Pelican is configurable thanks to a configuration file you can pass to the command line:

$ pelican -s path/to/your/ path

Settings are configured in the form of a Python module (a file). You can see an example by looking at /samples/

All the setting identifiers must be set in all-caps, otherwise they will not be processed. Setting values that are numbers (5, 20, etc.), booleans (True, False, None, etc.), dictionaries, or tuples should not be enclosed in quotation marks. All other values (i.e., strings) must be enclosed in quotation marks.

Unless otherwise specified, settings that refer to paths can be either absolute or relative to the configuration file.

The settings you define in the configuration file will be passed to the templates, which allows you to use your settings to add site-wide content.

Here is a list of settings for Pelican:

Basic settings

Setting name (default value) What does it do?
AUTHOR Default author (put your name)
DATE_FORMATS ({}) If you manage multiple languages, you can set the date formatting here. See the “Date format and locales” section below for details.
USE_FOLDER_AS_CATEGORY (True) When you don’t specify a category in your post metadata, set this setting to True, and organize your articles in subfolders, the subfolder will become the category of your post. If set to False, DEFAULT_CATEGORY will be used as a fallback.
DEFAULT_CATEGORY ('misc') The default category to fall back on.
DEFAULT_DATE_FORMAT ('%a %d %B %Y') The default date format you want to use.
DISPLAY_PAGES_ON_MENU (True) Whether to display pages on the menu of the template. Templates may or may not honor this setting.
DISPLAY_CATEGORIES_ON_MENU (True) Whether to display categories on the menu of the template. Templates may or not honor this setting.
DEFAULT_DATE (None) The default date you want to use. If fs, Pelican will use the file system timestamp information (mtime) if it can’t get date information from the metadata. If set to a tuple object, the default datetime object will instead be generated by passing the tuple to the datetime.datetime constructor.
DEFAULT_METADATA (()) The default metadata you want to use for all articles and pages.
FILENAME_METADATA ('(?P<date>\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2}).*') The regexp that will be used to extract any metadata from the filename. All named groups that are matched will be set in the metadata object. The default value will only extract the date from the filename. For example, if you would like to extract both the date and the slug, you could set something like: '(?P<date>\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2})_(?P<slug>.*)'. See Path metadata.
PATH_METADATA ('') Like FILENAME_METADATA, but parsed from a page’s full path relative to the content source directory. See Path metadata.
EXTRA_PATH_METADATA ({}) Extra metadata dictionaries keyed by relative path. See Path metadata.
DELETE_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY (False) Delete the output directory, and all of its contents, before generating new files. This can be useful in preventing older, unnecessary files from persisting in your output. However, this is a destructive setting and should be handled with extreme care.
OUTPUT_RETENTION (()) A tuple of filenames that should be retained and not deleted from the output directory. One use case would be the preservation of version control data. For example: (".hg", ".git", ".bzr")
JINJA_EXTENSIONS ([]) A list of any Jinja2 extensions you want to use.
JINJA_FILTERS ({}) A list of custom Jinja2 filters you want to use. The dictionary should map the filtername to the filter function. For example: {'urlencode': urlencode_filter} See Jinja custom filters documentation.
LOCALE (‘’[1]) Change the locale. A list of locales can be provided here or a single string representing one locale. When providing a list, all the locales will be tried until one works.
READERS ({}) A dictionary of file extensions / Reader classes for Pelican to process or ignore. For example, to avoid processing .html files, set: READERS = {'html': None}. To add a custom reader for the foo extension, set: READERS = {'foo': FooReader}
IGNORE_FILES (['.#*']) A list of file globbing patterns to match against the source files to be ignored by the processor. For example, the default ['.#*'] will ignore emacs lock files.
