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File:How to make a wikilink.webm This page explains how to make the wikilink, interwiki link, or external web link (as hyperlinks) connections on the AARoads Wiki, which gives readers one-click access to other AARoads Wiki pages, other Wikimedia projects, and external websites.

A link has various (changeable) appearances on the "anchor" page, and the "target" page, which owns the "backlinks", and which can count the links to it with the Special:WhatLinksHere tool.

For a short list of some basic shortcuts, see Help:Cheatsheet.

Wikilinks (internal links)

A wikilink (or internal link) is a link from one page to another page within the wiki, or, more generally, within the same wiki, in other words: within the same domain, or.

Links are enclosed in doubled square brackets:

  • [[w:1234|1234]] is seen as "1234" in text and links to (the top of) page "1234".

Use a vertical bar "|" (the "pipe" symbol) to create a link which appears as a term other than the name of the target page. Links of this kind are said to be "piped". The first term inside the brackets is the title of the page you would be taken to (the link target), and anything after the vertical bar is what the link looks like for the reader on the original page (the link label). For example:

  • [[w:a|b]] appears as "b" but links to page "a", thus: b.

See Help:Pipe trick for how to generate some common forms of piped links without typing text after the "|".

Letters and other non-punctuation text immediately (i.e. without a space) after the closing brackets of a wikilink becomes part of the label (meaning it is shown in the same colour as the label) without changing the target. This is useful for plurals and verb forms which only add something at the end. For example:

  • [[w:apple|apple]]s generates apples, linking to apple, and is equivalent to but more convenient than [[w:apple|apples]].

This not only saves the active editor time, it also makes the code easier to read; the latter is why it is recommended wherever possible.

More complicated examples:

  • [[w:a|b]]c gives bc, equivalent to [[w:a|bc]] .
  • a[[w:b|b]] gives ab. There are no special rules for text preceding a wikilink.
  • If you want the "a" in front in the colour of the link, you have to write
    [[w:b|ab]] gives ab.
  • [[w:a|a]]:b gives a:b since the rule doesn't apply to punctuation.
    This does the right thing for possessives, like [[w:Batman|Batman]]'s gives Batman's.
  • [[w:a|a]]''b'' gives ab. This rule also applies to "invisible" notation such as double apostrophes (to turn on and off italics)
  • Even italics in the link: [[w:a|a''b'']] gives ab, but, of course, in colour.
  • [[w:a|a]]<nowiki />b gives ab. The nowiki tag turns off the rule.
  • [[w:a|b]]<nowiki />c gives bc.

The link target is case-sensitive except for the first character (so [[w:atom|atom]] links to "Atom" but [[w:ATom|ATom]] does not, it links to a different page).

If the target of a wikilink does not exist, it is displayed in a red color and is called a "red link". Here is a red link example.

To see what the tool tip tells you about a red link and what is displayed at the bottom left corner, move your mouse pointer into this red link.

If a red link is clicked, the user is taken to a blank page where it is possible to create a page using that red linked title. While on that blank page, other red links to this (non-existent) title can be detected using the "What links here" feature.

If the target of a link is the same as the page on which it appears (a self-link), it is displayed in bold font, as with: Help:Link. Yes, its wiki code is actually [[Help:Link]]. But it is not in the usual link colour, and it does not react as a link does; if the mouse pointer is in it, the mouse pointer looks like being in/over plain text.

When an edit is previewed before saving, if the target of a newly made link turns out to be a disambiguation page, such as the Peacemaker page, the link should be changed to one of the choices on that page unless the link is purposely in a hatnote. If necessary, the new link can be piped, such as in [[w:Peacemaker (comics)|Peacemaker]], which appears as Peacemaker and links to the article about the fictional characters. Readers should not be directed to disambiguation pages unless there is no other option but to do so.

