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QGIS Documentation


This repository is meant to write and manage the Official Documentation of QGIS, an Open Source GIS Software.

Latest stable documentation is on and its PDF versions are available at

The ongoing work for future releases is published as QGIS Testing Documentation. It's built from the master branch and NOT translated. QGIS Testing Documentation is on and

Previous releases are also available:

Translations of released docs are also available via the language path: for example for the 3.4 German language: Note that only the current stable branch is available for translation.

Documentation is static generated website using Sphinx (, based on restructured text sources (rst: and html (jinja2) templates.

Most sources are in source/docs. Only frontpage and landing pages are in theme/qgis-theme

Styling is in theme/qgis-theme. This theme is used for website and documentation builds. The website version is the canonical one.

Partial / faster building

Because of the size of the documentation, the building of the full docs can take up a long time.

You can decide to only build certain parts of the documentation by editing the source/ file.

Uncomment the lines for the modules that you do NOT want to build in this part of source/

# List of patterns, relative to source directory, that match files and
# directories to ignore when looking for source files.
exclude_patterns = ['../output', "../i18n", "../resources", "../scripts"]
# for faster builds, you can exclude certain parts from the build
# uncomment one or more lines below, or construct such line yourself
# uncomment to exclude the processing algs from build
#exclude_patterns += ['docs/user_manual/processing_algs/*']
# uncomment to exclude the user manual from build
#exclude_patterns += ['docs/user_manual/*']
# uncomment to exclude training manual from build
#exclude_patterns += ['docs/training_manual/*']
# uncomment to exclude dev guides from build
#exclude_patterns += ['docs/developers_guide/*']
# uncomment to exclude doc guides from build
#exclude_patterns += ['docs/documentation_guidelines/*']
# uncomment to exclude gentle intro  from build
#exclude_patterns += ['docs/gentle_gis_introduction/*']
# uncomment to exclude pyqgis dev book from build
#exclude_patterns += ['docs/pyqgis_developer_cookbook/*']

Building the documentation using Make

Building is only tested on Linux systems using make, on windows we now started a Paver setup (see below)

  • make -f html to build the english language
  • make -f LANG=nl html to build the dutch version

Note that with option -f, make will create and use a Python3 virtual environment with required dependencies in /venv folder on the fly. Once created you can activate this virtual environment using:

source venv/bin/activate

No need to use option -f after that.

Speed up the documentation build

Running make html generates from scratch the full english documentation. You can see from the output that after it removes the content from static it runs the sphinx-build -nW -b html -d output/doctrees -D language=en -A language=en source output/html/en command. If you change something in the documentation source and you want to preview the changes you shouldn't reuse make html command as it will fully rebuild everything. This takes a lot of time. It's far better to use the sphinx-build command so it only builds the parts from the files that have been changed. This ensures a very short build time (several seconds). Pay attention that if you add images in the resources directory they won't be copied into the static directory if you don't use the make command. This means that your sphinx-build command won't find the new images. If you still want to build fast you should copy the new images from resources to their corresponding location under static. Keep in mind that different options of the make command (presented down the page) are outputting different sphinx-build commands.

You should also be aware that the make .. commands are made for production purposes which translates that the build will stop at the first inconsistency because of the sphinx-build -nW .. command. You should drop the -W option if you want your build to fully complete (with warnings of course) (e.g. sphinx-build -n -b html -d output/doctrees -D language=en -A language=en source output/html/en).

If you want add the QGIS-Documentation docs into the build, you either need to manually copy the sources, resources and po files into the website project. Or use the fullhtml target of make (which will checkout the branch):

# to build english:
make fullhtml
# to build eg dutch:
make LANG=nl fullhtml

Trying to build a fullhtml you might get an Exception: No user credentials found for host To fix this, add a ~/.transifexrc file stored in the user's home directory with following information:

username = user
token =
password = p@ssw0rd
hostname =

To gather new strings in a pot (.po) file for your language, and merge them with existing translations in the po files (normally to be run by your language maintainer):

make pretranslate LANG=xx  # where xx is your language code

To add a new language (the scripts will need some directory structure):

make createlang LANG=xx

See the website in action:

Building PDF

You will need to install texi2pdf by doing:

# On Debian based systems
sudo apt-get install texinfo
# On Fedora based systems
sudo yum install texinfo-tex

Alike the html build command, you need to run make with the option to build pdf (pdf also builds the html output):

make LANG=xx pdf

Building the Documentation using Docker

Docker is an open platform for distributed applications for developers and sysadmins (

Docker can be used on Linux, MacOS and Windows.

In order to use a Docker instance to build the documentation, you can use one of the scripts provided with QGIS-Documentation. The image will be installed if not already present.