MD_EXTENSIONS (['codehilite(css_class=highlight)','extra']) A list of the extensions that the Markdown processor will use. Refer to the Python Markdown documentation’s Extensions section for a complete list of supported extensions. (Note that defining this in your settings file will override and replace the default values. If your goal is to add to the default values for this setting, you’ll need to include them explicitly and enumerate the full list of desired Markdown extensions.)
OUTPUT_PATH ('output/') Where to output the generated files.
PATH (None) Path to content directory to be processed by Pelican.
PAGE_DIR ('pages') Directory to look at for pages, relative to PATH.
PAGE_EXCLUDES (()) A list of directories to exclude when looking for pages.
ARTICLE_DIR ('') Directory to look at for articles, relative to PATH.
ARTICLE_EXCLUDES: (('pages',)) A list of directories to exclude when looking for articles.
OUTPUT_SOURCES (False) Set to True if you want to copy the articles and pages in their original format (e.g. Markdown or reStructuredText) to the specified OUTPUT_PATH.
OUTPUT_SOURCES_EXTENSION (.text) Controls the extension that will be used by the SourcesGenerator. Defaults to .text. If not a valid string the default value will be used.
RELATIVE_URLS (False) Defines whether Pelican should use document-relative URLs or not. Only set this to True when developing/testing and only if you fully understand the effect it can have on links/feeds.
PLUGINS ([]) The list of plugins to load. See Plugins.
SITENAME ('A Pelican Blog') Your site name
SITEURL Base URL of your website. Not defined by default, so it is best to specify your SITEURL; if you do not, feeds will not be generated with properly-formed URLs. You should include http:// and your domain, with no trailing slash at the end. Example: SITEURL = ''
TEMPLATE_PAGES (None) A mapping containing template pages that will be rendered with the blog entries. See Template pages.
STATIC_PATHS (['images']) The static paths you want to have accessible on the output path “static”. By default, Pelican will copy the “images” folder to the output folder.
TIMEZONE The timezone used in the date information, to generate Atom and RSS feeds. See the Timezone section below for more info.
TYPOGRIFY (False) If set to True, several typographical improvements will be incorporated into the generated HTML via the Typogrify library, which can be installed via: pip install typogrify
DIRECT_TEMPLATES (('index', 'tags', 'categories', 'archives')) List of templates that are used directly to render content. Typically direct templates are used to generate index pages for collections of content (e.g., tags and category index pages). If the tag and category collections are not needed, set DIRECT_TEMPLATES = ('index', 'archives')
PAGINATED_DIRECT_TEMPLATES (('index',)) Provides the direct templates that should be paginated.
SUMMARY_MAX_LENGTH (50) When creating a short summary of an article, this will be the default length (measured in words) of the text created. This only applies if your content does not otherwise specify a summary. Setting to None will cause the summary to be a copy of the original content.
EXTRA_TEMPLATES_PATHS ([]) A list of paths you want Jinja2 to search for templates. Can be used to separate templates from the theme. Example: projects, resume, profile ... These templates need to use DIRECT_TEMPLATES setting.
ASCIIDOC_OPTIONS ([]) A list of options to pass to AsciiDoc. See the manpage
WITH_FUTURE_DATES (True) If disabled, content with dates in the future will get a default status of draft.
INTRASITE_LINK_REGEX ('[{|](?P<what>.*?)[|}]') Regular expression that is used to parse internal links. Default syntax of links to internal files, tags, etc., is to enclose the identifier, say filename, in {} or ||. Identifier between { and } goes into the what capturing group. For details see Linking to internal content.
PYGMENTS_RST_OPTIONS ([]) A list of default Pygments settings for your reStructuredText code blocks. See Syntax highlighting for a list of supported options.
[1]Default is the system locale.

URL settings

The first thing to understand is that there are currently two supported methods for URL formation: relative and absolute. Relative URLs are useful when testing locally, and absolute URLs are reliable and most useful when publishing. One method of supporting both is to have one Pelican configuration file for local development and another for publishing. To see an example of this type of setup, use the pelican-quickstart script as described at the top of the Getting Started page, which will produce two separate configuration files for local development and publishing, respectively.

