Markup Style Guide

This page covers the conventions for writing and use of the reStructuredText (RST) markup syntax.


  • Three space indentation.

  • Lines should be less than 120 characters long.

  • Use italics for button/menu names.

Other loose conventions:

  • Avoid Unicode characters.

  • Avoid heavily wrapped text (i.e. sentences can have their own lines).


  Document Part

Document Chapter

Document Section

Document Subsection

Document Subsubsection

Document Paragraph


Parts should only be used for contents or index pages.


Each .rst file should only have one chapter heading (*) per file.

Text Styling

See the overview on ReStructuredText for more information on how to style the various elements of the documentation and on how to add lists, tables, pictures and code blocks. The Sphinx reference provides more insight additional constructs.

The following are useful markups for text styling:


Interface Elements

  • :kbd:`LMB` – keyboard and mouse shortcuts.

  • *Mirror* – interface labels.

  • :menuselection:`3D Viewport --> Add --> Mesh --> Monkey` – menus.

Operator Menus

Each operator should receive its own heading or page based on the length of the content. Each operator should have a reference admonition documenting the context of the operator:

.. admonition:: Reference
   :class: refbox

   :Mode:      Edit Mode
   :Menu:      :menuselection:`Curve --> Snap`
   :Shortcut:  :kbd:`Shift-S`


Panels should be documented by their own heading, nested panels should use decreasing heading levels. Each panel could have its own page based on the length of documentation and/or the amount of panels. Expanded menus that toggle what properties are presented to the user should be treated like subpanels:

Panel Title

Nested Panel Title


Properties should be documented using definition lists. Properties that are hidden based on other properties should used nested definitions:

   Property description.

   Hidden Property
      Hidden property description.

Enum based menus should be documented using the following syntax:

Menu Label
   General description of the menu.

   :Menu Item: Menu Item Definition.
   :Menu Item: Menu Item Definition.
   :Menu Item: Menu Item Definition.

Context Sensitive Manual Access

It is possible to link to a specific part of the manual from in Blender by right clicking on a property or operator and selecting Online Manual. In order for this to work, this needs to be accounted for in the documentation. To link a property or operator to a specific part of the manual you need to add an external reference link tag whose ID matches Blender’s RNA tag. The easiest way to find out what the tag for a property is to right click on the property/operator and select Online Python Reference to extract the tag from the URL. Some examples of how this looks in the RST document are given below:

.. _bpy.types.FluidDomainSettings.use_fractions:

Fractional Obstacles
   Enables finer resolution in fluid / obstacle regions (second order obstacles)...

   .. _bpy.types.FluidDomainSettings.fractions_distance:

   Obstacle Distance
      Determines how far apart fluid and obstacles are...

For an operator:

.. _bpy.ops.curve.subdivide:


Code Samples

There is support for syntax highlighting if the programming language is provided, and line numbers can be optionally shown with the :linenos: option:

.. code-block:: python

   import bpy
   def some_function():


Figures should be used to place images:

.. figure:: /images/interface_window-system_splash_current.png

   Image caption.

For consistency, and since it would be good to ensure screenshots are all a similar size when floated next to text, writers should take screenshots in the following manner:

  1. Prepare the area you would like to capture making sure to use the default theme and setting. (In some cases you may not want to use the default settings e.g. if some options are hidden behind a checkbox.)

  2. Zoom to the maximum zoom level (hold NumpadPlus or Ctrl-MMB or similar).

  3. Zoom out eight zoom levels (NumpadMinus – eight times).

  4. In some cases you will want to leave a small margin around the thing you are trying to capture. This should be around 30px but does not have to be exact.

This can be applied to several parts of the interface but might not work for all cases.


No Caps, No Gaps

Lower case filenames underscore between words.

Sort Usefully

Order naming with specific identifiers at the end.


Use .png for images that have solid colors such as screenshots of the Blender interface, and .jpg for images with a high amount of color variance, such as sample renders and photographs.

Do not use animated .gif files, these are hard to maintain, can be distracting and are usually large in file size. Instead use a video if needed (see Videos below).


Place the image in the manual/images folder. Use no other subfolders.


For naming files use underscores to separate chapters and sections, and use dashes to separate sections that are two or more words. So for image files should look like: chapter_subsection_sub-subsection_id.png, e.g:

  • interface_splash_current.png

  • interface_undo-redo_last.png

  • interface_undo-redo_repeat-history-menu.png

Do not use special characters or spaces!

Usage Guides

  • Avoid specifying the resolution of the image, so that the theme can handle the images consistently and provide the best layout across different screen sizes.

  • When documenting a panel or section of the UI, it is better to use a single image that shows all of the relevant areas (rather than multiple images for each icon or button) placed at the top of the section you are writing, and then explain the features in the order that they appear in the image.


    It is important that the manual can be maintained long term, UI and tool options change so try to avoid having a lot of images (when they are not especially necessary). Otherwise, this becomes too much of a maintenance burden.


Videos from YouTube can be embedded using:

.. youtube:: ID

The ID is found in the video’s URL, e.g:

The ID for is Ge2Kwy5EGE0.

Usage Guides

  • Avoid adding videos that rely on voice, as this is difficult to translate.

  • Do not embed video tutorials as a means of explaining a feature, the writing itself should explain it adequately (though you may include a link to the video at the bottom of the page under the heading Tutorials).

Useful Constructs

  • |BLENDER_VERSION| – Resolves to the current Blender version.

  • :abbr:`SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion)` – Abbreviations display the full text as a tooltip for the reader.

  • :term:`Manifold` – Links to an entry in the Glossary.

Cross References and Linkage

You can link to another document in the manual with:

:doc:`The Title </section/path/to/file>`

To link to a specific section in another document (or the same one), explicit labels are available:

.. _sample-label:

[section or image to reference]

Some text :ref:`Optional Title <sample-label>`

Linking to a title in the same file:

Titles are Targets

Body text.

Implicit references, like `Titles are Targets`_

Linking to the outside world:

`Blender Website <>`__

Directory Layout

Sections should be generally structured as follows:

  • directory_name/

    • index.rst (contains links to internal files)

    • introduction.rst

    • section_1.rst

    • section_2.rst

For example:

  • rendering/

    • index.rst

    • cycles/

      • index.rst

      • introduction.rst

      • materials/

        • index.rst

        • introduction.rst

        • volumes.rst

The idea is to enclose all the content of a section inside of a folder. Ideally every section should have an index.rst (containing the TOC for that section) and an introduction.rst (introducing) to the contents of the section.

Table of Contents

By default, a table of contents should show two levels of depth:

.. toctree::
   :maxdepth: 2


Further Reading

To learn more about reStructuredText, see:

Sphinx RST Primer

Good basic introduction.

Docutils reStructuredText Reference

Links to reference and user documentation.