Template:Edit refs

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When you are reading an article and see a references section near the bottom populated by a series of numbered citations, you might think that if you edit the page, you will see those citations typed in that section and be able to edit them. However, usually what you will see is markup similar to this:

or <references />

In that case, the text of citations is actually in the body of the article, directly next to the statements or paragraphs the citations support, using <ref>...</ref> tags, which display when you are reading an article as footnotes (e.g.[1][2]). The template code shown above in the references section collates and displays all of the citations within the article in a numbered list in which the numbers correspond to the footnote numbers in the text. By clicking on the ^ symbol next to a citation display, you can easily find exactly where in the body of the article the citation text appears in order to edit it. For more detail, please see Help:Referencing for beginners, Help:Introduction to referencing, and Wikipedia:Citing sources.

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This template addresses the not uncommon confusion encountered when users first seek to edit inline citations, but instead of finding the citations' text in the references section, see only {{Reflist}} or <references/>.


  • This template should always be substituted by prefixing "subst:" inside the template code. Thus, use {{subst:Edit refs}}, rather than {{Edit refs}}.
  • You can indent the template by typing one or more colons before the template code, e.g., :{{subst:Edit refs}}.
  • The indentation level you specify using colons, per above, is maintained across the template's paragraph breaks by the use of <p> tags, instead of line breaks.
  • The template does not include automatic signing. Please remember to sign by typing four tildes (~) after the template syntax.