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Hugo Book Theme

Hugo License: MIT Build with Hugo

Hugo documentation theme as simple as plain book



  • Clean simple design
  • Light and Mobile-Friendly
  • Multi-language support
  • Customisable
  • Zero initial configuration
  • Handy shortcodes
  • Comments support
  • Simple blog and taxonomy
  • Primary features work without JavaScript
  • Dark Mode


  • Hugo 0.79 or higher
  • Hugo extended version, read more here


Install as git submodule

Navigate to your hugo project root and run:

git submodule add https://github.com/alex-shpak/hugo-book themes/hugo-book

Then run hugo (or set theme = "hugo-book"/theme: hugo-book in configuration file)

hugo server --minify --theme hugo-book

Install as hugo module

You can also add this theme as a Hugo module instead of a git submodule.

Start with initializing hugo modules, if not done yet:

hugo mod init github.com/repo/path

Navigate to your hugo project root and add [module] section to your config.toml:

path = 'github.com/alex-shpak/hugo-book'

Then, to load/update the theme module and run hugo:

hugo mod get -u
hugo server --minify

Creating site from scratch

Below is an example on how to create a new site from scratch:

hugo new site mydocs; cd mydocs
git init
git submodule add https://github.com/alex-shpak/hugo-book themes/hugo-book
cp -R themes/hugo-book/exampleSite/content.en/* ./content
hugo server --minify --theme hugo-book


File tree menu (default)

By default, the theme will render pages from the content/docs section as a menu in a tree structure.
You can set title and weight in the front matter of pages to adjust the order and titles in the menu.

Leaf bundle menu (Deprecated, to be removed in June 2022)

You can also use leaf bundle and the content of its index.md file as menu.
Given you have the following file structure:

├── content
│   ├── docs
│   │   ├── page-one.md
│   │   └── page-two.md
│   └── posts
│       ├── post-one.md
│       └── post-two.md

Create a file content/menu/index.md with the content:

headless = true

- [Book Example]({{< relref "/docs/" >}})
  - [Page One]({{< relref "/docs/page-one" >}})
  - [Page Two]({{< relref "/docs/page-two" >}})
- [Blog]({{< relref "/posts" >}})

And Enable it by setting BookMenuBundle: /menu in Site configuration.


A simple blog is supported in the section posts.
A blog is not the primary usecase of this theme, so it has only minimal features.


Site Configuration

There are a few configuration options that you can add to your config.toml file.
You can also see the yaml example here.

# (Optional) Set Google Analytics if you use it to track your website.
# Always put it on the top of the configuration file, otherwise it won't work
googleAnalytics = "UA-XXXXXXXXX-X"

# (Optional) If you provide a Disqus shortname, comments will be enabled on
# all pages.
disqusShortname = "my-site"

# (Optional) Set this to true if you use capital letters in file names
disablePathToLower = true

# (Optional) Set this to true to enable 'Last Modified by' date and git author
#  information on 'doc' type pages.
enableGitInfo = true

# (Optional) Theme is intended for documentation use, therefore it doesn't render taxonomy.
# You can remove related files with config below
disableKinds = ['taxonomy', 'taxonomyTerm']

  # (Optional, default light) Sets color theme: light, dark or auto.
  # Theme 'auto' switches between dark and light modes based on browser/os preferences
  BookTheme = 'light'

  # (Optional, default true) Controls table of contents visibility on right side of pages.
  # Start and end levels can be controlled with markup.tableOfContents setting.
  # You can also specify this parameter per page in front matter.
  BookToC = true

  # (Optional, default none) Set the path to a logo for the book. If the logo is
  # /static/logo.png then the path would be 'logo.png'
  BookLogo = 'logo.png'

  # (Optional, default none) Set leaf bundle to render as side menu
  # When not specified file structure and weights will be used
  # Deprecated, to be removed in June 2022
  BookMenuBundle = '/menu'

  # (Optional, default docs) Specify section of content to render as menu
  # You can also set value to "*" to render all sections to menu
  BookSection = 'docs'

  # Set source repository location.
  # Used for 'Last Modified' and 'Edit this page' links.
  BookRepo = 'https://github.com/alex-shpak/hugo-book'

  # Specifies commit portion of the link to the page's last modified commit hash for 'doc' page
  # type.
  # Required if 'BookRepo' param is set.
  # Value used to construct a URL consisting of BookRepo/BookCommitPath/<commit-hash>
  # Github uses 'commit', Bitbucket uses 'commits'
  BookCommitPath = 'commit'

  # Enable 'Edit this page' links for 'doc' page type.
  # Disabled by default. Uncomment to enable. Requires 'BookRepo' param.
  # Path must point to the site directory.
  BookEditPath = 'edit/master/exampleSite'

