Section

A section is created whenever a folder (or subfolder) in the content section contains an _index.md file. If a folder does not contain an _index.md file, no section will be created, but markdown files within that folder will still create pages (known as orphan pages).

The index page (i.e., the page displayed when a user browses to your base_url) is a section, which is created whether or not you add an _index.md file at the root of your content folder. If you do not create an _index.md file in your content directory, this main content section will not have any content or metadata. If you would like to add content or metadata, you can add an _index.md file at the root of the content folder and edit it just as you would edit any other _index.md file; your index.html template will then have access to that content and metadata.

Any non-Markdown file in the section folder is added to the assets collection of the section, as explained in the Content Overview. These files are then available from the Markdown using relative links.

🔗 Front-matter

The _index.md file within a folder defines the content and metadata for that section. To set the metadata, add front matter to the file.

The front-matter is a set of metadata embedded in a file. In Zola, it is at the beginning of the file, surrounded by +++ and uses TOML.

After the closing +++, you can add content that will be parsed as markdown and will be available to your templates through the section.content variable.

While none of the front-matter variables are mandatory, the opening and closing +++ are required.

Here is an example _index.md with all the variables available. The values provided below are the default values.

+++
title = ""

description = ""

# Whether to sort pages by "date", "weight", or "none". More on that below
sort_by = "none"

# Used by the parent section to order its subsections.
# Lower values have priority.
weight = 0

# Template to use to render this section page
template = "section.html"

# Apply the given template to ALL pages below the section, recursively.
# If you have several nested sections each with a page_template set, the page
# will always use the closest to itself.
# However, a page own `template` variable will always have priority.
# Not set by default
page_template =

# How many pages to be displayed per paginated page.
# No pagination will happen if this isn't set or if the value is 0
paginate_by = 0

# If set, will be the path used by paginated page and the page number will be appended after it.
# For example the default would be page/1
paginate_path = "page"

# Whether to insert a link for each header like the ones you can see in this site if you hover one
# The default template can be overridden by creating a `anchor-link.html` in the `templates` directory
# Options are "left", "right" and "none"
insert_anchor_links = "none"

# Whether the section pages should be in the search index. This is only used if
# `build_search_index` is set to true in the config
in_search_index = true

# Whether to render that section homepage or not.
# Useful when the section is only there to organize things but is not meant
# to be used directly
render = true

# Whether to redirect when landing on that section. Defaults to not being set.
# Useful for the same reason as `render` but when you don't want a 404 when
# landing on the root section page.
# Example: redirect_to = "documentation/content/overview"
redirect_to = ""

# Whether the section should pass its pages on to the parent section. Defaults to `false`.
# Useful when the section shouldn't split up the parent section, like
# sections for each year under a posts section.
transparent = false

# Your own data
[extra]
+++

Some content

Keep in mind that any configuration apply only to the direct pages, not to the subsections' pages.

🔗 Pagination

To enable pagination for a section's pages, simply set paginate_by to a positive number and it will automatically paginate by this much. See pagination template documentation for more information on what will be available in the template.

You can also change the pagination path (the word displayed while paginated in the URL, like page/1) by setting the paginate_path variable, which defaults to page.

🔗 Sorting

It is very common for Zola templates to iterate over pages or sections to display all pages/sections a given directory. Consider a very simple example: a blog directory with three files: blog/Post_1.md, blog/Post_2.md, and blog/Post_3.md. To iterate over these posts and create a list of links to the posts, a simple template might look like this:

{% for post in section.pages %}
  <h1><a href="{{ post.permalink }}">{{ post.title }}</a></h1>
{% endfor %}

This would iterate over the posts, and would do so in a specific order based on the sort_by variable set in the _index.md page for the containing section. The sort_by variable can be given three values: date, weight, and none. If no sort_by method is set, the pages will be sorted in the none order, which is not intended to be used for sorted content.

Any page that is missing the data it needs to be sorted will be ignored and won't be rendered. For example, if a page is missing the date variable the containing section sets sort_by = "date", then that page will be ignored. The terminal will warn you if this is happening.

If several pages have the same date/weight/order, their permalink will be used to break the tie following an alphabetical order.

🔗 Sorting Pages

The sort_by front-matter variable can have the following values:

🔗 date

This will sort all pages by their date field, from the most recent (at the top of the list) to the oldest (at the bottom of the list). Each page will get page.earlier and page.later variables that contain the pages with earlier and later dates, respectively.

🔗 weight

This will be sort all pages by their weight field, from lightest weight (at the top of the list) to heaviest (at the bottom of the list). Each page gets page.lighter and page.heavier variables that contain the pages with lighter and heavier weights, respectively.

When iterating through pages, you may wish to use the Tera reverse filter, which reverses the order of the pages. Thus, after using the reverse filter, pages sorted by weight will be sorted from lightest (at the top) to heaviest (at the bottom); pages sorted by date will be sorted from oldest (at the top) to newest (at the bottom).

reverse has no effect on page.later/page.earlier/page.heavier/page.lighter.

🔗 Sorting Subsections

Sorting sections is a bit less flexible: sections are always sorted by weight, and do not have any variables that point to the next heavier/lighter sections.

Based on this, by default the lightest (lowest weight) subsections will be at the top of the list and the heaviest (highest weight) will be at the top; the reverse filter reverses this order.

Note: Unlike pages, permalinks will not be used to break ties between equally weighted sections. Thus, if the weight variable for your section is not set (or if it is set in a way that produces ties), then your sections will be sorted in random order. Moreover, that order is determined at build time and will change with each site rebuild. Thus, if there is any chance that you will iterate over your sections, you should always assign them weight.