Get Started

Dive in to creating your first Quire publication

Dive in to creating your first Quire publication

Before getting started, if you have not done so already, we recommend taking some time to review our beginner’s guide Tutorial: Quire Basics which is step-by-step introduction to the fundamentals of Quire.

Start a New Project

Now that you have taken the tutorial and installed Quire its time to get started on your first publication. To create a new project you will be running the quire new command. You can learn more about various commands in the Quire Commands chapter of our guide. Open your and copy and paste the text below, replacing project-name with what you would like your project folder to be called. (Don’t use spaces or special characters in your project name, and lowercase is recommended.)

quire new project-name

Quire will download a new starter project into a folder named “my-project” in your home directory. The process may take a minute as Quire installs a new starter project (a sample publication including content, images, and relevant metadata that you can build off of) into a folder named my-project in your home directory.

The project is ready when you see the message: “Theme and dependencies successfully installed.”

Copy an Existing Project

In addition to starting a Quire project from scratch as described in the previous section, you can also copy and work on a pre-existing Quire project. You would do this if you were on a team working on a publication together and are sharing the files via GitHub or another service, or if you wanted to use a previous Quire project as a template for a new one.

  1. Copy the Quire project directory into your (typically from a thumb drive, Dropbox or Google Drive, or GitHub).

  2. Open your command-line shell and navigate to the project directory using the cd (change directory) command. For example, if your project directory was called my-project and it was in your home directory, you would enter cd my-project.

  3. Still in the command-line shell, type quire install and press enter to install the theme dependencies for your project. (This is done automatically when running quire new, but needs to be done manually when working on pre-existing projects.)

  • You can also type cd and a space in your shell and then drag and drop the Quire directory icon into it. This will copy the full file path.


Files for Content Creators and Editors

Inside each Quire project, you will find the following directories and files. Content creators and editors will primarily use the content, data, and static directories.

📁 bin
📁 config
📄 config.yml
📁 content     <-- Markdown files with publication text.
📁 data        <-- YAML files with publication data.
📁 site
📁 static      <-- Images / Style overrides / PDF, EPUB & MOBI
📁 themes          files that are output with `quire pdf` etc.

📁 content

The central part of Quire is the content directory where almost all of a publication’s text content will live as individual files. Every Markdown file is a page of the publication. You can read more about how to structure the publication content in Pages.

  • New Quire projects started with the quire new command come with some demo content, images, and data as samples to start. These materials can be written over, re-used, or deleted altogether as you’d like.

📁 data

What content doesn’t live in content directory as a Markdown file, will live here in the data directory as a file. A publication.yml file is required (read more in Publication Metadata & Configuration), but a Quire project may also include references.yml (Citations & Bibliographies); figures.yml (Figures); and objects.yml (Catalogue Objects).

📁 static

The static directory includes anything that will be included in your final publication, but that doesn’t have to first be processed through Quire’s . By default, this includes a css directory for directly overriding theme styles (read more in Customizing Styles); a downloads directory for the multiple Quire formats (Output Your Project); and an img directory for all image and other media assets (Figure Images).


The file is a code convention, and is a free space for information about the publication. It is not used in the output Quire publication at all. However, if you host your Quire project on or other similar git project management sites, the file is used for the repository’s front page description. Often it will include notes on development, on what usage is allowed, on how issues will be handled, and if contributions should be considered.

Files for Developers

Inside each Quire project, you will find the following directories and files. Developers will primarily use the config.yml file and the bin, config, site, and theme directories.

📁 bin         <-- Scripts
📁 config      <-- Secondary/environmental configuration
📄 config.yml  <-- Main configuration
📁 content
📁 data
📁 site        <-- The built site output with `quire site`
📁 static
📁 themes      <-- Layouts, shortcodes, styles, js

📁 bin

Currently, it only contains a script file for deploying a Quire project to GitHub pages, which you can learn more about in the Deploy Your Project.

