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This template is used to create footnotes in Wikipedia, as an alternative and complement to the <ref> tag. Because of a technical limitation, some of the standard Wikipedia markup elements that are often used in the article prose do not work within a set of <ref>...</ref> tags, including but not limited to the pipe trick, template substitution and another "nested" set of <ref>...</ref> tags. For example, the following does not work as expected:

  1. <ref>[[Help:Footnotes|]]</ref> Generates: [[Help:Footnotes|]] instead of a wikilink.
  2. <ref>{{SUBST:TODAY}}</ref> Generates: {{SUBST:TODAY}} instead of the date that the edit was made.
  3. <ref>Explanatory footnote<ref>Citation</ref></ref> Generates: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).

Replacing the outermost <ref>...</ref> set with {{Refn}} allows for the use of the markup elements listed above.


{{refn|group=groupname|name=name|Contents of the footnote}}

  • groupname: Groupname per WP:REFGROUP; if not specified, then the main and nested references will be rendered into the same reference list
  • name: Reference name per WP:REFNAME

Names for footnotes and groups must follow these rules:

  • Names are case-sensitive
  • Names may not be purely numeric
  • Names must be unique—you cannot use the same name to define different groups or footnotes
  • Quotes are optional if the only characters used are letters A–Z, a–z, digits 0–9, and the symbols !$%&()*,-.:;<@[]^_`{|}~
  • Inclusion of any other characters, including spaces, requires that the name be enclosed in quotes (")
  • The quote marks must be the standard straight keyboard marks ("); curly or other quotes will be parsed as part of the reference name.
  • Quote-enclosed names may not include a less-than sign (<) or a double straight quote symbol (")
  • Please consider keeping names simple and restricted to the standard English alphabet and numerals.
  • (You may optionally provide names even when the name is not required.)


Footnotes with citations

Markup Renders as
An example.{{refn|group=note|name=first|A note.<ref>An included reference.</ref>}}
Another example.{{refn|group=note|Another note.<ref>Another included reference.</ref>}}
A third example.{{refn|group=note|The third note.<ref>The reference in the third note.</ref>}}
Repeating the first example.{{refn|group=note|name=first}}


An example.[note 1]

Another example.[note 2] A third example.[note 3] Repeating the first example.[note 1]

  1. ^ a b A note.[1]
  2. ^ Another note.[2]
  3. ^ The third note.[3]
  1. ^ An included reference.
  2. ^ Another included reference.
  3. ^ The reference in the third note.


The first example shows that substitution does not work in a regular <ref>...</ref> tag (the accessdate does not appear correctly). The second example shows that the accessdate is substituted correctly within {{refn}}.

Markup Renders as
<ref>{{cite web |accessdate={{Subst:TODAY}} |title=Languages |work=Apache HTTP Server |agency=Ohloh |publisher= Black Duck Software |url=https://www.ohloh.net/p/apache/analyses/latest/languages_summary}}</ref>
  1. ^ "Languages". Apache HTTP Server. Black Duck Software. Ohloh. Retrieved {{Subst:TODAY}}.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

{{refn|{{cite web |accessdate={{Subst:TODAY}} |title=Languages |work=Apache HTTP Server |agency=Ohloh |publisher= Black Duck Software |url=https://www.ohloh.net/p/apache/analyses/latest/languages_summary}}}}
  1. ^ "Languages". Apache HTTP Server. Black Duck Software. Ohloh. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 


If the reference or note content is missing, then "Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no name must have content." will be displayed.

List defined references

Currently, this template may not be used more than once within list-defined references. Doing so will result in Cite errors; see bug 20707http://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=20707.

See also

Group name Footnote marker template
or markup
Reference list template Sample labels
none <ref>...</ref> {{reflist}} 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
none {{refn}} for nested references {{reflist}} 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
lower-alpha {{efn}} {{notelist}} a b c d e f g h i j
upper-alpha {{efn-ua}} {{notelist-ua}} A B C D E F G H I J
lower-roman {{efn-lr}} {{notelist-lr}} i ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x
upper-roman {{efn-ur}} {{notelist-ur}} I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X
lower-greek [a] {{efn-lg}} {{notelist-lg}} α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ
  1. ^ Not supported by Internet Explorer 7 and below