Copyright 2020 Dean Attali
Beautiful Jekyll is a ready-to-use template to help you create an awesome website quickly. Perfect for personal sites, blogs, or simple project websites. Check out a demo of what you'll get after just two minutes. You can also look at my personal website to see it in use, or see examples of websites other people created using this theme below.
There's a very easy way to use this theme, and there's a hard way. For most people (including myself!), I suggest going the easy route. If you're an advanced user and want to tinker with the hard way (using ruby gems), then skip the easy way if you know what you're doing.
Getting started is literally as easy as 1-2-3
Scroll down to see the steps involved, but here is a 40-second video just as a reference as you work through the steps. If you don't already have a GitHub account, you'll need to sign up.
Fork this project by clicking the Fork button at the top right corner of this page. Forking means that you now copied this entire project and all the files into your account.
Click on Settings at the top (the cog icon) and on that page you'll have an option to rename the project (repository name). This will create a website with the Beautiful Jekyll template that will be available at
https://<yourusername>.github.io within a couple minutes. Check out the FAQ if you want to use a different project name.
_config.yml file to change any settings you want. To edit the file, click on it to view the file and then click on the pencil icon to edit it (watch the video tutorial above if you're confused). The settings in the file are self-explanatory and I added comments inside the file to help you understand what each setting does. Any line that begins with a hashtag (
#) is a comment, and the other lines are actual settings.
After you save your changes to the config file (by clicking on Commit changes as the video tutorial shows), your website should be ready in a minute or two at
https://<yourusername>.github.io. Every time you make a change to any file, your website will get rebuilt and should be updated in about a minute or so. Your website will be initialized with several sample blog posts and a couple other pages.
Note that in the video above I only edited one setting in the
_config.yml file. You should actually go through the rest of the settings as well. Don't be lazy, go through all the settings :)
If you followed the easy method above, then you already have your site and you can skip this section! If you want to install beautiful-jekyll using ruby gems instead, follow the advanced installation instructions.
To add pages to your site, you can either write a markdown file (
.md) or you can write an HTML file directly. It's much easier to write markdown than HTML, so I suggest you do that (use this great tutorial if you need to learn markdown in 5 minutes). You can look at some files on this site to get an idea of how to write markdown. To look at existing files, click on any file that ends in
.md, for example
aboutme.md. On the next page you can see some nicely formatted text (there's a word in bold, a link, a few bullet points), and if you click on the pencil icon to edit the file, you'll see the markdown that generated the pretty text. Very easy!
In contrast, look at
tags.html. That's how your write HTML - not as pretty. So stick with markdown if you don't know HTML.
Files you create inside the
_posts directory will be treated as blog entries. You can look at the existing files there to get an idea of how to write blog posts. Note the format of the blog post files - they must follow the naming convention of
YEAR-MONTH-DAY-title.md. After you successfully add your own post, you can delete the existing files inside
_posts to remove the sample posts, as those are just demo posts to help you learn.
In order to have your new pages use this template and not just be plain HTML pages, you must add YAML front matter to the top of each page. This is where you'll be able to give each page some extra parameters such as a title, a subtitle, or an image. Below is a list of all available parameters. If you don't want to use any parameters on a page (this also means having no title), then use the empty YAML front matter:
If you do want to use any parameters, write them between these two lines. For example, you can have this at the top of a page:
--- title: Contact me subtitle: Here you'll find all the ways to get in touch with me ---
You can look at the top of
aboutme.md as an example.
Important takeaway: ALWAYS add the YAML front matter, which is two lines with three dashes, to EVERY page. If you have any parameters, they go between the two lines.
If you don't include YAML then your file will not use this template.
These are the main parameters you can place inside a page's YAML front matter that Beautiful Jekyll supports.
|title||Page or blog post title|
|subtitle||Short description of page or blog post that goes under the title|
|tags||List of tags to categorize the post. Separate the tags with commas and place them inside square brackets. Example:
|bigimg||Include a large full-width image at the top of the page. You can either give the path to a single image, or provide a list of images to cycle through (see my personal website as an example).|
|comments||If you want do add comments to a specific page, use
|show-avatar||If you have an avatar configured in the
|image||If you want to add a personalized image to your blog post that will show up next to the post's excerpt and on the post itself, use
|readtime||If you want to show how many minutes it will take to read a post in the header, add
|share-img||If you want to specify an image to use when sharing the page on Facebook or Twitter, then provide the image's full URL here.|
|social-share||If you don't want to show buttons to share a blog post on social media, use
|footer-extra||If you want to include extra information in the footer, create an HTML file in the
|nav-short||By default, the navigation bar gets shorter after scrolling down the page. If you want the navigation bar to always be short on a certain page, use
|use-site-title||If you want to use the site title rather than page title as HTML document title (ie. browser tab title), use
|language||HTML language code to be set on <html> element (see W3Schools website for more info on this topic). Language can also be set site-wide in
|layout||What type of page this is (default is
|gh-repo||If you want to show GitHub buttons at the top of a post, this sets the GitHub repo name (eg.
|gh-badge||Select which GitHub buttons to display. Available options are: [star, watch, fork, follow]. You must also use the
|css||List of local CSS files to include in the page|
|ext-css||List of external CSS files to include in the page. External CSS files using SRI (see
|googlefonts||List of Google fonts to include in the page (eg.
