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This citation template provides formatting and organizational features for footnotes. It encapsulates the Template:Tag tag used by the Template:Cite.php MediaWiki extension to show the list of references as defined by Template:Tag tags. It adds support for a reduced font size, columns, groups and Template:Ldr.

If you don't use any of the additional features, then it produces the same output as the Template:Tag tag.

Parameters[edit source]

  • First unnamed parameter:
column-count: a natural number specifying fixed columns into which the reference list is to be rendered. Example: |2|.
column-width: a typographic unit of measurement such as em, specifying the width for the reference list columns. Example: |30em|.
  • refs: used with Template:Ldr.
  • group: identifies by name the subset of references to be rendered; the value should correspond to that used inline, e.g., Template:Tlx renders all references with groupname as the group name (Template:Tag).
  • liststyle: specifies the style used when the reference list is enumerated; if none is specified, the default is to render a numbered list.


  • close: Obsolete. Until 2014 the parameter Template:Para was used to work around a bug involving multiple uses of {{Reflist}} on the same page. The bug has been fixed, and remaining uses of Template:Para should be removed.

Usage[edit source]




Columns[edit source]

Browser support: Internet Explorer 10+, Firefox 2+, Chrome 4+, Safari 3.1+, Opera 11.1+

Using Template:Tlx will create columns with a minimum width of 30 em, allowing the browser to automatically choose the number of columns based on the width of the web browser. Choose a column width that is appropriate for the average width of the references on the page. A width measurement must conform to the format given in CSS 2.1 Syntax and basic data types: Lengths; in particular, there must not be a space between the number and the unit.

Using Template:Tlx will force creation of a two-column reference list, and Template:Tlx will force creation of a three-column list, and so on. This feature is now deprecated in favor of the option described above, which is better suited to flexible formatting for a variety of display screen sizes, ranging from mobile phones and tablets to wide-screen "cinema" displays. Forcing a fixed number of columns has been disabled in mobile view.

Widows and orphans[edit source]

The use of columns can result in widows and orphans, where a citation at the bottom of a column may be split to the top of the next column. MediaWiki:Common.css includes CSS rules to avoid list items from breaking between columns. Widows may still show in extreme circumstances, such as a reference list formatted in columns where only a single reference is defined.


Practices[edit source]

The number of columns to use is up to the editor, but some major practices include:

Examples[edit source]



List styles[edit source]


Reference lists are by default numbered lists. By using the Template:Para parameter, you can control how the list is rendered. For example, using Template:Para will result in items being prefixed with roman numerals instead of decimal numbers. The parameter accepts any valid CSS value defined for list-style-type as shown below.

The citations in the reference list will show the default decimal styling if:

  • The value for Template:Para does not exactly match one of the predefined values
  • The value for Template:Para is enclosed by quotes
  • {{Reflist}} is indented with the : markup

Template:CSS list-style-type values

List-defined references[edit source]


A list of references may be defined within {{Reflist}} using the Template:Para parameter, just like including named Template:Tag elements inside the Template:Tag container. This has been available since September 2009. There are new error messages associated with this feature, documented at Help:Cite errors, including one for references defined in {{Reflist}} but not used within the body.

Example[edit source]


Grouped references[edit source]

Template:See As of June 2008, the footnotes system supports the separation of references into groups. This allows groups for explanatory notes, table references and the like.

The general format for the reference tag is:


And using Template:Para for the reflist:

Where groupname is a group identifier such as "notes", "nb" or "label".

There are three pre-defined group names that will automatically cause the link labels and this template to display other characters instead of numbers (see List styles above). These are: "lower-alpha" (a, b, c...), "lower-greek" (α, β, γ...) and "lower-roman" (i, ii, iii...) and must be written without quotes.

Image flow issues[edit source]

Template:Reflist hide When an image is inserted to the left of the reference list, the list may flow under the image, clipping the reference numbers or hiding them behind the image frame, depending upon the browser.


To resolve this issue, use the columns feature. If columns are not desired, simply set it to one column using Template:Tlx. Note that if the list is longer than the image, it will cause the space below the image to remain empty. It is recommended that a comment be added so that follow-on editors will understand the use.


