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Creating Documentation Pages

Introduction to Hyde Documentation Pages

Welcome to the Hyde Documentation Pages, where creating professional-looking documentation sites has never been easier. Using the Hyde Documentation module, all you need to do is place standard Markdown files in the _docs/ directory, and Hyde takes care of the rest.

Hyde compiles your Markdown content into beautiful static HTML pages using a TailwindCSS frontend, complete with a responsive sidebar that is automatically generated based on your Markdown files. You can even customize the order, labels, and even groups, of the sidebar items to suit your needs.

Additionally, if you have a _docs/ file, the sidebar header will link to it, and an automatically generated "Docs" link will be added to your site's main navigation menu, pointing to your documentation page.

If you have a Torchlight API token in your .env file, Hyde will even enable syntax highlighting automatically, saving you time and effort. For more information about this feature, see the extensions page.

Best Practices and Hyde Expectations

Since Hyde does a lot of things automatically, there are some things you may need to keep in mind when creating blog posts so that you don't get unexpected results.


  • Hyde Documentation pages are files stored in the _docs directory
  • The filename is used as the filename for the compiled HTML
  • Filenames should use kebab-case-name format, followed by the appropriate extension
  • Files prefixed with _underscores are ignored by Hyde
  • You should always have an file in the _docs/ directory
  • Your page will be stored in _site/docs/<identifier>.html unless you change it in the config

Advanced usage and customization

Like most of HydePHP, the Hyde Documentation module is highly customizable. Much of the frontend is composed using Blade templates and components, which you can customize to your heart's content. Since there are so many components, it's hard to list them all here in the documentation, so I encourage you to check out the source code to see how it's all put together and find the customizations you are looking for.

Creating Documentation Pages

You can create a Documentation page by adding a file to the _docs directory where the filename ends in .md.

You can also scaffold one quickly by using the HydeCLI.

1php hyde make:page "Page Title" --type="docs"

This will create the following file saved as _docs/

1# Page Title

Front Matter is optional

You don't need to use front matter to create a documentation page.

However, Hyde still supports front matter here as it allows you to quickly override the default values.

Here is a quick reference, however, you should take a look at the dynamic content section to learn more.

2title: "Page Title"
4 label: "Sidebar Label"
5 hidden: true
6 priority: 5

Dynamic Content Generation

Hyde makes documentation pages easy to create by automatically generating dynamic content such as the sidebar and page title. If you are not happy with the results you can customize them in the config or with front matter.

Front Matter reference

Before we look at how to override things, here is an overview of the relevant content Hyde generates, and where the data is from as well as where it can be overridden.

Property Description Dynamic Data Source Override in
title (string) The title of the page used in the HTML <title> tag The first H1 heading (# Foo) Front matter
navigation.label (string) The label for the page shown in the sidebar The page basename Front matter, config
navigation.priority (integer) The priority of the page used for ordering the sidebar Defaults to 999 Front matter, config
navigation.hidden (boolean) Hides the page from the sidebar none Front matter, config (string) The group the page belongs to in the sidebar Subdirectory, if nested Front matter


The sidebar is automatically generated from the files in the _docs directory. You will probably want to change the order of these items. You can do this in two ways, either in the config or with front matter using the navigation array settings.

Since this feature shares a lot of similarities and implementation details with the navigation menu, I recommend you read the navigation menu documentation page as well to learn more about the fundamentals and terminology.

Sidebar ordering

The sidebar is sorted/ordered by the priority property. The higher the priority the further down in the sidebar it will be. The default priority is 999. You can override the priority using the following front matter:

2 priority: 5

You can also change the order in the Docs configuration file. See the chapter in the customization page for more details.
I personally think the config route is easier as it gives an instant overview, however the first way is nice as well.

Sidebar labels

The sidebar items are labelled with the label property. The default label is the filename of the file. You can change it with the following front matter:

2 label: "My Custom Sidebar Label"

Sidebar grouping

Sidebar grouping allows you to group items in the sidebar into categories. This is useful for creating a sidebar with a lot of items. The Hyde docs for instance use this.

The feature is enabled automatically when one or more of your documentation pages have the property set in the front matter, or when subdirectories are used. This will then switch to a slightly more compact sidebar layout with pages sorted into categories. Any pages without the group front matter will get put in the "Other" group.

Sidebar footer customization

The sidebar footer contains, by default, a link to your site homepage. You can change this in the config/docs.php file.

Filepath: config/docs.php
1'sidebar' => [
2 'footer' => 'My **Markdown** Footer Text',

You can also set the option to false to disable it entirely.

Using Front Matter

To enable sidebar grouping, you can add the following front matter to your documentation pages:

2 group: "Getting Started"

Automatic subdirectory-based grouping

You can also automatically group your documentation pages by placing source files in sub-directories.

For example, putting a Markdown file in _docs/getting-started/, is equivalent to adding the same front matter seen above.

Note that when the flattened output paths setting is enabled (which it is by default), the file will still be compiled to the _site/docs/ directory like it would be if you didn't use the subdirectories. Note that this means that you can't have two documentation pages with the same filename as they overwrite each other.

Tip: When using subdirectory-based dropdowns, you can set their priority using the directory name as the array key.

Hiding items

You can hide items from the sidebar by adding the hidden property to the front matter:

2 hidden: true

This can be useful to create redirects or other items that should not be shown in the sidebar.