_postsfolder. As long as you give it YAML front matter (the two lines of three dashes), it will automatically be rendered like a blog post. Look at the existing blog post files to see examples of how to use YAML parameters in blog posts.
_postsfolder that uses YAML front matter will have a very similar style to blog posts.
homelayout must be named
index.mdor anything else!).
layout: minimalto the YAML front matter.
Beautiful Jekyll has been used in over 500 websites in its first 6 months, and tens of thousands of times since its inception. Here is a sample of some websites that use Beautiful Jekyll.
|repidemicsconsortium.org/||R Epidemics Consortium|
|vaccineimpact.org||Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium|
|derekogle.com/fishR||Using R for Fisheries Analyses|
|bigdata.juju.solutions||Creating Big Data solutions Juju Solutions|
|joecks.github.io/clipboard-actions||Clipboard Actions - an Android app|
|deanattali.com/shinyjs||shinyjs - an R package|
|blabel.github.io||Library for canonicalising blank node labels in RDF graphs|
|reactionic.github.io||Create iOS and Android apps with React and Ionic|
|ja2-stracciatella.github.io||Jagged Alliance 2 Stracciatella|
|ddocent.com||RADSeq Bioinformatics and Beyond|
|guitarlessons.org||Free online guitar lessons for all|
|terremotocentroitalia.info||Information about the 2016 Italy earthquake|
|deanattali.com||Dean Attali||Creator of Beautiful Jekyll|
|ouzor.github.io||Juuso Parkkinen||Data scientist|
|derekogle.com||Derek Ogle||Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Natural Resources|
|melyanna.github.io||Melyanna||Shows off her nice art|
|chauff.github.io||Claudia Hauff||Professor at Delft University of Technology|
|kootenpv.github.io||Pascal van Kooten||Data analytics|
|sjackman.ca||Shaun Jackman||PhD candidate in bioinformatics|
|anudit.in||Anudit Verma||Engineering student|
|sharepointoscar.github.io||Oscar Medina||Independent Hacker|
|ocram85.com||Marco Blessing||A personal blog about PowerShell and automation|
|khanna.cc||Harry Khanna||Law and software|
If you need any help, I suggest heading over to the Jekyll support forum.
Beautiful Jekyll is actively used by thousands of people with wildly varying degrees of competency, so it's impossible to answer all the questions that may arise. Below are answers to a few very common questions. Most questions that I get asked are not directly related to this theme, and instead are more general questions about Jekyll or web development. Many such questions can be answered by reading the Jekyll documentation or with Google.
Every GitHub user can have one repository (repository = project) named
<yourusername>.github.io and the website for that repository will be
If you want your project to be named something else, for example
MyAwesomeProject, that's no problem! All you have to do is go to Settings at the top right corner of the page, and rename your repository to
MyAwesomeProject (remember to click on the Rename button to confirm). Then you need to scroll down to the GitHub Pages section and choose "master branch" as the source (not "master branch /docs folder"!).
Now your website will be at
Beautiful Jekyll is built to be very customizable, and as such, many questions about "how do I change ..." can be answered by looking at the
_config.yml file. The configuration file has many adjustable parameters to customize your site.
Easy! Just place a valid
favicon.ico in the root directory of your project. And then wait! It can take a while to update.
The default style of Beautiful Jekyll is to feature the blog feed on the front page. But for many sites that's not the ideal structure, and you may want to have a separate dedicated page for the blog posts. To have the blog hosted on a different URL (for example at
<mysite.com>/blog), copy the
index.html file into a folder with the same name as the desired page (for example, to
blog/index.html), and in the
_config.yml file you need to add a parameter
paginate_path: "/<page name>/page:num/" (for example
Unfortunately, this is a no-answer! There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to this, because every person will view your site on a different browser with different dimensions. Some browsers will have very wide aspect ratio, some will be narrower, some will be vertical (such as phones), different phones have different screens, etc. The image will always be centered, so the only tip I can give is that you should make sure the important part of the image is in the middle so that it'll always show. Other than that, every browser will show a different clipping of the image.
MathJax can be easily integrated into your website with a one-line addition. You can see this discussion for more information.
Thank you to all past contributors. If you find any problems or would like to contribute in any way, feel free to create a pull request/open an issue/send me a message. Any comments are welcome!
You can also contribute by becoming an official sponsor to help keep beautiful-jekyll well-maintained.