The bread and butter of any theme. Below you’ll find the layouts included with Minimal Mistakes, what they look like and the type of content they’ve been built for.

Default Layout

The base layout all other layouts inherit from. There’s not much to this layout apart from pulling in several _includes:

Note: You won’t ever assign this layout directly to a post or page. Instead all other layouts will build off of it by setting layout: default in their YAML Front Matter.

Layout Based and User-Defined Classes

Class names corresponding to each layout are automatically added to the <body> element eg. <body class="layout--single">.

layout class name
archive .layout--archive
archive-taxonomy .layout--archive-taxonomy
search .layout--search
single .layout--single
splash .layout--splash
home .layout--home

Using YAML Front Matter you can also assign custom classes to target with CSS or JavaScript. Perfect for “art directed” posts or adding custom styles to specific pages.


layout: splash
  - landing
  - dark-theme


<body class="layout--splash landing dark-theme">

Compress Layout

A Jekyll layout that compresses HTML in pure Liquid. To enable add layout: compress to _layouts/default.html.

Note: Has been known to mangle markup and break JavaScript… especially if inline // comments are present. For this reason it has been disabled by default.

Single Layout

The layout you’ll likely use the most — sidebar and main content combo.


single layout with header example single layout with comments and related posts
Image header and meta info examples for single layout

Assign with layout: single, or better yet apply as a Front Matter default in _config.yml.

Table of Contents

Auto-generated table of contents list for your posts and pages can be enabled by adding toc: true to the YAML Front Matter.

table of contents example

Parameter Required Description Default
toc Optional Show table of contents. (boolean) false
toc_label Optional Table of contents title. (string) toc_label in UI Text data file.
toc_icon Optional Table of contents icon, displays before the title. (string) Font Awesome file-text icon. Any other FA icon can be used instead.

TOC example with custom title and icon

toc: true
toc_label: "My Table of Contents"
toc_icon: "gear"

Archive Layout

Essentially the same as single with markup adjustments and some modules removed.


archive layout example
List view example.

Below are sample archive pages you can easily drop into your project, taking care to rename permalink, title, or the filename to fit your site. Each is 100% compatible with GitHub Pages.

Post and page excerpts are auto-generated by Jekyll which grabs the first paragraph of text. To override this text with something more specific use the following YAML Front Matter:

excerpt: "A unique line of text to describe this post that will display in an archive listing and meta description with SEO benefits."

Grid View

Adding type=grid to the archive-single helper will display archive posts in a 4 column grid. For example to create an archive displaying all documents in the portfolio collection:

Step 1: Create a portfolio archive page (eg. _pages/portfolio-archive.html) with the following YAML Front Matter:

layout: archive
title: "Portfolio"
permalink: /portfolio/
author_profile: false

Step 2: Loop over all documents in the portfolio collection and output in a grid:

<div class="grid__wrapper">
  {% for post in site.portfolio %}
    {% include archive-single.html type="grid" %}
  {% endfor %}

To produce something like this:

archive grid view example
Grid view example.

Teaser images are assigned similar to header images using the following YAML Front Matter:

  teaser: path-to-teaser-image.jpg

Note: More information on using this _include can be found under Helpers.

Taxonomy Archive

If you have the luxury of using Jekyll plugins, the creation of category and tag archives is greatly simplified. Simply enable support for the jekyll-archives plugin with a few _config.yml settings as noted in the Configuration section and you’re good to go.

archive taxonomy layout example

If you’re not using the jekyll-archives plugin then you need to create archive pages yourself. Sample taxonomy archives can be found by grabbing the HTML sources below and adding to your site.

