kluctl uses a Jinja2 Templating engine to pre-process/render every involved configuration file and resource before actually interpreting it. Only files that are explicitly excluded via .templateignore files are not rendered via Jinja2.

Generally, everything that is possible with Jinja2 is possible in kluctl configuration/resources. Please read into the Jinja2 documentation to understand what exactly is possible and how to use it.


In some cases it is required to exclude specific files from templating, for example when the contents conflict with the used template engine (e.g. Go templates conflict with Jinja2 and cause errors). In such cases, you can place a .templateignore beside the excluded files or into a parent folder of it. The contents/format of the .templateignore file is the same as you would use in a .gitignore file.

Includes and imports

Standard Jinja2 includes and imports can be used in all templates.

The path given to include/import is searched in the directory of the root template and all it’s parent directories up until the project root. Please note that the search path is not altered in included templates, meaning that it will always search in the same directories even if an include happens inside a file that was included as well.

To include/import a file relative to the currently rendered file (which is not necessarily the root template), prefix the path with ./, e.g. use {% include "./my-relative-file.j2" %}".


Jinja2 macros are fully supported. When writing macros that produce yaml resources, you must use the --- yaml separator in case you want to produce multiple resources in one go.

Why no Go Templating

kluctl started as a python project and was then migrated to be a Go project. In the python world, Jinja2 is the obvious choice when it comes to templating. In the Go world, of course Go Templates would be the first choice.

When the migration to Go was performed, it was a conscious and opinionated decision to stick with Jinja2 templating. The reason is that I (@codablock) believe that Go Templates are hard to read and write and at the same time quite limited in their features (without extensive work). It never felt natural to write Go Templates.

This “feeling” was confirmed by multiple users of kluctl when it started and users described as “relieving” to not be forced to use Go Templates.

The above is my personal experience and opinion. I’m still quite open for contributions in regard to Go Templating support, as long as Jinja2 support is kept.