A distill site

Using the distill & postcards packages to build a personal website with R Markdown.


First, make sure you have the latest version of the distill package installed from CRAN:


Restart your R session. If you use RStudio, use the menu item Session > Restart R or the associated keyboard shortcut:

  • Ctrl + Shift + F10 (Windows and Linux) or
  • Command + Shift + F10 (Mac OS).
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[1] ‘1.2’

Create GitHub repo


Clone GitHub repo


✨ Commit & Push! ✨

You should be committing these files:

  • *.Rproj

  • .gitignore

Create a new distill site

Inside your current distill project, use the R console:


Let’s start with a simple website:

create_website(dir = ".", title = "global-distill", gh_pages = TRUE)

Now, let’s commit all these new files and push to GitHub.

Build site

Please close the RStudio IDE and re-open it. Look in your Git pane, you should see a single file has changed:

Let’s look at the diff:

Let’s go ahead and commit this file before we start adding to our site.

You should see:

RStudio build site tab

Add a postcard

Docs: https://rstudio.github.io/distill/website.html#postcards

Now, delete your about.Rmd (trust me!). We’ll create a new one with the postcards package.

create_article(file = "about",         # future name of .Rmd file
               template = "jolla",    # name of template
               package = "postcards")

Reminder: templates



Docs: https://rstudio.github.io/distill/website.html#theming


Remember your _site.yml file? Add the theme line there:

name: "Alison Hill"
title: "Personal website of Dr. Alison Hill"
description: |
  This is my personal website.
output_dir: "docs"
theme: apreshill.css
    - text: "Home"
      href: index.html
    - text: "About"
      href: about.html
output: distill::distill_article

Publish a distill site



> use_github_pages(branch = "main", path = "/docs")
✓ Setting active project to '/Users/alison/rscratch/global-distill'
✓ Activating GitHub Pages for 'apreshill/global-distill'
✓ GitHub Pages is publishing from:
● URL: 'https://apreshill.github.io/global-distill/'
● Branch: 'main'
● Path: '/docs'