dh_installdocs - install documentation into package build directories


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


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

dh_installdocs automatically installs debian/copyright if it exists. If dh_installdocs is acting on multiple packages, debian/copyright files will be installed into all packages. However, if you need to have separate copyright files for different binary packages, you can use files named debian/package.copyright.

Any filenames specified as parameters will be installed into the first package dh_installdocs is told to act on. By default, this is the first binary package in debian/control, but if you use -p, -i, or -a flags, it will be the first package specified by those flags.

Also, debian/README.Debian (or debian/README.debian) and debian/TODO, if they exist, will be installed into the first binary package listed in debian/control, if dh_installdocs is acting on that package. Note that debian/TODO will be installed named TODO.Debian, if the package is not a debian native package. Also note that README.debian is installed as README.Debian, for consistency. Note that debian/package.README.Debian and debian/package.TODO can be used to specify files for subpackages.

Files named debian/ can list other files to be installed.

Files named debian/package.doc-base, will be installed as doc-base control files, and will make this program automatically generate the postinst and prerm commands needed to interface with the doc-base package. Note that the doc-id will be determined from the "Document:" entry in the doc-base control file in question.

If your package needs to register more than one document, you need multiple files. To accomplish this, you can use files named debian/package.doc-base.*


-A, --all
Install all files specified by command line parameters in ALL packages acted on.
-n, --noscripts
Do not modify postinst/prerm scripts.
-Xitem, --exclude=item
Exclude files that contain "item" anywhere in their filename from being installed. Note that this includes doc-base files.
file ...
Install these files as documentation into the first package acted on. (Or in all packages if -A is specified).


This is an example of a debian/ file:



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 directory.

Note that this command is not idempotent. dh_prep(1) should be called between invocations of this command. Otherwise, it may cause multiple instances of the same text to be added to maintainer scripts.



This program is a part of debhelper.


Joey Hess <>