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Custom cards

The Insiders Edition allows you to define custom layouts for your social cards to suit your specific needs if the configuration options are not enough. For example, you may want to define a social card to advertise a new release of your product. It should have an icon indicating a launch announcement as well as the version number of the release on the card.


You can either design a custom layout from scratch or use an existing layout as the basis that you add to or otherwise modify. In this tutorial, you will use the default layout as the basis.

Copy default layout to customize

Copy the default social card layout from your installation of Material for MkDocs to a new directory layouts. The instructions below assume you are in your project root and have a virtual environment within this. The path on your machine, of course, may differ.

$ mkdir layouts
$ cp venv/lib/python3.12/site-packages/material/plugins/social/templates/default/variant.yml \

Before customizing the social cards, you need to tell the plugin where to find them as well as tell MkDocs to watch for any changes. Add the following to the plugin configuration in your mkdocs.yml:

  - social:
      cards_layout_dir: layouts

  - layouts

Have a look at the contents of release.yml. You will see that there are:

  • a number of definitions of content pulled from the site,
  • definitions of tags that end up in the meta elements in the page header of each page,
  • a specification that consists of a number of layers that the social plugin applies on top of each other in the order in which they are defined.

Define page metadata

In the following, you will add a version number to the social card. This assumes you have a changelog page with information about each release. Add the version number of the latest version to the page header (so it does not need to be parsed out of the Markdown content):

Defining the release data

Create a page docs/ with the following content:

icon: material/rocket-launch-outline
  cards_layout: release
    title: New release!
latest: 1.2.3

# Releases

Extract page metadata

With the data defined in the page header, you can now add code to the layout that pulls it out and makes it available to render later on. This is to separate the data manipulation from the actual layout instructions and so make the layout file easier to read.

Adding data definitions

Add the following at the top of the layout file:

  - &latest >-
    {%- if 'latest' in page.meta %}
        {{ page.meta['latest']}}
    {%- else -%}
        No release version data defined!
    {%- endif -%}

The code presented here checks whether the page header contains the necessary entries and spits out a message to the social card if not. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward way to raise an exception or log an error, so the messages merely appear in the social card produced.

Add release version layer

The next step is to use these data definitions in a new layer and add it to the ones already present.

Render release version

Finally, add the following to end of the custom layout:

  - size: { width: 990, height: 50 }
    offset: { x: 50, y: 360 }
      content: *latest
      align: start
      color: *color

You should now see the social plugin use the custom layout on the changelog page you set up.

Adjust layout

Finally, the rocket icon used for the changelog page is not quite in the right position. Find the please where the page_icon variable is used to create the page icon layer and adjust the horizontal position to 600 instead of 800.

Debugging layout files

Should you find that your layouts are causing your MkDocs build to fail, there are a number of things you can do:

  1. Run Mkdocs with the --verbose option to get more detailed reporting.
  2. Comment out things you recently added or that you suspect are the cause
  3. Install the jinja2 command-line tool with pip install Jinja2 and run it over your layout file, for example: jinja2 event.yml.

What's next?

If you do not have a blog yet, why not check out the blog tutorials and learn how to set one up? The social plugin will help you draw attention to your posts on social media.

Check out the other tutorials we have prepared for you.