Org to Markdown for Hugo

ox-hugo is an Org exporter backend that exports Org to Hugo-compatible Markdown (Blackfriday) and also generates the front-matter (in TOML or YAML format).

The ox-hugo backend extends from a parent backend ox-blackfriday.el. The latter is the one that primarily does the Blackfriday-friendly Markdown content generation. The main job of ox-hugo is to generate the front-matter for each exported content file, and then append that generated Markdown to it.

There are, though, few functions that ox-hugo.el overrides over those by ox-blackfriday.el.

See the Real World Examples section to quickly jump to sites generated using ox-hugo and their Org sources.

Screenshots #

Before you read further, you can see below how ox-hugo translates Org to Markdown (Org on the left; exported Markdown with Hugo front-matter on the right).

One post per Org subtree (preferred) #
Files in above screenshot
Org -> Markdown

One post per Org file #
Files in above screenshot
Org -> Markdown

Editorial #

The preferred way to organize the posts is as Org subtrees (also the main reason to write this package, as nothing like that was out there) as it makes the meta-data management for Hugo front-matter pretty effortless.

If you are a one Org-file per post type of a person, that flow works too! Just note that in this flow many of those #+hugo_ properties need to be managed manually.. just as one would manage the front-matter in Markdown files — See the Org versions in the above screenshots for comparison.

Demo #

Org sourceox-hugo Exported Markdown

The test site uses a minimal theme written just for debug purposes (not extra aesthetics). The test site is designed to verify if all the content translates from Org to Markdown as expected.

See Hugo Themes for examples of really good site prettification and presentation styles.

Installation #

This package requires emacs 24.4+ and Org 9.0+. It is available on Melpa (

Usage #

Once the package is installed, you will need to require it so that the ox-hugo export options are available in the Org Export Dispatcher menu (the one you see when you hit C-c C-e to initiate any export).

You can do that by adding the below to your config:

(with-eval-after-load 'ox
  (require 'ox-hugo))
(require 'ox-hugo-auto-export) ;If you want the auto-exporting on file saves

If you use use-package, you can do the below instead:

(use-package ox-hugo
  :ensure t            ;Auto-install the package from Melpa (optional)
  :after ox)
(use-package ox-hugo-auto-export) ;If you want the auto-exporting on file saves

Also see the Auto Exporting section.


Spacemacs users can choose to add this snippet to their dotspacemacs/user-config function in .spacemacs:

(defun dotspacemacs/user-config ()
  ;; Other stuff
  ;; ..

  ;; ox-hugo config
  (use-package ox-hugo
    :ensure t            ;Auto-install the package from Melpa (optional)
    :after ox)
  (use-package ox-hugo-auto-export) ;If you want the auto-exporting on file saves

You do have have to use the use-package version when using Spacemacs. That version was used because use-package is installed by default in Spacemacs.

If you do so, you also need to add ox-hugo to dotspacemacs-additional-packages.

This was verified to work on Spacemacs develop branch with spacemacs-base distribution, emacs editing style. – <2017-10-09 Mon>

Before you export #

Before you export check that these properties are set as you need:

The default Hugo section name for all the posts. See here for more information on Hugo sections. It is common for this property to be set to posts or blog. The default value is set using org-hugo-default-section-directory.

Root directory of the source for the Hugo site. If this is set to ~/hugo/, the exported Markdown files will be saved to ~/hugo/content/<HUGO_SECTION>/ directory. By default, the Markdown files reside in a hierarchy under the content/ directory in the site root directory (ref). If you try to export without setting this property, you will get this error:

user-error: It is mandatory to set the HUGO_BASE_DIR property

Important: If you choose to export an Org subtree as a post, you need to set the EXPORT_FILE_NAME subtree property. That property is used by this package to figure out where the current post starts.

Export bindings #

The common ox-hugo export bindings are:

For both one-post-per-subtree and one-post-per-file flows #

C-c C-e H H

Export “What I Mean”.

  • If point is in a valid Hugo post subtree, export that subtree to a Hugo post in Markdown.

    A valid Hugo post subtree is an Org subtree has the EXPORT_FILE_NAME property set.

  • If the file is intended to be exported as a whole (i.e. has the #+title keyword), export the whole Org file to a Hugo post in Markdown.

C-c C-e H A

Export all “What I Mean”

  • If the Org file has one or more ‘valid Hugo post subtrees’, export them to Hugo posts in Markdown.
  • If the file is intended to be exported as a whole (i.e. no ‘valid Hugo post subtrees’ at all, and has the #+title keyword), export the whole Org file to a Hugo post in Markdown.

For only the one-post-per-file flow #

C-c C-e H h
Export the Org file to a Hugo post in Markdown.

Customization Options #

Do M-x customize-group, and select org-export-hugo to see the available customization options for this package.

Thanks #

  • Matt Price (@titaniumbones)
  • Puneeth Chaganti (@punchagan)
  • Also thanks to (not hyperlinking the link as it is insecure — not https), (not hyperlinking the link as it is insecure — not https) and the goorgeous project by Chase Adams (@chaseadamsio) for inspiration to start this project.
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