Technical details[edit source]

Font size[edit source]

The font size should reduce to 90% for most browsers, but may appear to show at 100% for Internet Explorer and possibly other browsers. As of December 21, 2010, the standard Template:Tag tag has the same font styling. The smaller font may be disabled through Template:Myprefs.

Browser support for columns[edit source]


Template:CSS3 multiple column layout

Multiple columns are generated by using CSS3, which is still in development; thus only browsers that properly support the multi-column property will show multiple columns with {{Reflist}}.

These browsers support CSS3 columns:

These browsers do not support CSS3 columns:

  • Microsoft Trident-based browsers including Internet Explorer through to version 9
  • Opera through to version 11

Supporting CSS[edit source]

{{Reflist}} uses a CSS rule in MediaWiki:Common.css to set the font size:

  • div.reflist { font-size: 90%; }

One of the following classes is assigned by the template when either column count or column width is set:

  • .references-column-count and .references-column-count-n (where n is the number of columns)
  • .references-column-width

The following CSS properties are utilized using the {{column-count}} and {{column-width}} templates:

  • column-count CSS3 standard
  • column-width CSS3 standard
  • -moz-column-count Mozilla CSS extension
  • -moz-column-width Mozilla CSS extension
  • -webkit-column-count Webkit CSS extension
  • -webkit-column-width Webkit CSS extension

Customizing the view[edit source]


By editing your CSS, the personal appearance of the reference list can be customized. From Preferences, select the Appearance tab, then on the selected skin select Custom CSS. After editing and saving, follow the instructions at the top of the page to purge. See Wikipedia:Skin#Customisation (advanced users) for more help.

Font size

The font size for all reference lists defaults to 90% of the standard size. To change it, add:

div.refbegin {
  font-size: 90%;

Change 90% to the desired size.


To disable columns, add:

.references-column-count, .references-column-width {
  column-count: 1 !important;
  column-width: auto !important;
  -moz-column-count: 1 !important;
  -moz-column-width: auto !important;
  -webkit-column-count: 1 !important;
  -webkit-column-width: auto !important;

Similarly, to force all reference lists to a number of columns, change the number.

Column dividers

To add dividers (rules) between columns, add:

.references-column-count, .references-column-width {
  column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;
  -moz-column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;
  -webkit-column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;

You can alter the appearance of the dividers by changing the values.

Perennial suggestions[edit source]

Collapsing and scrolling

There have been a number of requests to add functionality for a collapsible or scrolling reference list. These requests have not been fulfilled due to issues with readability, accessibility, and printing. The applicable guidelines are at MOS:SCROLL. Links between the inline cite and the reference list do not work when the reference list is enclosed in a collapsed box.

To display the reference list in a scrollbox or collapsed per user, see Help:Reference display customization.

For discussion on previous attempts to do this with a template, see the discussions for Scrollref and Refbox.

Including the section title

There have been suggestions to include section header markup such as ==References==. This is inadvisable because:

  • There is no standard section name; see WP:FNNR.
  • When transcluded, the article will have an edit link that will confusingly open the template for editing.

Template data[edit source]


This template displays the list of footnotes at the end of an article and provides additional formatting and organizing options. After hitting "Apply changes" and turning back to VE read mode, you will not see the references list. After hitting "Save page" and turning back to normal read mode the reference list will reappear with the changes applied, see [[bugzilla:51146|Bug 51146]].

Template parameters[Edit template data]

Columns / Column width1 colwidth

Two modes supported. First mode: integer number of fixed columns into which the reference list is to be rendered. Second mode: typographic unit of measurement such as 'em', specifying the width for the reference list columns, e.g. '33em'; note that '33 em' will not be recognized


Specifies the style used when the reference list is enumerated; accepts any valid CSS value defined for list-style-type


Group is an identifier which restricts the references that are shown. Without this parameter, this template only shows references with no group identifier. With a group identifier specified, only references with a matching group identifier are handled. The rest are left alone.

List of referencesrefs

Provides a space to define named references for use in the article. References defined in this space are not shown unless used somewhere in the article.


See also[edit source]


Atlychakapa[edit source]

Cite error: <ref> tag with name "fontsize" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.
Cite error: <ref> tag with name "stuffandnonsense" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.
Cite error: <ref> tag with name "w3org1" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.

Cite error: <ref> tag with name "msdn" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.