Template Fragments

Just like methods in Java provide us with the ability to reuse useful code, Thymeleaf allows us to do something similar with HTML.

Fragments are blocks of HTML elements that we want to use across multiple templates. The fragments are stored in a separate file, and they can be accessed by using the keywords fragment and replace.

A summary of these two keywords is given below, followed by another video walkthrough to give you some more live-coding practice.

Fragments DRY Your Code

Anytime you find yourself typing identical code into different templates, you should consider ways to streamline your work.

Never fear, coder. Fragments are the tool you need. The general syntax is:

th:fragment = "fragmentName"
th:replace = "fileName :: fragmentName"


Let’s assume that you want to add the same styled header and a set of links to multiple pages within your web project.


The common header styled with CSS:

<h1 class="fancyTitle" th:text="${title}"></h1>

The link list, which appears below a dividing line:

<a href="https://www.launchcode.org">LaunchCode</a> <br/>
<a href="https://www.lego.com">Play Well</a> <br/>
<a href="https://www.webelements.com">Other Building Blocks</a>

Instead of pasting this code into every template, we will store the HTML in a separate file.

  1. Create a new html file inside the templates folder and give it a clear name (e.g., fragments.html is a common practice).
  2. Inside this file, use the th:fragment attribute on each block of code that you want to reuse. Note that you must provide a different name for each sample.
<h1 th:fragment="styledHeader" class="fancyTitle" th:text="${title}"></h1>

For multiple elements, we need to wrap them in another tag: For the h1 element:

<div th:fragment="linkList">
   <a href="https://www.launchcode.org">LaunchCode</a> <br/>
   <a href="https://www.lego.com">Play Well</a> <br/>
   <a href="https://www.webelements.com">Other Building Blocks</a>

We can now pull either of the fragments—styledHeader or linkList–into any template in our project.


What if we do not want to keep the link list inside its own div element? One option is to use th:block:

<th:block th:fragment="linkList">
   <a href="https://www.launchcode.org">LaunchCode</a> <br/>
   <a href="https://www.lego.com">Play Well</a> <br/>
   <a href="https://www.webelements.com">Other Building Blocks</a>

Another option is to use the attribute th:remove, which allows us to selectively discard the wrapper tag, but not any of its children.

<div th:fragment="linkList" th:remove="tag">

For a more detailed discussion of the different th:remove options, consult the Thymeleaf documentation .


This attribute does just what the name implies—it replaces the tag that contains it with the selected fragment. Thus, if the fragment is a <p> element, and the template contains <div th:replace="...">, then the div in the template will be replaced with a p. Similarly, if the fragment contains multiple elements, the single template tag will be replaced with the entire code block.

Take home lesson: The template tag that contains th:replace does NOT have to match the HTML tags in the fragment.

Now let’s see how to pull fragments into a template:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en" xmlns:th="http://www.thymeleaf.org/">
<head th:fragment="head">
   <meta charset="UTF-8"/>
   <title th:text="${pageTitle}"></title>

   <h1 th:replace="fragments :: styledHeader"></h1>

   <!-- Specific template code here... -->

   <p th:replace="fragments :: linkList"></p>


When the code runs, the h1 element in line 9 will be replaced by the styledHeader fragment stored in the fragments.html file. Also, the p element in line 13 will be replaced by the <hr> and three <a> elements defined in the linkList fragment.

Try It!

Code along with the following video to practice using fragments in your templates:


The starter code for this video is found at the forms-continued branch of the CodingEventsJava repo. The final code presented in this video is found on the fragments branch . As always, code along to the videos in your own codingevents project.

Remember that the summary text for the fragment and replace keywords supports the video and is NOT intended as a replacement.

Check Your Understanding


Given our code fragment in fragments.html:

<th:block th:fragment = "linkList">
   <a href = "https://www.launchcode.org">LaunchCode</a> <br/>
   <a href = "https://www.lego.com">Play Well</a> <br/>
   <a href = "https://www.webelements.com">Other Building Blocks</a>

Which of the following would place the linkList fragment inside a <div> element in the template?

  1. <div th:replace = "fragments :: linkList"></div>
  2. <div>${th:replace = "fragments :: linkList"}</div>
  3. <div><p th:replace = "fragments :: linkList"></p></div>
  4. <p><div th:replace = "fragments :: linkList"></div></p>

Research th:remove to answer this question. Which of the following does NOT remove the wrapper tag but does eliminate all of its children.

  1. th:remove = "all"
  2. th:remove = "body"
  3. th:remove = "tag"
  4. th:remove = "all-but-first"
  5. th:remove = "none"