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Help:VisualEditor/User guide/Citations-Templates

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This page is a guide to adding footnotes (also called "citations", "inline citations" or "references") when local citation templates have been configured for your wiki, but the citoid service has not been set up for your wiki.

The toolbarEdit

The VisualEditor toolbar appears at the top of the screen when you begin editing.
Cite menu: The "Cite" menu or button is used to add footnotes. All projects have access to "Basic" reference formatting and the ability to "Re-use" citations here. This menu also gives you quick access to local citation templates.

(Instructions for adding more local citation templates to the Cite menu at your wiki are available at VisualEditor/Citation tool.)

Insert: The "Insert" menu may be different on some projects. Two options are useful for citations:
  • The "Template" icon (a puzzle piece) allows you to insert and edit templates. You can use this to create a citation, using a standard template, when you want a citation that is not going to be a footnote.
  • The "References list" icon (three books) is to specify where the reader will see the list of footnotes for the page. Usually this only needs to be done once on every page. (If the page already shows footnotes, then you don't want to click on this icon.) You can also set references group to display using dialog window.

Editing an existing footnoteEdit

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

If you are editing a "Basic" footnote, clicking on "Edit" will open the Reference dialog, where you can edit the text which is in the footnote. Editing this text is similar to editing in the main window - you can format text, add a link, or use special characters.

Unless you are sure you know what you are doing, do not use the Cite or Insert menus within the Reference dialog.


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

In the template mini-editor, only fields (template parameters) that have content will be shown initially. You can change the content of these fields, and you can delete these fields if you want.

To add fields, click on "Add more information" at the bottom of the mini-editor.


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

Re-using an existing footnoteEdit

Ideally, every sentence or paragraph in an article should be supported by a citation, in a footnote. If you have some text that needs a citation (source) to support it, and the page already has a footnote that applies to (supports) that text, then you can re-use the existing citation, because one footnote can support multiple, different sentences or paragraphs.

To re-use an existing reference, place your cursor in the body of the text where you want to add a footnote. Then from the "Cite" menu, click on the "Re-use" item.


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 find only those references that include certain text.

Adding a new footnoteEdit

Using a standard citation template for a new footnoteEdit

The "Cite" menu is used to add a new footnote. First, place your cursor where you want to add a footnote, in the text. Then, from this menu, select a standard citation type in the menu. If the citation type you want is not on the menu, select the "Basic" item. (Instructions for adding more citation templates to this menu, on your local wiki, are available at VisualEditor/Citation tool.)

Clicking on a standard cite template icon such as "Book" will take you into the template mini-editor for that template. While the most common fields (template parameters) will be shown, not all of them are required. Important fields may be marked with an asterisk.

To add more parameters, scroll down in the template mini-editor and click on the "Add more information" option.

Click on "Insert" when you're done.

Using the "Basic" citation for a new footnoteEdit

You can also choose the "Basic" item from the "Cite" menu.

The "Basic" item is used for two purposes. You can create a footnote that doesn't use any citation template. Or you can create a footnote using a citation template that is not on the "Cite" menu.


Shown here is an example of selecting the "Basic" item, and then, in the Reference editor, adding text, including formatting, but not using a citation template.

You can make the new footnote belong to a group other than general references, although this is normally not done. (If you do have two or more groups of footnotes, the "References list" tool must specify the group of footnotes to be displayed).


In the Reference dialog, you can get to a citation template that is not (yet) on the "Cite" menu. From the "Insert" toolbar menu, click on the Template icon (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. (See the Editing templates section, below, if you need more information about templates.)

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.

Adding a citation outside of a footnoteEdit

How to create a ==Further reading== list using Insert > Template > Cite book (etc.)

You can add citation templates directly into the article, without putting them in footnotes or by using Basic references editor. 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. (See the Editing templates section in the user guide if you need more information about templates.)

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.