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What a shortcode is

Hugo loves Markdown because of its simple content format, but there are times when Markdown falls short. Often, content authors are forced to add raw HTML (e.g., video <iframe>'s) to Markdown content. We think this contradicts the beautiful simplicity of Markdown's syntax.

Hugo created shortcodes to circumvent these limitations.

A shortcode is a simple snippet inside a content file that Hugo will render using a predefined template. Note that shortcodes will not work in template files. If you need the type of drop-in functionality that shortcodes provide but in a template, you most likely want a partial template instead.

In addition to cleaner Markdown, shortcodes can be updated any time to reflect new classes, techniques, or standards. At the point of site generation, Hugo shortcodes will easily merge in your changes. You avoid a possibly complicated search and replace operation.

Use shortcodes

{{< youtube 2xkNJL4gJ9E >}}

In your content files, a shortcode can be called by calling {{%/* shortcodename parameters */%}}. Shortcode parameters are space delimited, and parameters with internal spaces can be quoted.

The first word in the shortcode declaration is always the name of the shortcode. Parameters follow the name. Depending upon how the shortcode is defined, the parameters may be named, positional, or both, although you can't mix parameter types in a single call. The format for named parameters models that of HTML with the format name="value".

Some shortcodes use or require closing shortcodes. Again like HTML, the opening and closing shortcodes match (name only) with the closing declaration, which is prepended with a slash.

Here are two examples of paired shortcodes:

{{%/* mdshortcode */%}}Stuff to `process` in the *center*.{{%/* /mdshortcode */%}}
{{</* highlight go */>}} A bunch of code here {{</* /highlight */>}}

The examples above use two different delimiters, the difference being the % character in the first and the <> characters in the second.

Shortcodes with raw string parameters

You can pass multiple lines as parameters to a shortcode by using raw string literals:

{{</*  myshortcode `This is some <b>HTML</b>,
and a new line with a "quoted string".` */>}}

Shortcodes with markdown

Shortcodes using the % as the outer-most delimiter will be fully rendered when sent to the content renderer. This means that the rendered output from a shortcode can be part of the page's table of contents, footnotes, etc.

Shortcodes without markdown

The < character indicates that the shortcode's inner content does not need further rendering. Often shortcodes without Markdown include internal HTML:

{{</* myshortcode */>}}<p>Hello <strong>World!</strong></p>{{</* /myshortcode */>}}

Nested shortcodes

You can call shortcodes within other shortcodes by creating your own templates that leverage the .Parent variable. .Parent allows you to check the context in which the shortcode is being called. See Shortcode templates.

Use Hugo's built-in shortcodes

Hugo ships with a set of predefined shortcodes that represent very common usage. These shortcodes are provided for author convenience and to keep your Markdown content clean.


figure is an extension of the image syntax in Markdown, which does not provide a shorthand for the more semantic HTML5 <figure> element.

The figure shortcode can use the following named parameters:

src : URL of the image to be displayed.

link : If the image needs to be hyperlinked, URL of the destination.

target : Optional target attribute for the URL if link parameter is set.

rel : Optional rel attribute for the URL if link parameter is set.

alt : Alternate text for the image if the image cannot be displayed.

title : Image title.

caption : Image caption. Markdown within the value of caption will be rendered.

class : class attribute of the HTML figure tag.

height : height attribute of the image.

width : width attribute of the image.

loading : loading attribute of the image.

attr : Image attribution text. Markdown within the value of attr will be rendered.

attrlink : If the attribution text needs to be hyperlinked, URL of the destination.

Example figure input

{{< code file="figure-input-example.md" >}} {{</* figure src="elephant.jpg" title="An elephant at sunset" */>}} {{< /code >}}

Example figure output

  <img src="elephant.jpg">
  <figcaption>An elephant at sunset</figcaption>


To display a GitHub gist with this URL:


Include this in your markdown:

{{</* gist user 50a7482715eac222e230d1e64dd9a89b */>}}

This will display all files in the gist alphabetically by file name.

{{< gist jmooring 50a7482715eac222e230d1e64dd9a89b >}}

To display a specific file within the gist:

{{</* gist user 50a7482715eac222e230d1e64dd9a89b 1-template.html */>}}


{{< gist jmooring 50a7482715eac222e230d1e64dd9a89b 1-template.html >}}


To display a highlighted code sample:

{{</* highlight go-html-template */>}}
{{ range .Pages }}
  <h2><a href="{{ .RelPermalink }}">{{ .LinkTitle }}</a></h2>
{{ end }}
{{</* /highlight */>}}


{{< highlight go-html-template >}} {{ range .Pages }}

{{ .LinkTitle }}

{{ end }} {{< /highlight >}}

To specify one or more highlighting options, include a quotation-encapsulated, comma-separated list:

{{</* highlight go-html-template "lineNos=inline, lineNoStart=42" */>}}
{{ range .Pages }}
  <h2><a href="{{ .RelPermalink }}">{{ .LinkTitle }}</a></h2>
{{ end }}
{{</* /highlight */>}}


{{< highlight go-html-template "lineNos=inline, lineNoStart=42" >}} {{ range .Pages }}

{{ .LinkTitle }}

{{ end }} {{< /highlight >}}


The instagram shortcode uses Facebook's oEmbed Read feature. The Facebook developer documentation states:

You must obtain an Access Token to use the instagram shortcode.

