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Automatic documentation and Storybook

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Storybook Autodocs is a powerful tool that can help you quickly generate comprehensive documentation for your UI components. By leveraging Autodocs, you're transforming your stories into living documentation which can be further extended with MDX and Doc Blocks to provide a clear and concise understanding of your components' functionality.

Setup automated documentation

To enable auto-generated documentation for your stories, you'll need to add the tags configuration property to the story's default export. For example:

Storybook autodocs

Once the story loads, Storybook infers the relevant metadata (e.g., args, argTypes, parameters) and automatically generates a documentation page with this information positioned at the root-level of your component tree in the sidebar.


By default, Storybook offers zero-config support for documentation and automatically sets up a documentation page for each story enabled via the tags configuration property. However, you can extend your Storybook configuration file (i.e., .storybook/main.js|ts|cjs) and provide additional options to control how documentation gets created. Listed below are the available options and examples of how to use them.

autodocsConfigures auto-generated documentation pages. Available options: true, false,tag (default). true/false enable/disable autodocs globally. tag allows you to opt in per component by adding the tags: ['autodocs'] annotation in the component's default export.
Default: docs: { autodocs: 'tag' }
defaultNameRenames the auto-generated documentation page
Default: docs: { defaultName: 'Documentation' }

Write a custom template

Watch a video tutorial on the Storybook channel

To replace the default documentation template used by Storybook, you can extend your UI configuration file (i.e., .storybook/preview.js|ts) and introduce a docs parameter. This parameter accepts a page function that returns a React component, which you can use to generate the required template. For example:

Internally, Storybook uses a similar implementation to generate the default template. See the Doc Blocks API reference to learn more about how Doc Blocks work.

Going over the code snippet in more detail. When Storybook starts up, it will override the default template with the custom one composed of the following:

  1. A header with the component's metadata retrieved by the Title, Subtitle, and Description Doc Blocks.
  2. The first story defined in the file via the Primary Doc Block with a handy set of UI controls to zoom in and out of the component.
  3. An interactive table with all the relevant args and argTypes defined in the story via the Controls Doc Block.
  4. A overview of the remaining stories via the Stories Doc Block.

With MDX

You can also use MDX to generate the documentation template. This is useful in non-React projects where JSX-handling is not configured. Normally, when you create an MDX file in your project, it is treated as normal documentation. To indicate that an MDX file is a documentation template, supply the isTemplate property to its Meta Doc Block. For example:

Then you can use it in your .storybook/preview.js or an individual story file by importing it:

If you only need to override the documentation page for a single component, we recommend creating an MDX file and referencing it directly via the <Meta of={} /> Doc Block.

Generate a table of contents

Storybook's auto-generated documentation pages can be quite long and difficult to navigate. To help with this, you can enable the table of contents feature to provide a quick overview of the documentation page and allow users to jump to a specific section. To enable it, extend your Storybook UI configuration file (i.e., .storybook/preview.js) and provide a docs parameter with a toc property.

Configure the table of contents

By default, the table of contents on the documentation page will only show the h3 headings that are automatically generated. However, if you want to customize the table of contents, you can add more parameters to the toc property. The following options and examples of how to use them are available.

contentsSelectorDefines the container's CSS selector for search for the headings
toc: { contentsSelector: '.sbdocs-content' }
disableHides the table of contents for the documentation pages
toc: { disable: true }
headingSelectorDefines the list of headings to feature in the table of contents
toc: { headingSelector: 'h1, h2, h3' }
ignoreSelectorConfigures the table of contents to ignore specific headings or stories. By default, the table of contents will ignore all content placed within Story blocks
toc: { ignoreSelector: '.docs-story h2' }
titleDefines a title caption for the table of contents.
Accepts one of: string, null, React element
toc: { title: 'Table of Contents' }
unsafeTocbotOptionsProvides additional TocBot configuration options
toc: { unsafeTocbotOptions: { orderedList: true } }

The contentsSelector, headingSelector, and ignoreSelector properties allow additional customization. For more information on using them, see the Tocbot documentation.

