.yml and modify it as described in the documentation. You can also use pkgdown/_pkgdown.yml if you need other files to customise your site.

The package includes an RStudio add-in that you can bind to a keyboard shortcut. I recommend Cmd + Shift + W: it uses Cmd + Shift, like all other package development shortcuts, it replaces a rarely used command (close all tabs), and the W is a mnemonic for website.

In the wild

At last count, pkgdown is used by over 2500 packages.

Here are a few examples created by contributors to pkgdown:

  • bayesplot [source]: plotting functions for posterior analysis, model checking, and MCMC diagnostics.

  • valr [source]: read and manipulate genome intervals and signals.

  • mkin [source]: calculation routines based on the FOCUS Kinetics Report

  • NMF [source]: a framework to perform non-negative matrix factorization (NMF).

Comparing the source and output of these sites is a great way to learn new pkgdown techniques.

Code of conduct

Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms.


pkgdown 1.3.0

  • Restore accidentally deleted build_logo() function so that logos are once more copied to the website.

  • Fix to pkgdown.css so page header has correct amount of top margin.

  • content-home.html template is no longer used when the homepage is an .Rmd (Reverts #834. Fixes #927, #929)

  • deploy_site_github() now passes parameters to build_site() (@noamross, #922), and the documentation gives slightly better advice.

  • Correct off-by-one error in navbar highlighting javascript; now no navbar is highlighted if none match the current path (#911).

  • Tweaking of HTML table classes was fixed (@yonicd, #912)

  • Restore accidentally removed docsearch.css file.

pkgdown 1.2.0

New features

  • deploy_site_github() can be used from continuous intergration systems (like travis) to automatically deploy your package website to GitHub Pages. See documentation for how to set up details (@jimhester).

  • build_favicon() creates high resolution favicons from the package logo, and saves them in pkgdown/. They are created using the API, and are better suited for modern web usage (e.g. retina display screens, desktop shortcuts, etc.). This also removes the dependency on the magick package, making automated deployment a little easier (@bisaloo, #883).

  • Users with limited internet connectivity can explicitly disable internet usage by pkgdown by setting options(pkgdown.internet = FALSE) (#774, #877).

Improvements to Rd translation

  • rd2html() is now exported to facilitate creation of translation reprexes.

  • \Sexpr{} conversion supports multiple arguments, eliminating x must be a string or a R connection errors when using \doi{} (#738).

  • \tabular{} conversion better handles empty cells (#780).

  • \usage{} now supports qualified functions eliminating
    Error in fun_info(x) : Unknown call: :: errors (#795).

  • Invalid tags now generate more informative errors (@BarkleyBG, #771, #891)

Front end

  • The default footer now displays the version of pkgdown used to build the site (#876).

  • All third party resources are now fetched from a single CDN and are give a SRI hash (@bisaloo, #893).

  • The navbar version now has class "version" so you can more easily control its display (#680).

  • The default css has been tweaked to ensure that icons are visible on all browsers (#852).

Bug fixes and minor improvements

Home page

  • Can now build sites for older packages that don't have a [email protected] field (#727).

  • Remote urls ending in .md are no longer tweaked to end in .html (#763).

  • Bug report link is only shown if there's a "BugReports" field (#855).

  • content-home.html template is now used when the homepage is an .Rmd (@goldingn, #787).

  • A link to the source inst/CITATION was added to the authors page (#714).


  • Uses stricter regular expression when linking to GitHub authors (#902).


  • Unexported functions and test helpers are no longer loaded (#789).

  • Selectors that do not match topics now generate a warning. If none of the specified selectors have a match, no topics are selected (#728).


  • The display depth of vignette tables of contents can be configured by setting toc: depth in _pkgdown.yml (#821):

      depth: 2

Overall site

  • init_site() now creates a CNAME file if one doesn't already exist and the site's metadata includes a url field.

  • build_site() loses vestigal mathjax parameter. This didn't appear to do anything and no one could remember why it existed (#785).

  • build_site() now uses colors even if new_process = TRUE (@jimhester).

pkgdown 1.1.0

New features

  • build_reference() and build_site() get new document argument. When TRUE, the default, will automatically run devtools::document() to ensure that your documentation is up to date.

  • build_site() gains a new_process argument, which defaults to TRUE. This will run pkgdown in a separate process, and is recommended practice because it improves reproducibility (#647).

