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The MediaWiki software allows you to automatically substitute messages and templates in the article text. As of the upgrade to MediaWiki 1.3 (in September 2004), templates now have their own namespace inside the database. Template pages will start with the Template: prefix.

Include a messageEdit

The syntax for insertion of the page "Template:name" is {{name}}. This reference in the wikitext causes insertion of the template content when the referring page is rendered.

If the page "Template:name" does not exist, then {{name}} works as [[Template:name]], a link to a non-existing page, leading to the edit page.

Self links do not give any complication: they are neatly displayed in bold and not as link. However, templates should have the correct page names and not rely on redirecting, since the feature does not work in that case.


You may also include a message as a template by applying parameters to the template.

Template parameters are either named or numbered. The syntax to add a message with parameters is {{thing|param=value}} with {{{param}}} tags in the template, or {{thing|value1|value2}} with {{{1}}}, {{{2}}}, etc. tags in the template. (Note that parameter tags in the template have three braces rather than two).

On rendering, surplus parameters are ignored. In the case of too few, the parameters will appear as links to nonexistent templates.

Parameter templates are used in the template {{imagecopyright}}, for example. The template contains references to "owner" and "source", so the template call

{{imagecopyright|owner=[[White Wolf]]|source=Vampire The Requiem cover}}

will produce the following note:

This image is copyrighted. It is used here with the explicit permission of the owner, White Wolf. The terms of permission do not include third-party use (Image source: Vampire The Requiem cover ).

This example shows that you can even use wiki links in template parameters. This is not necessary if you are adding a well-formed URL - those are presented as links automatically.


If you include the string "subst:" after the double opening curly-braces, MediaWiki will substitute the template text in the wikitext rather than include it. The net effect is that the current text of the template will be permanently saved, and will not be

Example: {{subst:copyvio1}}

When subst is applied to a template, a variable in the template is copied as such in the wikitext. (As of MediaWiki 1.3.2, there is a bug in the system where setting parameters with substitutions does not work. The developers are aware of this problem and are creating a fix. [1])

You cannot substitute the same template more than five times per edit. (However, this only applies to any one edit; you can then go back and add the same template five more times. Why anyone might one to do this, though, is unclear.)


Templates are useful for any text for which one wants a copy in two or more pages, and there is no need for each copy to be edited independently, to adapt it to the page it is in. Since parameters can be used, versions may to that extent even be different, and parameter values can be edited independently for each.

See also: White Wolf: Article templates

This help page references the classic editor. Note that the VisualEditor may behave differently.

A template is a special type of page that has been designed so its content can be included in other pages. Since a given template can be included in many pages, it can help reduce duplication and promote a uniform style between pages.

Templates can be useful for...

  • Creating content that should appear on many pages.
  • Formatting content (such as infoboxes) in a way that should be consistent across many pages.
  • Creating a shortcut for writing things that you repeat often when communicating with others.
  • Replacing long, complicated code so that a page is easier for other users to edit.
  • Protecting parts of a page from editing while leaving other sections open for edits.

Templates are usually located in the Template namespace. This includes any page with a name beginning with Template:, such as Template:Name.

Note: As of December 2015, templates cannot be edited by anonymous users[1].

Video overview

If you're new to templates, this video will help you get started.

Introduction to Templates03:40

Introduction to Templates

How to create a basic template

Templates can be very powerful, but also sometimes very complicated. It often helps to start by creating the simplest possible kind of template, and then experimenting from there.

  • On your wikia, go to Template:Example and click "Create".
  • Type "Hello, World" in the editor.
  • Click "Publish". You have just created a template with some sample content.
  • On your wikia, create a new article called "Template test".
  • In the editor, go to source mode and enter the following code:
  • Click Publish. Your "Testing Templates" page should display the text you added to your template.

You've successfully created and used a template! Now you can change the content of your template and add it to more pages to make it more useful for your community.

Adding pre-existing templates


Wikias come with pre-loaded default templates. You can view a complete list of templates available on your wikia by going to Special:AllPages and selecting "Template" from the namespace dropdown menu. Click "Go" and all available templates will appear in a list.

  • In the editor's visual mode, you can select from the list of all templates available on your wikia by clicking "Add other templates".
  • In source mode, you can use the code {{Template name}} to add any template to your page.
  • Advanced users can edit the page MediaWiki:Editor-template-list to change the list of templates available by default in the "Templates" section of the editor. Up to four templates can be in this list.

Advanced templates

Template parameters

Templates can have parameters - these allow you to alter the way the template is displayed, such as including specific text or altering the design.

To take Template:Wikipedia as an example, adding just {{Wikipedia}} assumes that the page on Wikipedia is the same name as the page of the current page the template is used on. However, a parameter can be added, e.g. {{Wikipedia|Microsoft}}, to tell the template that the page on Wikipedia was Microsoft.

To learn more about how to change the output of the template based on what the user inputs, see Help:Template parameters and Help:Parser functions.

Substituting templates

A different way to use a template is to substitute its content into a page. This is done by inserting subst: immediately after the opening braces: {{subst:templatename}}. Once the page is saved, the link to the template is removed and the template output is substituted in its place and can be further edited. Any updates to the template will not affect the content that was substituted into the page.

To learn more, visit Help:Substituting templates.

Updating and adding standard templates

The official Starter Wiki and semi-official Templates Wiki occasionally improve some of their documentation as well as adding new templates specifically designed for Wikia sites, and are therefore worth checking from time to time.

Copying templates from other wikis

Contributors throughout Wikia have made all different kinds of templates. It is often simpler to copy an existing template and modify it for your needs, rather than creating one from scratch. The Templates Wiki is a good place to start looking for a template that fits your needs. In most cases, you are free to copy templates based on the shared CC-by-SA license, but make sure the wikia you want to copy from does not have an alternative licensing scheme that may place restrictions on what you can copy.

Here are some basic steps to copy most templates:

  1. Find the template you want to copy (usually
  2. Click the Edit button, select all of the wikitext and copy it.
  3. Create a new template page on your wikia (
  4. Paste the wikitext code you copied and press the Publish button.

Many templates have a separate subpage for documentation about the template. Fortunately, the location is often standardized, so it is easy to copy the documentation as well. If you notice the template page you copied above does not look like the original, it is likely the documentation is on a separate subpage:

  1. Find the template documentation you want to copy (usually
  2. Click the Edit button, select all the wikitext and copy it.
  3. Create a new template documentation subpage page on your wikia (
  4. Paste the wikitext code you copied and press the Publish button.

Template Webinar

Looking for further video instruction? This webinar recording overviews the basics of adding and customizing templates for your wikia.

Templates Overview25:30

Templates Overview

See also

Further help and feedback


  1. /wiki/User_blog:Rappy_4187/Technical_Update:_November_30,_2015

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