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Ref-family templates

The ref family of templates is used to place labeled references and notes and references into an article, with the labels normally being clickable links for navigating from a ref to a corresponding note and back from the note to the ref. The links and backlinks are identified internally by combining the specified parameters. The templates take a variable number of unnamed parameters identified by their position and, optionally, a named parameter named noid which, if used, should be set by specifying it as "noid=noid".

Very simple example

Article Wikitext
Text that requires a footnote.{{ref|a|1}}

:1.{{note|a}}Body of the footnote.

Text that requires a footnote.


1.Body of the footnote.

The first parameter of ref is the label that has to be used for the parameter of the corresponding note. The second parameter is the marker of the resulting link as it will be shown on the page, as a superscript. The easiest choice is to make these two the same, but this is not a requirement.

Labels must be unique

A common error when using ref is to use it multiple times with the same label. For example:

Text that requires a footnote.{{ref|1|1}}
Some other text that requires the same footnote.{{ref|1|1}}

:1.{{note|1}}Body of the footnote.

This generates two citations with the same label, which is invalid HTML. To fix the problem, use multiple unique IDs.

Simple examples

ref and note


Article text{{ref|reference_name_A|a}} more text{{ref|reference_name_B|b}} more text {{ref|reference_name_C|c|noid=noid}}.
*Bulleted text{{ref|reference_name_B|b|noid=noid}}
*Bulleted text{{ref|reference_name_C|c}}.
*intervening text
*{{note|reference_name_A|a}}Text for note a.
*{{note|reference_name_B|b}}Text for note b.
*{{note|reference_name_C|c|Text for note c (with extended highlighting).}}

This would produce:

Article text more text more text .

  • Bulleted text
  • Bulleted text.
  • intervening text
  • Text for note a.
  • Text for note b.

Notice that the navigation back from the note to the ref does not work by clicking the backlink for refs which specify "noid=noid". In practice, if "noid=noid" is specified, it is usually specified for all refs having identical unnamed parameters, and navigation back to the associated ref is done by using the browser's "Back" button.

Also notice that browsers which support highlighting of link-accessed material highlight the active backlink by default, and that the highlighting has been extended to encompass the text for note c by specifying that text as a final template parameter instead of placing it outside of the template.

More complex examples

ref label pairs with note label. The note label template will normally have identical parameters with the ref label with which it is paired, and is normally created by copying the ref, pasting it into the note location, and changing its name to "note label"; this avoids having parameters mismatched because of a typo. Navigation forward uses parameters 1 and 3, navigation backward uses parameters 1 and 2. Parameter 3 is optional, and note label has an optional fourth parameter.


Article text{{ref label|reference_name_A|a|1}} more text{{ref label|reference_name_G|g|}} more text {{ref label|reference_name_B|b|2}} more text {{ref label|reference_name_C|c|3}} more text {{ref label|reference name_D|d|4}} more text {{ref label|reference name_E|e|none}} more text {{ref label|reference name_F|f|}} more text {{ref label|reference_name_H|h|8}}.
*intervening text
*{{note label|reference_name_A|a|1}}Text of note for ref a.
*{{note label|reference_name_B|b|2}}Text of note for ref b.
*{{note label|reference_name_C|c|3|ABCDE}}Text of note for ref c.
*{{note label|reference_name_D|d|4|FGHIJ}}Text of note for ref d.
*{{note label|reference_name_E|e|none}}Text of note for ref e.
*{{note label|reference_name_F|f}}Text of note for ref f.
*{{note label|reference_name_G|g||{{note label|reference_name_H|h|8|Text of note for refs g and h (with extended highlighting).}}}}

This would produce:

Article text more text more text more text more text more text more text more text .

  1. Note that ref label produces a superscripted link with square brackets.
  2. The note for ref e has a "^" character as its backlink, because parameter 3 was specified as "none".
  3. The notes for refs f and g do not have a clickable backlink, because parameter 3 was not specified.

Notice that, because the notes for refs g and h above use the same text, note h was made a part of the text passed as a final parameter to note g in order for the extended highlighting to cover both notes.

Combining Ref family templates with the alternative referencing style

An example combining the use of Ref-family templates with the alternative referencing style might be something like

Yammer yammer yammer.[1]Yammer yammer yammer.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Smith wrote the definitive book on yammering.


Third party tool

A third-party tool to translate articles using the templates described on this page into the Cite.php system is available.