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build_home() function generates pages at the top-level of the site including:

  • The home page

  • HTML files from any .md files in ./ or .github/.

  • The authors page (from DESCRIPTION)

  • The citation page (from inst/CITATION, if present).

  • The license page

  • A default 404 page if .github/ is not found.

build_home_index() rebuilds just the index page; it's useful for rapidly iterating when experimenting with site styles.


build_home_index(pkg = ".", quiet = TRUE)

build_home(pkg = ".", override = list(), preview = NA, quiet = TRUE)



Path to package.


Set to FALSE to display output of knitr and pandoc. This is useful when debugging.


An optional named list used to temporarily override values in _pkgdown.yml


If TRUE, or && interactive(), will preview freshly generated section in browser.

Home page

The main content of the home page (index.html) is generated from pkgdown/,, or, in that order. Most packages will use because that's also displayed by GitHub and CRAN. Use if you want your package website to look different to your README, and use pkgdown/ if you don't want that file to live in your package root directory.

If you use index.Rmd or README.Rmd it's your responsibility to knit the document to create the corresponding .md. pkgdown does not do this for you because it only touches files in the doc/ directory.

Extra markdown files in the base directory (e.g. or in .github/ (e.g. are copied by build_home() to docs/ and converted to HTML.

The home page also features a sidebar with information extracted from the package. You can tweak it via the configuration file, to help make the home page an as informative as possible landing page.

Images and figures

If you want to include images in your, they must be stored somewhere in the package so that they can be displayed on the CRAN website. The best place to put them is man/figures. If you are generating figures with R Markdown, make sure you set up fig.path as followed:

  fig.path = "man/figures/"

This should usually go in a chunk with include = FALSE.

```{r chunk-name, include=FALSE}
  fig.path = "man/figures/"

If you have a package logo, you can include it at the top of your README in a level-one heading:

# pkgdown <img src="man/figures/logo.png" align="right" />

init_site() will also automatically create a favicon set from your package logo.

YAML config - home

To tweak the home page, you need a section of the configuration file called home.

Page title and description

By default, the page title and description are extracted automatically from the Title and Description fields DESCRIPTION (stripping single quotes off quoted words). CRAN ensures that these fields don't contain phrases like "R package" because that's obvious on CRAN. To make your package more findable on search engines, it's good practice to override the title and description, thinking about what people might search for:

  title: An R package for pool-noodle discovery
  description: >
    Do you love R? Do you love pool-noodles? If so, you might enjoy
    using this package to automatically discover and add pool-noodles
    to your growing collection.

(Note the use of YAML's > i.e. "YAML pipes"; this is a convenient way of writing paragraphs of text.)

README header

READMEs usually start with an <h1> containing the package name. If that feels duplicative with the package name in the navbar you can remove it with strip_header: true:

  strip_header: true

Dev badges

pkgdown identifies badges in three ways:

  • Any image-containing links between <!-- badges: start --> and <!-- badges: end -->, as e.g. created by usethis::use_readme_md() or usethis::use_readme_rmd(). There should always be an empty line after the <!-- badges: end --> line. If you divide badges into paragraphs, make sure to add an empty line before the <!-- badges: end --> line.

  • Any image-containing links within <div id="badges"></div>.

  • Within the first paragraph, if it only contains image-containing links.

Identified badges are removed from the main content. They are shown or not in the sidebar depending on the development mode and sidebar customization, see the sidebar section.


By default, pkgdown will display author information in three places:

  • the sidebar,

  • the left part side of the footer,

  • the author page.

This documentation describes how to customise the overall author display. See ?build_home and ?build_site for details about changing the location of the authors information within the home sidebar and the site footer.

Authors ORCID and bio

Author ORCID identification numbers in the DESCRIPTION are linked using the ORCID logo:

Authors@R: c(
    person("Hadley", "Wickham", , "", role = c("aut", "cre"),
      comment = c(ORCID = "0000-0003-4757-117X")
    person("Jay", "Hesselberth", role = "aut",
      comment = c(ORCID = "0000-0002-6299-179X")

If you want to add more details about authors or their involvement with the package, you can use the comment field, which will be rendered on the authors page.

Authors@R: c(
    person("Hadley", "Wickham", , "", role = c("aut", "cre"),
      comment = c(ORCID = "0000-0003-4757-117X", "Indenter-in-chief")
    person("Jay", "Hesselberth", role = "aut",
      comment = c(ORCID = "0000-0002-6299-179X")

YAML config - authors

You can tweak a few things via the authors YAML field:

  • display of each author in the footer, sidebar and authors page,

  • which authors (by role) are displayed in the sidebar and footer,

  • text before authors in the footer,

  • text before and after authors in the sidebar,

  • text before and after authors on the authors page.

You can modify how each author's name is displayed by adding a subsection for authors. Each entry in authors should be named with the author's name (matching DESCRIPTION) and can contain href and/or html fields:

  • If href is provided, the author's name will be linked to this URL.

  • If html is provided, it will be shown instead of the author's name. This is particularly useful if you want to display the logo of a corporate sponsor. Use an absolute URL to an image, not a relative link.

  firstname lastname:
    href: ""
    html: "<img src='' width=72>"

By default, the "developers" list shown in the sidebar and footer is populated by the maintainer ("cre"), authors ("aut"), and funder ("fnd") from the DESCRIPTION. You could choose other roles for filtering. With the configuration below:

  • only the maintainer and funder(s) appear in the footer, after the text "Crafted by",

  • all authors and contributors appear in the sidebar,

  • the authors list on the sidebar is preceded and followed by some text,

  • the authors list on the authors page is preceded and followed by some text.

    roles: [cre, fnd]
    text: "Crafted by"
    roles: [aut, ctb]
    before: "So *who* does the work?"
    after: "Thanks all!"
  before: "This package is proudly brought to you by:"
  after: "See the [changelog](news/index.html) for other contributors. :pray:"

If you want to filter authors based on something else than their roles, consider using a custom sidebar/footer component (see ?build_home/?build_site, respectively).

You can customise the homepage sidebar with the home.sidebar field. It's made up of two pieces: structure, which defines the overall layout, and components, which defines what each piece looks like. This organisation makes it easy to mix and match the pkgdown defaults with your own customisations.

This is the default structure:

    structure: [links, license, community, citation, authors, dev]

These are drawn from seven built-in components:

  • links: automated links generated from URL and BugReports fields from DESCRIPTION plus manual links from the home.links field:

      - text: Link text
      - text: Roadmap
        href: /roadmap.html

  • license: Licensing information if LICENSE/LICENCE or files are present.

  • community: links to to .github/, .github/, etc.

  • citation: link to package citation information. Uses either inst/CITATION or, if absent, information from the DESCRIPTION.

  • authors: selected authors from the DESCRIPTION.

  • dev: development status badges extracted from This is only shown for "development" versions of websites; see "Development mode" in ?build_site for details.

  • toc: a table of contents for the README (not shown by default).

You can also add your own components, where text is markdown text:

    structure: [authors, custom, toc, dev]
        title: Funding
        text: We are *grateful* for funding!

Alternatively, you can provide a ready-made sidebar HTML:

    html: path-to-sidebar.html

Or completely remove it:

  sidebar: FALSE