Attempting to link normally to an image page, category page or interlanguage link will produce a different effect: this will respectively place the image on the page, add the page to the category, or create an interlanguage link at the edge of the page. To override this behavior, insert an initial colon ":", as in [[:File:Mediawiki.png]], [[:Category:Help]], [[:fr:Help:Link]].

Less common ways in which link targets are reinterpreted are described below in #Conversion to canonical form.

Inserting and deleting internal links

  • When editing source, links are inserted or deleted simply by adding or removing pairs of square brackets enclosing the text concerned (plus handling piped links).

There are some helpful tools:

  • When using the WikEd source editor, selectable from Preferences > Gadgets > Editing, there is a "Wiki link" button (typically the first button on the bottom row). When editing, if some text is highlighted, clicking the Wiki link button will enclose it in double brackets, i.e., Wikilink it. If, however, some text is highlighted that includes one or more internal links—in many cases just a single internal link with its delimiting brackets—they will be removed instead. For a single link without pipe, the Wiki link button will toggle between linking and unlinking.

Interwiki links

An interwiki link links to a page on another Wikimedia project website, such as Meta or a language Wikipedia. The target site must be on the interwiki map specified for the source wiki. These links have the same [[w:...|...]] syntax as wikilinks (see previously), but take a prefix ":x:" which specifies the target site.

For example, [[m:Help:Link]] links to the "Help:Link" page on Meta, while [[:commons:Athens]] links to page "Athens" on Wikimedia Commons as: commons:Athens.

Interwiki links can be piped, just as with wikilinks. Remember that an interlanguage link should be preceded by a colon if it is to be displayed, where it is inserted in the text, as an inline interlanguage link; otherwise it will be displayed in the list of interlanguage links at the side of the page (which is appropriate only if it is the most closely corresponding page in the other language Wikipedia). Thus (incorporating the pipe trick), [[:ja:Wikilink|]] would be used to link to Wikilink on Japanese Wikipedia. Example: ([[:ja:URL|]] links to URL on Japanese Wikipedia).

Interwiki links (like external links) are displayed in a slightly paler blue than ordinary wikilinks. The MediaWiki page formatting does not detect whether these target pages exist, so they are never displayed in red.

External links

External links use URLs to link directly to any web page. External links are enclosed in single square brackets (rather than double brackets as with internal links), with the optional link text separated from the URL by a space (not a "|" as with internal links). When rendered, external links are followed by an external link icon. For example,

[ link text]

will be rendered as

link text.

The URL must be specified in full, including the protocol: for example [http://...] or [https://...]. Short form URLs that are accepted in some other (non-Wikimedia) contexts like [ link text] or [ link text] are not accepted and will not result in a link being generated. Instead, the link generating markup including the square brackets will be copied directly to the marked-up output, thus "[ link text]" or "[ link text]".

When no link text is specified, external links appear numbered: [][] becomes [1][2]. Links with no square brackets display in their entirety: displays as

For more detailed information on external linking practices, see Help:URL § Linking to URLs. Also note that Special:LinkSearch can be used to find all pages linking to a given site.

The external link syntax can also be used to link to particular pages within the AARoads Wiki that are not accessible by wikilinks, such as page history, the edit view, an old version of a page, the diff between two versions, etc. It can also be used to create a navigational image.

To display an external link without the arrow icon, place the external link syntax between <span class="plainlinks">...</span> tags. For instance, <span class="plainlinks">[ this page's history]</span> will be rendered as: this page's history. If you make frequent use of this, the CharInsert gadget (which can be activated under Preferences → Gadgets → Editing → CharInsert), has an option to insert this text in its "Wiki markup" mode.

http: and https:

In mid-2015, Wikipedia and all other Wikimedia sites were changed to use HTTPS to encrypt all traffic. Accessing a URL like will result in the webserver redirecting you to Therefore, when making an external-style link to an internal page (that is, using single square brackets, or a bare URL), https should be specified to avoid the needless redirect, as in

In the past, when Wikipedia could be accessed via either HTTP or HTTPS, a protocol-relative URL could be used to make an external link (or external-style link to an internal page) which would use http: or https: depending on how the page the link appeared on was accessed, as in [//]. However, as all Wikimedia sites now require HTTPS, this linking style is obsolete and should no longer be used. http: or https: should be explicitly specified as appropriate for the target site (preferring https:, where available).

