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Hatnotes are short notes placed at the very top of a page or a section, in the way that a hat is placed on top of one's head. For an example see the notes in italics immediately preceding the boxes above. The purpose of a hatnote is to help readers locate a different article if the one they are at is not the one they're looking for. Readers may have arrived at the article containing the hatnote because:

  • They were redirected.
  • They may be seeking an article that uses a more specific, disambiguated title.
  • They may be seeking an article with a similar name to, or that otherwise might be confused with, the article with the hatnote.

Hatnotes provide links to the possibly sought article or to a disambiguation page.

The five basic rules of hatnotes are:

  1. Link directly to other articles; do not pipe non-disambiguation links. With regard to linking to redirects, follow any applicable rules in the disambiguation guideline. For example, links to disambiguation pages should always end in "(disambiguation)".
  2. Keep explanations to a minimum; explain vital information only, letting the lead section and body of the article to clarify things for the reader.
  3. Mention other topics and articles only if there is a reasonable possibility of a reader arriving at the article either by mistake or with another topic in mind.
  4. However, if a notable topic X is commonly referred to as "Foo", but the article "Foo" is not about X, there must be a hatnote linking to the article on X or linking to a disambiguation page that contains a link to the article on X.
  5. Ideally, limit hatnotes to just one at the top of the page or section. Multiple hatnotes may be appropriate when they serve different purposes, such as disambiguating topics with similar names and explaining redirects. (In such cases, consider using {{hatnote group}}.)

For more information about methods of disambiguating articles, see Wikipedia:Disambiguation.


Place hatnotes at the top of the article or section. When used at the top of an article, hatnotes go immediately below a short description template, but strictly above anything else including protection icons or maintenance tags.[1] Text-based web browsers and screen readers present the page sequentially. If a reader has reached the wrong page, they should find that out first.

In the Wikipedia iOS app, there is a known bug whereby hatnotes fail to appear anywhere on the page.


In most cases, hatnotes should be created using a standard hatnote template, as illustrated in § Hatnote templates below. This permits the form and structure of hatnotes to be changed uniformly across the encyclopedia as needed, and the templates to be excluded in print.

Current style on the English Wikipedia is to italicize and to indent each note, without a bullet before the item. A horizontal dividing line should not be placed either under a note or after the final item in a list. Links to articles should follow the naming conventions for capitalization – typically sentence case, not all lower case.

When determining the content of the hatnote, keep in mind that it forms part of the user interface rather than the article content. Two applicable user interface design principles are clarity and conciseness. The hatnote should not overload the user with extraneous information, and the content should be imparted quickly and accurately. These design goals are conveyed succinctly in the principle less is more.

Length and number[edit]

As hatnotes separate the reader from the content they are looking for, hatnotes should generally be as concise as possible. Long explanations are generally discouraged; the article's lead text, not the hatnote, should explain what the article is about. In almost all cases, the hatnote is intended only to direct readers to other articles in case they were actually looking for something they will not find in the article containing the hatnote.

If a disambiguation page exists for a given term, then linking to it should be enough. For example, if the article is X then its hatnote will link to X (disambiguation); it should not have entries for other topics known as X, like X (Grafton novel) or X (charge), because they are already listed in the disambiguation page. However, such an article may be linked if it could be expected by a significant number of readers to be at the title in question: for instance, Turkey is about the country, but many readers expect to find the article about the bird at that title; therefore, the hatnote there correctly reads

{{about|the country|the bird|Turkey (bird)|other uses}}

which renders

There should be as few hatnotes as possible. One single hatnote, which can accommodate several links, is greatly preferable to two or more. Multiple hatnotes may however be appropriate when each serves a different purpose, such as disambiguating the title or distinguishing similar terms.[2]

Summarize or not?[edit]

Some hatnote disambiguation templates include a brief summary of the present article's topic; others do not have a summary. For instance, in the article Honey, one might use the template {{about|the insect-produced fluid}} to produce:

Alternatively, one might use {{other uses}} to produce:

Either of these two styles is acceptable. The choice of style in a given article is based on editors' preferences and on what is likely to be clearer and easier for the reader. (In this particular instance, most English speakers will know what honey is, and the second, more concise hatnote is preferable.) Where an article already has a hatnote in one of these styles, editors should not change it to the other style without good reason.

Examples of proper use[edit]

Two articles with similar titles[edit]

Dunwich (/ˈdʌnɪ/) is a town in the county of Suffolk in England, the remnant of what was once a prosperous seaport and centre of the wool trade during the early middle ages, with a natural harbour formed by the mouths of the River Blyth. ...

