Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This page, Help:Reftags, explains the use of the reftag element,<

subst'ing of templates to embed equivalent markup inside a footnote, or to nest a <ref
>...</ref> inside a {{#tag:ref|...}}.

Defining a reftag element

The general format is <ref>text</ref> for a simple reftag footnote. However reftags can have a name="xx" to define a footnote to be reused on a page by named ref, <ref name="xx" />, as when citing the same webpage at several spots in the article text. There can be more than 3,000 reftag footnotes defined on a page, but usually there are less than a hundred.[fn 1]

Citing different pages in a single source

When citing different pages in a single source, a named ref[1] can be followed by a {{R}} template. Given a ref like "<ref name="author1990">book</ref>", the ref "author1990" can be reused, now using a different page number, say 53. This subsequent ref {{R|author1990|p=53}} will show the same superscript number, with a suffix of a colon and, in this case 53, the page number.[1]: 53  This format allows the reader to click to the reference section, and then click on other references from the same source.

Named groupings

Rather than define hundreds of footnotes in a single list, various reftags could split to some named groupings, such as using "<ref group="gg">...</ref>"" to collect those footnotes into group name "gg" as displayed by <references group="gg" />.[fn 2] For example, a common tactic is to define footnote group "fn" which shows each link as "[fn 9]" for the 9th footnote in the group="fn". A group name can be multiple words in straight double quotation marks (group="set xx yy"), but a single-word name with no punctuation or other special characters, just ASCII letters and numerals, can omit the quotation marks (as: group=fn). Hence, many group names are typically one-word labels, to avoid excessive quotation marks.[fn 3]

Defining a reftag function

Rather than using an element <ref>text</ref>, an alternate method is to use the wikitext function tag:ref, as {{#tag:ref|...text...}} to define the contents of a footnote.


  • Using {{#tag:ref|Example of tag:ref function}} will show a superscript number: [2] and list footnote "Example of tag:ref function" under the References.
  • Using named {{#tag:ref|Named reftag function xx1|name="xx1"}} will show a superscript number: [3] and list footnote "Named reftag function xx1" under the References below. The footnote name "xx1" then can be reused by putting <ref name="xx1" /> at various points in the text.[3]

Footnotes (fn)

  1. ^ A reftag formats extremely fast, but users can become overwhelmed with more than 500 footnotes on a page.
  2. ^ This is a sample footnote in group="fn".
  3. ^ This footnote uses double-quotes in name group="fn".


  1. ^ a b book details here
  2. ^ Example of tag:ref function
  3. ^ a b Named reftag function xx1

See also

  • Wikipedia:Advanced footnote formatting – special layouts
    ) – how to format footnotes or bibliography
  • WP:RS
    ) – about reputable references
  • Wikipedia:Find sources
    – how to hunt for quality source documents
  • {{
    , for sources with a URL
  • {{Cite book}} – to cite a book/chapter or volume as a source reference
  • {{Cite journal}} – to cite an article in a periodical as a source reference
  • mw:Help:Cite – original documentation of the <ref> citation feature provided by MediaWiki