Name HTML Source
Categories Archive category-archive.html
Tags Archive tag-archive.html

The Tags Archive page that responds to urls such as /tags/#tips looks something like this:

layout: archive
permalink: /tags/
title: "Posts by Tag"
author_profile: true

{% include group-by-array collection=site.posts field="tags" %}

{% for tag in group_names %}
  {% assign posts = group_items[forloop.index0] %}
  <h2 id="{{ tag | slugify }}" class="archive__subtitle">{{ tag }}</h2>
  {% for post in posts %}
    {% include archive-single.html %}
  {% endfor %}
{% endfor %}

Home Page Layout

A derivative archive page layout to be used as a simple home page. It is built to show a paginated list of recent posts based off of the pagination settings in _config.yml.

paginated home page example
Example of a paginated home page showing 5 recent posts.

To use create index.html at the root of your project and add the following YAML Front Matter:

layout: home

Then configure pagination in _config.yml.

paginate: 5 # amount of posts to show
paginate_path: /page:num/

If you’d rather have a paginated page of posts reside in a subfolder instead of acting as your homepage make the following adjustments.

Create index.html in the location you’d like. For example if I wanted it to live at /blog I’d create /blog/index.html with layout: home in its YAML Front Matter.

Then adjust the paginate_path in _config.yml to match.

paginate_path: /blog/page:num

Note: Jekyll can only paginate a single index.html file. If you’d like to paginate more pages (e.g. category indexes) you’ll need the help of a custom plugin. For more pagination related settings check the Configuration section.

Splash Page Layout

For full-width landing pages that need a little something extra add layout: splash to the YAML Front Matter.


splash page layout example

Feature blocks can be assigned and aligned to the left, right, or center with a sprinkling of YAML. For full details on how to use the feature_row helper check the Content section or review a sample splash page.

Search Page Layout

A page with a search form. Add layout: search to the YAML Front Matter similar to this example on the demo site.

search page layout example

Note: A page using the layout: search isn’t compatible with the new site search feature incorporated in the masthead.


If you would like to exclude specific pages/posts from the search index set the search flag to false in the YAML Front Matter for the page/post.

search: false

ProTip: Add a link to this page in the masthead navigation.


To add some visual punch to a post or page, a large full-width header image can be included.

Be sure to resize your header images. ~1280px is a good width if you aren’t responsively serving up images. Through the magic of CSS they will scale up or down to fill the container. If you go with something too small it will look like garbage when upscaled, and something too large will hurt performance.

Please Note: Paths for image headers, overlays, teasers, galleries, and feature rows have changed and require a full path. Instead of just image: filename.jpg you’ll need to use the full path eg: image: /assets/images/filename.jpg. The preferred location is now /assets/images/, but can be placed elsewhere or external hosted. This all applies for image references in _config.yml and author.yml as well.

single layout header image example

Place your images in the /assets/images/ folder and add the following YAML Front Matter:

  image: /assets/images/image-filename.jpg

For externally hosted images include the full image path instead of just the filename:


To provide a custom alt tag for screen readers:

  image: /assets/images/unsplash-image-1.jpg
  image_description: "A description of the image"

To include a caption or attribution for the image:

  image: /assets/images/unsplash-image-1.jpg
  caption: "Photo credit: [**Unsplash**]("

ProTip: Captions written in Markdown are supported, so feel free to add links, or style text. Just be sure to wrap it in quotes.

Header Overlay

To overlay text on top of a header image you have a few more options:

Name Description Default
overlay_image Header image you’d like to overlay. Same rules as header.image from above.  
overlay_filter Color/opacity to overlay on top of the header image eg: 0.5 or rgba(255, 0, 0, 0.5).  
excerpt Auto-generated page excerpt is added to the overlay text or can be overridden.  
cta_label Call to action button text label. more_label in UI Text data file
cta_url Call to action button URL.  

