Theme Structure and Layout#

This section describes some basic ways to control the layout and structure of your documentation. This theme inherits its structure and section terminology from the Sphinx Basic NG theme.

Overview of theme layout#

Below is a brief overview of the major layout of this theme. Take a look at the diagram to understand what the major sections are called. You can click on section titles to learn more about them and some basic layout configuration.


Section links


Primary Sidebar

Links between pages in the active section.

Article Header

Article Content

Article Footer

Horizontal spacing#

By default the theme’s three columns have fixed widths. The primary sidebar will snap to the left, the secondary sidebar will snap to the right, and the article content will be centered in between.

  • If one of the sidebars is not present, then the article content will be centered between the other sidebar and the side of the page.

  • If neither sidebar is present, the article content will be in the middle of the page.

If you’d like the article content to take up more width than its default, use the max-width and flex-grow CSS variables with the .bd-content selector. For example, to make the content grow to fit all available width, add a custom CSS rule like:

.bd-content {
  flex-grow: 1;
  max-width: 100%;

Templates and components#

There are a few major theme sections that you can customize to add/remove components, or add your own components. Each section is configured with a list of html templates — these are snippets of HTML that are inserted into the section by Sphinx.

You can choose which templates show up in each section, as well as the order in which they appear. This page describes the major areas that you can customize.


When configuring templates in each section, you may omit the .html suffix after each template if you wish.

Header / Navigation Bar#

The header is at the top of the page above all other content, and contains site-level information.

Header sections#

The header is broken up into three sections. Each section is configured in with the following configuration:

  • Left section: html_theme_options['navbar_start']

  • Middle menu: html_theme_options['navbar_center']

  • Right section: html_theme_options['navbar_end']

By default, the following configuration is used:

html_theme_options = {
"navbar_start": ["navbar-logo"],
"navbar_center": ["navbar-nav"],
"navbar_end": ["navbar-icon-links"]

Configure the navbar center alignment#

By default, the navigation bar center area will align with the content on your page. This equals the following default configuration:

html_theme_options = {
   "navbar_align": "content"

If instead you’d like these items to snap to the left (closer to the logo), use this configuration:

html_theme_options = {
   "navbar_align": "left"

If you’d like these items to snap to the right of the page, use this configuration:

html_theme_options = {
   "navbar_align": "right"

Article Header#

The article header is a narrow bar just above the article’s content. It does not contain anything immediately viewable to the reader, but is kept as a placeholder in case theme developers wish to re-use it in the future.

Primary sidebar (left)#

The primary sidebar is just to the left of a page’s main content. It is primarily used for between-section navigation. By default it will show links to any sublings / children of the current active top-level section (corresponding to links in your header navigation bar).

Configuring it is a bit different from configuring the other sections, because configuring the sidebar is natively supported in Sphinx, via the html_sidebars configuration variable.

For the primary sidebar only, you can configure templates so that they only show up on certain pages. You do so via a configuration like so in

html_sidebars = {
    "<page_pattern>": ["list", "of", "templates"]

Any pages that match <page_pattern> will have their respective templates inserted. You can also * to do glob-style matching, and may use ** to match all pages.

By default, it has the following configuration:

html_sidebars = {
    "**": ["sidebar-nav-bs", "sidebar-ethical-ads"]
  • sidebar-nav-bs.html - a bootstrap-friendly navigation section.

    When there are no pages to show, it will disappear and potentially add extra space for your page’s content.

  • sidebar-ethical-ads.html - a placement for ReadTheDocs’s Ethical Ads (will only show up on ReadTheDocs).

Primary sidebar end sections#

There is a special <div> within the left sidebar that appears at the bottom of the page, regardless of the content that is above it.

To control the HTML templates that are within this div, use html_theme_options['left_sidebar_end'] in

By default, it has the following templates:

html_theme_options = {
  "left_sidebar_end": ["sidebar-ethical-ads"],

Remove the primary sidebar from pages#

If you’d like the left sidebar to be removed from a page, you can use the following configuration in

html_sidebars = {
  "pagename": []

This works for glob-style patterns as well. For example:

html_sidebars = {
  "folder/*": []

If you’d like to remove the left sidebar from all pages of your documentation, use this pattern:

html_sidebars = {
  "**": []

Secondary Sidebar (right)#

The in-page sidebar is just to the right of a page’s article content, and is configured in with html_theme_options['page_sidebar_items'].

By default, it has the following templates:

html_theme_options = {
  "page_sidebar_items": ["page-toc", "edit-this-page", "sourcelink"],

Article Footer#

The article footer exists just below your page’s article, and is primarily used for navigating between adjacent sections / pages.

Hide the previous and next buttons#

By default, each page of your site will have “previous” and “next” buttons at the bottom. You can hide these buttons with the following configuration:

html_theme_options = {
  "show_prev_next": False

Built-in components to insert into sections#

Below is a list of built-in templates that you can insert into any section. Note that some of them may have CSS rules that assume a specific section (and will be named accordingly).

  • copyright.html

  • edit-this-page.html

  • footer-article/prev-next.html

  • icon-links.html

  • last-updated.html

  • navbar-icon-links.html

  • navbar-logo.html

  • navbar-nav.html

  • page-toc.html

  • search-button.html

  • search-field.html

  • sidebar-ethical-ads.html

  • sidebar-nav-bs.html

  • sourcelink.html

  • sphinx-version.html

  • theme-switcher.html

  • version-switcher.html

Add your own HTML templates to theme sections#

If you’d like to add your own custom template to any of these sections, you could do so with the following steps:

  1. Create an HTML file in a folder called _templates. For example, if you wanted to display the version of your documentation using a Jinja template, you could create a file: _templates/version.html and put the following in it:

    <!-- This will display the version of the docs -->
    {{ version }}
  2. Now add the file to your menu items for one of the sections above. For example:

    html_theme_options = {
    "navbar_start": ["navbar-logo", "version"],