You can customize the URLs and locations where files will be saved. The *_URL and *_SAVE_AS variables use Python’s format strings. These variables allow you to place your articles in a location such as {slug}/index.html and link to them as {slug} for clean URLs. These settings give you the flexibility to place your articles and pages anywhere you want.


If you specify a datetime directive, it will be substituted using the input files’ date metadata attribute. If the date is not specified for a particular file, Pelican will rely on the file’s mtime timestamp.

Check the Python datetime documentation at for more information.

Also, you can use other file metadata attributes as well:

  • slug
  • date
  • lang
  • author
  • category

Example usage:

  • ARTICLE_URL = 'posts/{date:%Y}/{date:%b}/{date:%d}/{slug}/'
  • ARTICLE_SAVE_AS = 'posts/{date:%Y}/{date:%b}/{date:%d}/{slug}/index.html'

This would save your articles in something like /posts/2011/Aug/07/sample-post/index.html, and the URL to this would be /posts/2011/Aug/07/sample-post/.

Pelican can optionally create per-year, per-month, and per-day archives of your posts. These secondary archives are disabled by default but are automatically enabled if you supply format strings for their respective _SAVE_AS settings. Period archives fit intuitively with the hierarchical model of web URLs and can make it easier for readers to navigate through the posts you’ve written over time.

Example usage:

  • YEAR_ARCHIVE_SAVE_AS = 'posts/{date:%Y}/index.html'
  • MONTH_ARCHIVE_SAVE_AS = 'posts/{date:%Y}/{date:%b}/index.html'

With these settings, Pelican will create an archive of all your posts for the year at (for instance) posts/2011/index.html and an archive of all your posts for the month at posts/2011/Aug/index.html.


Period archives work best when the final path segment is index.html. This way a reader can remove a portion of your URL and automatically arrive at an appropriate archive of posts, without having to specify a page name.

Setting name (default value) What does it do?
ARTICLE_URL ('{slug}.html') The URL to refer to an ARTICLE.
ARTICLE_SAVE_AS ('{slug}.html') The place where we will save an article.
ARTICLE_LANG_URL ('{slug}-{lang}.html') The URL to refer to an ARTICLE which doesn’t use the default language.
ARTICLE_LANG_SAVE_AS ('{slug}-{lang}.html') The place where we will save an article which doesn’t use the default language.
PAGE_URL ('pages/{slug}.html') The URL we will use to link to a page.
PAGE_SAVE_AS ('pages/{slug}.html') The location we will save the page. This value has to be the same as PAGE_URL or you need to use a rewrite in your server config.
PAGE_LANG_URL ('pages/{slug}-{lang}.html') The URL we will use to link to a page which doesn’t use the default language.
PAGE_LANG_SAVE_AS ('pages/{slug}-{lang}.html') The location we will save the page which doesn’t use the default language.
CATEGORY_URL ('category/{slug}.html') The URL to use for a category.
CATEGORY_SAVE_AS ('category/{slug}.html') The location to save a category.
TAG_URL ('tag/{slug}.html') The URL to use for a tag.
TAG_SAVE_AS ('tag/{slug}.html') The location to save the tag page.
TAGS_URL ('tags.html') The URL to use for the tag list.
TAGS_SAVE_AS ('tags.html') The location to save the tag list.
AUTHOR_URL ('author/{slug}.html') The URL to use for an author.
AUTHOR_SAVE_AS ('author/{slug}.html') The location to save an author.
AUTHORS_URL ('authors.html') The URL to use for the author list.
AUTHORS_SAVE_AS ('authors.html') The location to save the author list.
<DIRECT_TEMPLATE_NAME>_SAVE_AS The location to save content generated from direct templates. Where <DIRECT_TEMPLATE_NAME> is the upper case template name.
ARCHIVES_SAVE_AS ('archives.html') The location to save the article archives page.
YEAR_ARCHIVE_SAVE_AS (False) The location to save per-year archives of your posts.
MONTH_ARCHIVE_SAVE_AS (False) The location to save per-month archives of your posts.
DAY_ARCHIVE_SAVE_AS (False) The location to save per-day archives of your posts.
SLUG_SUBSTITUTIONS (()) Substitutions to make prior to stripping out non-alphanumerics when generating slugs. Specified as a list of 2-tuples of (from, to) which are applied in order.


