User:Citation bot/use

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The Citation bot is a piece of software designed to expand and fix citations on Wikipedia.

Using the Citation bot[edit]

On English Wikipedia, the easiest way to use the bot is to press "Citations" button when you edit the page (it appears next to "Save page"). It first needs to be enabled in your preferences under the gadget tab. Try it: the button does not save the changes, it just completes the references and returns to an edit box. You can verify the citation change by looking at the preview of the page.

The simplest example[edit]

You do add references to Wikipedia articles, don't you? So while reading a book via, say, Google Books, you've found some information usable for Wikipedia and you've started to edit the Wikipedia article. Just write a sentence, and, while still in edit area, select from the edit box menu Cite → Templates → cite book. Paste in the Google Books URL. Click "Insert". Click "Citations" button. That's it, enjoy the effects.


Do you get frustrated copying and pasting author names, source titles, and dates? Now you can type or paste in only the ISBN, DOI, PMID, or, heck, the Google Books URL, and let the bot do the rest.

The only requirement is to use templates for citations: {{cite book}}, {{cite journal}} and others. These templates are generally placed within <ref> tags.

Just type {{cite journal |doi=10.####/whatever}} or {{cite journal |pmid=12615090}} , save the page, and set the bot on it – then the bot will fill in all the details you missed! For example the title, journal, page numbers, digital object identifiers, etc.

Or you can paste an Endnote entry directly into a {{cite journal}} container; the bot will convert the format.

Or, are the citations in your page a mess? Misspelled parameters, badly formatted values? The bot will set things right en masse. It corrects a range of common errors. It also nicely formats DOIs and ISBNs.

Previous usage[edit]

Adding as a widget[edit]

Widget adds to your toolbox a link to correct any references on the current page. Just click here and follow the simple instruction provided. No download is required!

Note: By default, this updates your vector.js skin (located at User:USERNAME/vector.js). If you use another skin (such as User:USERNAME/monobook.js), you will need to edit that skin instead.

If you have problems, Smith609 Talk will be pleased to help out!

Via a webpage[edit]

The original way to ask the Citation bot to look at pages "on demand", is through The page contains a form and a few options. You can edit all the pages in a given category at

If blocked[edit]

Occasionally the bot is blocked due to bugs that the maintainer has not had time to fix. When this happens, the bot itself cannot commit edits, but you can still install its changes by hand. However, you should take special care when this occurs, as the bot-induced bugs are not always obvious. Sometimes, for example, the bot might break wikilinks to a citation, and this won't be easily observable simply by reading the resulting citation.

If the bot is blocked, you can still use the "Citation bot" button, if you have the widget installed. Just be doubly sure to check that you aren't introducing errors.

Results can be confusing when no changes are made by the bot[edit]

New users; please note that the results when no changes are made can be confusing. One sees this at the top of the page:

Latest revision _______ Your text.

Followed immediately by the edit window. That means that no changes have been made. When one saves the page hoping for some improved citations one sees no changes, and nothing shows up in the revision history.

When the bot makes changes the bot reports the changes and shows them to you before they are saved. It is very clear. This allows you to choose whether to make further changes before saving.

Bugs and feedback[edit]

If you spot a bug with Citation bot, or have an idea of how it can be even more helpful, please report it here.