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About dbt docs commands

dbt docs has two supported subcommands: generate and serve.

dbt docs generate

The command is responsible for generating your project's documentation website by

  1. Copying the website index.html file into the target/ directory
  2. Compiling the resources in your project, so that their compiled_code will be included in manifest.json
  3. Running queries against database metadata to produce the catalog.json file, which contains metadata about the tables and views produced by the models in your project.


dbt docs generate

Use the --no-compile argument to skip re-compilation. When this flag is provided, dbt docs generate will skip step (2) described above.


dbt docs generate --no-compile

dbt docs serve

This command starts a webserver on port 8080 to serve your documentation locally and opens the documentation site in your default browser. The webserver is rooted in your target/ directory. Be sure to run dbt docs generate before dbt docs serve because the generate command produces a catalog metadata artifact that the serve command depends upon. You will see an error message if the catalog is missing.

Use the dbt docs serve command if you're developing locally with the dbt Cloud CLI or dbt Core. The dbt Cloud IDE doesn't support this command.


dbt docs serve [--profiles-dir PROFILES_DIR]
[--profile PROFILE] [--target TARGET]
[--port PORT]

You may specify a different port using the --port flag.


dbt docs serve --port 8001