If you do not want one or more of the default pages to be created (e.g., you are the only author on your site and thus do not need an Authors page), set the corresponding *_SAVE_AS setting to False to prevent the relevant page from being generated.


If no timezone is defined, UTC is assumed. This means that the generated Atom and RSS feeds will contain incorrect date information if your locale is not UTC.

Pelican issues a warning in case this setting is not defined, as it was not mandatory in previous versions.

Have a look at the wikipedia page to get a list of valid timezone values.

Date format and locale

If no DATE_FORMATS are set, Pelican will fall back to DEFAULT_DATE_FORMAT. If you need to maintain multiple languages with different date formats, you can set the DATE_FORMATS dictionary using the language name (lang metadata in your post content) as the key. Regarding available format codes, see strftime document of python :

    'en': '%a, %d %b %Y',
    'jp': '%Y-%m-%d(%a)',

You can set locale to further control date format:

LOCALE = ('usa', 'jpn',  # On Windows
    'en_US', 'ja_JP'     # On Unix/Linux

Also, it is possible to set different locale settings for each language. If you put (locale, format) tuples in the dict, this will override the LOCALE setting above:

# On Unix/Linux
    'en': ('en_US','%a, %d %b %Y'),
    'jp': ('ja_JP','%Y-%m-%d(%a)'),

# On Windows
    'en': ('usa','%a, %d %b %Y'),
    'jp': ('jpn','%Y-%m-%d(%a)'),

This is a list of available locales on Windows . On Unix/Linux, usually you can get a list of available locales via the locale -a command; see manpage locale(1) for more information.

Template pages

If you want to generate custom pages besides your blog entries, you can point any Jinja2 template file with a path pointing to the file and the destination path for the generated file.

For instance, if you have a blog with three static pages — a list of books, your resume, and a contact page — you could have:

TEMPLATE_PAGES = {'src/books.html': 'dest/books.html',
                  'src/resume.html': 'dest/resume.html',
                  'src/contact.html': 'dest/contact.html'}

Path metadata

Not all metadata needs to be embedded in source file itself. For example, blog posts are often named following a YYYY-MM-DD-SLUG.rst pattern, or nested into YYYY/MM/DD-SLUG directories. To extract metadata from the filename or path, set FILENAME_METADATA or PATH_METADATA to regular expressions that use Python’s group name notation (?P<name>…). If you want to attach additional metadata but don’t want to encode it in the path, you can set EXTRA_PATH_METADATA:

    'relative/path/to/file-1': {
        'key-1a': 'value-1a',
        'key-1b': 'value-1b',
    'relative/path/to/file-2': {
        'key-2': 'value-2',

This can be a convenient way to shift the installed location of a particular file:

# Take advantage of the following defaults
# STATIC_SAVE_AS = '{path}'
# STATIC_URL = '{path}'
    'extra/robots.txt': {'path': 'robots.txt'},

Feed settings

By default, Pelican uses Atom feeds. However, it is also possible to use RSS feeds if you prefer.

