In practice, it’s very convenient to split out common template portions into a partial template that can be included anywhere. As you create the rest of your templates, you will include templates from the `/layouts/partials directory or from arbitrary subdirectories like /layouts/partials/post/tag.

Partials are especially important for themes as it gives users an opportunity to overwrite just a small part of your theme, while maintaining future compatibility.

Theme developers may want to include a few partials with empty HTML files in the theme just so end users have an easy place to inject their customized content.

I’ve found it helpful to include a header and footer template in partials so I can include those in all the full page layouts. There is nothing special about header.html and footer.html other than they seem like good names to use for inclusion in your other templates.

▾ layouts/
  ▾ partials/

Partial vs Template

Version v0.12 of Hugo introduced the partial call inside the template system. This is a change to the way partials were handled previously inside the template system. In earlier versions, Hugo didn’t treat partials specially, and you could include a partial template with the template call in the standard template language.

With the addition of the theme system in v0.11, it became apparent that a theme & override-aware partial was needed.

When using Hugo v0.12 and above, please use the partial call (and leave out the “partial/” path). The old approach would still work, but wouldn’t benefit from the ability to have users override the partial theme file with local layouts.

Example header.html

This header template is used for

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html class="no-js" lang="en-US" prefix="og: fb:">
    <meta charset="utf-8">

    {{ partial "meta.html" . }}

    <base href="{{ .Site.BaseURL }}">
    <title> {{ .Title }} : </title>
    <link rel="canonical" href="{{ .Permalink }}">
    {{ if .RSSLink }}<link href="{{ .RSSLink }}" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="{{ .Title }}" />{{ end }}

    {{ partial "head_includes.html" . }}
<body lang="en">

This footer template is used for

    &copy; 2013-14 Steve Francia.
    <a href="" title="Creative Commons Attribution">Some rights reserved</a>;
    please attribute properly and link back. Hosted by <a href="">ServerGrove</a>.
<script type="text/javascript">

  var _gaq = _gaq || [];
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XYSYXYSY-X']);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script');
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' :
        'http://www') + '';
    ga.setAttribute('async', 'true');


To reference a partial template stored in a subfolder, e.g. /layouts/partials/post/tag/list.html, call it this way:

 {{ partial "post/tag/list" . }}

Note that the subdirectories you create under /layouts/partials can be named whatever you like.

For more examples of referencing these templates, see single content templates, list templates and homepage templates.

Variable scoping

As you might have noticed, partial calls receive two parameters.

  1. The first is the name of the partial and determines the file location to be read.
  2. The second is the variables to be passed down to the partial.

This means that the partial will only be able to access those variables. It is isolated and has no access to the outer scope. From within the partial, $.Var is equivalent to .Var

Cached Partials

The partialCached template function can offer significant performance gains for complex templates that don’t need to be rerendered upon every invocation. The simplest usage is as follows:

{{ partialCached "footer.html" . }}

You can also pass additional parameters to partialCached to create variants of the cached partial. For example, say you have a complex partial that should be identical when rendered for pages within the same section. You could use a variant based upon section so that the partial is only rendered once per section:

{{ partialCached "footer.html" . .Section }}

If you need to pass additional parameters to create unique variants, you can pass as many variant parameters as you need:

{{ partialCached "footer.html" . .Params.province }}

Note that the variant parameters are not made available to the underlying partial template. They are only use to create a unique cache key.