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[edit]

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]

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 quotemarks 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[edit]

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 numbered subscript: [1] and list footnote "Example of tag:ref function" under the References.
  • Using named "{{#tag:ref|Named reftag function xx1|name=xx1}}" will show numbered subscript: [2] 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[2] in the text.[2]

Footnotes (fn)[edit]

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

See also[edit]