Pelican generates category feeds as well as feeds for all your articles. It does not generate feeds for tags by default, but it is possible to do so using the TAG_FEED_ATOM and TAG_FEED_RSS settings:

Setting name (default value) What does it do?
FEED_DOMAIN (None, i.e. base URL is “/”) The domain prepended to feed URLs. Since feed URLs should always be absolute, it is highly recommended to define this (e.g., “”). If you have already explicitly defined SITEURL (see above) and want to use the same domain for your feeds, you can just set: FEED_DOMAIN = SITEURL.
FEED_ATOM (None, i.e. no Atom feed) Relative URL to output the Atom feed.
FEED_RSS (None, i.e. no RSS) Relative URL to output the RSS feed.
FEED_ALL_ATOM ('feeds/all.atom.xml') Relative URL to output the all posts Atom feed: this feed will contain all posts regardless of their language.
FEED_ALL_RSS (None, i.e. no all RSS) Relative URL to output the all posts RSS feed: this feed will contain all posts regardless of their language.
CATEGORY_FEED_ATOM (‘feeds/%s.atom.xml’[2]) Where to put the category Atom feeds.
CATEGORY_FEED_RSS (None, i.e. no RSS) Where to put the category RSS feeds.
TAG_FEED_ATOM (None, i.e. no tag feed) Relative URL to output the tag Atom feed. It should be defined using a “%s” match in the tag name.
TAG_FEED_RSS (None, ie no RSS tag feed) Relative URL to output the tag RSS feed
FEED_MAX_ITEMS Maximum number of items allowed in a feed. Feed item quantity is unrestricted by default.

If you don’t want to generate some or any of these feeds, set the above variables to None.

[2]%s is the name of the category.


If you want to use FeedBurner for your feed, you will likely need to decide upon a unique identifier. For example, if your site were called “Thyme” and hosted on the domain, you might use “thymefeeds” as your unique identifier, which we’ll use throughout this section for illustrative purposes. In your Pelican settings, set the FEED_ATOM attribute to “thymefeeds/main.xml” to create an Atom feed with an original address of Set the FEED_DOMAIN attribute to, or if you are using a CNAME on your own domain (i.e., FeedBurner’s “MyBrand” feature).

There are two fields to configure in the FeedBurner interface: “Original Feed” and “Feed Address”. In this example, the “Original Feed” would be and the “Feed Address” suffix would be thymefeeds/main.xml.

Tag cloud

If you want to generate a tag cloud with all your tags, you can do so using the following settings.

Setting name (default value) What does it do?
TAG_CLOUD_STEPS (4) Count of different font sizes in the tag cloud.
TAG_CLOUD_MAX_ITEMS (100) Maximum number of tags in the cloud.

The default theme does not include a tag cloud, but it is pretty easy to add one:

<ul class="tagcloud">
    {% for tag in tag_cloud %}
        <li class="tag-{{ tag.1 }}"><a href="{{ SITEURL }}/{{ tag.0.url }}">{{ tag.0 }}</a></li>
    {% endfor %}

You should then also define CSS styles with appropriate classes (tag-0 to tag-N, where N matches TAG_CLOUD_STEPS -1), tag-0 being the most frequent, and define a ul.tagcloud class with appropriate list-style to create the cloud. For example:

ul.tagcloud {
  list-style: none;
    padding: 0;

ul.tagcloud li {
    display: inline-block;

li.tag-0 {
    font-size: 150%;

li.tag-1 {
    font-size: 120%;



Pelican offers a way to translate articles. See the Getting Started section for more information.

Setting name (default value) What does it do?
DEFAULT_LANG ('en') The default language to use.
TRANSLATION_FEED_ATOM (‘feeds/all-%s.atom.xml’[3]) Where to put the Atom feed for translations.
TRANSLATION_FEED_RSS (None, i.e. no RSS) Where to put the RSS feed for translations.
[3]%s is the language

Ordering content

Setting name (default value) What does it do?
NEWEST_FIRST_ARCHIVES (True) Order archives by newest first by date. (False: orders by date with older articles first.)
REVERSE_CATEGORY_ORDER (False) Reverse the category order. (True: lists by reverse alphabetical order; default lists alphabetically.)


Creating Pelican themes is addressed in a dedicated section (see How to create themes for Pelican). However, here are the settings that are related to themes.

