DH_INSTALLDOCS(1)                 Debhelper                DH_INSTALLDOCS(1)

NAME         top

       dh_installdocs - install documentation into package build directories

SYNOPSIS         top

       dh_installdocs [debhelper options] [-A] [-Xitem] [file ...]

DESCRIPTION         top

       dh_installdocs is a debhelper program that is responsible for
       installing documentation into usr/share/doc/package in package build

       In compat 10 and earlier, dh_install(1) may be a better tool for
       handling the upstream documentation, when upstream's own build system
       installs all the desired documentation correctly.  In this case,
       dh_installdocs is still useful for installing packaging related
       documentation (e.g. the debian/copyright file).

       In compat 11 and later, dh_installdocs offers many of the features
       that dh_install(1) also have.  Furthermore, dh_installdocs also
       supports the nodoc build profile to exclude documentation (regardless
       of compat level).

FILES         top

           List documentation files to be installed into package.

           The copyright file is installed into all packages, unless a more
           specific copyright file is available.

           Each of these files is automatically installed if present for a

           These files are installed into the first binary package listed in

           Note that README.debian files are also installed as
           README.Debian, and TODO files will be installed as TODO.Debian in
           non-native packages.

           Installed as doc-base control files. Note that the doc-id will be
           determined from the Document: entry in the doc-base control file
           in question. In the event that multiple doc-base files in a
           single source package share the same doc-id, they will be
           installed to usr/share/doc-base/package instead of

           If your package needs to register more than one document, you
           need multiple doc-base files, and can name them like this. In the
           event that multiple doc-base files of this style in a single
           source package share the same doc-id, they will be installed to
           usr/share/doc-base/package-* instead of

OPTIONS         top

       -A, --all
           Install all files specified by command line parameters in ALL
           packages acted on.

       -Xitem, --exclude=item
           Exclude files that contain item anywhere in their filename from
           being installed. Note that this includes doc-base files.

           Set the main package for a documentation package.  This is used
           to install the documentation of the documentation package in
           /usr/share/doc/main-package as recommended by the Debian policy
           manual 3.9.7 in §12.3.

           In compat 11 (or later), this option is only useful if
           debhelper's auto-detection of the main package is wrong.  The
           option can also be used to silence a warning from debhelper when
           the auto-detection fails but the default happens to be correct.

           This option cannot be used when dh_installdocs is instructed to
           act on multiple packages.  If you need this option, you will
           generally need to combine it with -p to ensure exactly one
           package is acted on.

           Please keep in mind that some documentation (the copyright file,
           README.Debian, etc.) will be unaffected by this option.

           Make the documentation directory of all packages acted on be a
           symlink to the documentation directory of package. This has no
           effect when acting on package itself, or if the documentation
           directory to be created already exists when dh_installdocs is
           run. To comply with policy, package must be a binary package that
           comes from the same source package.

           debhelper will try to avoid installing files into linked
           documentation directories that would cause conflicts with the
           linked package. The -A option will have no effect on packages
           with linked documentation directories, and copyright, changelog,
           README.Debian, and TODO files will not be installed.

           (An older method to accomplish the same thing, which is still
           supported, is to make the documentation directory of a package be
           a dangling symlink, before calling dh_installdocs.)

           Please note that this option only applies to the documentation
           directory for the package itself.  When the package ships
           documentation for another package (e.g. see --doc-main-package),
           it will not use a symlink for the documentation of the other

           CAVEAT 1: If a previous version of the package was built without
           this option and is now built with it (or vice-versa), it requires
           a "dir to symlink" (or "symlink to dir") migration.  Since
           debhelper has no knowledge of previous versions, you have to
           enable this migration itself.

           This can be done by providing a "debian/package.maintscript" file
           and using dh_installdeb(1) to provide the relevant maintainer
           script snippets.

           CAVEAT 2: The use of --link-doc should only be done when the
           packages have same "architecture" type.  A link from a
           architecture independent package to a architecture dependent
           package (or vice versa) will not work.  Since compat 10,
           debhelper will actively reject unsupported combinations.

       file ...
           Install these files as documentation into the first package acted
           on. (Or in all packages if -A is specified).

EXAMPLES         top

       This is an example of a debian/ file:


NOTES         top

       Note that dh_installdocs will happily copy entire directory
       hierarchies if you ask it to (similar to cp -a). If it is asked to
       install a directory, it will install the complete contents of the

SEE ALSO         top


       This program is a part of debhelper.

AUTHOR         top

       Joey Hess <>

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the debhelper (helper programs for debian/rules)
       project.  Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you
       have a bug report for this manual page, send it to  This page was obtained from the project's
       upstream Git repository
       ⟨⟩ on
       2018-04-30.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2018-01-28.)  If you discover any
       rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe
       there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

11.1.4                           2018-01-24                DH_INSTALLDOCS(1)