When two articles share the same title, except that one title is disambiguated and the other is not, and it is not appropriate to change the undisambiguated article's title (see WP:Disambiguation § Primary topic), the undisambiguated article should include a hatnote with a link to the other article. It is not necessary to create a separate disambiguation page. The {{about}} template may be used for this. In this case, the parameterization was {{about|the village in England|H. P. Lovecraft's fictional town|Dunwich (Lovecraft)}}.

Terms that can cause confusion with another topic[edit]

Perl is a family of high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming languages. ...

{{Distinguish}} or a related template can be used when there can be confusion with a similar term. They are typically used when readers have misspelled their desired title, and the error would be apparent by simply displaying the alternative term without further explanation. These hatnotes should only be used when the ambiguity exists for a significant portion of the readership.

However, they are not suitable when the difference is not readily apparent without additional details. In those cases, use {{about}}, {{for}} or {{other uses}} instead, as the differences in the suggested article are explained upfront without requiring the reader to click through and differentiate the terms on their own.

Linking to a disambiguation page[edit]

A monolith is a monument or natural feature, such as a mountain, consisting of a single massive stone or rock. Erosion usually exposes these formations. ...

When a term has a primary meaning and two or more additional meanings, the hatnote on the primary topic page should link to a disambiguation page. {{other uses}} may be used for this.

In many cases, the hatnote also includes a brief description of the subject of the present article, for readers' convenience:

In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate maze-like structure constructed for King Minos of Crete and designed by the legendary artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur. ...

The template {{about}} may be used for this. In this case the parameterization was {{about|the mazelike labyrinth from Greek mythology}}.

Ambiguous term that redirects to an unambiguously named article[edit]

{{redirect}}, or a related template, can be used when an ambiguous title is redirected to an unambiguous title or a primary topic article:

Johann Sebastian Bach

(Redirected from Bach)

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque period. He is known for his orchestral music such as the ...

Hatnotes above maintenance tags[edit]

Always place a hatnote above maintenance tags, but below short description templates. See above for specific details regarding the placement of hatnotes.

The Giver is a 1993 American young-adult dystopian novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a society which at first appears as utopian, but is later revealed to be a dystopian one as the story progresses. The novel follows a boy named Jonas. ...

Hatnotes with italics in the links[edit]

Caprona agama, the spotted angle, is a butterfly belonging to the family Hesperiidae. ...

Words or phrases that are italicized within a normal sentence should be unitalicized within a hatnote. Since all words in a hatnote are italicized, the specific text will not stand out if the italics are not disabled.

Italics are cancelled by the parameterization:

{{Redirect|Spotted angle|the other butterfly with this name|Caprona alida{{!}}''Caprona alida''}}

Many hatnote templates found below section headers, such as {{Main}}, {{See also}}, {{Further}}, and others have label parameters to customize the italicization of the output text:

{{See also|Caprona alida|label1=''Caprona alida''}}

In this instance, the rendered term will stand out unitalicized.

Examples of improper use[edit]

Trivial information, dictionary definitions, and slang[edit]

When notes feature a trivial detail or use of a term, or links to overly specific and tendentious material, they are unwarranted.

A previous version of the article Investment showed:

Investment is a term with several closely related meanings in finance and economics. It refers to the accumulation of some kind of asset in hopes of getting a future return from it. ...

In this case, there is no direct disambiguation, and the note listed is bound to be uninteresting to most readers. The proper disambiguation simply links to a separate Invest (disambiguation) page.

Legitimate information about the topic[edit]

A previous version of the Aisha article showed:

Aisha or Ayesha (Arabic عائشه `ā'isha = 'she who lives') was a wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. ...

This is an improper use of disambiguating hatnotes. Instead, the information belongs in the body of the article, or in the article about the book, or in a separate article about names, or all three places. Hatnotes are meant to reduce confusion and direct readers to another article they might have been looking for, not for information about the subject of the article itself.

Linking to articles that are related to the topic[edit]

Disambiguation hatnotes are intended to link to separate topics that could be referred to by the same title, of the article or any of its redirects. They are not intended to link to topics that are simply related to each other, or to a specific aspect of a general topic:

Extraterrestrial life is life that may exist and originate outside the planet Earth. Its existence is currently hypothetical: there is as yet no evidence of extraterrestrial life that has been widely accepted by scientists. ...

Instead of using a disambiguation hatnote in such cases, it is better to summarize the topic Extraterrestrial life in popular culture under a subsection of Extraterrestrial life in conjunction with the {{main}} template.

