Sphinx RST Cheat Sheet for Python Docstrings

Inline Markup

*italics* is one asterisk
**bold** is two asterisks
``code`` is in backticks
italics is one asterisk
bold is two asterisks
code is in backticks


Internal Links

Create a named link reference:
   .. _link_name:

(Note the blank line)

Named links can be referenced with:
   :ref:`alternate text <link_name>`

RST documentation says you can link implicitly using title names, but this doesn't work across files. Always use the ":ref:" mechanism.


* Item one
* Item two with a
  longer line (note indentation)

1. Numbered
2. Works

#. As well
#. Notice a single blank line doesn't create a new list
  • Item one
  • Item two with a longer line (note indentation)
  1. Numbered
  2. Works
  3. As well
  4. Notice a single blank line doesn't create a new list


Code is displayed with a formatting directive which Sphinx will then highlight using pygments.

.. code-block:: python

    for x in range(1, 10):
for x in range(1, 10):

Notice the blank line between the directive and the indented content

Including Files

You can include parts of a file.

.. include:: filename
    :start-line: 3
    :end-line: 3
    :start-after: 3
    :end-before: 5

Verbatim include is done using a different directive.

.. literalinclude:: filename
    :language: python
    :lines: 1, 3-5
    :start-line: 3
    :end-line: 3
    :start-after: 3
    :end-before: 5

References in Code

Within a docstring you can reference modules, classes and functions.


Links to a class in the same file
Links to a function in the same file
Displays an attribute name, no link
  :mod:`full.module.name` Links to another module
Links to a class in a different file
Links to a function in a different file

A name can be prefixed with "." to search for a match within the module. It can also be prefixed with "~" to have the resulting link be the short-form version of a module. These can be used together. An alternate name can be used by specifying both the title and a target, wrapping the target in angle brackets.

  :class:`Some class <SomeClass>`

Looks for class somewhere in the module
Fully qualified class but only shows "ElsewhereClass" in the link
Looks for class and only shows relative name
Links to "SomeClass" but displays "Some class" in the text


Heading depth is determined based on context, but being consistent is helpful. Typical choices are:









Horizontal Rule

A horizontal separator can be created using any puntation in a row repeated more than 4 times.



.. image:: monet_wildenstein.png
   :width: 309px
   :align: left
   :height: 208px
   :alt: Monet Wildenstein

.. figure:: monet_waterloo_bridge.jpg
   :figclass: align-center

   Figures are like images with a caption
Monet Wildenstein

Figures are like images with a caption

Notes & Warnings

.. note:: This is a **note** box

.. warning:: Note the space between directive and the text
  • Note
  • This is a note box

  • Warning
  • Note the space between the directive and the text

Sphinx Autodoc Extension

Using the autodoc extension you can include the pydoc from your program.

.. automodule:: module.name
  :members: Foo, bar
  :special-members: __init__
  :exclude-members: Wuz
  :member-order: bysource

Include functions that start with "_" and "__"
Include functions that start and end with "__".
Include members without pydoc
Members to exclude
Order of included classes
     One of: alphabetical (default), groupwise (by type),
     or bysource

Both members and special-members can have no parameters to include all applicable information.

Unless special-members is included, __init__ is left out. The class description does include the paramters from the constructor though, so it is best practice to put the parameter descriptions for the constructor in the class description. Example:

class Foo:
    ""The foo class does stuff and things.

    :param bar: This is the bar parameter to the Foo constructor
    def __init__(self, bar):
        # no pydoc here!

Pieces of Code

Instead of documenting the module you can specify a class or function.

.. autoclass:: module.ClassName

.. autofunction::
.. autodecorator::
.. autodata::
.. automethod::
.. autoattribute::

Sphinx Conf

Modify Sphinx conf.py to use some variables:
# -- Project information -----------------------------------------------------

project = 'My Project'
copyright_start = 2019
author = 'Arthur Author'

import datetime
year = datetime.datetime.now().year
if year == copyright_start:
    copyright = '%d, %s' % (year, author)
    copyright = '%d-%d, %s' % (copyright_start, year, author)

# short version number (X.Y)
import imp
mod = imp.load_source('project_mod', '../project/__init__.py')
version = mod.__version__

Sphinx Conf and Django

Django installable apps need some additions:
CUR_DIR = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__))
PRJ_DIR = os.path.abspath(os.path.join(CUR_DIR, 'awl'))
sys.path.insert(0, os.path.abspath('..'))
import django
from django.conf import settings

Other References