How-to Guides#

These guides will take you through the steps to perform common actions or solve common problems in AutoAPI. They will assume that you already have a Sphinx project with AutoAPI set up already. If you don’t know how to do this then read the Tutorials.

How to Customise What Gets Documented#

With the default settings, AutoAPI will document everything that is publicly accessible through the actual package when loaded in Python. For example if a function is imported from a submodule into a package then that function is documented in both the submodule and the package.

However there are multiple options available for controlling what AutoAPI will document.

Connect to the autoapi-skip-member event#

The autoapi-skip-member event is emitted whenever a template has to decide whether a member should be included in the documentation.

For example, to document only packages – in other words, to not document submodules – you could implement an event handler in your like the following.

def skip_submodules(app, what, name, obj, skip, options):
    if what == "module":
        skip = True
    return skip

def setup(sphinx):
    sphinx.connect("autoapi-skip-member", skip_submodules)

Set __all__#

AutoAPI treats the definition of __all__ as the specification of what objects are public in a module or package, and which aren’t.

In the following example, only func_a() and A would be documented.

# mypackage/
from . import B

__all__ = ("A", "func_a")

class A:

def func_a():

def func_b():

Configure autoapi_options#

The autoapi_options configuration value gives some high level control over what is documented. For example you can hide members that don’t have a docstring, document private members, and hide magic methods. See autoapi_options for more information on how to use this option.

Customise the API Documentation Templates#

Finally, you can configure what gets rendered by customising the templates. This is a rather heavy handed approach, so it should only be necessary when the other options do not give you the control the you need. You can learn how to customise the templates in the next section; How to Customise Layout Through Templates.

How to Customise Layout Through Templates#

You can customise the look of the documentation that AutoAPI generates by changing the Jinja2 templates that it uses. The default templates live in the autoapi/templates directory of the AutoAPI package. Simply copy whichever templates you want to customise to a local directory and edit them. To get AutoAPI to use these templates, point the autoapi_template_dir configuration option to your directory. It can be absolute, or relative to the root of the documentation source directory (ie the directory passed to sphinx-build).

autoapi_template_dir = '_autoapi_templates'

Your template directory must to follow the same layout as the default templates. For example, to override the Python class and module templates:

└── python
    ├── class.rst
    └── module.rst

How to Customise the Index Page#

The index page that AutoAPI creates is generated using a template. So customising the index page follows the same steps as customising a template. Simply edit the autoapi/templates/index.rst template with the same steps as customising a template.

How to Remove the Index Page#

To remove the index page altogether, turn off the autoapi_add_toctree_entry configuration option:

autoapi_add_toctree_entry = False

You will then need to include the generated documentation in the toctree yourself. For example if you were generating documentation for a package called “example”, you would add the following toctree entry:

.. toctree::


Note that autoapi/ is the default location of documentation, as configured by autoapi_root. If you change autoapi_root, then the entry that you need to add would change also.

How to Configure Where Documentation Appears in the TOC Tree#

The autoapi_root configuration option defines where generated documentation is output. To change where documentation is output, simply change this option to another directory relative to the documentation source directory:

autoapi_root = 'technical/api'

How to Transition to Autodoc-Style Documentation#

Once you have written some documentation with the Autodoc-Style Directives, turning the automatic documentation generation off is as easy as disabling the autoapi_generate_api_docs configuration option:

autoapi_generate_api_docs = False

How to Transition to Manual Documentation#

To start writing API documentation yourself, you can get AutoAPI to keep its generated files around as a base to start from using the autoapi_keep_files option:

autoapi_keep_files = True

Once you have built your documentation with this option turned on, you can disable AutoAPI altogether from your project.

How to Include Type Annotations as Types in Rendered Docstrings#


This feature is experimental and may change or be removed in future versions.

Since v3.0, sphinx has included an sphinx.ext.autodoc.typehints extension that is capable of rendering type annotations as parameter types and return types.

For example the following function:

def _func(a: int, b: Optional[str]) -> bool
    """My function.

    :param a: The first arg.
    :param b: The second arg.

    :returns: Something.

would be rendered as:

_func(a, b)
  • a (int) – The first arg.

  • b (Optional[str]) – The second arg.



Return type:


AutoAPI is capable of the same thing. To enable this behaviour, load the sphinx.ext.autodoc.typehints (or sphinx.ext.autodoc) extension in Sphinx’s file and set autodoc_typehints to description as normal:

extensions = ['sphinx.ext.autodoc', 'autoapi.extension']
autodoc_typehints = 'description'


Unless autodoc_typehints is set to none, the type annotations of overloads will always be output in the signature and never merged into the description because it is impossible to represent all overloads as a list of parameters.