What is an "anchor"?

The word "anchor" has two opposite meanings.

In the context of a link from an anchor to a target, it is the starting place.

In the context of the {{anchor}} template, an "anchor" is a landing place for a link to jump to. The anchor template automatically creates some invisible coding from certain text in the template in the "landing place". In this context, the word "anchor" may refer to:

  • the text and parameters, in the template, from which the invisible code is created,
  • the mostly invisible HTML code, or
  • the landing place/location/spot in itself.

Section linking (anchors)

To link to a section or subsection in another page, append a # and the section name to the page name:

[[w:Page name#Section name|displayed text]]

For linking in the same page, omit the page name and use a # and the section name:

[[#Section name|displayed text]]

Omitting the page name is recommended when linking to a section in the same page because the link will work as expected when previewing changes or after moving the page.

To format a link with the section sign (§) instead of a # (e.g. Page name § Section name rather than Page name#Section name), use the template {{Section link}} (or {{slink}}):

{{Section link|Page name|Section name}}

Note that Section names are entirely case sensitive, in contrast to article links, where the first letter is not case sensitive.

The characters [ ] { | } require encoding when linking to a section:

[ ] { | }
.5B .5D .7B .7C .7D

For example, the section "[Closed] Complaint" can be linked with [[#.5BClosed.5D Complaint]]. Links in the table of contents will automatically make this encoding, so the URL can be copied from there. However, that URL will also encode other characters which do not interfere with templates or wikicode, so the result may look ugly.

For more information, see Help:Section.


When a link contains a section title (as in the examples above), the title actually points to an HTML anchor on the target page. In addition to anchors created automatically by section titles, there are times when it's advantageous to create an anchor on a smaller unit of text, such as a specific paragraph (see § Linking to part of a section below). This can be done using {{Anchor|anchor name}}, or alternatively, the HTML code <span id="anchor name">...</span> (see {{Anchor}} syntax). Anchors are also used when renaming a section, yet still allowing links to the old name to function, or similarly, allowing linking to a section using an abbreviation. Links to anchors can also be added to external URLs and to interwiki links, again using the # syntax.

Section links still work through page names that are redirects. For example, if Danzig redirects to Gdańsk, then Danzig#History will link to the "History" section of the article Gdańsk. It is also possible for the target of a redirect to be defined as a specific section or anchor of a page (these work only if JavaScript is enabled). Indeed, according to the Manual of Style, it may be preferable to define such redirects, and use them when linking to those sections/anchors, rather than linking using the [[w:Page name#Section or anchor name|displayed text]] or {{Section link|Page name|Section name}} syntax. This way, if the section or anchored text later becomes its own article, links via the redirect won't need to be rewritten.

For example, Help:Section link redirects specifically to the section Help:Link#Section linking (anchors) on this page. A quirk of the way this works is that if one were to add a section name when using such a link, it would override the section specified by the redirect. So Help:Section link#Interwiki links would go to the "Interwiki links" section of this page. Such overriding of section redirects should be avoided.

The {{Visible anchor}} template can be used to create an anchor associated with text that is highlighted when the anchor is linked to (example - click here). The template's first parameter will be used as both the anchor and the display text (|text= can be used to provide different display text).

Duplicate section names

If more than one section on a destination page has the same title, a link to the title is to the first section with that title. If the link should be to another section with the title or a title that differs only in capitalization (Example vs. EXAMPLE), append to the linked title _2, _3, and so on, without a space (or 2, 3, and so on with a space), counting from the top of the destination page and without regard to whether a section is a section or a subsection. For example, multiple sections titled "History" may be linked to as "History", "History_2" (or "History 2"), and so on.