If your site configuration is private:

{{< code-toggle file="hugo" copy=false >}} [services.instagram] accessToken = 'xxx' {{< /code-toggle >}}

If your site configuration is not private, set the Access Token with an environment variable:


{{% note %}} If you are using a Client Access Token, you must combine the Access Token with your App ID using a pipe symbol (APPID|ACCESSTOKEN). {{% /note %}}

To display an Instagram post with this URL:


Include this in your markdown:

{{</* instagram BWNjjyYFxVx */>}}


Gets a value from the current Page's parameters set in front matter, with a fallback to the site parameter value. It will log an ERROR if the parameter with the given key could not be found in either.

{{</* param testparam */>}}

Since testparam is a parameter defined in front matter of this page with the value Hugo Rocks!, the above will print:

{{< param testparam >}}

To access deeply nested parameters, use "dot syntax", e.g:

{{</* param "my.nested.param" */>}}

ref and relref

These shortcodes will look up the pages by their relative path (e.g., blog/post.md) or their logical name (post.md) and return the permalink (ref) or relative permalink (relref) for the found page.

ref and relref also make it possible to make fragmentary links that work for the header links generated by Hugo.

{{% note %}} Read a more extensive description of ref and relref in the cross references documentation. {{% /note %}}

ref and relref take exactly one required parameter of reference, quoted and in position 0.

Example ref and relref input

[Neat]({{</* ref "blog/neat.md" */>}})
[Who]({{</* relref "about.md#who" */>}})

Example ref and relref output

Assuming that standard Hugo pretty URLs are turned on.

<a href="https://example.com/blog/neat">Neat</a>
<a href="/about/#who">Who</a>


To display a Twitter post with this URL:


Include this in your markdown:

{{</* tweet user="SanDiegoZoo" id="1453110110599868418" */>}}


{{< tweet user="SanDiegoZoo" id="1453110110599868418" >}}


To display a Vimeo video with this URL:


Include this in your markdown:

{{</* vimeo 55073825 */>}}


{{< vimeo 55073825 >}}

{{% note %}} If you want to further customize the visual styling of the YouTube or Vimeo output, add a class named parameter when calling the shortcode. The new class will be added to the <div> that wraps the <iframe> and will remove the inline styles. Note that you will need to call the id as a named parameter as well. You can also give the vimeo video a descriptive title with title.

{{</* vimeo id="146022717" class="my-vimeo-wrapper-class" title="My vimeo video" */>}}

{{% /note %}}


The youtube shortcode embeds a responsive video player for YouTube videos. Only the ID of the video is required, e.g.:


Example youtube input

Copy the YouTube video ID that follows v= in the video's URL and pass it to the youtube shortcode:

{{< code file="example-youtube-input.md" >}} {{</* youtube w7Ft2ymGmfc */>}} {{< /code >}}

Furthermore, you can automatically start playback of the embedded video by setting the autoplay parameter to true. Remember that you can't mix named and unnamed parameters, so you'll need to assign the yet unnamed video ID to the parameter id:

{{< code file="example-youtube-input-with-autoplay.md" >}} {{</* youtube id="w7Ft2ymGmfc" autoplay="true" */>}} {{< /code >}}

For accessibility reasons, it's best to provide a title for your YouTube video. You can do this using the shortcode by providing a title parameter. If no title is provided, a default of "YouTube Video" will be used.

{{< code file="example-youtube-input-with-title.md" >}} {{</* youtube id="w7Ft2ymGmfc" title="A New Hugo Site in Under Two Minutes" */>}} {{< /code >}}

Example youtube output

Using the preceding youtube example, the following HTML will be added to your rendered website's markup:

{{< code file="example-youtube-output.html" >}} {{< youtube id="w7Ft2ymGmfc" autoplay="true" >}} {{< /code >}}

Example youtube display

Using the preceding youtube example (without autoplay="true"), the following simulates the displayed experience for visitors to your website. Naturally, the final display will be contingent on your style sheets and surrounding markup. The video is also include in the Quick Start of the Hugo documentation.

{{< youtube w7Ft2ymGmfc >}}

Privacy configuration

To learn how to configure your Hugo site to meet the new EU privacy regulation, see Hugo and the GDPR.

Create custom shortcodes

To learn more about creating custom shortcodes, see the shortcode template documentation.