Help:VisualEditor/User guide/Citations-Full

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This page is a guide to adding footnotes (also called "citations", "inline citations" or "references") when the citoid service has been configured for your wiki.

The citoid service automatically creates a footnote when you give it a URL, DOI, ISBN, PMID, PMCID, or QID. It has a companion extension, Citoid, which uses VisualEditor's citation tool and citation templates.

The toolbar

The VisualEditor toolbar appears at the top of the screen when you begin editing. It includes the icons that will be needed in order to add citations to the page.



VisualEditor's citation tool should be enabled in your wiki. If the citation tool is enabled, and the citoid service is not configured, then a "Cite" dropdown menu will be available in the toolbar. Instructions on how to enable the citation tool are available at VisualEditor/Citation tool.

Citoid should be configured in your wiki. If both the citation tool and the citoid service are enabled, the the citation tool's "Cite" dropdown menu will be replaced by the citoid service's "⧼citoid-citefromidtool-title⧽" button. Instructions on how to configure citoid are available at Citoid/Enabling Citoid on your wiki

Add a new reference

Click on the "⧼citoid-citefromidtool-title⧽" button in the toolbar. This will open a dialog box with three tabs: Automatic, Manual, and Re-use.


In the automatic field you can enter information about the book or other source you want to cite, and a citation template will be automatically generated. You can input a URL (website address), a unique identifier like an ISBN for books, DOI (Digital Object Identifier), PubMed ID, PMCID (including the PMC prefix), or QID (from Wikidata). You can also type in a citation or the title of the work.

You should be as specific as possible, as the citoid service's search feature returns only the first result from both WorldCat (which mostly contains books) and Crossref (which mostly contains academic papers), in a random order.



There are two ways to add footnotes from the Manual tab: using a standard citation template, or using the basic form.

Using standard cite templates

Your local wiki may have added extra citation templates to this menu. This offers quick access to the most frequently used citation templates. (Instructions for adding extra citation templates to your local wiki are available at VisualEditor/Citation tool.)

Clicking on a template item such as "  Book" will take you into the template mini-editor for that citation template. Required information fields will be marked with an asterisk.

To add more parameters, scroll down in the template mini-editor and click on the "⧼visualeditor-dialog-transclusion-add-param⧽" option.

Click on "Insert" when you're done.

Using the "Basic" citation

Clicking on "Basic" will open the basic Reference editor, where you can type your citation, including formatting. You can also use the Basic form to insert a citation template that is not in the list of frequently used citation templates (see next).

You can make the reference belong to a given group, although normally this is left blank. (This option is used to display different groups of references separately with the "References list" tool.)


In the Reference dialog, if you want to include a template in your new reference, click the "Template" icon (puzzle piece) in the "Insert" toolbar menu within the Reference editor.

Then, look for the template you want to use, add it and edit it as you would any other template.

After you're done editing your new template, click on "Apply changes" to return to the Reference editor, then "Apply changes" again to return to the page you're editing.

Edit an existing reference

To edit an existing reference, click on it where it appears in the text (usually as a bracketed number). You will see either a "Basic" icon (bookmark) or an icon (and name) for the template that was used to create this reference. Clicking on this icon will open a dialog where you can edit the reference.

  Note: It is not possible to select and edit a footnote by clicking on it in the References list. Clicking on the References list will highlight the whole list and open the References list editor.


If what appears is the "Basic" icon, clicking on it opens the Reference dialog, where you can edit the reference's contents.

Many wikis use templates to format references. If a template is used in your reference, then all the text in the template will be highlighted when you click on the reference information.

If a template was used and you've clicked on information in that template, then the "Template" icon (puzzle piece) will appear. Click on that icon to edit the content of the template in the template mini-editor dialog.


If, instead of the "Basic" icon (bookmark), what appears when you click on a reference is an icon for a standard template for citations, then clicking on that icon will take you directly to the template mini-editor dialog.

Inside the template mini-editor, you can add or remove types of information or change current content. Only fields (template parameters) that have content are supposed to be shown initially. To add fields, click on "⧼visualeditor-dialog-transclusion-add-param⧽" at the bottom of the mini-editor.

Click on "Apply changes" when you're done.

Re-use an existing reference

If the page already contains a citation that applies to the text you want to source, then you can choose to re-use the existing citation.

To re-use an existing reference, place your cursor in the body of the text where you want to add a new reference (number) for that citation. Then click on the "⧼citoid-citefromidtool-title⧽" button in the toolbar, and click on the "Re-use" tab from the dialog box.


In the Reference dialog, look at the list for the reference you want to reuse, and select it. If there are many references, you can use the search box (labeled "Search within current citations") to list only those references that include certain text.

Position the list of references

If there isn't already a list of references on the page (for example, if you're adding the first reference for the page), you need to specify where the list of references, and their text, will be displayed to the reader.

Place the cursor where you want to display the references list (usually at the bottom of the page), open the "Insert" menu and click the "References list" icon (three books).


If you are using several groups of references, which is relatively rare, you can specify the group in this dialog. Only the references that belong to that group will be displayed here.

The final step in the References list dialog is to click "Insert".


Add a citation outside of a footnote

You can add citation templates directly into the article, without putting them in footnotes (this can be helpful if you want to create, say, a "Further Reading" list). The citoid service will not automatically fill in these citation templates.

Place your cursor where you want the citation template to appear (if you are creating a "Further Reading" list, this may be after a bullet point), then from the "Insert" menu, click on the "Template" icon (a puzzle piece).

Then, type the name (or part of the name) of the citation template you want to use, select it, click on "Add template", and edit it as you would any other template.

After you're done editing the template, click on "Insert" to return to the Reference editor, and "Insert" again to return to the page you're editing (if you are creating a "Further Reading" list, you will have to repeat the steps above at every bullet point of the list).


See also