Step by Step Tutorial

6. Data Files

Jekyll supports loading data from YAML, JSON, and CSV files located in a _data directory. Data files are a great way to separate content from source code to make the site easier to maintain.

In this step you’ll store the contents of the navigation in a data file and then iterate over it in the navigation include.

Data file usage

YAML is a format that’s common in the Ruby ecosystem. You’ll use it to store an array of navigation items each with a name and link.

Create a data file for the navigation at _data/navigation.yml with the following:

- name: Home
  link: /
- name: About
  link: /about.html

Jekyll makes this data file available to you at Instead of outputting each link in _includes/navigation.html, now you can iterate over the data file instead:

  {% for item in %}
    <a href="{{ }}" {% if page.url == %}style="color: red;"{% endif %}>
      {{ }}
  {% endfor %}

The output will be exactly the same. The difference is you’ve made it easier to add new navigation items and change the HTML structure.

What good is a site without CSS, JS and images? Let’s look at how to handle assets in Jekyll.

  1. Setup
  2. Liquid
  3. Front Matter
  4. Layouts
  5. Includes
  6. Data Files
  7. Assets
  8. Blogging
  9. Collections
  10. Deployment