There are a number of ways to include dynamic variables within documents rendered by Quarto. This is useful for externalizing content that varies depending on context, or as an alternative to repeating a value in multiple places (e.g. a version number).

For example, the following prints the title from document metadata:

{{< meta title >}}

The {{< meta >}} syntax used here is an example of a shortcode. Quarto supports the following shortcodes for dynamic variables:

Shortcode Description
var Value from _variables.yml file
meta Value from document metadata
env Value of System environment variable


If you are using a Quarto project, the var shortcode enables you to insert content from a project-level _variables.yml file. Create this file alongside your _quarto.yml project file, and then include references to those variables within any document in your project.

Variables can be either simple values or can include arbitrary markdown content. To define variables, create a _variables.yml file in the root directory of your project. For example:

version: 1.2


  jupyter: "[Jupyter]("
  knitr: "[Knitr](<>)"

Note that the engine variable values include markdown for hyperlinks.

To include the value of a variable, use the {{< var >}} shortcode, for example:

Version {{< var version >}} is a minor upgrade.

Please contact us at {{< var >}}.

Quarto includes {{< var engine.jupyter >}} and 
{{< var engine.knitr >}} computation engines.


The meta shortcode allows you to insert content from Pandoc metadata (e.g. YAML at the top of the document and/or in _quarto.yml).

For example, the following shortcode inserts the value of the title field from YAML metadata:

{{< meta title >}}

You can dereference sub-keys using the dot (.) delimiter. For example:

{{< meta labels.description >}}


The env shortcode enables you to read values from environment variables. For example:

Version {{< env PRODUCT_VERSION >}} is a minor upgrade.


If you are writing documentation about using variable shortcodes (for example, this article!) you might need to prevent them from being processed. You can do this in two ways:

  1. Escape the shortcode reference with extra braces like this:

    {{{< var version >}}}
  2. Add a shortcodes=false attribute to any code block you want to prevent processing of shortcodes within:

    {{< var version >}}