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See also Wikipedia:Footnotes for further details on this method, specific to Wikipedia

This page explains how to create numbered footnotes and references using <ref>,</ref>, and <references/> syntax, which is the current best-practice method in most circumstances.

For the policy about the need and choice of sources to cite see Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:Citing sources.

Inserting references or footnotes

Single citation of a reference or footnote

At the point of citation in the article, enter the footnote or reference like this:

<ref>Excel For Dummies, First Edition, Hungry Minds, Inc., 1980.</ref>

You can include formatting and links in the footnote or reference in the usual way.

Creating the list of References or Footnotes

At the point where you want the text of the footnotes or references to appear (usually at the end of the article in a Notes or References section), insert the tag:


The template {{reflist}} is an alternative, mostly used if there are many footnotes.

Multiple citations of the same reference or footnote

To cite the same reference or footnote several times, identify it using the name parameter of the <ref> tag.

At one of the citation points (it makes sense to choose the first), enter the reference like this:

<ref name="Perry">Perry's Handbook, Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill Co., 1984.</ref>

Then at all the other citation points, just enter:

<ref name="Perry"/>

Using templates to insert reference text

A number of templates, such as a generic {{citation}}, or more specific {{cite book}}, {{cite web}}, etc., are available to format the text between <ref> and </ref> tags in a more structured way. These are described at Wikipedia:Citation templates. Their use is optional: they do aid with consistent formatting, but on the other hand they can make editing more cumbersome.

References or footnotes missing

When you want to note that a reference is needed, use the template {{fact}} within the text, in the same place where the <ref> should be.

If many footnotes and/or references are needed consider tagging the article with a specific template, instead of tagging every reference needed.

What it looks like

The <ref> tags in the main text are converted to auto-numbered superscripts, and {{fact}} is expanded to "citation needed", like this:

The only reference to Excel For Dummies.[1] The first reference to Perry's Handbook.[2] The second reference to Perry's Handbook and to another, related book.[2][3] A statement that requires a reference.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The only reference to Linux in a Nutshell.[4] And third reference to Perry's Handbook.[2]

Clicking on a numbered superscript takes you straight to the text of the corresponding footnote or reference.

The <references/><code> tag is expanded to show the text of the footnotes or references against their corresponding numbers, like this:

  1. Excel For Dummies, First Edition, Hungry Minds, Inc., 1980.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Perry's Handbook, Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill Co., 1984.
  3. Nuclear Chemical Engineering (2nd Edition), McGraw-Hill Co., 1981.
  4. Linux in a Nutshell, O'Reily Co., 2003.

For single citations, clicking on the caret (^) takes you to the point of citation in the main text. For multiple citations, the links back to the main text are distinguished by letter superscripts (a, b, c etc.). Clicking on a letter superscript takes you to the corresponding citation in the main text.

Technical note

A MediaWiki site (such as Wikipedia) must have the extension <code>Cite/Cite.php implemented to have the <ref> and <references/> tags rendered. Extensions like Cite/Cite.php are installed after installing MediaWiki.

See also

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

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