Writing HTML (CSS) Stylesheets for DocutilsΒΆ

Author:Lea Wiemann
Contact:docutils-develop@lists.sourceforge.net
Date:$Date$
Revision:$Revision$
Copyright:This document has been placed in the public domain.

The look of Docutils’ HTML output is customizable via CSS stylesheets. The default stylesheet is called html4css1.css and can be found in the writers/html4css1/ directory of the Docutils installation. Use the command rst2html.py --help and look at the description of the --stylesheet-path command-line option for the exact machine-specific location.

To customize the stylesheet, first copy html4css1.css to the same place as your output HTML files will go. Next, place a new file (e.g. called my-docutils.css) in the same directory and use the following template:

/*
:Author: Your Name
:Contact: Your Email Address
:Copyright: This stylesheet has been placed in the public domain.

Stylesheet for use with Docutils.  [Optionally place a more
detailed description here.]
*/

@import url(html4css1.css);

/* Your customizations go here.  For example: */

h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p.topic-title {
  font-family: sans-serif }

For help on the CSS syntax, please see the WDG’s guide to Cascading Style Sheets and, in particular, their list of CSS1 properties. Another good reference site is http://selfhtml.org (German and French).

It is important that you do not edit a copy of html4css1.css directly because html4css1.css is frequently updated with each new release of Docutils.

Also make sure that you import html4css1.css (using “@import url(html4css1.css);”) because the definitions contained in the default stylesheet are required for correct rendering (margins, alignment, etc.).

Alternatively, specify both, the default stylesheet and your stylesheet to the --stylesheet or --stylesheet-path command line option (or the corresponding settings in a configuration file), e.g.

rst2html.py --stylesheet=html4css1.css,transition-stars.css

This is the preferable approach if you want to embed the stylesheet(s), as this ensures that an up-to-date version of html4css1.css is embedded.

If you think your stylesheet is fancy and you would like to let others benefit from your efforts, you are encouraged to post the stylesheet to the Docutils-users mailing list. It might find its place in the stylesheet collection in the Docutils Sandbox.

If you decide to share your stylesheet with other users of Docutils, please keep website-specific customizations not applicable to Docutils’ HTML code in a separate stylesheet.