Wikipedia:Tip of the day/September 24

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Transclusion vs. substitution

There are two main ways to use templates on articles: transclusion (accomplished by using {{Template Name}}), and substitution ({{subst:Template Name}}). Transclusion will include the content of Template Name on the fly whenever the article is loaded, while the substitution will permanently insert the content of the template into the article.

With substitution, if the template content is modified at a later date, the article's content will not change. Substitution is the preferred method for long-term, permanent notices because it is less confusing, and it even helps to lighten the load on the database. Substitution (inclusion) has a further advantage in that a template's content may be de-linked from any associated category or slightly modified to suit the circumstances, such as when the template is used on a talk page.

Transclusion is preferred when it is possible that the template will be edited or replaced at a later date.