Similarly, do not use the {{see also}} or {{main}} templates on top of a page, as they are meant only for sections; templates {{other uses}} and {{broader}} might be more appropriate alternatives.

This guideline does not discourage the use of disambiguation hatnotes in a situation where separate topics are related, but could nonetheless be referred to by the same title and would thus qualify for disambiguation, such as a book and its film adaptation (e.g. The Lord of the Rings and The Lord of the Rings (film series)).

Disambiguating article names that are not ambiguous[edit]

It is usually preferable not to have a hatnote when the name of the article is not ambiguous.

Water (wuxing)

In Chinese philosophy, water (Chinese: ; pinyin: shuǐ), is the low point of matter. It is considered matter's dying or hiding stage. ...

Here, the hatnote can be removed. A reader who is following links within Wikipedia is unlikely to end up at Water (wuxing) if they were looking for other meanings of water, since water does not redirect there.

A hatnote may still be appropriate when even a more specific name is still ambiguous. For example, Tree (set theory) might still be confused with Tree (descriptive set theory).

The presence or absence of hatnotes in articles with disambiguated titles has been a contentious issue. There are cases where some editors strongly believe that such hatnotes should be included, such as the various articles about treaties called Treaty of Paris.

A hatnote may be appropriate in an unambiguously named article when an ambiguous term redirects to it, as explained in § Ambiguous term that redirects to an unambiguously named article above.

Extraneous links[edit]

Each additional link in the hatnote besides the ambiguous or confusable topic(s) makes it more difficult to find the desired target. For example, in a previous version of the article WTOB (AM) under a former callsign:

WTIX (980 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a sports radio format. ...

In this case, the link to New Orleans, Louisiana, in the hatnote, leads to an article that is not ambiguous with the title. Keeping only the second link to the possible other destination (WIST (AM)) makes it easier to find the proper link:

WTIX (980 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a sports radio format. ...

External links[edit]

A previous version of the Hurricane Katrina article contained:

Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 29, 2005, was one of the most destructive and expensive tropical cyclones to hit the United States. ...

The use of external help links in Wikipedia cannot reasonably be maintained. In special cases, a link to an "External links" section may be appropriate, but POV favoritism can be obstructive. In this case, the hatnote was removed entirely.

Non-existent articles[edit]

Hatnotes should not contain red links to non-existent articles, since hatnotes are intended to help users navigate to another article they may have intended to find. The exception is if one intends to create the linked article immediately. In that case, consider creating the new article first, before saving the addition of the hatnote.

Hatnote templates[edit]

Generic hatnote[edit]

{{Hatnote}} allows general text to be shown in hatnote format. It is appropriate when none of the other specific templates listed below includes the combination of parameters needed, or to combine several of them in a single hatnote.

  • {{Hatnote|CUSTOM TEXT}}
    • {{Hatnote|For other senses of this term, see [[etc...]]}}
  • {{Self reference}} (a generic template for self-references to Wikipedia material)

Other uses of the same title ("For ..., see ...")[edit]

Per Wikipedia:Hatnote#Disambiguating article names that are not ambiguous, it is usually preferable not to have a hatnote when the name of the article is not ambiguous.

"This article is about ... For other uses, see..."[edit]

{{About}} is the main template for noting other uses.

Note: When used in main namespace (a.k.a. mainspace), the word "page" in the following hatnotes is replaced by "article".

  • {{About|TOPIC}}
  • {{About|USE1||PAGE2}} (When the disambiguation page has a different name – Note the empty second parameter) →
  • {{About|USE1|USE2|PAGE2}} (When there is only one other use) →
  • {{About|USE1|USE2|PAGE2|and|PAGE3}} (Two pages for USE2) →
  • {{About|USE1|USE2|PAGE2#SUBSECTION{{!}}PAGE2TITLE}} (Using the {{!}} magic word to give the link a different title) →
  • {{About|USE1|USE2|PAGE2|other uses}} (When there are several standard other uses and also a disambiguation page with default name – Note that the last page name is not specified) →
  • {{About|USE1|USE2|PAGE2|other uses|PAGE3}} (When there are several standard other uses and also a disambiguation page with non-default name) →
  • {{About||USE2|PAGE2|USE3|PAGE3|other uses}} (When you don't need to state the focus of this article/page – Note the empty first parameter) →
  • {{About|||PAGE1|and|PAGE2}}
  • Note: {{for||PAGE1|PAGE2}} produces the same result.
  • {{About|TOPIC|section=yes}}
    • Note: this hatnote says "section", instead of "article" or "page".
  • {{About|USE1|text=TEXT}}

"This page is about ... It is not to be confused with ..."[edit]

{{About-distinguish}} is a template for noting other uses when there could be confusion with another topic.

