Welcome to FORD’s documentation!#

FORD is an automatic documentation generator for modern Fortran programs. It stands for FORtran Documenter. As you may know, “to ford” refers to crossing a river (or other body of water). It does not, in this context, refer to any company or individual associated with cars.

The goal of FORD is to be able to reliably produce documentation for modern Fortran software which is informative and nice to look at. The documentation should be easy to write and non-obtrusive within the code. While it will never be as feature-rich as Doxygen, hopefully FORD will be able to provide a good alternative for documenting Fortran projects.


Current features include:

  • extract documentation from comments in the source code,

  • extract information about variables, procedures, procedure arguments, derived types, programs, and modules from the source code,

  • LaTeX support in documentation using MathJax,

  • searchable documentation, using Tipue Search,

  • author description and social media (including Github!) links,

  • links to download the source code,

  • links to individual files, both in their raw form or in HTML with syntax highlighting,

  • use of Markdown to type-set documentation,

  • links between related parts of the software,

  • Bootstrap CSS for the documentation, making it both functional and pretty,

  • configurable settings,

  • ability to create a hierarchical set of pages containing general information, not associated with any particular part of the source code,

  • display an entry for non-Fortran source files with file-level documentation and syntax highlighted code.


The simplest way to install FORD is using pip. This can be done with the command:

pip install ford

Pip will automatically handle all dependencies for you. If you do not have administrative rights on the computer where you want to produce documentation, pip will allow you to install FORD and its dependencies in a virtualenv located somewhere in your home directory.

If you prefer, you can install all of those dependencies manually and clone FORD from Github. Then place FORD somewhere in your PYTHONPATH.

Alternatively, FORD is available through the Homebrew package manager for Mac OS X. To update Homebrew and install FORD, run these commands in a terminal:

brew update
brew install FORD

If you would like to install the latest development (master) branch from github, simply add the --HEAD flag: brew install --HEAD FORD

FORD is also available through the spack package manager by running the following command:

spack install py-ford

Some Projects Using FORD#

If you are using FORD in one of your projects, feel free to add it here.

Indices and tables#