🌳 Evergreen tutorial

How to programmatically add tags to posts in 11ty

planted on in: 11ty.
~1,149 words, about a 6 min read.

I use Obsidian.md to draft my posts before they are published on PhotoGabble. One feature of #Obsidian that I love is its ability to autolink hashtags and this is something I want to teach #11ty how to do.


Obsidian parses hashtags so that they become linked from the post body. I first searched to see if this is something other users of Eleventy had done and quickly found this (accidentally closed) PR for adding hashtags to notes in the Eleventy starter theme as well as someone on the Eleventy discussion forum asking (without resolution) how to programmatically identify tags from post content, a question I hope to answer with this tutorial post.

Both methods above made use of this simple regex /#[\w-]+/g. However, I quickly discovered that this creates a lot of false positives by including comments from code blocks. One solution to remove the noise is to denote a hashtag link via a #(...) syntax. The downside of this is that I now have to replace all usages from Obsidian with this new solution or have hashtags broken in Obsidian.

While researching fixes to the above I came across Nicolas Hoizey's implementation of hashtag linking for their website.

In Nicolas notes collection source (notes.js) you can see the raw page content being passed to a hashtagsToTags function to obtain an array tags. That function is using the third party twitter-text library in order to extract hashtags from input text.

Unfortunately this method is as noisy as the simple regex approach because it's not context aware. If we are going to tech Eleventy how to parse hashtags then the solution used needs to be Markdown aware. With a little more research I found the seven-year-old markdown-it-hashtag plugin for the markdown-it library commonly used with Eleventy.

Surprisingly for its age, this library worked although the matching regex it shipped with needed some fine-tuning as it continued to pick up hex numbers and references to GitHub issue numbers (e.g. #123) I had a few goes at formulating a regex that would match any string containing three or more alphanumerics but not all numerics, however, I am not that good at Regex and ended up turning to the "void". Very soon a number of people had a go at solving the problem but @barubary@infosec.exchange response containing a working regex was the best solution, which after learning the context is hashtags they then followed up with an even more terse one with:


Teaching Eleventy how to parse hashtags

In order to parse hashtags with Eleventy you will need to install markdown-it-hashtag using npm install markdown-it-hashtag --save-dev or equivalent if you're using yarn or npnp.

We will be using this Markdown-It plugin in two places, first in your main collection in order to identify hashtags in posts and update the posts tags listing and secondly in your sites main usage of Markdown-It for parsing Markdown into HTML.

const md = require('markdown-it')()
.use(require('markdown-it-hashtag'), {
hashtagRegExp: '(?!\\d+\\b)\\w{3,}'

function parseHashtags(post) {
if (!post.data.hashtagsMapped) {
// Identify Hashtags and append to Tags
const tags = new Set(post.data.tags ?? []);
const found = new Set();
const content = post.template?.frontMatter?.content;

// Only do the expensive markdown parse if content contains potential hashtags
if (content && content.match(/#([\w-]+)/g)) {
const tokens = md.parseInline(content, {});
for (const token of tokens) {
for (const child of token.children) {
if (child.type === 'hashtag_text') found.add(child.content);

if (found.size > 0) {
found.forEach(tag => tags.add(tag));
post.data.tags = Array.from(tags);
// Mark this post as processed, so we don't do so again each time this collection is requested
post.data.hashtagsMapped = true;

return post;


eleventyConfig.addCollection('post', (collection) => {
return [...collection.getFilteredByGlob('./content/**/*.md')].map(parseHashtags)
const markdownIt = require('markdown-it')()
.use(require('markdown-it-hashtag'), {
hashtagRegExp: '(?!\\d+\\b)\\w{3,}',

markdownIt.renderer.rules.hashtag_open =
(tokens, idx) => `<a href="/topic/${tokens[idx].content.toLowerCase()}" class="tag">`;

eleventyConfig.setLibrary("md", markdownIt);
Page History

This page was first added to the repository on January 23, 2023 in commit c1cbb13c and has since been amended 6 times. View the source on GitHub.

  1. refactor(#304): move files into src folder
  2. chore: switch to draft post, will publish in-future
  3. chore: #obsidian
  4. chore: pull normalising tags section out into own stub
  5. chore: minor amends to tutorial