📄 config.yml

This is a standard, required file for and also for Quire. In Quire, it is used expressly for configuring how Hugo operates, and for defining a number of key values used in Quire . Users who have worked on other non-Quire/Hugo projects will note that they typically use the config.yml file to also store publication metadata. Given the potentially large scope of this metadata in formal digital publications, Quire uses the publication.yml file inside the data directory instead. Read more in Publication Metadata & Configuration.

📁 config

This is an additional configuration directory. While most Quire configuration happens in the config.yml file as explained above, the config directory gives more specific controls for different output formats and development environments. In most cases, changes won’t need to be made to these files until you are deploying your site. Read more in Output Your Project.

📁 site

This is where the built pages of the Quire website will live. This folder and its contents are automatically generated with the quire site command, and should not be edited directly. Read more in Output Your Project.

📁 themes

The themes directory contains one or more that define the structure and style of the Quire publication. When using the quire new command, the theme is default. Read more in Customizing Styles.

Create a Publication Outline

It is a good idea to start any project by creating a basic outline of your publication. To get started with your outline, you will want to download a . We recommend Atom or Visual Studio Code, two free and fully featured options. Once the text editor has been installed, open your Quire project in it. You will see the directory contents listed on the left sidebar. The way you organize the Markdown files in the content directory of your project will define the structure of your publication and how the Table of Contents is organized.

Here’s an outline showing the order, organization, and file names for a sample publication:

📁 part-one
📁 part-two

The names of the files will effect the final URLs of your publication. By default, URLs will be the filename, minus the .md suffix. Files nested in a sub-directory within content will include that sub-directory in the URL as well.

The file inside the part-one
The file inside the part-two
  • To have URLs for your homepage or section landing pages that don’t include the Markdown file name, add slug: . to the page YAML of that file. Read more in the Pages section of this guide.

For the ordering of the pages, in the example above we’ve listed the files and directories as they would appear in the publication’s table of contents. When looking in the actual content directory on your computer or in your text editor, however, they will almost certainly not appear in the proper publication order. More likely, they’ll appear alphabetically or by date modified, which is also how Quire will order them when building and previewing your publication. You can adjust this by assigning a weight to each page in its page YAML.

There are some other important rules and tips to keep in mind:

  1. To create a new file, select “New File” in the text editor menu. You can also right click or press control click on a folder and select “New File”.

  2. Filenames should be lowercase, with no spaces. Always include the .md suffix. If file names contain more than one word, use a hyphen to separate them. Make sure that the file name includes .md.

  3. Sub-directories can’t have other sub-directories within them. Quire currently supports only one level of nesting.

  4. Don’t use or files. Though common for users with previous static site or web development experience, you should not use or files in your Quire project. Because of the way is modeled, these work against the linear ordering of the publication and break the Next and Previous page navigation in Quire.

Prepare Images and Text


Preview and Edit a Project

Quire lets you preview the current version of your site in a web browser, and will update the preview as you edit the files.

To run the preview:

  1. Open your command-line shell and navigate to your Quire project directory using the cd (change directory) command. For example, if your project directory was called my-project and it was in your home directory, you’d enter cd my-project.

  2. Still in the command-line shell, type quire preview and press enter to start the preview server.

  3. Open a web browser and visit http://localhost:1313 to see the publication. To stop the preview you can either press Control–C or type quire stop and press enter.

Some tips for previewing your publication outline:

  1. Include YAML on page for it to be viewable in your web browser In order for pages to become active, you must have basic YAML included at the top of the page. Learn more about YAML in Markdown & YAML

  2. Use menu:false to hide a page from the table of contents view. If you want to hide a page from the table of contents include menu:false in the YAML.

  • In some cases, changes to .yml, .scss and .css files may not show up in your preview immediately. You may need to refresh the browser, clear the browser cache, or stop and re-start the quire preview command in these cases.