Create a site locally

We highly recommend the one-minute Github/Gitlab install using your web browser prior to following the steps on this page to download and edit your site on your computer.

However, we can also skip the Github/Gitlab install and edit your site directly on your computer, deploying to your preferred provider.

You can choose from one of the following methods to install your site on your computer:

After installing, check out the guide to personalizing your site.

Install with Git



  1. Fork the Academic Kickstart repository to create a new website

    • If you already created your site with Netlify, then skip this step
  2. Clone your fork to your computer with Git, replacing sourcethemes in the command below with your GitHub username:

     git clone My_Website
  3. Initialize the theme:

     cd My_Website
     git submodule update --init --recursive

Now you’re ready to personalize and view your site.

Install with ZIP



  1. Download and extract Academic Kickstart
  2. Download and extract the Academic theme files from the hugo-academic-master folder to the themes/academic/ folder in Academic Kickstart

Now you’re ready to personalize and view your site.

Install with RStudio

  1. Follow the Install with Git instructions above if you are confident with Git, or otherwise Install with ZIP.

    • Skip the Install Hugo step as we’ll use RStudio to install Hugo
  2. Open RStudio, installing the Blogdown and Hugo dependencies:

     blogdown::install_hugo(version = "0.73.0", force = TRUE)
  3. Open academic.Rproj from the Academic Kickstart folder in Step 1

  4. Workaround a Blogdown bug by moving config/_default/config.toml to config.toml at your project root

  5. In the RStudio menu bar, choose Addins > Serve Site (clicking this button will call blogdown:::serve_site())

    • Paste the local URL which RStudio provides (e.g. into your web browser to preview your new site
    • Avoid using the integrated RStudio web browser as it is very outdated and buggy

Now you’re ready to personalize your site.

Note that R content should be saved with the .Rmarkdown file extension rather than .Rmd.

Demo content

For inspiration, refer to the Markdown content which powers the Demo.

If you wish to initialise your site with the demo content, copy the contents of the themes/academic/exampleSite/ folder to your website root folder, overwriting existing files if necessary. The exampleSite folder contains an example config file and content to help you get started. The following command can be used to accomplish this:

cp -av themes/academic/exampleSite/* .

Unlock rewards

We’re full steam ahead on improving Academic, and we need your help!

Next steps

Follow the step by step guide to setup your new site.