Basic principles

Introduction to TYPO3 documentation

For an excellent introduction, please see the 3 part series on Marcus Schwemer's blog TYPO3 Worx:

What is the TYPO3 documentation?

TYPO3 documentation may be one of the following:

Common characteristics of TYPO3 documentation

All of these examples have a few things in common:

  • The documentation is rendered and found on
  • The documentation has a common theme, all pages look similar and use the same styles
  • Most of the documentation can be directly edited by the community. For third party extensions, this depends on where and how the source-code is hosted and maintained.
  • The source of the documentation is written (mostly) in reStructuredText (reST)
  • All documentation is rendered using the same rendering toolchain. All documentation can be rendered locally, with the officially supported Docker image.
  • The documentation source files adhere to Documentation content style guide and share a common structure (for example all documentation files in a Documentation subdirectory).
  • Due to the conventions, the rendering of documentation can be automated and every documentation project only requires a minimum of setup.

What is "rendering"?

Rendering means (in this specific case) converting the reST format (.rst files) into its final, readable form, which you can view in your browser, like this page, which you are probably reading online. If not, load in your browser.

In comparison, this is what the original source file looks like:

Technically, this means converting the reST (.rst files) into HTML, automatically creating the menu, using the current theme to add additional styles and images.

Documentation types


A "manual" in the context of TYPO3 documentation is being used to talk about one unit of documentation, which usually has it's own git repository (or is included in the git repository of an extension) and consists of one Documentation folder. A "manual" can be a tutorial, such as the TYPO3 - Getting Started Tutorial, a guide, an extension manual or something else.


A tutorial is a manual.

Tutorials are designed to be a learning-oriented resource that take newcomers by the hand and guide them through a specific topic. To facilitate effective learning, tutorials provide examples to illustrate the subjects they cover.

They may not necessarily follow best-practices by the letter. They are designed to make it easier to get started.

The definitions for tutorials, guides, explanations and references were taken from Daniele Procida: What nobody tells you about documentation

How-to guide

A guide is a manual.

Guides offer advice on how best to achieve a given task. They are goal oriented.


A reference is well structured and allows the reader to find information about a specific topic. They should be short and to the point.

Extension manual

An extension manual covers only the extension. This documentation is (usually) included in the source code of an extension in a Documentation subdirectory.

Official documentation

This documentation is authored and maintained by the TYPO3 community.

The Documentation Team generally maintains this documentation, but maintenance tasks may be delegated to others, for example by giving write permission to GitHub repositories.

In general, it is recommended for the TYPO3 experts to take on jobs of continuously updating content and making sure it is correct and up to date.

Community documentation

Third party extension manuals are typically "community documentation".

This documentation is usually maintained by the extension author.

The TYPO3 Documentation Team cannot maintain "community documentation", but it helps by providing documentation, support and an example extension manual.

Documentation contribution matrix

Considering how to contribute, the things that differ for various kinds of documentation are:

  • Where the issues are maintained (for example on Forge or GitHub)
  • Where the source code (Git repository) is kept
  • The workflow for making changes to the documentation

Type of documentation


Source Code (Git repository)

Workflow for making changes

Official guides, tutorials, core docs, etc.

On page of rendered docs, click on Issues in the footer on the bottom of the page

On page of rendered docs, click on Repository in the footer, or click on Edit on GitHub on top right

Create GitHub pull request, see Contribute to the TYPO3 documentation.

TYPO3 Core Changelog

Core issues on forge

TYPO3 source code: GitHub

see Contribution Guide: Add documentation

System extensions

Core issues on forge

Same as for Changelog, inside TYPO3 source code: GitHub,

see Contribution Guide: Add documentation

3rdparty extensions

On page of rendered docs, click on Issues link in footer

On page of rendered docs, click on Repository link in footer, see Contribute to third-party extensions

It depends, see Contribute to third-party extensions

Official TYPO3 manuals

The official TYPO3 manuals are hosted on GitHub. Editing the documentation requires a GitHub account and involves creating a pull request on GitHub.

Find out more about how to contribute: Contribute to the TYPO3 documentation.

Core documentation

The documentation for the TYPO3 Core (changelog and system extensions) is added to the TYPO3 source code. For this reason, the workflow of changing something in the core documentation is very similar to adding a patch to the core.

Find out more about the core contribution workflow in general or about Add Documentation in the Contribution Guide.

In addition to using the core workflow, the core documentation can also be changed via "Edit on GitHub". In this case, a Gerrit patch is created automatically from the pull request.

Extension manuals

The documentation for a 3rdparty extension is maintained within the source-code of this extensions. If and where it is edited depends on where the extension is hosted and maintained.

If the extension is hosted on GitHub and correctly configured in Documentation/Settings.cfg, extension documentation contributors can also make changes via "Edit on GitHub".

To find out how to contribute documentation for a specific extension: Contribute to third-party extensions

About TYPO3 extensions

In TYPO3, basically everything is an extension. There are system extensions and third party extensions:

System extensions

System extensions (or core extensions) are extensions that are maintained in the TYPO3 source. For a list of system extensions, look in the Extension Manager or in the TYPO3 source, for example GitHub: TYPO3.CMS: /typo3/sysext.

Examples for system extensions are:

Note, that if your system has been installed with Composer, not all system extensions may exist in the system.

System extension documentation

Find the documentation for a system extension on System extensions.

Not all system extensions have documentation at the moment.

For more information about contributing to system extensions, see Contribute to system extensions in this guide.

See also Documentation contribution matrix for an overview of the issues, source and workflow for various kinds of documentation, including system extensions.

Third-party extensions

Third party extensions are extension that can be created by anyone. They are not included in the TYPO3 core codebase and are not officially supported by the TYPO3 core team.

Often, but not necessarily, these extensions are hosted on GitHub.

They can be installed by the TYPO3 Extension Manager or via Composer.

Third-party extension documentation

Find the documentation on Extensions by extension key.

For more information about contributing to third party extension documentation or for your own extension, see Contribute to third-party extensions. See How to document an extension for information about starting extension documentation from scratch.

See also Documentation contribution matrix for an overview of the issues, source and workflow for various kinds of documentation, including third party extensions.