Add components to content using MDX

Introduction

MDX is Markdown for the component era. It lets you write JSX embedded inside Markdown. This combination allows you to use Markdown’s terse syntax (such as # Heading) for your content and JSX for more advanced or reusable components.

This is useful in content-driven sites where you want the ability to introduce components like charts or alerts without having to configure a plugin. MDX also shines in interactive blog posts, documenting design systems, or long form articles with immersive or dynamic interactions.

Part 1: Getting Started with MDX

If you already have a Gatsby site that you’d like to add MDX to, you can follow these steps for configuring the gatsby-plugin-mdx plugin.

Starting a new project? Skip the setup and create a new project using the MDX starter:

Already using Remark? Check out the How-To Guide on Migrating from Remark to MDX.

  1. Add gatsby-plugin-mdx and MDX as dependencies

    Note: If you’re upgrading from v0, additionally check out the MDX migration guide.

  2. Update your gatsby-config.js to use gatsby-plugin-mdx

  3. Restart your local development server by running gatsby develop.

Video hosted on egghead.io.

Part 2: Writing Pages in MDX

After installing gatsby-plugin-mdx, MDX files located in the src/pages directory will automatically be turned into pages.

Pages are rendered at a URL that is constructed from the filesystem path inside src/pages. For example, an MDX file at src/pages/awesome.mdx will result in a page being rendered at yoursite.com/awesome.

Create a new .mdx file in the src/pages directory. You can use Markdown syntax to add different HTML elements.

Using frontmatter in MDX

By default, gatsby-plugin-mdx supports frontmatter so you can define things like titles and paths to use in your GraphQL queries. You can declare frontmatter at the beginning of your MDX document:

You can then query for this frontmatter data with GraphQL:

Note: To query MDX content, it must be included in the node system using a source like the gatsby-source-filesystem plugin first.

Check out the How-To Guide: How to Source Data from the Filesystem.

Frontmatter is also available in props.pageContext.frontmatter and can be accessed in blocks of JSX in your MDX document:

Part 3: Importing JSX components and MDX documents

MDX allows you to use React components alongside Markdown. You can import components from third-party libraries (like theme-ui) to take advantage of pre-built functionality like data visualizations, email signup forms, or call-to-action buttons. You can also import and reuse your own React components and even other MDX documents.

To import a component, add a JavaScript import statement to your MDX file. Once you’ve imported a component, you can use it in the body of your MDX file the same way you’d normally use a React component:

Note: If you would like to include frontmatter metadata and import components, the frontmatter needs to appear at the top of the file and then imports can follow.

Video hosted on egghead.io.

Make components available globally as shortcodes

To avoid having to import the same component inside of every MDX document you author, you can add components to an MDXProvider to make them globally available in MDX pages. This pattern is sometimes referred to as shortcodes.

All MDX components passed into the components prop of the MDXProvider will be made available to MDX documents that are nested under the provider. The MDXProvider in this example is in a layout component that wraps all MDX pages, you can read about this pattern in the layout section of the gatsby-plugin-mdx README.

Now, you can include components in your MDX without importing them:

Because the <Message /> and <Chart /> components were passed into the provider, they are available for use in all MDX documents.

Video hosted on egghead.io.

Part 4: Making GraphQL queries in an MDX File

You can fetch data to use in your MDX file by exporting a pageQuery in the same way you would for a .js page. The queried data is passed as a prop, and can be accessed inside any JSX block when writing in MDX:

Note: For now, this only works if the .mdx file exporting the query is placed in src/pages. Exporting GraphQL queries from .mdx files that are used for programmatic page creation in gatsby-node.js via actions.createPage is not currently supported.

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