HTML Theming


HTML documents rendered with Quarto use Bootstrap 5 by default. This can be disabled or customized via the theme option:

theme: default # bootstrap 5 default
theme: cosmo   # cosmo bootswatch theme
theme: pandoc  # pandoc default html treatment
theme: none    # no css added to document

Note that many features of Quarto HTML documents are only available when using a Bootstrap theme. Code folding, citation hover, and commenting are still available with theme: pandoc or theme: none, however most other features (e.g. floating toc, callouts, tabs) are only available for documents with Bootstrap.

Quarto includes 25 themes from the Bootswatch project (for example, the website uses the cosmo theme). Below we describe how to use SASS to create your own themes.

Basic Options

Pandoc supports a set of basic metadata options for customizing document appearance without directly using CSS. These options are available for both the pandoc theme as well as for all Bootstrap themes.

If you are using a Bootstrap theme or the Pandoc theme, there are a set of options you can provide in document metadata to customize its appearance. These include:

Option Description
max-width The maximum width occupied by page content. Defaults to 1400px for bootstrap themes and 36em for the pandoc theme.
mainfont Sets the font-family property for the document.
fontsize Sets the base CSS font-size for the document.
fontcolor Sets the default text color for the document.
linkcolor Sets the default text color for hyperlinks.
monofont Sets the font-family property for <code> elements.
monobackgroundcolor Sets the background-color property for <code> elements.
linestretch Sets the CSS line-height property (affects distance between lines of text, defaults to 1.5).
backgroundcolor Sets the background-color for the document.
margin-left, margin-right, margin-top, margin-bottom Sets the CSS margin properties for the document body.

For example. here we set the font-size a bit larger and specify that we want a bit more space between lines of text:

title: "My Document"
    theme: cosmo
    font-size: 1.1em
    linestretch: 1.7

Theme Options

While the basic customization described above handles many common requirements, you can do extensive additional customization using SASS theme files. Bootstrap defines over 1,400 variables that control fonts, colors, padding, borders, and much more. You can see all of the variables here:

SASS theme files can define both variables that globally set things like colors and fonts, as well as rules that define more fine grained behavior. To customize an existing Bootstrap theme with your own set of variables and/or rules, just provide the base theme and then your custom theme file(s):

  - cosmo
  - custom.scss

Your custom.scss file might look something like this:

/*-- scss:defaults --*/
$h2-font-size:          1.6rem !default;
$headings-font-weight:  500 !default;
$body-color:            $gray-700 !default;

/*-- scss:rules --*/
h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 {
  text-shadow: -1px -1px 0 rgba(0, 0, 0, .3);

Note that the variables section is denoted by the /*-- scss:defaults --*/ comment and the rules section (where normal CSS rules go) is denoted by the /*-- scss:rules --*/ comment.

Custom Themes

You can naturally also create an entirely custom theme and provide only that (in this case you will inherit from the default Bootstrap theme):

theme: custom.scss

For example, here are the theme files for the 25 built-in Bootswatch themes:

You can read more about the custom theming design here.

Dark Mode

In addition to providing a single theme for your html output, you may also provide a light and dark theme. For example:

  light: flatly
  dark: darkly

Setting the above themes in your _quarto.yml results in both a dark and light version of your output being available. For example:

Flatly Themed Output

A screenshot of the header of the light version of this page showcasing the Flatly theme.

Darkly Themed Output

A screenshot of the header of the dark version of this page showcasing the Darkly theme.

When providing both a dark and light mode for your html output, Quarto will automatically create a toggle to allow your reader to select the desired dark or light appearance. The toggle will automatically appear in the top right corner of your html output. When possible, the toggle will use browser local storage to maintain the user’s preference across sessions.

The first appearance (light or dark) elements in the theme to determine the default appearance for your html output. For example, since the light option appears first in the above example, a reader will see the light appearance by default.

Quarto will automatically select the appropriate light or dark version of the text highlighter that you have specified when possible. For more information, see Code Highlighting.

Customizing Themes

As when providing a single theme, you may provide a custom theme for dark and light mode, or a list of scss files to customize the light and dark appearance. This website, for example uses the following to use a light cosmo theme and then customizes the cosmo theme with additional Sass variables when in dark mode:

  light: cosmo
  dark: [cosmo, theme-dark.scss]

The contents of theme-dark.scss which is customizing the cosmo document appearance is:

/*-- scss:defaults --*/
// Base document colors
$body-bg: #181818;
$body-color: white;
$link-color: #75AADB;

// Code blocks
$code-block-bg-alpha: -.8;

For more information about available Sass variables, see HTML Customization Using Sass Variables.

Sass Variables

In addition to some basic customization using YAML in the document front matter or Quarto project file, Quarto HTML output can be customized using Sass variables to control the generated CSS.


Variable Notes
body-bg The page background color.
body-color The page text color.
link-color The link color.
input-bg The background color for HTML inputs.
popover-bg The background color for popovers (for example, when a citation preview is shown).


Variable Notes
font-family-sans-serif The sans-serif font family for the page.
font-family-monospace The monospace font family for the page.
font-size-root The base font size for the page.
toc-font-size The font size for the page TOC.






Font sizes for the specified headings.

Code Blocks

Variable Notes
code-block-border-left By default, Quarto does not display a left border on code blocks. Set this variable to a truthy value or a CSS color to enable the left border.
code-block-border-left-style The style of the left border displayed on code blocks. Defaults to solid.
code-block-border-left-size The thickness of the left border displayed on code blocks. Defaults to 3px;
code-block-padding-left The amount of padding applied between the code and the border. Defaults to 0.6em.
code-block-bg By default, Quarto sets a background on code blocks by adding transparency to the theme’s progress-bg color. Set this variable to truthy value or a CSS color.
code-block-bg-padding The padding applied to the code block. Defaults to 0.4em.
code-block-bg-alpha The amount to alter the transparency fo the progress-bg color. This is not used if an explicit background color is set. Defaults to -0.35.

Inline Code

Variable Notes
code-bg The background color of inline code. Defaults to a mix between the body-bg and body-color.
code-color The text color of inline code. Defaults to a generated contrasting color against the code-bg.


Variable Notes
content-padding-top Padding that should appear before the main content area (including the sidebar, content, and TOC.


Variable Notes
callout-border-width By default, Quarto does not display a left border on code blocks. Set this variable to a truthy value or a CSS color to enable the left border. Defaults to 5px.
callout-border-scale The border color of callouts computed by shifting the callout color by this amount. Defaults to 0%.
callout-icon-scale The color of the callout icon computed by shifting the callout color by this amount. Defaults to 10%.
callout-margin-top The amount of top margin on the callout. Defaults to 1.25rem.
callout-margin-bottom The amount of bottom margin on the callout. Defaults to 1.25rem.

The colors for the various types of callouts. Defaults:

type default
note $blue
tip $green
caution $orange
warning $yellow
important $red

In addition to the above Sass variables, Bootstrap itself supports hundreds of additional variables. You can learn more about Bootstrap’s use of Sass variables or review the raw variables and their default values.