Linking to part of a section

Anchors can also be used to link to any part of a section. For example, if you want to link to the fifth sentence of a section, you place an anchor at the start of that sentence, and you can then link to that anchor in the same way as you would link to any other anchor.

However, just as with section names, duplicate anchor names only link to the first one. Since anchors aren't displayed you have a much greater freedom in picking unique anchors, such as by appending the current date and time to the anchor name (for example, by naming an anchor for section "ThisSection" like so: {{Anchor|ThisSection2014-09-22-18-05a1}} ).

Anchors can be placed anywhere, including at the start of a clause, and inside notes and citations, though it is advisable to test first in your sandbox before trying some exotic new kind of location for the first time. Also the anchor has to be placed after any indicators that are only recognized at the start of a line (such as == or ===, etc., for new section, * for new bullet point, : for indentation), as the anchor should still work, but the start-of-line indicator usually no longer will (and you may not always notice this, perhaps especially if you are in a hurry).

There are a small number of special anchor names. See § Table row linking.

Table row linking

To create an anchor for a row of a table, see Help:Table § Section link or map link to a row anchor. However, [[#top]] and [[#toc]] are reserved names that link to the top of a page and the table of contents, respectively.

Piped link

A piped link is an internal link or interwiki link where the link target and link label are both specified. This is needed in the case that they are not equal, while also the link label is not equal to the link target with the last word extended:

  • [[w:cheese|cheese]] (label = target, no pipe needed)
    produces cheese, linked to the article Cheese.
  • [[w:cheese|cheese]]s (label = target + extension ["s"], no pipe needed)
    produces cheeses, linked to the article Cheese.
  • [[w:blue cheese|cheese]] (label = part of target, pipe required)
    produces cheese, linked to the article Blue cheese.
  • [[w:cheese|blue cheese]] (label = target + additional text ["blue"], pipe required)
    produces blue cheese, linked to the article Cheese.
  • [[w:cheese|that stuff]] (label is completely different from target, pipe required)
    produces that stuff, linked to the article Cheese.

This allows linking a word or phrase within the text of a page rather than using "see also", even if the wording does not exactly correspond with the name of the target page. With a suitable browser and depending on the preferences set, one can still see the link target: when you point at the link, the name shows up in a hover tooltip and is also shown in the status bar.

For instance:

[[w:Train station|station]]
will show: station

This is useful where the word "station" is used in an article on trains; from the context, it would be clear that a train station is meant. The piped link is more convenient to the user than a link to station which might be a disambiguation page.

The word piped refers to the use of the pipe character "|" used to separate the good description from the actual link. This character is named after another use of it; see Pipe (computing).

There are various tricks to get the same result with less typing:

  • Leave the part to the right empty – the "pipe trick"
  • Leave the part to the left empty – the "inverse pipe trick"
  • Just attach text to the link, as in "[[w:train|train]]s", see MOS:PIPE.

Using a redirect as alternative

An alternative to a piped link is simply using redirect pages. To create How to set up a coffee house, use [[w:How to set up a coffee house|How to set up a coffee house]] and make this a redirect to coffeehouse setup (note that, unlike previously, the tooltip that shows when you point at the link, if applicable for your browser, is simply the text already shown).

This is convenient if the redirect is already there or will also be of use elsewhere; however, there are a few drawbacks:

  • the tooltip does not show the page one will arrive at
  • "Related changes" gives the changes in the redirect page not the redirect target
  • the redirect message on the target page slightly clutters it

Combining a piped link and a redirect, one can provide some information that is not the name of the page one links to in the hover tooltip, i.e. the following pipe to a redirect [[w:United Nations Organization|UNO]] will display a tooltip "United Nations Organization" when hovering over UNO, thereby explaining the abbreviation. (However, {{abbr}} is preferred for abbreviations.)

