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Adding Math Formulas to a Hugo-based site

by Brent Stewart on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

An upcoming article features some basic math, but rendering it in markdown is unaesthetic. What you get is E=mc^2 when what you want is $ E=mc^2$. My search led me to KaTeX which is a JavaScript library that let’s you put $\LaTeX$ code into an HTML document. LaTeX was created to typeset scientific papers, so it is built for displaying things like matrices and integrals. I don’t plan to publish math that intense, but LaTeX can help clearly display even a simple division equation and improve the readability of the post. The best source of information I found was Mert Bakir’s blog and my usage is based on his work.

There are three steps to incorporating KaTeX with Hugo.

  1. Create a partial template. I added this to my theme by creating a file at themes/next/layouts/partials/katex.html, but it could also be added to the site at layouts/partials/ (note that the name next is my theme name, so your’s will differ). Pull the code from the KaTeX site by copying everything within the tags. You’ll notice there’s also a script in the code below - add that to the file as well. Here is the file that is current in August, 2022, for this site.
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="" integrity="sha384-Xi8rHCmBmhbuyyhbI88391ZKP2dmfnOl4rT9ZfRI7mLTdk1wblIUnrIq35nqwEvC" crossorigin="anonymous">

  <!-- The loading of KaTeX is deferred to speed up page rendering -->
  < script defer src="" integrity="sha384-X/XCfMm41VSsqRNQgDerQczD69XqmjOOOwYQvr/uuC+j4OPoNhVgjdGFwhvN02Ja" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>

  <!-- To automatically render math in text elements, include the auto-render extension: -->
  <script defer src="" integrity="sha384-+XBljXPPiv+OzfbB3cVmLHf4hdUFHlWNZN5spNQ7rmHTXpd7WvJum6fIACpNNfIR" crossorigin="anonymous"

      document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", function() {
          renderMathInElement(document.body, {
              delimiters: [
                  {left: "$$", right: "$$", display: true},
                  {left: "$", right: "$", display: false}
  1. Include the partial file in all the pages where you want to use LaTeX. Again, I chose to include this in my theme as part of the /theme/next/layouts/partials/header.html file. It can be included anywhere as long as Hugo builds the code outside the tags. This Hugo function looks for the presence of a parameter named math which is set to True. This keeps from loading KaTeX on pages where it is unnecessary.
  {{ if .Params.math }}{{ partial "katex.html" . }}{{ end }}
  1. Finally, edit the default archetype file (themes/next/archetypes/ Changing the markdown engine is not required, but issues with KaTeX have been reported using the default Goldmark (I didn’t encounter any issues with either in my testing). I have the math parameter present but set to false, which will not load KaTeX javascript (similar to what would happen if I omitted the parameter). I am including the parameter as a reminder to my future self.
  markup: 'mmark'
  math: false

Use KaTeX in markdown by using two dollar signs ($$) as before and after delimiters for a standalone centered equation or single dollar signs for in-line equations. You can find a good LaTeX resource at the Overleaf site.

The last problem I had was finding some good examples! So, here are a few equations to give you a feel for what is possible.


Bracket the equation with two dollar signs to center ($$) - x = {-b \pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac} \over 2a}

$$x = {-b \pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac} \over 2a}$$

Use one dollar sign on each side to include in line. For instance, acceleration a={\deltav}{t} renders $a= {\Delta v \over t}$

Finally, just to show the range of LaTeX, is Schrodinger’s Equation - i \hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial t}\Psi(\mathbf{r},t) = \hat H \Psi(\mathbf{r},t). $$i \hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial t}\Psi(\mathbf{r},t) = \hat H \Psi(\mathbf{r},t)$$

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