Component-level configuration

If you want to customize the table of contents for a specific story, you can include a toc property in the story's default export and provide the required configuration. For example, if you need to hide the table of contents for a specific story, adjust your story as follows:

Customize component documentation

Creating automated documentation with Storybook's Autodocs provides you with the starting point to build a sustainable documentation pattern. Nevertheless, it may not be suited for every case, and you may want to extend it and provide additional information. We recommend combining MDX alongside Storybook's Doc Blocks for such cases to author your documentation.

Advanced configuration

Documenting multiple components

Sometimes it's helpful to document multiple components together. For example, a component library’s ButtonGroup and Button components might not make sense without one another.

Autodocs allows you to document your "main" component, defined by the component property, as well as one or more subcomponents related to it.

Subcomponents in ArgTypes doc block

The main component and its subcomponents will show up in a tabbed version of the ArgTypes doc block. The tab titles will correspond to the keys of the subcomponents object.

If you want to organize your documentation differently for component groups, we recommend using MDX. It gives you complete control over how your components are displayed and supports any configuration.

Customize the Docs Container

The Docs Container is the component that wraps up the documentation page. It's responsible for rendering the documentation page in Storybook's UI. You can customize it by creating your own component and updating your Storybook UI configuration file (i.e., .storybook/preview.js) to reference it.

Override the default theme

By default, Storybook provides two themes for the UI: light and dark. If you need to customize the theme used by the documentation to match the existing one, you can update your Storybook UI configuration file (i.e., .storybook/preview.js) and apply it.

Working with custom MDX components

Out of the box, Storybook has a set of components that you can use to customize your documentation page. If you're working with a design system or component library and wish to add them to your documentation page, you can override the MDXProvider component inherited from @mdx-js/react with your own. However, there's a caveat to this, the component replacement will only have an impact if you're writing documentation using Markdown syntax (e.g., # for headings). Native HTML elements, such as <h1>, will not be replaced with your custom implementation.

This is not a Storybook issue but a detail of how MDX works. From their migration guide:

“We now ‘sandbox’ components, for lack of a better name. It means that when you pass a component for h1, it does get used for # hi but not for <h1>hi</h1>


The table of contents doesn't render as expected

When using Autodocs's table of contents, you may encounter situations where it appears differently than expected. To help you resolve these problems, we have compiled a list of possible scenarios that may cause issues.

With simple documentation pages

If you have a documentation page with only one matching heading and create a table of contents for it, the table of contents will not be hidden by default. A potential solution for this issue would be to add a second heading or turn it off entirely.

With small screens

If the screen width is less than 1200px, the table of contents will be hidden by default. Currently, there's no built-in solution for this issue that doesn't impact the documentation page's style compatibility.

With MDX

If you're writing unattached documentation using MDX, you cannot customize the table of contents primarily due to the lack of support for defining parameters based on the current implementation. As a result, the table of contents will always revert to the default configuration provided globally.

The auto-generated documentation is not showing up in a monorepo setup

Out of the box, Storybook's Autodocs feature is built to generate documentation for your stories automatically. Nevertheless, if you're working with a monorepo setup (e.g., Yarn Workspaces, pnpm Workspaces), you may run into issues where part of the documentation may not be generated for you. To help you troubleshoot those issues, we've prepared some recommendations that might help you.

Update your import statements to reference the component directly instead of the package's root. For example:

Additionally, if you're developing using TypeScript, you may need to update Storybook's configuration file (i.e., .storybook/main.js|ts) to include the following:

If you're still encountering issues, we recommend reaching out to the community using the default communication channels (e.g., GitHub discussions).

The controls are not updating the story within the auto-generated documentation

If you turned off inline rendering for your stories via the inline configuration option, you would run into a situation where the associated controls are not updating the story within the documentation page. This is a known limitation of the current implementation and will be addressed in a future release.

Learn more about Storybook documentation

  • Autodocs for creating documentation for your stories
  • MDX for customizing your documentation
  • Doc Blocks for authoring your documentation
  • Publishing docs to automate the process of publishing your documentation

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