build_site() is a convenient wrapper around five functions:

See the documentation for the each function to learn how to control that aspect of the site.

build_site(pkg = ".", path = "docs", examples = TRUE,
  run_dont_run = FALSE, mathjax = TRUE, preview = interactive(),
  seed = 1014, encoding = "UTF-8")

init_site(pkg = ".", path = "docs")



Path to source package. If R working directory is not set to the source directory, then pkg must be a fully qualified path to the source directory (not a relative path).


Location in which to save website, relative to package path.


Run examples?


Run examples that are surrounded in \dontrun?


Use mathjax to render math symbols?


If TRUE, will preview freshly generated site


Seed used to initialize so that random examples are reproducible.


The encoding of the input files.

Custom CSS/JS

If you want to do minor customisation of your pkgdown site, the easiest way is to add pkgdown/extra.css and pkgdown/extra.js. These will be automatically copied to docs/ and inserted into the <HEAD> after the default pkgdown CSS and JSS.

YAML config

There are four top-level YAML settings that affect the entire site: url, title, template, and navbar. url optionally specifies the url where the site will be published. If you supply this, other pkgdown sites will link to your site when needed, rather than using generic links to title overrides the default site title, which is the package name. It's used in the page title and default navbar.

You can also provided information to override the default display of the authors. Provided a list named with the name of each author, including href to add a link, or html to override the text:

  Hadley Wickham:
    html: <img src="" height="24" />

YAML config - navbar

navbar controls the navbar at the top of the page. It uses the same syntax as RMarkdown. The following YAML snippet illustrates some of the most important features.

  type: inverse
    - text: "Home"
      href: index.html
    - text: "Reference"
      href: reference/index.html
    - text: "Articles"
        - text: "Heading 1"
        - text: "Article A"
          href: articles/page_a.html
        - text: "Article B"
          href: articles/page_b.html
        - text: "---------"
        - text: "Heading 2"
        - text: "Article C"
          href: articles/page_c.html
        - text: "Article D"
          href: articles/page_d.html
    - icon: fa-github fa-lg

Use type to choose between "default" and "inverse" themes.

You position elements by placing under either left or right. Components can contain sub-menus with headings (indicated by missing href) and separators. Currently pkgdown only supports fontawesome icons. You can see a full list of options at

Any missing components (type, left, or right) will be automatically filled in from the default navbar: you can see those values by running template_navbar().

YAML config - template

You can get complete control over the appearance of the site using the template component. There are two components to the template: the HTML templates used to layout each page, and the css/js assets used to render the page in the browser.

The easiest way to tweak the default style is to use a bootswatch template, by passing on the bootswatch template parameter to the built-in template:

    bootswatch: cerulean

See a complete list of themes and preview how they look at

Optionally provide the ganalytics template parameter to enable It should correspond to your

    ganalytics: UA-000000-01

You can also override the default templates and provide additional assets. You can do so by either storing in a package with directories inst/pkgdown/assets and inst/pkgdown/templates, or by supplying path and asset_path. To suppress inclusion of the default assets, set default_assets to false.

  package: mycustompackage
    # OR:
  path: path/to/templates
  assets: path/to/assets
  default_assets: false

These settings are currently recommended for advanced users only. There is little documentation, and you'll need to read the existing source for pkgdown templates to ensure that you use the correct components.


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