SassDoc is fully themable. You can write your own theme for your projects, and publish it on npm so other people can use it too!

The easiest way for you to build a theme is to use the Yeoman generator. See Theme Generator to get started. You will be given the possibility to customize the theme to your needs based on prompts. It will output all the boilerplate files for you in a single command. Furthermore, the generated code is loaded with inline documentation so you don’t get lost.

Tip! You can also have a look at sassdoc-theme-blank which is a fully documented empty theme you can tweak.

Going manually

When you set the --theme option of the CLI interface, or the config.theme option to foo, SassDoc will search for a sassdoc-theme-foo, package, then ./foo, and finally foo.

This means you can pass any path compatible with the require function as a theme. The only requirement is the theme file must expose a function implementing the following interface:

 * @param {string} dest Directory to render theme in.
 * @param {object} ctx Variables to pass to the theme.
 * @return {promise} A Promises/A+ implementation.
module.exports = function (dest, ctx) {
  /* ... */

You can find more informations on the Promises/A+ specification here, but note the q library does a great job for this.

The Themeleon theming framework is compatible with this interface, and allows you to write themes without bothering with “low-level” considerations, like promises handling, raw fs calls, making sure the destination directory exists, etc.

Note: you can also add your own annotations by exporting an annotations array. See more on Extending SassDoc.

Theme Context

If you want to create your own theme, you’ll have to mess with the ctx object that will be passed to you. It contains the current project informations, the user’s configuration, and the parsed documentation data.

  // Raw data from configuration file passed to
  // SassDoc's `--config` option (or API equivalent) are in top-level
  // context.

  package: {
    // Raw data from the project's `package.json`, or a JSON file
    // whose path was given in `view.package`, or an object directly
    // defined in `view.package`.

  theme: function (dest, ctx) {
    // The theme function, probably a reference to **your** theme
    // function if you're writing a theme. You can ignore it unless you
    // want some kind of recursivity.

  data: [
    // Parsed documentation array described in Sassdoc Data Interface
    // documentation page.

Apart from these keys, users can put whatever they want in this object, via the SassDoc configuration file. You can use it to let the user configure your theme.

An example context object (without previous standard keys), assuming you use some filters:

  display: {
    access: ['public', 'private'],
    alias: false,

  groups: {
    slug: 'Title',
    helpers: 'Helpers',
    hacks: 'Dirty Hacks & Fixes',
    undefined: 'Ungrouped',


See official package.json reference.

Note: with the Markdown filter, package.description will be parsed as Markdown.


Refer to Data Interface.

Building the Theme

We will use Themeleon to build a new theme with Swig template engine directly in in an existing project, and use it with SassDoc. Then, we will export this theme in it’s own npm package to make it available to the world!

Note: you are not required to use Swig. There's a lot of template engines available in Themeleon through consolidate.js. Furthermore it's a breeze to write a Themeleon extension for your favorite template engine — or you can just use any node module in your render procedure without using a Themeleon helper.

First, you need to add the dependencies to your package.json:

npm install --save themeleon
npm install --save swig

… or manually:

  "dependencies": {
    "themeleon": "3.*",
    "swig": "1.*"

Reminder: don't forget to npm install!

Then, we create a theme directory (you can call it as you want) in the root of your project. Assuming you already have a configuration file, and it’s at the same level as the theme directory, append this to it:

theme: theme

You’re now telling SassDoc to search for a theme named theme. SassDoc will try to resolve it with the rules described in Theme Configuration.

When passing a directory to require, Node.js will search for an index.js file in it. Your theme module will therefore be in theme/index.js. If you call it differently, you’ll have to set the full file path in theme.

The module only have to expose a function implementing the interface described above. Themeleon will do this for you, and all you need to do is write a simple function describing the tasks to do to build the theme.

var themeleon = require('themeleon')(); // Create a theme

// Tell the theme to use the `consolidate` extension

// Themeleon needs to know the theme directory, hence `__dirname`
module.exports = themeleon(__dirname, function (t) {
  // Copy `assets` in destination directory

  // Other name in destination directory
  // t.copy('assets', 'foo');

  // Compile a Swig view as `index.html` in destination directory
  t.swig('views/index.html.swig', 'index.html');

The next time you’ll render the documentation, your theme function will be called, copying the assets folder in the destination directory, and rendering your view in index.html.

The views are passed a couple of variables documented here.

Tip: to kick start your theme, be sure to check SassDoc's blank theme, a theme with a basic directory structure, and loads of comments to help you understand how it works, and hack it to your own needs.

Packaging to the World

Now that your awesome theme is ready, you probably want to make it available to everybody as a theme: your-theme line in their configuration file.

To do this, create a package.json in your theme’s directory (the one containing the index.js). Give it a name (prefixed with sassdoc-theme in preference), a version, and be sure to require your dependencies:

  "name": "sassdoc-theme-doge",
  "version": "1.3.37",
  "keywords": [
  "dependencies": {
    "themeleon": "3.*",
    "swig": "1.*"

It’s a good convention to use the sassdoc-theme keyword in you package.json which makes finding and listing SassDoc themes published on npm easier.

Then, run npm publish and you’re done!

Note: the last command will require you to setup an npm account. Run npm adduser if you haven't an account configured already.

Extra tools from SassDoc

SassDoc provides a couple of extra features to theme builders. Please refer to relevant section).

Extra tools from Swig

If you use Swig, you may want to include additional filters. An excellent collection of filters is included in swig-extras.

To add it to your theme, add swig and swig-extras as a dependency to your package.json. Then, in your index.js:

var swig = new require('swig');
var extras = require('swig-extras'); // Moar filters
var themeleon = require('themeleon')(); // No change here

// Use some additional filters
extras.useFilter(swig, 'nl2br');
extras.useFilter(swig, 'split');
extras.useFilter(swig, 'trim');
extras.useFilter(swig, 'groupby');

// Even add your own filters
swig.setFilter('push', function (arr, val) {
    return arr.push(val);


module.exports = themeleon(__dirname, function (t) {
  /* ... */