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Getting Started

This page tells you how to get started with the Geekdoc theme, including installation and basic configuration.

Install requirements

You need a recent version of Hugo for local builds and previews of sites that use Geekdoc. As we are using webpack as pre-processor, the normal version of Hugo is sufficient. If you prefer the extended version of Hugo anyway this will work as well. For comprehensive Hugo documentation, see

If you want to use the theme from a cloned branch instead of a release tarball you’ll need to install webpack locally and run the build script once to create all required assets.

# install required packages from package.json
npm install

# run the build script to build required assets
npm run build

# build release tarball
npm run pack

Using the theme

To prepare your new site environment just a few steps are required:

  1. Create a new empty Hugo site.

    hugo new site demosite
  2. Switch to the root of the new site.

    cd demosite
  3. Install the Geekdoc theme from a release bundle (recommended) or from Git branch.

  4. Create the minimal required Hugo configuration config.toml. For all configuration options take a look at the configuration page.

    baseURL = "http://localhost"
    title = "Geekdocs"
    theme = "hugo-geekdoc"
    pluralizeListTitles = false
    # Geekdoc required configuration
    pygmentsUseClasses = true
    pygmentsCodeFences = true
    disablePathToLower = true
    # Required if you want to render robots.txt template
    enableRobotsTXT = true
    # Needed for mermaid shortcodes
        # Needed for mermaid shortcode or when nesting shortcodes (e.g. img within
        # columns or tabs)
        unsafe = true
        startLevel = 1
        endLevel = 9
       tag = "tags"
  5. Test your site.

    hugo server -D

    The -D or --buildDrafts option is used to include content marked as draft during the build. It is used because content pages created with the hugo new content command have the draft flag set by default and this can lead to build errors in newly created projects. For projects with a production-ready content structure, this flag is not required in most cases and can be omitted.

Option 1: Download pre-build release bundle

Download and extract the latest release bundle into the theme directory.

mkdir -p themes/hugo-geekdoc/
curl -L | tar -xz -C themes/hugo-geekdoc/ --strip-components=1

Option 2: Clone the GitHub repository

Keep in mind this method is not recommended and needs some extra steps to get it working. If you want to use the Theme as submodule keep in mind that your build process need to run the described steps as well.

Clone the Geekdoc git repository.

git clone themes/hugo-geekdoc

Build required theme assets e.g. CSS files and SVG sprites.

npm install
npm run build



There are several ways to deploy your site with this theme on Netlify. Regardless of which solution you choose, the main goal is to ensure that the prebuilt theme release tarball is used or to run the required commands to prepare the theme assets before running the Hugo build command.

Here are some possible solutions:

Use a Makefile

Add a Makefile to your repository to bundle the required steps.

The Makefile is only an example. Depending on your project structure, BASEDIR or THEMEDIR may need to be adapted.
# Please change the theme version to the latest release version.
THEME_VERSION := v0.44.1
THEME := hugo-geekdoc
BASEDIR := docs

.PHONY: doc
doc: doc-assets doc-build

.PHONY: doc-assets
	mkdir -p $(THEMEDIR)/$(THEME)/ ; \
	curl -sSL "$(THEME)/releases/download/${THEME_VERSION}/$(THEME).tar.gz" | tar -xz -C $(THEMEDIR)/$(THEME)/ --strip-components=1

.PHONY: doc-build
	cd $(BASEDIR); hugo

.PHONY: clean
	rm -rf $(THEMEDIR) && \
	rm -rf $(BASEDIR)/public

This Makefile can be used in your netlify.toml, take a look at the Netlify example for more information:

publish = "docs/public"
command = "make doc"

Chain required commands

Chain all required commands to prepare the theme and build your site on the command option in your netlify.toml like this:

publish = "docs/public"
command = "command1 && command 2 && command3 && hugo"


As deploying Hugo sites on subdirectories is not as robust as on subdomains, we do not recommend this. If you have a choice, using a domain/subdomain should always be the preferred solution!

If you want to deploy your site to a subdirectory of your domain, some extra steps are required:

  • Configure your Hugo base URL e.g. baseURL = http://localhost/demo/.
  • Don’t use relativeURLs: false nor canonifyURLs: true as is can cause unwanted side effects!

There are two ways to get Markdown links or images working:

  • Use the absolute path including your subdirectory e.g. [testlink](/demo/example-site)
  • Overwrite the HTML base in your site configuration with geekdocOverwriteHTMLBase = true and use the relative path e.g. [testlink](example-site)

But there is another special case if you use geekdocOverwriteHTMLBase = true. If you use anchors in your Markdown links you have to ensure to always include the page path. As an example [testlink](#some-anchor) will resolve to http://localhost/demo/#some-anchor and not automatically include the current page!

Known Limitations

Minify HTML results in spacing issues

Using hugo --minify without further configuration or using other minify tools that also minify HTML files might result in spacing issues in the theme and is not supported.

After some testing we decided to not spend effort to fix this issue for now as the benefit is very low. There are some parts of the theme where spaces between HTML elements matters but were stripped by minify tools. Some of these issues are related to gohugoio/hugo#6892. While recommendation like “don’t depend on whitespace in your layout” sounds reasonable, it seems to be not that straight forward especially for something like embedded icons into the text flow.

If you still want to use Hugo’s minify flag you should at least exclude HTML files in your site configuration as described in the Hugo documentation:

  disableHTML = true