Customizing the user interface

This section provides an overview of ways that you can customize the user interface that end users see.


You can give docassemble a new “skin” by creating your own Bootstrap theme. This can be configured globally for the server with the bootstrap theme Configuration directive or for a particular interview with the bootstrap theme feature.

Bootstrap has a “night mode” that is activated automatically based on the browser or OS settings. You can prevent the browser from switching into “night mode” using the auto color scheme Configuration directive.

CSS customization

If you are happy with the Bootstrap theme but you want to make tweaks to CSS in particular places, you can customize the CSS by providing your own css files. You can store these files in the Static folder of the Playground, or the data/static folder of your docassemble add-on package. It is also possible to enable CSS files globally on the server using the global css Configuration directive.

You can use the Inspect tool of your browser to look at the HTML elements you want to modify, and they will usually have CSS classes prefixed with da, or an id. You can write CSS rules that target these elements. You can add CSS classes to field elements using the css class field modifier. The action buttons interface allows for the specification of a CSS class. You can set the css class modifier on a question in order to attach a CSS class to the <body> element for that question.

The CSS class of HTML tables can be customized at the question level with the table css class modifier or at the interview level with the table css class screen part.

You can globally change the Bootstrap color that is used for the various types of buttons by setting the buttons colors Configuration directive. You can also modify the button style and button size.

If you use the footer screen part, you can change its CSS class using the footer css class Configuration directive.

Screen parts

Many UI elements can be customized using screen parts. Screen parts refer to particular parts of the screen, such as the interview title in the navigation bar, the name of the tab in the web browser, or the optional page footer. You can use screen parts to insert text or HTML into various areas of the screen. The screen parts system can also be used to customize the text and color of standard buttons, like back buttons and help buttons.

Some of these screen parts exist on non-interview pages. These can be customized using Configuration directives for the screen parts of administrative pages.

Navigation bar

The main navigation bar at the top of the screen can be hidden entirely with hide navbar.

By default, docassemble uses a Bootstrap “dark” appearance for the navigation bar, but this can be customized using inverse navbar.

The back button can be removed with navigation back button. You can put a back button next to the Continue button using question back button.

After the back button, the navigation bar shows the title screen part. On small screens, the short title screen part appears instead. It is important to test interviews on a variety of devices to make sure that the title looks appropriate. The title and short title can be replaced with raw HTML using the logo and short logo screen parts. Using large logos is strongly discouraged because users may be using your site on small-screen devices, and they will be annoyed that your advertising is taking up a large percent of the screen. If your logo increases the height of the navigation bar, you will need to customize the CSS to correct for this.

If you see “</>” in the navigation bar when using an interview, that means you are in debug mode. This is turned on by default when you are using the Playground, but it is not appropriate in production. This is controlled with the debug Configuration directive.

The interface in the upper-right corner, which reduces to a “hamburger icon” on small screens, lets the user log in, or shows a menu, or shows the exit button. This can be customized using:

You can insert your own HTML in the upper-right corner of the screen using the navigation bar html screen part. This is not affected by hide corner interface.

Other UI elements

You can customize the favicon using the favicon Configuration directive. If you want a different favicon in different interviews, you can use JavaScript to alter the favicon.

You can add a progress bar to the top of the screen. You can also add a secondary navigation bar that shows the sections of the interview. This navigation bar can be vertical on the left side of the screen or horizontal across the top of the screen. It is also possible to insert a version of the navigation bar into the body of a question.