  1. install Docker (see

  2. go to your local QGIS-Documentation repository to build the doc:

    cd QGIS-Documentation/
    ./ LANG=fr html

Building the Documentation using Paver

Paver is a Python based Make-like tool. It can be used on Linux and Windows (somebody can test on macOS?)

There are two scripts available in the repository:

  • (for setting up the python related stuff)
  • (the config file for Paver that generates the bootstrap file)


QGIS-Documentation is based on Python 3. Depending on the flavor of your OS, you may need to replace python with python3 in the following code samples.

General use:

  1. First, install Paver (see

  2. Move to the QGIS-Documentation root folder

    cd path/to/QGIS-Documentation
  3. Use the file to install all stuff.


    After successful running of you have all wheels on place, the script has created a virtual environment (a folder called "virtualenv") with all Sphinx related python machinery.

  4. Now you need to activate the virtual environment with all Sphinx related python machinery. To go into the virtual environment:

    # on Windows:
    # on Linux:
    source virtualenv/bin/activate
  5. Run the actual script to build the documentation (Make sure that you are in the QGIS-Documentation root folder):

    # english only
    paver html

    A build folder is now added in the repository, and under a html/en sub-folder, you'll find all the necessary html files of the docs.

  6. To be able to build localized versions of the Documentation with paver the Transifex-client (tx) is needed. Remember that only QGIS stable branch is being translated.

    1. Install with:

      pip install transifex-client

      On Windows, you can also download it from: Then, to make tx.exe usable in the paver script, either put it IN this directory next to the file, OR add it to your PATH.

    2. IMPORTANT: To be able to pull from, you will need a credentials file. This file should be named: .transifexrc and easiest is to put it in your home dir (eg, on Windows, C:\users\you). Another option is to put it in the root of this project, but be careful to not put your credentials in Github :-)

      The file should contain this:

      hostname =
      password = yourtransifexpassword
      token =
      username = yourtransifexusername
    3. With a working tx and a .transifexrc, you should be able to build for example the german version of docs via:

      # german:
      paver html -l de

      During the build you will see this command:

      tx pull --minimum-perc=1 --skip -f -l de

      This will pull all german po files from transifex (based on the .tx/config file in the root of this project)

Building the Documentation using Windows - minimal setup


  1. Create a local copy of your QGIS doc repository.

    $ git clone<YourName>/QGIS-Documentation.git
  2. Create a virtual environment, e.g., venv in the folder just created (QGIS-Documentation).

    $ cd QGIS-Documentation
    $ Virtualenv venv
  3. Activate the virtual environment. On Windows, virtualenv creates a batch file that can be located at:


    Using the Command Prompt just run this script as follows:

    $ activate.bat

    This script will modify your shell prompt to indicate which environment is currently active.

  4. Install the required packages for locally building the QGIS documentation executing:

    $ pip install -r REQUIREMENTS.txt .
  5. Now you are ready to build the QGIS documentation locally. To do that you run the following sphinx command:

    $ sphinx-build -M html source build

    This will generate the documentation locally in ..\QGIS-Documentation\build\html\docs.

Testing Python snippets

To test Python code snippets, you need a QGIS installation, for this there are many options:

You can use your system QGIS installation with Sphinx from Python virtual environment:

make -f doctest

You can use a manually built installation of QGIS, to do so, you need to create a custom Makefile extension on top of the file, for example a file with the following content:

# Root installation folder
QGIS_PREFIX_PATH = /home/user/apps/qgis-master

# Or build output folder
QGIS_PREFIX_PATH = /home/user/dev/QGIS-build-master/output


Then use it to run target doctest:

make -f doctest

Or you can run target doctest inside the official QGIS docker image:

make -f doctest

Note that only code blocks with directive testcode are tested and it is possible to run tests setup code which does not appear in documentation with directive testsetup, for example:

.. testsetup::

    from qgis.core import QgsCoordinateReferenceSystem

.. testcode::

    # PostGIS SRID 4326 is allocated for WGS84
    crs = QgsCoordinateReferenceSystem(4326, QgsCoordinateReferenceSystem.PostgisCrsId)
    assert crs.isValid()

For more information see Sphinx doctest extension documentation:

Translating the English QGIS Documentation

Translating of the Documentation is handled via transifex:

ONLY the current stable branch is translated.

If you want to help translating: create an account and join one of the translation teams of the qgis project:

Every language has it's own maintainer, please contact them, if you want to help. You find a list of current language maintainers at the end of this document. If your language is not listed, please contact the QGIS-Community-Team Mailinglist and ask for help.

Authors and translators

The English QGIS manual (Master Document) and its translation is managed by the Community Assistant (Manual Team Lead) and supported by additional language specific teams.

A list of contributors is available at

To join us, find information at

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