Designing Read the Docs

So you’re thinking of contributing some of your time and design skills to Read the Docs? That’s awesome. This document will lead you through a few features available to ease the process of working with Read the Doc’s CSS and static assets.

To start, you should follow the Installation instructions to get a working copy of the Read the Docs repository locally.

Style Catalog

Once you have RTD running locally, you can open http://localhost:8000/style-catalog/ for a quick overview of the currently available styles.


This way you can quickly get started writing HTML – or if you’re modifying existing styles you can get a quick idea of how things will change site-wide. Changes

Styles for the primary RTD site are located in media/css directory.

These styles only affect the primary site – not any of the generated documentation using the default RTD style.

Sphinx Template Changes

Styles for generated documentation are located in readthedocs/templates/sphinx/_static/rtd.css

Of note, projects will retain the version of that file they were last built with – so if you’re editing that file and not seeing any changes to your local built documentation, you need to rebuild your example project.


Contributions should follow the Contributing to Read the Docs guidelines where applicable – ideally you’ll create a pull request against the Read the Docs GitHub project from your forked repo and include a brief description of what you added / removed / changed, as well as an attached image (you can just take a screenshot and drop it into the PR creation form) of the effects of your changes.

There’s not a hard browser range, but your design changes should work reasonably well across all major browsers, IE8+ – that’s not to say it needs to be pixel-perfect in older browsers! Just avoid making changes that render older browsers utterly unusable (or provide a sane fallback).