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CSS Stylesheets

Most of DokuWiki's presentation can be controlled through CSS stylesheets. DokuWiki defines some very minimal styles itself. The rest of the CSS definitions come from the template and plugins used.

All CSS files are fetched through a single dispatcher in lib/exe/css.php which also handles caching, pattern replacement, LESS preprocessing and optimizing. The loading of the stylesheets amongst other things is done via the tpl_metaheaders() function, so don't forget to have it within your template.

Stylesheet Modes

There are five types of stylesheet modes:

  • screen: This is used when displaying pages in the web browser
  • print: Definitions here will be used for printing pages
  • all: Applied in all display modes
  • rtl: Definitions in rtl files will be loaded additionally when a right-to-left language is used :!: deprecated, see RTL Styles
  • feed: Applied when displaying the feed

RTL styles

The RTL mode has deprecated since release 2012-10-13 “Adora Belle”, and should therefore not be used anymore. The new and better technique to write styles for right-to-left languages is by using [dir=rtl] in front of each CSS selector within styles for any of the other modes. E.g.

.someClass {
    float: left;
    background-color: __background__;
[dir=rtl] .someClass {
    float: right;

DokuWiki Stylesheets

DokuWiki loads its stylesheets from 4 sources, which are loaded in this order:

1. Base Stylesheets

These stylesheets are located within /lib/styles. They define basic styling, like the appearance of error messages.

2. Plugins Styles

Plugins may define their own style definitions using the following files:

Mode CSS File
screen style.css or screen.css
print print.css
all all.css
rtl rtl.css :!: deprecated, see RTL Styles
feed feed.css

Stylefiles with extension .less are supported as well. However you can use LESS formatting in both the *.css and *.less files.

To fit in well into any template's color scheme, plugin authors should use the guaranteed color placeholders.

:!: Stylesheets from plugins are loaded even if a plugin is not used (but not if a plugin is disabled).

:!: Styles defined here should take care of conflicts. So please be careful when writing a plugin. If possible add a prefix to your styles so that you're sure they won't conflict.

3. Templates Styles

Template's stylesheets are loaded from the selected template dir. DokuWiki reads the template's style.ini located within the directory and loads all CSS that are referenced within that file. The loading is done according to the current mode.

  • Changes to style.ini by wiki admins have to be stored in conf/tpl/<tpl>/style.ini. If the changes are applied via the Styling Plugin, this file is automatically created.

4. User Styles

Additional styles, independently from the used template can be defined by the wiki administrator by creating the following CSS files in the wiki's configuration folder (conf/ in unadjusted wikis):

CSS File When it is used
Applied in screen mode
Applied when a page is printed
Since Angua deprecated
Applied when a right-to-left interface language is used :!: deprecated, see RTL Styles
Applied when displaying the feed
Applied in all display modes

(Note: the .less are possible since 2015-08-10 “Detritus”.)

These style files are useful to override small portions of template or plugin styles without running into problems on updating those later.

The following example reduces the bottom margin of the h2 and h3 headings when viewing in browser:

h2, h3 {
  margin-bottom: 4px;

Note that an included feature of DokuWiki allows you to use open-source Google Fonts without needing a local copy of the font on your server. For example, if you want to change the font that comes with your template for only the h1 title, body, and pre/code, simply create a conf/userall.css with the font names you want:

h1, body {
  font-family: Source Sans Pro;
pre, code {
  font-family: Source Code Pro;

Using IDs

When you use custom IDs in your template for assigning styles, be sure that the ID does not conflict with an existing ID. In particular, be sure that it won’t conflict with the IDs automatically assigned to section headers. The easiest way to ensure this is to use two adjacent underscores (__) in your ID. Because section IDs are always valid pagenames, they will never contain adjacent underscores.

In plugins use <pluginname>__<id>. For example 'searchindexplugin__buttonfield'

Using images and importing styles

Relative links to images (url(…)) and imported stylesheets (@import …) in your own stylesheets are automatically fixed by DokuWiki's CSS dispatcher by treating them relative to the template's root directory.

An example: In a plugin, you want to use an image in the sub directory images from your style.css. You can simply write the following CSS:

.someclass {
   background-image: url(images/icon.gif);

DokuWiki will automatically change the URL, so that the image will be found in the plugin directory, relative to the template directory.


  • url(…) in @import folder/style.less are not automatically fixed, the dispatcher assumes these are at top level lib/exe/, not in the actual folder.
  • @import folder/style.css is handled by the CSS-dispatcher/LESS-parser as normal CSS. So it is not directly included in the css.php. However, the relative references with url(…) to style.css's actual folder are working. Importing css-files is only working if you add these in a all.css/all.less, because these place them as really the first lines of the css.php-file. Via the other files these css-imports are ignored, because they are not really on the first line but on the first line of the e.g. a @media screen {…} block.


All CSS files are fetched through a single dispatcher in lib/exe/css.php which also handles caching, amongst other things. The cache expires if files are changed that are mentioned above in the section DokuWiki stylesheets or are referred in the style.ini of your template. Note: Imported stylesheets (@import) are not checked for changes.

If you are making changes, ensure that you refresh the cache of your browser by a Hard reload/Force Refresh (e.g. in Chrome/Firefox use Ctrl+F5).

Browser (Internet Explorer) Specific CSS

DokuWiki does not provide features to address browser specific CSS rendering, therefore any standard approach can be used in your template files.

The suggested approach, which will allow the DokuWiki CSS-Dispatcher to process and deliver the CSS normally, is to use conditional comments (mediacollege:detect-IE or WikiPedia Conditional Comments) to create <div id> wrappers around the entire content - the wrappers specify the version of IE in use (see the dokuwiki_template_starter as an example).

This wrapper method inserts a specific CSS style ID around the entire content. Your template .css file (design.css, content.css, etc.) then creates browser specific styles by starting a line with #ID. An example, as used for IE7 would be:

#IE8 #dokuwiki__header h1 {
  ...css styles...

You will need to edit the files in your template (ie. detail.php, main.php, etc.) and insert the relevant conditional checks.

devel/css.txt · Last modified: 2023-01-26 05:03 by

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