Setting name (default value) What does it do?
THEME Theme to use to produce the output. Can be a relative or absolute path to a theme folder, or the name of a default theme or a theme installed via pelican-themes (see below).
THEME_STATIC_DIR ('theme') Destination directory in the output path where Pelican will place the files collected from THEME_STATIC_PATHS. Default is theme.
THEME_STATIC_PATHS (['static']) Static theme paths you want to copy. Default value is static, but if your theme has other static paths, you can put them here. If files or directories with the same names are included in the paths defined in this settings, they will be progressively overwritten.
CSS_FILE ('main.css') Specify the CSS file you want to load.

By default, two themes are available. You can specify them using the THEME setting or by passing the -t option to the pelican command:

  • notmyidea
  • simple (a synonym for “plain text” :)

There are a number of other themes available at Pelican comes with pelican-themes, a small script for managing themes.

You can define your own theme, either by starting from scratch or by duplicating and modifying a pre-existing theme. Here is a guide on how to create your theme.

Following are example ways to specify your preferred theme:

# Specify name of a built-in theme
THEME = "notmyidea"
# Specify name of a theme installed via the pelican-themes tool
THEME = "chunk"
# Specify a customized theme, via path relative to the settings file
THEME = "themes/mycustomtheme"
# Specify a customized theme, via absolute path
THEME = "~/projects/mysite/themes/mycustomtheme"

The built-in notmyidea theme can make good use of the following settings. Feel free to use them in your themes as well.

Setting name What does it do ?
SITESUBTITLE A subtitle to appear in the header.
DISQUS_SITENAME Pelican can handle Disqus comments. Specify the Disqus sitename identifier here.
GITHUB_URL Your GitHub URL (if you have one). It will then use this information to create a GitHub ribbon.
GOOGLE_ANALYTICS ‘UA-XXXX-YYYY’ to activate Google Analytics.
MENUITEMS A list of tuples (Title, URL) for additional menu items to appear at the beginning of the main menu.
PIWIK_URL URL to your Piwik server - without ‘http://‘ at the beginning.
PIWIK_SSL_URL If the SSL-URL differs from the normal Piwik-URL you have to include this setting too. (optional)
PIWIK_SITE_ID ID for the monitored website. You can find the ID in the Piwik admin interface > settings > websites.
LINKS A list of tuples (Title, URL) for links to appear on the header.
SOCIAL A list of tuples (Title, URL) to appear in the “social” section.
TWITTER_USERNAME Allows for adding a button to articles to encourage others to tweet about them. Add your Twitter username if you want this button to appear.

In addition, you can use the “wide” version of the notmyidea theme by adding the following to your configuration:

CSS_FILE = "wide.css"

Example settings

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
from __future__ import unicode_literals

AUTHOR = 'Alexis Métaireau'
SITENAME = "Alexis' log"
TIMEZONE = "Europe/Paris"

# can be useful in development, but set to False when you're ready to publish

DISQUS_SITENAME = "blog-notmyidea"
DEFAULT_DATE = (2012, 3, 2, 14, 1, 1)

FEED_ALL_RSS = 'feeds/all.rss.xml'
CATEGORY_FEED_RSS = 'feeds/%s.rss.xml'

LINKS = (('Biologeek', ''),
         ('Filyb', ""),
         ('Libert-fr', ""),
         ('N1k0', ""),
         ('Tarek Ziadé', ""),
         ('Zubin Mithra', ""),)

SOCIAL = (('twitter', ''),
          ('lastfm', ''),
          ('github', ''),)

# global metadata to all the contents
DEFAULT_METADATA = (('yeah', 'it is'),)

# path-specific metadata
    'extra/robots.txt': {'path': 'robots.txt'},

# static paths will be copied without parsing their contents

# custom page generated with a jinja2 template
TEMPLATE_PAGES = {'pages/jinja2_template.html': 'jinja2_template.html'}

# code blocks with line numbers
PYGMENTS_RST_OPTIONS = {'linenos': 'table'}

# foobar will not be used, because it's not in caps. All configuration keys
# have to be in caps
foobar = "barbaz"
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