Wikipedia:Conditional tables

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ParserFunctions allow for the conditional display of table rows, columns or cells (and really, just about anything else). But Parser functions have some limits.

Basic use[edit]

The following example shows a basic use for #if:

{{#if:{{{variable_foo|}}}
|foo is set to '''{{{variable_foo}}}'''
|foo is ''blank''}}

Here, {{{variable_foo}}} is checked to see if it is defined with a non-blank value. The table below shows the output from a template call (we'll call the template {{Conditional tables/example 1}}) with different values for {{{variable_foo}}}:

Template call Result
{{Conditional tables/example 1}} foo is blank
{{Conditional tables/example 1|variable_foo=}} foo is blank
{{Conditional tables/example 1|variable_foo=value}} foo is set to value

Positional parameters {{{1}}} etc. work like named parameters:

{{#if:{{{1|}}}
|1st parameter is '''{{{1}}}'''
|1st parameter is ''blank''}}

Template call Result
{{Conditional tables/example 1b| |bar}} 1st parameter is blank
{{Conditional tables/example 1b|foo|bar}} 1st parameter is foo
{{Conditional tables/example 1b|[[m:|not empty]]}} 1st parameter is not empty
{{Conditional tables/example 1b|bad=idea}} 1st parameter is blank
{{Conditional tables/example 1b|1=ok=yes}} 1st parameter is ok=yes

Note how the pipe symbol (vertical bar) in the link works as is, it's not quite that easy within Wiki tables, see below.

Hiding rows entirely[edit]

It's also possible to hide rows of data within a table, however, there are issues you should be aware of.

Incorrect usage[edit]

Unfortunately #if and the MediaWiki table syntax do not work together well. For example, the following, {{Conditional tables/example 2}} is invalid and will not work:

{| class="infobox"
{{#if:{{{variable_foo|}}}
|
|-
! Foo
| {{{variable_foo}}}
}}
|-
! Bar
| {{{variable_bar}}}
|}

The table below demonstrates the effect when {{Conditional tables/example 2}} is used:

Template call Result
{{Conditional tables/example 2}} -
Foo
Bar {{{variable_bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2|variable_foo=}} -
Foo
Bar {{{variable_bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2|variable_foo=|variable_bar=bar}} -
Foo
Bar bar
{{Conditional tables/example 2|variable_foo=value}}
Bar {{{variable_bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2|variable_foo=value|variable_bar=bar}}
Bar bar

The problem is with the usage of the pipe character (|). This character, in template calls, is used to separate parameters and so is invalid.

Correct usage[edit]

Plan A[edit]

One method of hiding rows in tables (or other structures within tables) uses HTML directly.[1] HTML is more complicated than MediaWiki table syntax, but not much more so. In general, there are only a handful of HTML tags you need to be aware of

  • <tr> - this tag creates a new row (similar to |- in MediaWiki table syntax)
  • <th> - this tag creates a new header cell within a row (similar to ! in MediaWiki table syntax)
  • <td> - this tag creates a new cell within a row (similar to | in MediaWiki table syntax)
  • <caption> - this tag creates a caption (similar to |+ in MediaWiki table syntax)

Working from the invalid template example above, by switching to HTML we end up with the following code:

{| class="infobox"
{{#if:{{{variable_foo|}}}
|<tr><th>Foo</th><td>{{{variable_foo}}}</td></tr>}}
|-
! Bar
| {{{variable_bar}}}
|}

The code above is in {{Conditional tables/example 2a}}. As before, the table below demonstrates the effect when it's used:

Template call Result
{{Conditional tables/example 2a}}
Bar {{{variable_bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2a|variable_foo=}}
Bar {{{variable_bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2a|variable_foo=|variable_bar=bar}}
Bar bar
{{Conditional tables/example 2a|variable_foo=value}}
Foo value
Bar {{{variable_bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2a|variable_foo=value|variable_bar=bar}}
Foo value
Bar bar

Plan B[edit]

As noted above the only problem is the vertical bar or pipe symbol within a template. Often it's good enough to replace problematic characters by numeric references, e.g. "{" by &#123;, "|" by &#124;, and "}" by &#125;. But for Wiki tables a real "|" delimiter is required — using &#124; doesn't work as delimiter.

A simple trick allows to protect the "|" in template parameter values while still arriving as real "|" delimiter in the Wiki table, see Template:!(edit talk links history). Note that "!" (exclamation mark) has no problems with templates, it's the other delimiter used in Wiki tables. Here's the code for plan B:

{| class="infobox"
{{#if:{{{foo|}}}|
{{!}}-
! Foo
{{!}} {{{foo}}}
}}
|-
! Bar
| {{{bar}}}
|}

The code above is in {{Conditional tables/example 2b}}. As before, the table below demonstrates the effect when it's used:

Template call Result
{{Conditional tables/example 2b|bar=nobar}}
Bar nobar
{{Conditional tables/example 2b|foo=|bar=vbar}}
Bar vbar
{{Conditional tables/example 2b|foo=value}}
Foo value
Bar {{{bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2b|foo=value|bar=vbar}}
Foo value
Bar vbar

Plan C[edit]

Perhaps the simplest option is to use the conditional with the CSS "display: none" property as follows:

{| class="infobox"
|- {{#if: {{{variable_foo|}}} | | style="display: none;" }}
! Foo
| {{{variable_foo}}}
|-
! Bar
| {{{variable_bar}}}
|}

In this way there is no need for the wikitables pipe character to appear in the #if conditional. However, sources and notes referred to in the muted cells won't get suppressed with the other contents, to the effect that they continue to be listed at the end of an article without any references to them occuring in the article's text. Also, this method only works with browsers supporting CSS.

The code above is in {{Conditional tables/example 2c}}. As before, the table below demonstrates the effect when it's used:

Template call Result
{{Conditional tables/example 2c|variable_bar=bar}}
Foo {{{variable_foo}}}
Bar bar
{{Conditional tables/example 2c|variable_foo=|variable_bar=bar}}
Foo
Bar bar
{{Conditional tables/example 2c|variable_foo=foo}}
Foo foo
Bar {{{variable_bar}}}
{{Conditional tables/example 2c|variable_foo=foo|variable_bar=bar}}
Foo foo
Bar bar

Getting help[edit]

If you find yourself unable to get a template to behave how you like, you can try asking on Village pump, placing a request at Requested templates, or contacting an editor via IRC.

See also[edit]

For avoiding blank rows in the case of successive optional rows, see m:Help:Table#Conditional_table_row.

For more information on #if (and other # functions), see:

The following help topics deal with templates:

This help topic deals with table design (since most templates use tables, this may be useful):

And finally:

  • Template:Infobox - a "generic" infobox template which demonstrates these methods.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Using HTML table code in templates can make them non-portable to other MediaWiki wikis. This is because Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation wikis process wikitext through HTML Tidy; most other wikis do not have the same setup, and the HTML table tags do not render. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Transwiki#Special templates.