  # (Optional, default January 2, 2006) Configure the date format used on the pages
  # - In git information
  # - In blog posts
  BookDateFormat = 'Jan 2, 2006'

  # (Optional, default true) Enables search function with flexsearch,
  # Index is built on fly, therefore it might slowdown your website.
  # Configuration for indexing can be adjusted in i18n folder per language.
  BookSearch = true

  # (Optional, default true) Enables comments template on pages
  # By default partials/docs/comments.html includes Disqus template
  # See https://gohugo.io/content-management/comments/#configure-disqus
  # Can be overwritten by same param in page frontmatter
  BookComments = true

  # /!\ This is an experimental feature, might be removed or changed at any time
  # (Optional, experimental, default false) Enables portable links and link checks in markdown pages.
  # Portable links meant to work with text editors and let you write markdown without {{< relref >}} shortcode
  # Theme will print warning if page referenced in markdown does not exists.
  BookPortableLinks = true

  # /!\ This is an experimental feature, might be removed or changed at any time
  # (Optional, experimental, default false) Enables service worker that caches visited pages and resources for offline use.
  BookServiceWorker = true

Multi-Language Support

Theme supports Hugo's multilingual mode, just follow configuration guide there. You can also tweak search indexing configuration per language in i18n folder.

Page Configuration

You can specify additional params in the front matter of individual pages:

# Set type to 'docs' if you want to render page outside of configured section or if you render section other than 'docs'
type = 'docs'

# Set page weight to re-arrange items in file-tree menu (if BookMenuBundle not set)
weight = 10

# (Optional) Set to 'true' to mark page as flat section in file-tree menu (if BookMenuBundle not set)
bookFlatSection = false

# (Optional) Set to hide nested sections or pages at that level. Works only with file-tree menu mode
bookCollapseSection = true

# (Optional) Set true to hide page or section from side menu (if BookMenuBundle not set)
bookHidden = false

# (Optional) Set 'false' to hide ToC from page
bookToC = true

# (Optional) If you have enabled BookComments for the site, you can disable it for specific pages.
bookComments = true

# (Optional) Set to 'false' to exclude page from search index.
bookSearchExclude = true

# (Optional) Set explicit href attribute for this page in a menu (if BookMenuBundle not set)
bookHref = ''


There are layout partials available for you to easily override components of the theme in layouts/partials/.

In addition to this, there are several empty partials you can override to easily add/inject code.

Empty Partial Placement
layouts/partials/docs/inject/head.html Before closing <head> tag
layouts/partials/docs/inject/body.html Before closing <body> tag
layouts/partials/docs/inject/footer.html After page footer content
layouts/partials/docs/inject/menu-before.html At the beginning of <nav> menu block
layouts/partials/docs/inject/menu-after.html At the end of <nav> menu block
layouts/partials/docs/inject/content-before.html Before page content
layouts/partials/docs/inject/content-after.html After page content
layouts/partials/docs/inject/toc-before.html At the beginning of table of contents block
layouts/partials/docs/inject/toc-after.html At the end of table of contents block

Extra Customisation

File Description
static/favicon.png Override default favicon
assets/_custom.scss Customise or override scss styles
assets/_variables.scss Override default SCSS variables
assets/_fonts.scss Replace default font with custom fonts (e.g. local files or remote like google fonts)
assets/mermaid.json Replace Mermaid initialization config


There are a few features implemented as pluggable scss styles. Usually these are features that don't make it to the core but can still be useful.

Plugin Description
assets/plugins/_numbered.scss Makes headings in markdown numbered, e.g. 1.1, 1.2
assets/plugins/_scrollbars.scss Overrides scrollbar styles to look similar across platforms

To enable plugins, add @import "plugins/{name}"; to assets/_custom.scss in your website root.

Hugo Internal Templates

There are a few hugo templates inserted in <head>

To disable Open Graph inclusion you can create your own empty file \layouts\_internal\opengraph.html. In fact almost empty not quite empty because an empty file looks like absent for HUGO. For example:

<!-- -->


By default, Goldmark trims unsafe outputs which might prevent some shortcodes from rendering. It is recommended to set markup.goldmark.renderer.unsafe=true if you encounter problems.

  unsafe = true

If you are using config.yaml or config.json, consult the configuration markup


This theme follows a simple incremental versioning. e.g. v1, v2 and so on. There might be breaking changes between versions.

If you want lower maintenance, use one of the released versions. If you want to live on the bleeding edge of changes, you can use the master branch and update your website when needed.


Extra credits to contributors

Contributions are welcome and I will review and consider pull requests.
Primary goals are:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep minimal (or zero) default configuration.
  • Avoid interference with user-defined layouts.
  • Avoid using JS if it can be solved by CSS.

Feel free to open issues if you find missing configuration or customisation options.