With this YAML Front Matter:

excerpt: "This post should display a **header with an overlay image**, if the theme supports it."
  overlay_image: /assets/images/unsplash-image-1.jpg
  caption: "Photo credit: [**Unsplash**]("
  cta_label: "More Info"
  cta_url: ""

You’d get a header image overlaid with text and a call to action button like this:

single layout header overlay example

You also have the option of specifying a solid background-color to use instead of an image.

single layout header overlay with background fill

excerpt: "This post should display a **header with a solid background color**, if the theme supports it."
  overlay_color: "#333"

You can also specifying the opacity (between 0 and 1) of a black overlay like so:

transparent black overlay

excerpt: "This post should [...]"
  overlay_image: /assets/images/unsplash-image-1.jpg
  overlay_filter: 0.5 # same as adding an opacity of 0.5 to a black background
  caption: "Photo credit: [**Unsplash**]("
  cta_label: "More Info"
  cta_url: ""

Or if you want to do more fancy things, go full rgba:

transparent red overlay

excerpt: "This post should [...]"
  overlay_image: /assets/images/unsplash-image-1.jpg
  overlay_filter: rgba(255, 0, 0, 0.5)
  caption: "Photo credit: [**Unsplash**]("
  cta_label: "More Info"
  cta_url: ""

OpenGraph & Twitter Card Images

By default the large page header or overlay images are used for sharing previews. If you’d like to set this image to something else use page.header.og_image like:

  image: /assets/images/your-page-image.jpg
  og_image: /assets/images/your-og-image.jpg

ProTip: og_image is useful for setting OpenGraph images on pages that don’t have a header or overlay image.

The space to the left of a page’s main content is blank by default, but has the ability to show an author profile (name, short biography, social media links), custom content, or both.

Author Profile

Add author_profile: true to a post or page’s YAML Front Matter.

single layout example

Better yet, enable it with Front Matter Defaults set in _config.yml.

  # _posts
  - scope:
      path: ""
      type: posts
      author_profile: true

Note: To disable the author sidebar profile for a specific post or page, add author_profile: false to the YAML Front Matter instead.

The theme comes pre-built with a selection of links for the most common social media networks. These are all optional and can be assigned in _config.yml.

To add more links you’ll need to crack open _includes/author-profile-custom-links.html and add the appropriate <li> markup shown below.

Please note: Links added here will appear after the ones in _includes/author-profile.html. If you’d like to change the order of appearance you’ll need to edit that file directly.

  <a href="">
    <i class="fa fa-fw" aria-hidden="true"></i> Awesome Social Network

To add a new link you’ll need three things:

  1. Destination URL
  2. Font Awesome icon (fa- class)
  3. Label for the link

It’s up to you if you want to wrap it in a {% if %} ... {% endif %}conditional and add a variable to _config.yml. If you don’t plan to change it then hard-coding the string is perfectly acceptable.

Let’s run through how you’d add a new link that points to a Reddit profile. Starting with the three things from above:

  2. fa-reddit
  3. Reddit

And plug them into the appropriate locations:

  <a href="[1]">
    <i class="fa fa-fw [2]" aria-hidden="true"></i> [3]

To end up with:

  <a href="">
    <i class="fa fa-fw fa-reddit" aria-hidden="true"></i> Reddit

Reddit link in author profile

To add a touch of color to the default black (#000) icon a few more steps are necessary.

Start by copying _utilities.scss <site root>/_sass. Open it up to the icon section (it’s near the bottom) and nest a new class beneath .social-icons that matches the one used to declare the Font Awesome icon. In our case .fa-reddit.

Simply add a color declaration and the corresponding hex code.

.social-icons {
  .fa-reddit {
    color: #ff4500;

Reddit link in author profile with color

ProTip: For bonus points you can add it as a Sass $variable that you set in _variables.scss like the other “brand” colors. You’ll need to add this file to /_sass/ as well if you’re using the Ruby Gem version of the theme.

Please please please don’t submit pull requests adding in support for “missing” social media links. I’m trying to keep things down to the minimum (hence the theme’s name) and have no interest in merging such PRs :expressionless:.

Custom Sidebar Content

Blocks of content can be added by using the following under sidebar:

Name Description
title Title or heading.
image Image path placed in /images/ folder or an external URL.
image_alt Alternate description for image.
text Text. Markdown is allowed.

Multiple blocks can also be added by following the example below:

  - title: "Title"
    image_alt: "image"
    text: "Some text here."
  - title: "Another Title"
    text: "More text here."
custom sidebar content example
Example of custom sidebar content added as YAML Front Matter.

