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Learn about DokuWiki

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DokuWiki Template Development

You can customize the design of DokuWiki by creating a new template. A template is determined by some PHP and CSS files stored in a directory beyond the <dokuwiki>/lib/tpl/ directory. (actually, the template is made of HTML, the PHP in it is used to insert the content.)

Getting Started

The easiest way to create a new template is by taking an already existing one as starting point. It's a good idea to use the starter template because it is clean and follows the DokuWiki template standards.

  1. Install the starter template
  2. Rename the lib/tpl/starter directory to lib/tpl/yourname
  3. Select the new template in the configuration manager
  4. Then have a look at the template files (see directory layout below)
  5. Have a look on how DokuWiki handles CSS using its CSS dispatcher.
  6. Handling of configuration settings is analogous to plugins. Use tpl_getConf(<setting>) to retrieve custom template settings.

When your template is stabilized, you can publish it at DokuWiki's template page.

Note: before taking a look at your wiki, you might want to clear the cache of your browser! (there are software extensions for that). Otherwise you might go crazy because css-modifications won't have any effect whatsoever

Template name conventions

A valid template name (directory):

  • Should only contain the characters a-z and 0-9.
  • Dot ., dash - and underscore _ are not allowed as:
    • DokuWiki's infrastructure doesn't support them anywhere
    • Using underscore will also give a popularity rating of zero.
  • If the same name is used by two different templates
    • they are mutually exclusive and inherent incompatible,
    • furthermore only one of them can have a template homepage on

It is important to have a unique base field value (i.e. template name) in or an already existing template with that name could be overwritten.

Directory Layout

Templates should follow the following directory structure (all paths are relative to the template directory).

CSS files are specified in the style.ini file. Use as many files you'd like, but you should at least provide one CSS file for the screen presentation and one for printing.

  • <dokuwiki>/lib/tpl/<template>/


A list of available functions can be found in API documentation. Some specialties are listed here.

  • tpl_content()
    This function outputs the page body, or in other words the content of your wiki page, including the TOC. You can prevent it from outputting the TOC by passing false while calling it:

    This can be used to separate the TOC from the content and place it somewhere else on the screen. See tpl_toc() below for further details.

  • tpl_toc()
    By default, the tpl_content() function will take care of displaying a Table of Contents itself, prepending it to the actual page content. If your template uses a sidebar or other more complex layout you may want to place the TOC independently from the page content. This can be done with the tpl_toc() function. When using it, it is important to disable automatic TOC placement by passing the argument false to the tpl_content() function.

    <div id="content">
        <?php tpl_content(false)?>
    <div id="sidebar">
        <?php tpl_toc()?>

    The tpl_toc() function renders the TOC from three different sources: a global $TOC variable, the page metadata or the getTOC() method of admin plugins. Because there is no metadata available for old revisions or preview tpl_toc() can only use the global $TOC variable for these cases. Because the $TOC variable is filled by the page renderer this will only work when tpl_toc() is called after tpl_content(). If this is not possible in your template layout you may use output buffering to circumvent the problem.


        // render the content into buffer for later use
        $buffer = ob_get_clean();
    <div id="sidebar">
        <?php tpl_toc()?>
    <div id="content">
        <?php echo $buffer?>
  • Further many other useful template functions are available. Please have a look in API documentation.

Global Variables And Constants

For a complete list of useful global variables and constants please refer to the environment page.

Automated Housekeeping

Almost at the bottom of the default template's main.php file you'll see a function call to tpl_indexerWebBug(). The function generates a HTML <img> tag which results in a request to lib/exe/indexer.php. This vital part of DokuWiki provides important housekeeping work to keep the wiki running smoothly. All templates should include this function, without it the wiki may not function correctly (for example the search index wont be built).

'dokuwiki' class

A class named dokuwiki should be added to some content surrounding element (either around everything or at least around tpl_content()) in each template's main.php, detail.php and mediamanager.php. This is to make sure that DokuWiki's styles don't interfere with other styles if it gets integrated into an existing site with potentially conflicting CSS.

Include Hooks

Include Hooks are a simple way to add some static content to your DokuWiki installation without writing your own Template. You can use them for adding a standard header or company logo to each page or add a disclaimer at the bottom of each page.

The DokuWiki's default template looks for files with special names in the template directory and simply includes them at the correct places when displaying the page. You can add whatever HTML you like into these files. Of course this only works if you are using the default template or a template supporting the same include hooks (like the starter template).

Hint for PHP developers: You may be happy to hear that you can even include PHP in these files.

Available Hooks

All these files are searched for in the template directory e.g. lib/tpl/dokuwiki/.

Filename Position of included HTML
meta.html Inside the HTML <head>, use this to add additional styles or metaheaders
topheader.html At the very top of the page right after the <body> tag
header.html Above the upper blue bar, below the pagename and wiki title
pageheader.html Below the breadcrumbs, above the actual content
pagefooter.html Above the lower blue bar, below the last changed Date
footer.html At the very end of the page just before the </body> tag

See also include hooks for the user explanation.

Publishing a Template on

If you created a template, please share it with the community. Just create a page named after your template in the template namespace. E.g. if your template folder is named sample create a page template:sample here in the wiki.

The page should contain all needed documentation on how to install and use the template. Adding screenshots might be a good idea as well.

At the top of the template page a few metadata fields have to be filled in. A description of each field can be found on the Repository Plugin page.

From version Ponder Stibbons on an automated update signalling is possible. For the update process to work properly it is necessary that the date “Last updated on” on the template's wiki page equals the date in the file in the source tarball/zip file. If this is not the case the update will not take place or the “Update” signal persists.

Uploads are not allowed on, so you need to host your template files somewhere else. We recommend to manage your source with a Revision Control System like git. If you do, it's easiest to use a public repository host like GitHub which offers also a bug tracker for your repository.

devel/templates.txt · Last modified: 2015-01-23 08:32 by