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This page, Help:Reftags, explains the use of the reftag element, "<ref>...</ref>" for defining reference wp:footnotes, as displayed by using a "{{Reflist}}" template to list the footnotes. A reftag can also be defined by using wikitext function "{{#tag:ref|...}}" to generate the text "<ref>...</ref>" and allow direct use of wp:subst'ing of templates to embed equivalent markup inside a footnote.

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 ".." or in apostrophes (group='set xx yy'), but a single-word name can omit the quotation marks or apostrophes (as: group=fn). Hence, many group names are typically one-word labels, to avoid excessive apostrophes or 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[3] 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 apostrophes in name group='fn'.


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

See also