Automatic conversion of wikitext with the pipe trick

If in a piped link the part after the "|" is left empty, it is converted to an abbreviated form of the linked page, as follows:

  1. Any word before the first colon (:), as well as the colon itself, is removed. This word may or may not be a namespace prefix (such as "Help:") or an interwiki prefix (such as "commons:"). If the page name is preceded by a colon, "first" refers to "first after this".
  2. If there is text in parentheses at the end it will be removed.
  3. If there are no parentheses but there is a comma, the comma and everything after it are removed.
  4. The link will be in whatever case is used.

Just like for the three or four tildes when signing on Talk pages and the use of subst, in a preview, the result already shows up in the preview itself, but the conversion in the edit box is not yet shown. Press "Show changes" to see the change in the wikitext.

Category tag
The sort key syntax of the category being like a piped link, the pipe trick also works for category tags, even though it is not useful there.
Examples using colons
[[Help:Template|]] is converted to [[Help:Template|Template]], which is rendered as Template.
[[w:Music: My life|]] is converted to [[w:Music: My life| My life]], which is rendered as My life – although "Music:" is not a namespace (therefore the space after the colon is not automatically removed), the shortcut works anyway.
[[en:Pipe (computing)|]] is converted to [[en:Pipe (computing)|en:Pipe]], which is rendered as en:Pipe.
Case examples
[[w:pipe (computing)|]] is converted to [[w:pipe (computing)|pipe]] which is rendered as pipe.
[[w:Pipe (computing)|]] is converted to [[w:Pipe (computing)|Pipe]] which is rendered as Pipe.
Comma example
[[commons:Boston, Massachusetts|]] is converted to [[commons:Boston, Massachusetts|Boston]], which is rendered as Boston.
Other examples
Parameters and variables:
[[{{{1}}}|]] does not give [[{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]].
Calling the template with a value of parameter 1 gives a working link in the case of substitution only.
[[en:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|]] does not give [[en:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|en:{{FULLPAGENAME}}]].
[[m:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|]] does not give [[m:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|{{FULLPAGENAME}}]]
* [[project:a (b)|]]
* [[project:a (b)|]]
* [[:de:project:a (b)|]]
* [[wiktionary:project:a (b)|]]
* [[wiktionary:de:project:a (b)|]]
* [[wikibooks:project:a (b)|]]
* [[wikiquote:project:a (b)|]]
* [[wikisource:project:a (b)|]]
* [[en:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|]]
* [[m:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|]]

These examples appear as:

Inverse pipe trick

On page "A (c)", [[|B]] is automatically converted to [[w:B (c)|B]].

Similarly, on page "A, c", [[|B]] is automatically converted to [[w:B, c|B]].

Further examples are here.

Changing link appearance

The ways that various links are displayed in browsers, as described above, are the default display styles in the default skin. Users can change the way they see links:

Hover tooltips

In many browsers, holding the cursor over a link (mouseover) shows a hover tooltip containing the text of the link's HTML title attribute. MediaWiki – the software which runs the AARoads Wiki – sets this to the target page name (without any section indication) if it's a wikilink, the page name with prefix if it's an interwiki link, and the link address (URL) if it's an external link. (This can be switched off in the user preferences.) The browser may also show similar information, including any section indication, in the status bar.

For these effects a piped link is useful even if it is not followed; for example, for displaying the meaning of an acronym. It is possible to produce a hover tooltip without a link, using the {{Tooltip}} template.

Disallowed characters

A link whose target contains disallowed characters will be displayed without markup, as in [[w:A{b}|A{b}]].

Conversions are automatically made to non-literal characters in wiki and interwiki links. For example, [[Help:Page%20name]] becomes Help:Page name. However, the opposite is true for external links; literal characters are converted into non-literal characters. For example, most browsers convert .../wiki/! to .../wiki/%21.