  • Improved display for icons: icons must be 30px and stored in top-level icons/ directory. They are embedded in a separate column of reference index table, instead of being inside a comment (!) (#607).

Front end

  • Added a keyboard shortcut for searching. Press shift + / (?) to move focus to the search bar (#642).

  • The Algolia logo is correctly shown in the search results (#673).

  • Navbar active tab highlighting uses a superior approach (suggested by @jcheng5) which should mean that the active page is correctly highlighted in all scenarios (#660).

  • pkgdown.js is better isolated so it should still work even if you load html widgets that import a different version of jquery (#655).

Improvements to Rd translation

  • vignette() calls that don't link to existing vignettes silently fail to link instead of generating an uninformative error messages (#652). Automatic linking works for re-exported objects that are not functions (@gaborcsardi, #666).

  • Empty \section{}s are ignored (#656). Previously, empty sections caused error Error in rep(TRUE, length(x) - 1).

  • \Sexpr{} supports results=text, results=Rd and results=hide (#651).

  • \tabular{} no longer requires a terminal \cr (#664, #645).

Minor bug fixes and improvements

  • Add inst/pkgdown.yml as a possible site configuration file so that packages on CRAN can be built without needing the development version (#662).

  • Default navbar template now uses site title, not package name (the package name is the default title, so this will not affect most sites) (#654).

  • You can suppress indexing by search engines by setting noindex: true pkgdown.yml (#686)

        noindex: true
  • build_article() sets IN_PKGDOWN env var so in_pkgdown() works (#650).

  • build_home(): CITATION files with non-UTF-8 encodings (latin1) work correctly, instead of generating an error. For non-UTF-8 locales, ensure you have e.g. Encoding: latin1 in your DESCRIPTION; but best practice is to re-enode your CITATION file to UTF-8 (#689).

  • build_home(): Markdown files (e.g., stored in .github/ are copied and linked correctly (#682).

  • build_news(): Multi-page changelogs (generated from with news: one_page: false in _pkgdown.yml) are rendered correctly.

  • build_reference(): reference index shows infix functions (like %+%) as `%+%`, not `%+%`() on (#659).

pkgdown 1.0.0

  • Major refactoring of path handling. build_ functions no longer take path or depth arguments. Instead, set the destination directory at the top level of pkgdown.yml.

  • Similarly, build_news() no longer takes a one_page argument; this should now be specified in the _pkgdown.yml instead. See the documentation for an example.

Reference manual

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1.6.1 by Hadley Wickham, a year ago,

Report a bug at

Browse source code at

Authors: Hadley Wickham [aut, cre] , Jay Hesselberth [aut] , RStudio [cph, fnd]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

MIT + file LICENSE license

Imports callr, crayon, desc, digest, downlit, fs, httr, magrittr, memoise, openssl, purrr, ragg, rematch2, rlang, rmarkdown, tibble, tools, whisker, withr, xml2, yaml

Suggests covr, htmlwidgets, jsonlite, knitr, leaflet, pkgload, testthat, rticles, rsconnect, rstudioapi

System requirements: pandoc

Imported by CALANGO, preferably.

Suggested by ADMMsigma, BAS, BayesMRA, CAISEr, DSAIDE, DSAIRM, EGRET, EGRETci, FKF, FSA, FSelectorRcpp, GLMMadaptive, JMbayes2, LDATS, LPWC, MOEADr, NetworkExtinction, PLNmodels, PROsetta, R62S3, RFishBC, RSQL, SCPME, SDMtune, TestDesign, altair, arenar, bayefdr, bayesCT, blockRAR, bootGOF, catalog, clustree, colorednoise, conflicted, corrcoverage, covidregionaldata, cvGEE, dbmss, devtools, easyalluvial, edgarWebR, elisr, entropart, epigraphdb, eplusr, ferrn, fishualize, galah, ggdist, ggquiver, ggsoccer, golem, immunarch, individual, levitate, linguisticsdown, lobstr, memoiR, metR, minSNPs, mizer, motifr, multinma, ncdfgeom, nlmixr, nprcgenekeepr, overviewR, poorman, portalr, radiant.basics,,, radiant.model, radiant.multivariate, rangeMapper, rasterpdf, rgl, rmdpartials, scDiffCom, scorecard, sfcr, shinipsum, simhelpers, siteymlgen, smog, spiritR, sport, states, stencilaschema, sugarbag, tidybayes, tidytuesdayR, ubms, vctrs, xgxr, ymlthis.

See at CRAN