Render multiple documents as a website

Render all of the R Markdown documents within a directory as a website.

render_site(input = ".", output_format = "all", envir = parent.frame(),
  quiet = FALSE, encoding = getOption("encoding"))

clean_site(input = ".", preview = FALSE, quiet = FALSE, encoding = getOption("encoding"))

site_generator(input = ".", output_format = NULL, encoding = getOption("encoding"))

Website directory (or the name of a file within the directory)
R Markdown format to convert to (defaults to "all").
The environment in which the code chunks are to be evaluated during knitting (can use new.env to guarantee an empty new environment).
Whether to list the files to be removed rather than actually removing them.
TRUE to suppress messages and other output.
The encoding of the input file; see file.
Currently unused

The render_site function enables you to render a collection of markdown documents within a directory as a website. There are two requirements for a directory to be rendered as a website:

  1. It must contain either an "index.Rmd" or "" file.
It must contain a site configuration file ("_site.yml").


  • render_site returns the name of the site output file (relative to the input directory). clean_site returns the names of the generated files removed during cleaning.




  1. R Markdown (.Rmd) and plain markdown (.md) files in the root directory are rendered. Note however that markdown files beginning with "_" are not rendered (this is a convention to designate files that are included by top level documents).


  • All output and supporting files are copied to a "_site" subdirectory of the website directory (this is configurable, see discussion below).
  • The following files are not copied to the "_site" sub-directory:
    • Files beginning with "." (hidden files).
    Files beginning with "_" Files known to contain R source code (e.g. ".R", ".s", ".Rmd"), R data (e.g. ".RData", ".rds"), or configuration data (e.g. ".Rproj", "rsconnect")).
  • Normally R Markdown renders documents as self-contained HTML. However, render_site ensures that dependencies (e.g. CSS, JavaScript, images, etc.) remain in external files. CSS/JavaScript libraries are copied to a "site_libs" sub-directory and plots/images are copied to "_files" sub-directories.


A "_site.yml" file can be used to configure the behavior of site generation. Here is an example configuration file:

name: my-website output_dir: _site include: ["demo.R"] exclude: ["docs.txt", "*.csv"] navbar: title: "My Website" left: - text: "Home" href: index.html - text: "About" href: about.html output: html_document: toc: true highlight: textmate

The name field provides a suggested URL path for your website when it is published (by default this is just the name of the directory containing the site). The output_dir indicates which directory to copy site content into ("_site" is the default if none is specified). Note that this can be "." to keep all content within the root website directory alongside the source code.

The include and exclude fields enable you to override the default behavior visa-vi what files are copied into the "_site" directory (wildcards can be used as in the above example).

The navbar field can be used to define a navigation bar for websites based on the html_document format.

Finally, the output field enables you to specify output options that are common to all documents within the website (you can also still provide local options within each document that override any common options).

Custom Site Generation

The behavior of the default site generation function (rmarkdown::default_site) is described above. It is also possible to define a custom site generator that has alternate behavior. A site generator is an R function that is bound to by including it in the "site:" field of the "index.Rmd" or "" file. For example:

title: "My Book" output: bookdown::gitbook site: bookdown::bookdown_site

A site generation function should return a list with the following elements:

  • name
{The name for the website (e.g. the parent directory name).} output_dir {The directory where the website output is written to. This path should be relative to the site directory (e.g. "." or "_site")} render {An R function that can be called to generate the site. The function should accept the input_file, output_format, envir, quiet, and encoding arguments.} clean {An R function that returns relative paths to the files generated by render_site (these files are the ones which will be removed by the clean_site function.}


if (!quiet) message("\nOutput created: ", output)

  • default_site
  • clean_site
  • render_site
  • site_config
  • site_generator
Documentation reproduced from package rmarkdown, version 0.9.6, License: GPL-3

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