Some characters in a web address link need to be represented as escape characters because they are reserved for AARoads Wiki edits. Examples include %5B for [, %5D for ], %3C for <, %3E for >, %7B for {, %7D for }, %7C for |, and %26 for &. More can be found by reading about percent encoding. Numeric character references (e.g. &#91; or &#x5B;) should not be used in external links because the ampersand character (&) has a special meaning in a URL.

In excessive cases, an automatic percent encoder such as the one at W3 Schools (use the second JavaScript form under "URL Encoding Functions") is probably the simplest solution. For example, pasting Help talk:Citation Style 1/Archive 41#{{Cite book}} and |contribution problems into that form yields the wikilink [[Help%20talk%3ACitation%20Style%201%2FArchive%2041%23%7B%7BCite%20book%7D%7D%20and%20%7Ccontribution%20problems]], which appears as Help talk:Citation Style 1/Archive 41#{{Cite book}} and |contribution problems, as desired.[1]

Links containing ampersands

Because the ampersand character (&) is disallowed, it is not possible to create an ordinary link containing &action=edit or &redirect=no in the URL query string. These kinds of links can be helpful in user pages. Also, a redirect page can have categories and you might wish to view or edit these in a single click. There are three ways to create these links:

  • You can use the {{Querylink}} template to append query parameters to an AARoads Wiki page URL. For example, {{Querylink|Help:Link|qs=action=history|this page's history}} produces the link this page's history.
  • You can use the {{Plain link}} template to encode a Wikimedia url link. For example,{{Plain link|url=|name=query}} yields the link query.
  • You can use the magic word fullurl. For example, to append action=edit to a URL query string you could use [{{fullurl:Help:Link|action=history}} this page's history], which renders as this page's history. Note that this will render as an external link rather than as an internal link and for this reason it might not appear in what-links-here queries associated with the target page.

Additional link-related functions

For the effect that links have on date formatting, see Help:Date formatting and linking.

Another link-dependent feature is related changes, which make it possible to view recent changes to all pages which are linked from the current page (or which are members of the category, if it is a category page).

For information on how to link to pages from an image, see mw:Extension:ImageMap.

Several templates have been created to make linking easier (although they are not usually used in article space). These include {{tl}} and {{tlx}} for linking to templates, and {{cl}} and {{lc}} for linking to categories. More can be found in Category:Internal link templates.

Conversion to canonical form

As described previously, if a link target begins with a lower case letter, it will be interpreted as if it began with the equivalent capital letter. If the target contains a namespace prefix, then the whole prefix and the first character after the colon are case-insensitive (so uSeR:jimbo Wales links to User:Jimbo Wales).

In link targets, spaces and underscores (which are effectively equivalent) are ignored if they come at the start, at the end, or immediately before or after the colon following a namespace prefix. Consecutive spaces / underscores are treated as a single space. Hence _User_: Jimbo_ __ Wales__ links to User:Jimbo Wales.

HTML character references and percent-encoded characters are replaced with their raw character. For example, [[w:d&eacute;partement|d&eacute;partement]] produces département, and [[w:%40|%40]] produces %40. Links which resolve to invalid page titles are displayed as unmarked-up wikitext.

Titles indicated by wikilinks are displayed in canonical form (with correction of capitalization and excess spaces / underscores removed, as described previously) in the following places:

  • In transclusion tags for non-existent pages: {{qwsazx}} gives Template:Qwsazx.
  • In tooltips and in the status bar (if applicable for the browser) when the mouse cursor is moved over the link.
  • On redirect pages.
  • In the category box.

The prefixes in interwiki links are treated similarly to namespace prefixes: they are insensitive to case and to spaces before and after the colon. However the first character after the colon is not automatically capitalized (whether it is interpreted as a capital depends on the configuration of the target wiki).

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Note that this wikitext isn't as pretty as the manual method, which would yield [[Help talk:Citation Style 1/Archive 41#%7B%7BCite book%7D%7D and %7Ccontribution problems]]. This is because the encoder converts characters like space, :, and # which are legal in wikilinks and don't need to be converted.