Working with trees in templates

Getting started

Before you can use these tags/filters, you must:

  • add “mptt” to your INSTALLED_APPS in

  • add {% load mptt_tags %} in your template.

Recursive tags

Added in version 0.4.

For most setups, recursive tags are the easiest and most efficient way to render trees.


Added in version 0.4.

This tag renders a section of your template recursively for each node in your tree.

For example:

<ul class="root">
    {% recursetree nodes %}
            {{ }}
            {% if not node.is_leaf_node %}
                <ul class="children">
                    {{ children }}
            {% endif %}
    {% endrecursetree %}

Note the special variables node and children. These are magically inserted into your context while you’re inside the recursetree tag.

node is an instance of your MPTT model.

children : This variable holds the rendered HTML for the children of node.


If you already have variables called node or children in your template, and you need to access them inside the recursetree block, you’ll need to alias them to some other name first:

{% with node as friendly_node %}
    {% recursetree nodes %}
        {{ }} is friends with {{ }}
        {{ children }}
    {% endrecursetree %}
{% endwith %}

Iterative tags

Why? These tags are better suited to unusually deep trees. If you expect to have trees with depth > 20, you should use these instead of the above.


Populates a template variable with a QuerySet containing the full tree for a given model.


{% full_tree_for_model [model] as [varname] %}

The model is specified in [appname].[modelname] format.


{% full_tree_for_model tests.Genre as genres %}


Populates a template variable with the drilldown tree for a given node, optionally counting the number of items associated with its children.

A drilldown tree consists of a node’s ancestors, itself and its immediate children or all descendants. For example, a drilldown tree for a book category “Personal Finance” might look something like:

   Business, Finance & Law
      Personal Finance
         Budgeting (220)
         Financial Planning (670)


{% drilldown_tree_for_node [node] as [varname] %}

Extended usage:

{% drilldown_tree_for_node [node] as [varname] all_descendants %}
{% drilldown_tree_for_node [node] as [varname] count [foreign_key] in [count_attr] %}
{% drilldown_tree_for_node [node] as [varname] cumulative count [foreign_key] in [count_attr] %}

The foreign key is specified in [appname].[modelname].[fieldname] format, where fieldname is the name of a field in the specified model which relates it to the given node’s model.

When this form is used, a count_attr attribute on each child of the given node in the drilldown tree will contain a count of the number of items associated with it through the given foreign key.

If cumulative is also specified, this count will be for items related to the child node and all of its descendants.


{% drilldown_tree_for_node genre as drilldown %}
{% drilldown_tree_for_node genre as drilldown count tests.Game.genre in game_count %}
{% drilldown_tree_for_node genre as drilldown cumulative count tests.Game.genre in game_count %}

See Examples for an example of how to render a drilldown tree as a nested list.


tree_info filter

Given a list of tree items, iterates over the list, generating two-tuples of the current tree item and a dict containing information about the tree structure around the item, with the following keys:


True if the current item is the start of a new level in the tree, False otherwise.


A list of levels which end after the current item. This will be an empty list if the next item’s level is the same as or greater than the level of the current item.

An optional argument can be provided to specify extra details about the structure which should appear in the dict. This should be a comma-separated list of feature names. The valid feature names are:


Adds a list of unicode representations of the ancestors of the current node, in descending order (root node first, immediate parent last), under the key 'ancestors'.

For example: given the sample tree below, the contents of the list which would be available under the 'ancestors' key are given on the right:

Books                    ->  []
   Sci-fi                ->  ['Books']
      Dystopian Futures  ->  ['Books', 'Sci-fi']

Using this filter with unpacking in a {% for %} tag, you should have enough information about the tree structure to create a hierarchical representation of the tree.


{% for genre,structure in genres|tree_info %}
    {% if structure.new_level %}<ul><li>{% else %}</li><li>{% endif %}
        {{ }}
    {% for level in structure.closed_levels %}</li></ul>{% endfor %}
{% endfor %}


Creates a tree path represented by a list of items by joining the items with a separator, which can be provided as an optional argument, defaulting to ' :: '.

Each path item will be coerced to unicode, so a list of model instances may be given if required.


{{ some_list|tree_path }}
{{ some_node.get_ancestors|tree_path:" > " }}


Using drilldown_tree_for_node and tree_info together to render a drilldown menu for a node, with cumulative counts of related items for the node’s children:

{% drilldown_tree_for_node genre as drilldown cumulative count tests.Game.genre in game_count %}
{% for node,structure in drilldown|tree_info %}
    {% if structure.new_level %}<ul><li>{% else %}</li><li>{% endif %}
    {% if node == genre %}
        <strong>{{ }}</strong>
    {% else %}
        <a href="{{ node.get_absolute_url }}">{{ }}</a>
        {% if node.parent_id == %}({{ node.game_count }}){% endif %}
    {% endif %}
    {% for level in structure.closed_levels %}</li></ul>{% endfor %}
{% endfor %}

Using tree_info (with its optional argument) and tree_path together to create a multiple-select, which:

  • doesn’t contain root nodes

  • displays the full path to each node

<select name="classifiers" multiple="multiple" size="10">
    {% for node,structure in classifiers|tree_info:"ancestors" %}
        {% if node.is_child_node %}
            <option value="{{ }}">
                {{ structure.ancestors|tree_path }} :: {{ node }}
        {% endif %}
    {% endfor %}