Note: Custom sidebar content added to a post or page’s YAML Front Matter will appear below the author profile if enabled with author_profile: true.

Custom Sidebar Navigation Menu

To create a sidebar menu1 similar to the one found in the theme’s documentation pages you’ll need to modify a _data file and some YAML Front Matter.

sidebar navigation example
Custom sidebar navigation menu example.

To start, add a new key to _data/navigation.yml. This will be referenced later in via YAML Front Matter so keep it short and memorable. In the case of the theme’s documentation menu I used docs.

Sample sidebar menu links:

  - title: Getting Started
      - title: "Quick-Start Guide"
        url: /docs/quick-start-guide/
      - title: "Structure"
        url: /docs/structure/
      - title: "Installation"
        url: /docs/installation/
      - title: "Upgrading"
        url: /docs/upgrading/

  - title: Customization
      - title: "Configuration"
        url: /docs/configuration/
      - title: "Navigation"
        url: /docs/navigation/
      - title: "UI Text"
        url: /docs/ui-text/
      - title: "Authors"
        url: /docs/authors/
      - title: "Layouts"
        url: /docs/layouts/

  - title: Content
      - title: "Working with Posts"
        url: /docs/posts/
      - title: "Working with Pages"
        url: /docs/pages/
      - title: "Working with Collections"
        url: /docs/collections/
      - title: "Helpers"
        url: /docs/helpers/
      - title: "Utility Classes"
        url: /docs/utility-classes/

  - title: Extras
      - title: "Stylesheets"
        url: /docs/stylesheets/
      - title: "JavaScript"
        url: /docs/javascript/

Now you can pull these links into any page by adding the following YAML Front Matter.

  nav: "docs"

Note: nav: "docs" references the docs key in _data/navigation.yml so make sure they match.

If you’re adding a sidebar navigation menu to several pages the use of Front Matter Defaults is a better option. You can define them in _config.yml to avoid adding it to every page or post.

Sample sidebar nav default:

  # _docs
  - scope:
      path: ""
      type: docs
        nav: "docs"

The single layout has an option to enable social links at the bottom of posts for sharing on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Similar to the links found in the author sidebar, the theme ships with defaults for the most common social networks.

default social share link buttons

To enable these links add share: true to a post or page’s YAML Front Matter or use a default in your _config.yml to apply more globally.

If you’d like to add, remove, or change the order of these default links you can do so by editing _includes/social-share.html.

Let’s say you wanted to replace the Google+ button with a Reddit one. Simply replace the HTML with the following:

<a href="{{ page.url | absolute_url }}&title={{ page.title }}" class="btn" title="{{[site.locale].share_on_label }} Reddit"><i class="fa fa-fw fa-reddit" aria-hidden="true"></i><span> Reddit</span></a>

The important parts to change are:

  1. Share point URL *eg.
  2. Link title
  3. Font Awesome icon (fa- class)
  4. Link label

Reddit social share link button

To change the color of the button use one of the built in utility classes. Or you can create a new button class to match whatever color you want.

Under the $social color map in assets/_scss/_buttons.scss simply add a name (this will be appened to btn--) that matches the new button class. In our case reddit ~> .btn--reddit.

(facebook, $facebook-color),
(twitter, $twitter-color),
(google-plus, $google-plus-color),
(linkedin, $linkedin-color);
(reddit, #ff4500;)

ProTip: For bonus points you can add it as a Sass $variable that you set in _variables.scss like the other “brand” colors.

Add the new .btn--reddit class to the <a> element from earlier, compile main.css and away you go.

<a href="{{ page.url | absolute_url }}&title={{ page.title }}" class="btn btn--reddit" title="{{[site.locale].share_on_label }} Reddit"><i class="fa fa-fw fa-reddit" aria-hidden="true"></i><span> Reddit</span></a>

Reddit social share link button

  1. Sidebar menu supports 1 level of nested links.