.. highlight:: rest
Since the reST source files can have different extensions (some people like
``.txt``, some like ``.rst`` -- the extension can be configured with
:confval:`source_suffix`) and different OSes have different path separators,
Sphinx abstracts them: all "document names" are relative to the
:term:`documentation root`, the extension is stripped, and path separators are
converted to slashes. All values, parameters and suchlike referring to
"documents" expect such a document name.
The TOC tree
.. index:: pair: table of; contents
Since reST does not have facilities to interconnect several documents, or split
documents into multiple output files, Sphinx uses a custom directive to add
relations between the single files the documentation is made of, as well as
tables of contents. The ``toctree`` directive is the central element.
.. directive:: toctree
This directive inserts a "TOC tree" at the current location, using the
individual TOCs (including "sub-TOC trees") of the documents given in the
directive body (whose path is relative to the document the directive occurs
in). A numeric ``maxdepth`` option may be given to indicate the depth of the
tree; by default, all levels are included.
Consider this example (taken from the Python docs' library reference index)::
(many more documents listed here)
This accomplishes two things:
* Tables of contents from all those documents are inserted, with a maximum
depth of two, that means one nested heading. ``toctree`` directives in
those documents are also taken into account.
* Sphinx knows that the relative order of the documents ``intro``,
``strings`` and so forth, and it knows that they are children of the shown
document, the library index. From this information it generates "next
chapter", "previous chapter" and "parent chapter" links.
Document titles in the :dir:`toctree` will be automatically read from the
title of the referenced document. If that isn't what you want, you can give
the specify an explicit title and target using a similar syntax to reST
hyperlinks (and Sphinx's :ref:`cross-referencing syntax <xref-syntax>`). This
All about strings <strings>
The second line above will link to the ``strings`` document, but will use the
title "All about strings" instead of the title of the ``strings`` document.
In the end, all documents under the :term:`documentation root` must occur in
some ``toctree`` directive; Sphinx will emit a warning if it finds a file
that is not included, because that means that this file will not be reachable
through standard navigation. Use :confval:`unused_documents` to explicitly
exclude documents from this check.
The "master document" (selected by :confval:`master_doc`) is the "root" of
the TOC tree hierarchy. It can be used as the documentation's main page, or
as a "full table of contents" if you don't give a ``maxdepth`` option.
Sphinx reserves some document names for its own use; you should not try to
create documents with these names -- it will cause problems.
The special document names (and pages generated for them) are:
* ``genindex``, ``modindex``, ``search``
These are used for the general index, the module index, and the search page,
The general index is populated with entries from modules, all index-generating
:ref:`description units <desc-units>`, and from :dir:`index` directives.
The module index contains one entry per :dir:`module` directive.
The search page contains a form that uses the generated JSON search index and
* every name beginning with ``_``
Though only few such names are currently used by Sphinx, you should not create
documents or document-containing directories with such names. (Using ``_`` as
a prefix for a custom template directory is fine.)