"For ..., see ..."[edit]

{{For}} can be used instead of {{About}} so as not to display: This page is about USE1. but still specify a specific other use. This effect can also be achieved by using an empty first parameter in {{About}} as in:

For example: {{For|OTHER TOPIC|PAGE1}} is the same as {{About||OTHER TOPIC|PAGE1}} (note the empty first parameter).

However, it is somewhat clearer when using the {{For}} template, since the word "about" does not appear in the statement.

As with {{Other uses}}, there is a whole family of "for" templates. {{For-text}} allows custom text, such as quotation marks or a link from part of the "CUSTOM TEXT", but does not supply automatic wikilinking
  • {{For-text|OTHER TOPIC|CUSTOM TEXT}} (note how CUSTOM TEXT isn't bluelinked)
It also supports up to three topics:

"For other uses, see ..."[edit]

When such a wordy hatnote as {{About}} is not needed, {{Other uses}} is often useful.

There are, historically, a whole family of "other uses" templates for specific cases. {{About}} is the standard hatnote for "other uses" and many of them can be specified using the {{About}} template. However, the individual templates may be easier to use in certain contexts.
Here are the variations and (when appropriate) the equivalents using the {{About}}, {{Other uses}} or {{For}} templates.
"For other uses of ..., see ..."


"... redirects here. For other uses, see ..."[edit]

  • {{Redirect|REDIRECT}}
  • {{Redirect|REDIRECT||PAGE1}}
  • {{Redirect|REDIRECT|USE1|PAGE1}}
  • {{Redirect|REDIRECT|USE1|PAGE1|USE2|PAGE2}}
  • {{Redirect|REDIRECT|USE1|PAGE1|and|PAGE2}}

"For technical reasons, ... redirects here. ... [edit]

... redirects here. Not to be confused with ...[edit]

Similar proper names ("For other people named ...")[edit]

Other people[edit]

Other places/ships/hurricanes[edit]


"Not to be confused with ..."[edit]

"... redirects here. It is not to be confused with ..."[edit]

Family names[edit]

Family names can also be clarified using inline footnotes via {{Family name footnote}}.

For use in sections[edit]

"Main article: ..."[edit]

{{Main}} is used to make summary style explicit, when used in a summary section for which there is also a separate article on the subject:

"Further information: ..."[edit]

{{Further}} can supplement {{Main}} in summary sections, or can indicate more details in nonsummary sections:

  • {{Further|PAGE}}
  • {{Further|PAGE1|PAGE2|PAGE3}}
  • {{Further|topic=TOPIC|PAGE1|PAGE2|PAGE3}}
  • {{Further2|[[PAGE1]], [[PAGE2]], and other text}}
  • {{Further ill}} may be used to link to articles containing further information on a topic, where English Wikipedia does not yet have an article, but another language Wikipedia does.

"See also ..."[edit]

{{See also}} can be used at the head of a section.

Note: use only when OTHER TOPIC PAGE is related to current article and contains a self-explanatory parenthetical.

Article or section transclusions[edit]

For category pages[edit]

Category-specific templates:

This is a template for linking categories horizontally. Horizontal linkage is often the right solution when vertical linkage (i.e., as sub-category and parent category) is not appropriate. In most cases, this template should be used on both categories to create reciprocal linkage between the two categories.

Correct titles[edit]

"The correct title of this article is ... The substitution or omission of the (or, without a reason: "It appears incorrectly here") ... is due to technical restrictions."


What to do before editing or creating a template[edit]

Do not use subst: with these templates, as that will prevent:

  1. Propagating changes as the template is modified
  2. What links here (WLH) listing.

These templates are used in thousands of articles; therefore, changing the syntax could break thousands of articles. If you wish to create or edit a disambiguation or redirection template, first ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is there already a template that will do this job? Since many disambiguation and redirection templates have already been created, first check: Category:Hatnote templates.
  2. Do I really need a new template for this? Will it likely be used on any other articles or should I just use {{Hatnote}} instead? Before creating a new template, see the template namespace guideline.
  3. If I change the parameters around on an existing template, do I know what the result will be? Will it break existing uses of the template, and if so, can I fix all of the errors?

Before making any changes, see Wikipedia:Template sandbox and test cases.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See MOS:SECTIONORDER for specific details regarding the placement of hatnotes.
  2. ^ The acceptability of multiple hatnotes was clarified in a 2016 discussion.