Leveraging MDX for Documentation Websites

By: O Wolfson

MDX, an innovative blend of Markdown and JSX, is revolutionizing the way we create documentation websites. By combining the simplicity of Markdown's syntax with the power of React components, MDX allows for more interactive and dynamic documentation. This article explores how MDX can be effectively utilized to build documentation websites, focusing on features like table of contents, code highlighting, and more.

Why Choose MDX for Documentation

MDX simplifies writing rich documentation by allowing the inclusion of interactive elements, complex layouts, and custom components. This capability is particularly useful in documentation websites, where the need to explain concepts clearly and interactively is paramount.

Key Features of MDX for Documentation Websites

  1. Table of Contents (ToC)

    • Dynamic Generation: Utilize MDX to dynamically generate a table of contents based on headings in your document. This can be achieved through custom React components that parse MDX headings and create a navigable ToC.


import TableOfContents from "./TableOfContents";

export default (props) => (
    <TableOfContents />
  1. Code Highlighting and Live Code Editors

    • Syntax Highlighting: With MDX, you can integrate syntax highlighting libraries like Prism.js to enhance code readability in your documentation.
    • Live Code Editors: Embed interactive code editors like CodeSandbox or a custom-built editor, allowing users to experiment with code examples in real-time.


import CodeBlock from "./CodeBlock";

<CodeBlock language="javascript">
  {`function add(a, b) {
     return a + b;
  1. Embedding Interactive Components

    • Custom Components: MDX's ability to integrate React components allows for embedding interactive elements such as tabs, accordions, or even interactive diagrams directly into your documentation.

    • Example:

      import { Tab, Tabs } from "./Tabs";
        <Tab title="Introduction">...</Tab>
        <Tab title="Installation">...</Tab>
  2. Responsive Layouts

    • Flexible Grids and Layouts: Create responsive designs with MDX by utilizing CSS-in-JS libraries or external CSS frameworks. This ensures your documentation is accessible and readable on all devices.
  3. Versioning and Navigation

    • Version Control: MDX can be integrated with version control systems to maintain different versions of documentation, essential for software documentation.
    • Navigational Components: Develop custom navigational components like sidebars or breadcrumbs for enhanced user experience.
  4. SEO Optimization

    • Metadata and Schema: Optimize your documentation for search engines by adding metadata and schema.org tags directly in your MDX files, ensuring your documentation is easily discoverable.

Real-World Examples

  1. React Documentation: React's new documentation (beta) uses MDX to create interactive examples and explanations.
  2. Design Systems: Many design systems use MDX to showcase components along with usage guidelines and code samples.


MDX provides a unique and powerful solution for creating documentation websites. Its ability to seamlessly integrate markdown with interactive JSX components makes it an excellent choice for any team looking to build comprehensive, interactive, and user-friendly documentation. Whether you're documenting a software library, a design system, or any other product, leveraging MDX can significantly enhance the effectiveness and usability of your documentation.