NodeJS: How to include subviews in Pug templates

Updated: February 6, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Pug is a high-performance template engine heavily influenced by Haml and implemented with JavaScript for Node.js and browsers. It facilitates writing cleaner and more readable HTML. Its primary features include a simple syntax, code reusability, and the ability to include files, which makes organizing bigger projects much more manageable.

When developing web applications with Node.js and Pug (formerly known as Jade), structuring your views intelligently can greatly enhance the readability, maintainability, and modularity of your project. Pug templates offer an elegant syntax for HTML, and with the ability to include subviews, developers can create reusable and nested components effortlessly. This tutorial will walk you through including subviews in your Pug templates within a Node.js environment.

Setting Up Your Project

First, ensure that you have Node.js installed on your machine. Then, create a new directory for your project and initialize a new Node.js project:

mkdir my-pug-project
cd my-pug-project
npm init -y

Install Express and Pug:

npm install express pug

Next, create an ‘app.js’ file and set up a basic Express server:

const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const PORT = 3000;

app.set('view engine', 'pug');
app.set('views', './views');

app.get('/', (req, res) => {

app.listen(PORT, () => console.log(`Server running on port ${PORT}`));

In the root of your project, create a folder named ‘views’. Inside this folder, you will store all your Pug template files. Let’s start with an ‘index.pug’ file:

doctype html
    title My Pug Project
    h1 Welcome to my Pug project!

Including Subviews

Including subviews is a powerful feature in Pug that allows you to include the content of one Pug file within another. This promotes reusability and keeps your templates organized. Let’s see it in action.

1. Creating a Subview

Create a new Pug file named ‘header.pug’ inside the ‘views’ directory and add the following code:

      li: a(href='/') Home
      li: a(href='/about') About Us

This code represents a reusable navigation header that we want to include in our ‘index.pug’ layout.

2. Including the Subview in a Parent View

To include the ‘header.pug’ file inside ‘index.pug’, simply use the ‘include’ directive:

// in index.pug
include header

Now, when you navigate to ‘/’, you’ll see the header displayed on the page. The ‘include’ directive tells Pug to take the content of ‘header.pug’ and insert it into ‘index.pug’ at the location of the include statement.

Reusing Subviews with Parameters

Pug also allows passing parameters to subviews, enabling even more powerful reusability. Let’s demonstrate this by creating a footer that accepts a year parameter.

1. Creating a Parameterized Subview

Create a new file named ‘footer.pug’ within your ‘views’ folder:

  p Copyright © #{year}

In this example, #{year} is a placeholder for a variable passed from the parent view.

2. Including the Subview with Parameters

To pass a parameter to a subview, you must include it as follows:

// in some parent view
- var year = new Date().getFullYear()
include footer

By declaring a variable ‘year’ above the include statement and accessing it inside ‘footer.pug’, you dynamically pass the current year into the footer subview.


In conclusion, Pug’s include feature is incredibly powerful for organizing your Node.js project’s frontend components. By breaking your UI into reusable subviews and intelligently including them where necessary, you can streamline your development process and build more maintainable applications. Adding dynamic data through parameters, utilizing mixins for reusable blocks and extends for inheritance, takes your Pug templating to the next level, making your code cleaner and more efficient.