Building the Documentation


The documentation build process uses Doxygen and Sphinx along with a few extensions.

If you’re using Conda, the required software can be installed in a single line:

conda install -c conda-forge --file=arrow/ci/conda_env_sphinx.txt

Otherwise, you’ll first need to install Doxygen yourself (for example from your distribution’s official repositories, if using Linux). Then you can install the Python-based requirements with the following command:

pip install -r arrow/docs/requirements.txt



If you are building the documentation on Windows, not all sections may build properly.

These two steps are mandatory and must be executed in order.

  1. Process the C++ API using Doxygen

    pushd arrow/cpp/apidoc
  2. Build the complete documentation using Sphinx.


    This step requires the pyarrow library is installed in your python environment. One way to accomplish this is to follow the build instructions at Python Development and then run python install in arrow/python (it is best to do this in a dedicated conda/virtual environment).

    pushd arrow/docs
    make html


Note that building the documentation may fail if your build of pyarrow is not sufficiently comprehensive. Portions of the Python API documentation will also not build without CUDA support having been built.

After these steps are completed, the documentation is rendered in HTML format in arrow/docs/_build/html. In particular, you can point your browser at arrow/docs/_build/html/index.html to read the docs and review any changes you made.

Building with Docker

You can use Archery to build the documentation within a Docker container.

archery docker run -v "${PWD}/docs:/build/docs" ubuntu-docs

The final output is located under the ${PWD}/docs directory.

Building a single directory for dev purposes without all the pre-requisites

You can build documentation in a single directory without needing to install all of the pre-requisites by installing sphinx, setting up a temporary index in the directory you want to build and then building that directory.

The example below shows how to do this in the arrow/docs/source/developers directory.

Install sphinx:

pip install sphinx

Navigate to the arrow/docs directory:

cd arrow/docs

Create an temporary index file temp_index.rst file in the target directory:

echo $'.. toctree::\n\t:glob:\n\n\t*' > ./source/developers/temp_index.rst

Build the docs in the target directory:

sphinx-build ./source/developers ./source/developers/_build -c ./source -D master_doc=temp_index

This builds everything in the target directory to a folder inside of it called _build using the config file in the source directory.

Once you have verified the HTML documents, you can remove temporary index file:

rm ./source/developers/temp_index.rst