Automatically import Components in Astro MDX

Written by Ryan Trimble

One of my (very few) complaints while working with Astro was that using components in MDX files tends to be a bit clunky, especially for those who may not be as familiar with how to import things. For example, we have some non-developers that make content updates to our static sites who are most likely unaware of this crucial step.

The Problem

We are converting sites from Hugo to Astro and in Hugo there is a concept of “shortcodes” used inside markdown to easily generate snippets of code. Hugo automatically knows about shortcodes, as long as they reside inside the shortcodes/ folder, in order to be used throughout a markdown file without having to do any imports.

Astro doesn’t have a “shortcodes” concept per se, but components are a pretty straightforward replacement. There are two main differences though:

  • Regular markdown does not understand components, which leads us to utlize MDX instead.
  • Components are not automatically imported into these MDX files.

Now importing components may not sound like the end-of-the-world, but might cause a lot of unneeded stress the first time someone unknowingly uses a component without importing it first.

The Solution

Over on Mastodon, Roma Komarov had the answer with a recent post called Astro MDX Components.

In the post, Roma explains a very similar use-case for Astro components to our problem with shortcodes. Roma figured out that when rendering a dynamic <Content /> component, you can actually provide it a components prop in order to pass in whichever components you want to be automatically included in the MDX files.

Definitely check out Roma’s post for all the details!


For my implementation of Roma’s solution, I created a mixin file called mixins/autoImportComponents.js which has the one job of returning all the components I’ve created “shortcodes” for:

import DetailSummary from '../shortcodes/DetailSummary.astro';
import MessageBlock from '../shortcodes/MessageBlock.astro';

export const components = {

I chose to do this as a mixin file to quickly include these components in any layout files I might need.

Within [slug].astro (or whatever layout file needed) used for MDX content, I can now import the mixin file and pass these shortcode components into the dynamically created render component via the components prop:

import {components} from '../mixins/autoImportComponents';

const { Content } = await entry.render();

<Content components={components} />

Now anyone can freely use these shortcode components within MDX files without needing to import first!

Published November 17, 2023 by

Suggested Reading