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A Bootstrap-based sphinx theme.

Demo site:

Note: This theme is originally being developed for the pandas docs (hence the name), but since there is uptake in other projects, we are working on making this more generic and more easily extensible to suit the needs of the different projects (and need a rename as well).

Sites that are using this theme:

This repo holds a temporary (slimmed down) copy of the pandas documentation to test the theme with on PRs. The result is hosted at the demo site.

Installation and usage

This theme is not yet released as a package on PyPI, but you can already install and use as follows:

  • Install the pandas-sphinx-theme in your doc build environment from the git repo. You can do this manually with pip:

    pip install git+

    or in a conda environment yml file, you can add:

    - pip:
      - git+
  • Then, in the of your sphinx docs, you update the html_theme configuration option:

    html_theme = "pandas_sphinx_theme"

And that's it!

Well, in principle at least. In practice, there are might still be a few pandas-specific things that are right now hard-coded in the theme. We also need to work on better configurability and extensibility. Feedback and contributions are very welcome!

How is this theme working?

The html layout

The "layout" included in this theme is originally mainly targetted towards documentation sites with many pages, and where putting all navigation in a single sidebar can therefore get unwieldy.

The current layout features 3 navigation elements:

  • A top navbar with top-level navigation
  • A left sidebar with subsequent navigation up to single pages
  • A right sidebar with a local "On this page" table of contents

What is put where is determined by the sphinx "toctree" (and such depending on the structure of your sphinx docs). The first level of the toctree is put in the top navbar, and the second (and potentially) third level is put in the left sidebar.

It should certainly be possible to make the exact used levels of the sphinx toctree configurable.

Implementation details

A second aspect of the design of this theme is that we are trying to make good use of Bootstrap features and use as much as possible actual (templated) html and css to define the theme, instead of relying on sphinx to do custom formatting. This should make the theming and layouts more flexible to customize.

To this end, this package includes:

  • A BootstrapHTML5Translator, subclassing sphinx' translator, but overriding certain elements to generate Bootstrap-compatible html. Currently, this includes: converting admonitions to Bootstrap "alert" classes, and updating the classes used for html tables.
  • A sphinx "monkeypatch" to add toctree objects into the html context which is available in the html (jinja2) templates. This allows to put the structure of the navigation elements in the actual layout, instead of having to rely on the hard-coded formatting of sphinx (this is inspired on the navigation objects of mkdocs: We would love to see this added to sphinx itself (instead of needing to monkeypatch), but for not did not yet get any reaction from the sphinx developers.

Those items also avoid writing javascript functions to "fix up" the html generated by sphinx to make it suitable for theming.

What's the difference with bootstrap-sphinx-theme ?

There is already a sphinx Bootstrap theme used by some project in the community:

Currently, the main difference is that this theme is using Bootstrap 4 instead of 3 and provides a different default layout. At some point, it would be good to contribute changes to that package (or at least the parts that deal with Bootstrap and sphinx that could be shared).

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