The index page is by default not shown as a sidebar item, but instead is linked in the sidebar header.


Please see the customization page for in-depth information on how to customize Hyde, including the documentation pages. Here is a high level overview for quick reference though.

Output directory

If you want to store the compiled documentation pages in a different directory than the default 'docs' directory, for example to specify a version like the Hyde docs does, you can specify the output directory in the Hyde configuration file. The path is relative to the site output, typically _site.

Filepath: config/hyde.php
1'output_directories' => [
2 \Hyde\Pages\DocumentationPage::class => 'docs' // default
3 \Hyde\Pages\DocumentationPage::class => 'docs/1.x' // What the Hyde docs use

Note that you need to take care as to not set it to something that may conflict with other parts, such as media or posts directories.

Automatic navigation menu

By default, a link to the documentation page is added to the navigation menu when an file is found in the _docs directory. Please see the customization page for more information.

Sidebar header name

By default, the site title shown in the sidebar header is generated from the configured site name suffixed with "docs". You can change this in the Docs configuration file. Tip: The header will link to the docs/index page, if it exists.

1'title' => 'API Documentation',

Sidebar page order

To quickly arrange the order of items in the sidebar, you can reorder the page identifiers in the list and the links will be sorted in that order. Link items without an entry here will fall back to the default priority of 999, putting them last.

1'sidebar_order' => [
2 'readme',
3 'installation',
4 'getting-started',

See the chapter in the customization page for more details.

Automatic sidebar group labels

When using the automatic sidebar grouping feature (based on subdirectories), the titles of the groups are generated from the directory names. If these are not to your liking, for example if you need to use special characters, you can override them in the Docs configuration file. The array key is the directory name, and the value is the label.

Please note that this option is not added to the config file by default, as it's not a super common use case. No worries though, just add the following yourself!

Filepath: config/docs.php
1'sidebar_group_labels' => [
2 'questions-and-answers' => 'Questions & Answers',

Table of contents settings

Hyde automatically generates a table of contents for the page and adds it to the sidebar.

In the config/docs.php file you can configure the behaviour, content, and the look and feel of the sidebar table of contents. You can also disable the feature completely.

1'table_of_contents' => [
2 'enabled' => true,
3 'min_heading_level' => 2,
4 'max_heading_level' => 4,

Using flattened output paths

If this setting is set to true, Hyde will output all documentation pages into the same configured documentation output directory. This means that you can use the automatic directory-based grouping feature, but still have a "flat" output structure. Note that this means that you can't have two documentation pages with the same filename or navigation menu label as they will overwrite each other.

If you set this to false, Hyde will match the directory structure of the source files (just like all other pages).

Filepath: config/docs.php
1'flattened_output_paths' => true,

Search Feature


The HydeSearch plugin adds a search feature to documentation pages. It consists of two parts, a search index generator that runs during the build command, and a frontend JavaScript plugin that adds the actual search widget.

Tip: The HydeSearch plugin is what powers the search feature on this site! Why not try it out?

The search feature is enabled by default. You can disable it by removing the documentationSearch from the Hyde Features config array.

Filepath: config/hyde.php
1'features' => [
2 Features::documentationSearch(),

Using the search

The search works by generating a JSON search index which the JavaScript plugin loads asynchronously.

Two ways to access the search are added, one is a full page search screen that will be saved to docs/search.html.

The second method is a button added to the documentation pages, similar to how Algolia DocSearch works. Opening it will open a modal with an integrated search screen. You can also open the dialogue using the keyboard shortcut /.

The full page can be disabled by setting create_search_page to false in the docs config.

Hiding pages from indexing

If you have a large page on your documentation site, like a changelog, you may want to hide it from the search index. You can do this by adding the page identifier to the exclude_from_search array in the docs config, similar to how navigation menu items are hidden. The page will still be accessible as normal but will be added to the search index JSON file.

Filepath: config/docs.php
1'exclude_from_search' => [
2 'changelog',

Live search with the realtime compiler

The Realtime Compiler that powers the php hyde serve command will automatically generate a fresh search index each time the browser requests it.

Automatic "Edit Page" Button


Hyde can automatically add links to documentation pages that take the user to a GitHub page (or similar) to edit the page. This makes it great for open-source projects looking to allow others to contribute to the documentation in a quick and easy manner.

The feature is automatically enabled when you specify a base URL in the Docs configuration file. Hyde expects this to be a GitHub path, but it will probably work with other methods as well, if not, please send a PR and/or create an issue on the GitHub repository!

Tip: This documentation site uses this feature, scroll down to the bottom of this page and try it out!


As an example configuration, let's take a practical example of how uses this feature.

Filepath: config/docs.php
1'source_file_location_base' => '',

Changing the button text

Changing the label is easy, just change the following config setting:

Filepath: config/docs.php
1'edit_source_link_text' => 'Edit Source on GitHub',

Changing the position

By default, the button will be shown in both the documentation page footer. You can change this by setting the following config setting to 'header', 'footer', or 'both'

Filepath: config/docs.php
1'edit_source_link_position' => 'header',

Adding a button icon

This is not included out of the box, but is easy to add with some CSS! Just target the .edit-page-link class.

Filepath: e.g. app.css
1.edit-page-link::before {content: ""}

Changing the Blade view

You can also publish the edit-source-button.blade.php view and change it to your liking.