up to date book

are there/is there in the pipeline any up to date Darktable books that anyone knows about…i am a learn by the book guy lol

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As in paper? I think things move too fast, if so. There’s the online manual

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I don’t think the Darktable docs offer a native PDF version (like Rawpedia, for example), but you could probably run it though some kind of html to PDF converter if you really want to print it out (you can even do this straight from most modern web browsers). If you’d like to help save some trees, though, you could load it into an e-reader or tablet.

It should be possible to generate it: GitHub - darktable-org/dtdocs: darktable user manual (haven’t tried, though).

There is a link to the PDF (and epub!!) versions from the index: darktable 4.6 user manual - darktable

And a direct link here https://docs.darktable.org/usermanual/development/en/darktable_user_manual.pdf


Ah, there we go; even better. :blush:

Only took a breif glance; I don’t use Darktable.

Much pain and many hours were given by @elstoc and myself for PDF/epub.


First link in a Google search for me is the pdf manual…


Sincere apologies for the oversight (please try to be kind; I was trying to help. We all make mistakes from time to time :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:).

@priort : I’m using my ancient 2002 de-Googled tablet at the moment.

@paperdigits : I’m so sorry; I meant no disrespect; I honestly didn’t notice for whatever reason (36 hours without sleep, most likely).

@Steven_Hepple : But at least my shortsightedness prompted a quick solution.:blush: Welcome to the forum! :beers:

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I sort of assumed the OP already checked and it did not exist. :slight_smile:

Hi Steven,

Nice Land Rover in your profile pic! I think it’s a 90 (as in pre-Defender) but not sure…

I haven’t really got much to add to whats been said already - the manual is the closest thing you’ll find to a book I think.
I did a little article of introduction to darktable on a different site last year - darktable Mini-Review - A Quick look at my Favorite Software - 35mmc
I did have one or two odd bits in my workflow at that point, and dt has been updated, but it’s mostly relevant.

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@EspE1 has approached me about the idea of in the future doing some written learning guide to support people new to DT that learn best by reading. There are great videos made by people, but some people learn best by reading.

The idea of a living book that could be updated to match changes as they come along sounds good to me. I personally would not expect the developers to be using their time doing this sort of material but maybe others who are not coders would like to support the DT project in this way. Would anyone be interested in this idea? Of course this is not meaning to replace the important user guide but rather to complement it.

None taken, just want to make it clear what is available and that we went over and above because several people needed PDF.


And an excellent job you’ve made of it. :heart:

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Please have a look at the getting started section in the manual. It’s mean for beginners. It lacks pictures, but we found them too much work to keep up to date.

I’d be really interested to hear what people think is missing from that section(s).

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I think it’s pretty good - only thing that I guess could be added is mention sigmoid as an option?

Of course, the basic principles are the same anyway, but it seems that many are more comfortable with the starting point that sigmoid gives, so it would seem to good to give newcomers the option of that right at the beginning?
Speaking for myself, it’s more familiar coming from other software as well.

Maybe the project that @EspE1 proposes could be best incorporated into this section of the user guide. And maybe the heavy lifting could be done by people who would like to contribute to the DT project but lack the coding skills. I certainly don’t expect the developers to invest their time into writing a beginners guide to Darktable.

The user guide is really an excellent resource and any beginners guide should refer people to reading the relevant sections to fully appreciate the capabilities of the module.

Please contribute to the official documentation! Its all in markdown to be as approachable as possible. Keeping it up to date is difficult. Make a few small corrections before biting off something larger.

@elstoc and I had hoped that by switching to markdown, that more people would become regular contributors. By and large, we haven’t got as many people as we would like. I think if there were 5 regular contributors, that it’d be not too much work for any one person and the quality could remain high.

I don’t recommend making large changes at first and certainly not without discussion first. I think that has put several people off in the past, they started trying to do some huge thing, found it is more difficult than you think, or they completed a large change without discussing it first and it wasn’t accepted. The manual is laid out a specific way and largely matches other manuals (lightroom, C1, etc etc), thus we aren’t really looking for someone to rearrange the whole thing. But certainly propose something, we can be swayed.

Just a note that we need to be careful about adding large step-by-step guides to the user manual, with the exception of the initial introductory section. The more text we have the more work it takes to maintain, and the more detailed the guides, the more subjective/opinionated/controversial those sections will become and, again, the harder they are to maintain.

Detailed how-to-guides are useful and there are certainly places they can be hosted (the darktable blog, pixls and others I’m sure) but the user manual is not necessarily the best place for them as it aims to be objective and unopinionated. We do have a “guides and tutorials” section but IMO this should be used as an alternative way into some of the more technical module documentation and should be generally quite brief and targeted. For example we might have a section discussing the various ways in which global / local contrast may be adjusted, a section talking about how to adjust colours, etc.


thanks for the feedback @elstoc and @paperdigits . @EspE1 and myself have been wondering about the best way to help the project by providing a beginner’s user guide. We are unsure where and how it should be hosted, but you have made some good suggestions here. We definitely don’t want to create maintenance work for others. Maybe have a link in the 'other resources ’ section of the user guide is what is appropriate, but we are unsure how we can host the material in the best way.