sphinx.ext.autosummary – Generate autodoc summaries

New in version 0.6.

This extension generates function/method/attribute summary lists, similar to those output e.g. by Epydoc and other API doc generation tools. This is especially useful when your docstrings are long and detailed, and putting each one of them on a separate page makes them easier to read.

The sphinx.ext.autosummary extension does this in two parts:

  1. There is an autosummary directive for generating summary listings that contain links to the documented items, and short summary blurbs extracted from their docstrings.
  2. Optionally, the convenience script sphinx-autogen or the new autosummary_generate config value can be used to generate short “stub” files for the entries listed in the autosummary directives. These files by default contain only the corresponding sphinx.ext.autodoc directive, but can be customized with templates.
.. autosummary::

Insert a table that contains links to documented items, and a short summary blurb (the first sentence of the docstring) for each of them.

The autosummary directive can also optionally serve as a toctree entry for the included items. Optionally, stub .rst files for these items can also be automatically generated.

For example,

.. currentmodule:: sphinx

.. autosummary::


produces a table like this:

environment.BuildEnvironment(srcdir, ...) The environment in which the ReST files are translated.

Autosummary preprocesses the docstrings and signatures with the same autodoc-process-docstring and autodoc-process-signature hooks as autodoc.


  • If you want the autosummary table to also serve as a toctree entry, use the toctree option, for example:

    .. autosummary::
       :toctree: DIRNAME

    The toctree option also signals to the sphinx-autogen script that stub pages should be generated for the entries listed in this directive. The option accepts a directory name as an argument; sphinx-autogen will by default place its output in this directory. If no argument is given, output is placed in the same directory as the file that contains the directive.

  • If you don’t want the autosummary to show function signatures in the listing, include the nosignatures option:

    .. autosummary::
  • You can specify a custom template with the template option. For example,

    .. autosummary::
       :template: mytemplate.rst

    would use the template mytemplate.rst in your templates_path to generate the pages for all entries listed. See Customizing templates below.

    New in version 1.0.

sphinx-autogen – generate autodoc stub pages

The sphinx-autogen script can be used to conveniently generate stub documentation pages for items included in autosummary listings.

For example, the command

$ sphinx-autogen -o generated *.rst

will read all autosummary tables in the *.rst files that have the :toctree: option set, and output corresponding stub pages in directory generated for all documented items. The generated pages by default contain text of the form:


.. autofunction:: sphinx.util.relative_uri

If the -o option is not given, the script will place the output files in the directories specified in the :toctree: options.

Generating stub pages automatically

If you do not want to create stub pages with sphinx-autogen, you can also use this new config value:


Boolean indicating whether to scan all found documents for autosummary directives, and to generate stub pages for each.

Can also be a list of documents for which stub pages should be generated.

The new files will be placed in the directories specified in the :toctree: options of the directives.

Customizing templates

New in version 1.0.

You can customize the stub page templates, in a similar way as the HTML Jinja templates, see Templating. (TemplateBridge is not supported.)


If you find yourself spending much time tailoring the stub templates, this may indicate that it’s a better idea to write custom narrative documentation instead.

Autosummary uses the following template files:

  • autosummary/base.rst – fallback template
  • autosummary/module.rst – template for modules
  • autosummary/class.rst – template for classes
  • autosummary/function.rst – template for functions
  • autosummary/attribute.rst – template for class attributes
  • autosummary/method.rst – template for class methods

The following variables available in the templates:


Name of the documented object, excluding the module and class parts.


Name of the documented object, excluding the module parts.


Full name of the documented object, including module and class parts.


Name of the module the documented object belongs to.


Name of the class the documented object belongs to. Only available for methods and attributes.


A string containing len(full_name) * '='.


List containing names of all members of the module or class. Only available for modules and classes.


List containing names of “public” functions in the module. Here, “public” here means that the name does not start with an underscore. Only available for modules.


List containing names of “public” classes in the module. Only available for modules.


List containing names of “public” exceptions in the module. Only available for modules.


List containing names of “public” methods in the class. Only available for classes.


List containing names of “public” attributes in the class. Only available for classes.


You can use the autosummary directive in the stub pages. Stub pages are generated also based on these directives.