Section

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

The homepage (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 directory. 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 directory 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 a section directory is added to the assets collection of the section, as explained in the content overview. These files are then available in the Markdown file using relative links.

πŸ”—Drafting

Just like pages sections can be drafted by setting the draft option in the front matter. By default this is not done. When a section is drafted it's descendants like pages, subsections and assets will not be processed unless the --drafts flag is passed. Note that even pages that don't have a draft status will not be processed if one of their parent sections is drafted.

πŸ”—Front matter

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

The TOML front matter is a set of metadata embedded in a file at the beginning of the file enclosed by triple pluses (+++).

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

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

Note that even though the use of TOML is encouraged, YAML front matter is also supported to ease porting legacy content. In this case the embedded metadata must be enclosed by triple minuses (---).

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

title = ""

description = ""

# A draft section is only loaded if the `--drafts` flag is passed to `zola build`, `zola serve` or `zola check`.
draft = false

# Used to sort pages by "date", "title, "weight", or "none". See below for more information.
sort_by = "none"

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

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

# The given template is applied 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's own `template` variable will always have priority.
# Not set by default.
page_template =

# This sets the number of 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, this will be the path used by the paginated page. The page number will be appended after this path.
# The default is page/1.
paginate_path = "page"

# If set, there will pagination will happen in a reversed order.
paginate_reversed = false

# This determines whether to insert a link for each header like the ones you can see on this site if you hover over
# a header.
# The default template can be overridden by creating an `anchor-link.html` file in the `templates` directory.
# This value can be "left", "right" or "none".
insert_anchor_links = "none"

# If set to "true", the section pages will be in the search index. This is only used if
# `build_search_index` is set to "true" in the Zola configuration file.
in_search_index = true

# If set to "true", the section homepage is rendered.
# Useful when the section is used to organize pages (not used directly).
render = true

# This determines whether to redirect when a user lands on the 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 =

# If set to "true", the section will 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

# Use aliases if you are moving content but want to redirect previous URLs to the
# current one. This takes an array of paths, not URLs.
aliases = []

# If set to "true", a feed file will be generated for this section at the
# section's root path. This is independent of the site-wide variable of the same
# name. The section feed will only include posts from that respective feed, and
# not from any other sections, including sub-sections under that section.
generate_feed = false

# Your own data.
[extra]

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

πŸ”—Pagination

To enable pagination for a section's pages, set paginate_by to a positive number. See pagination template documentation for more information on what variables are 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.

πŸ”—Sorting

It is very common for Zola templates to iterate over pages or sections to display all pages/sections in 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 in the order specified by the sort_by variable set in the _index.md page for the corresponding section. The sort_by variable can be given one of three values: date, title, weight or none. If sort_by is not set, the pages will be sorted in the none order, which is not intended 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 and its section sets sort_by = "date", then that page will be ignored. The terminal will warn you if this occurs.

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

πŸ”—Sorting pages

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

πŸ”—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.

πŸ”—title

This will sort all pages by their title field in natural lexical order, as defined by natural_lexical_cmp in the lexical-sort crate. Each page will get page.title_prev and page.title_next variables that contain the pages with previous and next titles, respectively.

For example, here is a natural lexical ordering: "bachata, BART, bolero, ΞΌ-kernel, meter, MΓ©tro, Track-2, Track-3, Track-13, underground". Notice how special characters and numbers are sorted reasonably. This is better than the standard sorting: "BART, MΓ©tro, Track-13, Track-2, Track-3, bachata, bolero, meter, underground, ΞΌ-kernel".

πŸ”—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.

πŸ”—Reversed sorting

When iterating through pages, you may wish to use the Tera reverse filter, which reverses the order of the pages. For example, 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.title_prev / page.title_next, or
  • page.heavier / page.lighter.

If the section is paginated the paginate_reversed=true in the front matter of the relevant section should be set instead of using the filter.

πŸ”—Sorting subsections

Sorting sections is a bit less flexible: sections can only be sorted by weight, and do not have variables that point to the heavier/lighter sections.

By default, the lightest (lowest weight) subsections will be at the top of the list and the heaviest (highest weight) will be at the bottom; 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 distinct weights.