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YAML Configuration

Pydoc-Markdown can be configured with using via a YAML file. By default, the CLI will look for a file called pydoc-markdown.yaml (or .yml) in the current working directory. (Note that the configuration is not read from file when using the -m,--module, -p,--package and other options that are intended for invoking Pydoc-Markdown without a configuration file).

Tip: The --bootstrap and --bootstrap-mkdocs options can be used to write a template configuration file.

If you use the YAML configuration, the configuration file is pre-processed with a YTT-like templating language (see YAML Preprocessing).

The configuration contains of four main sections:

  • loaders: A list of plugins that load API objects, for example from Python source files. The default configuration defines just a python loader.
  • processors: A list of plugins that process API objects to modify their docstrings (e.g. to adapt them from a documentation format to Markdown or to remove items that should not be rendered into the documentation). The default configuration defines the filter, smart and crossref processors in that order.
  • renderer: A plugin that produces the output files. The default configuration defines the markdown renderer (which by default will render a single file to stdout).
  • hooks: Configuration for commands that will be executed before and after rendering.

YAML Example

- type: python
  search_path: [../src]
  type: mkdocs
  - title: API Documentation
    name: index
    - school.*

PyProject Example

type = "python"
search_path = [ "../src" ]

type = "mkdocs"

title = "API Documentation"
name = "index"
contents = [ "school.*" ]

YAML Preprocessing

New in Pydoc-Markdown 3.3.0. See also pydoc_markdown.util.ytemplate

Pydoc-Markdown performs very basic pre-processing on the YAML configuration before it is deserialized. The format is similar to that of YTT, but supports only a subset of the features and logic is interpreted as actual Python code.

Supports preprocessing features:

  • def blocks to define a Python function (requires an end keyword, encapsulating YAML code into the function definition is not supported)
  • Value substitution

Check out the Read the Docs/Hugo baseURL documentation for an example.


Loaders are configured in the $.loaders section of the Pydoc-Markdown configuration file. The key must be a list of loader definitions. Currently there is only the Python Loader.


- type: loadertype1
  key: value
- type: loadertype2

If no loaders are specified, the Python loader is used by default.


Similar to the Loaders, the $.processors section expects a list of processor definitions. If no processors are defined, the filter, smart and crossref processors are used (in that order). Many processors do not have any additional options.


- type: filter
  documented_only: false
- type: smart
- type: crossref


The $.renderer defines the renderer to use when running pydoc-markdown without arguments. Some renderers support the --server option, which allows a live-preview of the documentation. The default renderer is the Markdown renderer which will print the result to the terminal.

Other renderers may produce files on disk in a layout that conforms with the static site generator that they aim to support.


  type: mkdocs
  - title: API Documentation
    name: index
    - school.*



  - generate-changelog >docs/

Allows you to specify shell commands that will be execute before or after the render step.

Available keys

  • $.hooks.pre-render
  • $

Testing your Configuration

You can test the configuration of your loaders using the pydoc-markdown --dump option. Combine this with docpspec -m --dump-tree to get a full formatted list tree of all API objects that Pydoc-Markdown has discovered, after applying all processors. You can disable processors by adding the --without-processors function.

$ pydoc-markdown --dump | docspec -m --dump-tree
module school._class
| class Class
| | data topic
| | data teacher
module school._person
| class Person
| | data name
| | data age
module school._pupil
| class Pupil
[ ... ]