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How to build the docs

catkin provides (and uses) some plugins to Sphinx to build documentation. These plugins can be used to provide a common look and feel to the generated documentation.

The first time you want to build catkin-controlled documentation (including catkin’s own documentation), you’ll need to setup your environment.


  1. Get catkin-sphinx:

    git clone git://
  2. Build and install it:

    cd catkin-sphinx
    sudo python install
  3. Copy ros-theme to your Sphinx configuration directory:

    cp -a theme/ros-theme ~/sphinx

Now you can build documentation for projects that use the ros-theme. For example, to build catkin’s documentation:

git clone git://
cd catkin/doc
make html

To build and upload a new version of catkin’s documentation to, (this is specific to catkin itself, and requires that you have appropriate credentials configured):

git clone git://
cd catkin/doc
make upload


To use the ros-theme in your own project’s documentation, add the following line to your

extensions = extensions + ['catkin_sphinx.cmake', 'catkin_sphinx.ShLexer']

ros-theme-enabled projects use the following html_theme_path setting:

html_theme_path = [os.path.join(os.path.expanduser('~'), 'sphinx'), 'themes']