<references group=""></references>

(view - edit) Documentation

This citation template provides formatting and organizational features for footnotes. It encapsulates the references tag used by the cite.php MediaWiki extension to show the list of references as defined by ref tags. It adds support for a reduced font size, columns, groups, and ldr.


  • Single unnamed parameter:
column-count: a natural number specifying fixed columns into which the reference list is to be rendered. Example: |2|.
column-width: a typographic unit of measurement such as em, specifying the width for the reference list columns. Example: |30em|.
  • colwidth: explicitly sets the column-width; do not use close with this parameter— it is not needed and it will cause colwidth to not work.
  • refs: used with named references; it specifies a list of some or all named references used in the article.
  • group: identifies by name the subset of references to be rendered; the value should correspond to that used inline, renders all references with groupname as the group name.
  • liststyle: specifies the style used when the reference list is enumerated; if none is specified, the default is to render a numbered list.
  • close: forces the reference list to close and render all references defined to that point; see the section on multiple uses for details.


Using Reflist|2 will create a two-column reference list, and Reflist|3 will create a three-column list, and so on. Choose the number of columns that is appropriate for the average width of the references on the page.

Using {Reflist|30em will create columns with a minimum width of 30 em, allowing the browser to automatically choose the number of columns based on the width of the web browser. Choose a column width that is appropriate for the average width of the references on the page.

Columns are currently supported only by Gecko-based browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox) and WebKit-based browsers (such as Google Chrome and Safari). See below for more information.

The use of columns can result in widows and orphans, where a citation at the bottom of a column may be split to the top of the next column. There are CSS3 selectors that could resolve this, but they are not yet supported by any major browsers.

List styles

Reference lists are by default numbered lists. By using the liststyle parameter, you can control how the list is rendered. For example, using liststyle=upper-roman will result in items being prefixed with roman numerals instead of decimal numbers. The parameter accepts any valid CSS value defined for list-style-type as shown below.

The citations in the reference list will show the default decimal styling if:

  • The value for liststyle does not exactly match one of the predefined values
  • The value for liststyle is enclosed by quotes
  • {{Reflist}} is indented with the : markup

See the full list on Wikipedia

Multiple uses

If Reflist is used multiple times without a parameter, each instance will include all of the previously defined references. To force the parser to close previous references, each use of Reflist must be forced as a new instance by the use of any parameter. If no parameter is desired, the convention is to use the undefined parameter Reflist|close.

List-defined references

A list of references may be defined within Reflist using the para|refs parameter, just like including named <ref name=". . ."> elements inside the <references /> container. This has been available since September 2009.

Grouped references

As of June 2008, the footnotes system supports the separation of references into groups. This allows groups for explanatory notes, table references and the like.

There are three pre-defined group names that will automatically cause the link labels and this template to display other characters instead of numbers (see List styles above). These are: "lower-alpha" (a, b, c...), "lower-greek" (α, β, γ...) and "lower-roman" (i, ii, iii...) and must be written without quotes.

Font size

The font size should reduce to 90% for most browsers, but may appear to show at 100% for Internet Explorer and possibly other browsers. As of December 21, 2010, the standard single tag has the same font styling. The smaller font may be disabled through Special:Preferences → Gadgets → Disable smaller font sizes of elements such as Infoboxes, Navboxes and References lists.

Technical details

Browser support for columns

Multiple columns are generated by using CSS3, which is still in development; thus only browsers that properly support the multi-column property will show multiple columns with Reflist.

These browsers support CSS3 columns:

  • Gecko-based browsers such as Mozilla Firefox
  • WebKit-based browsers such as Safari and Google Chrome
  • Oper] from version 11.10 onward
  • Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview

These browsers do not support CSS3 columns:

  • Microsoft Trident-based browsers including Internet Explorer through to version 9
  • Opera through to version 11

Supporting CSS

Reflist uses a CSS rule in MediaWiki:Common.css to set the font size:

  • div.reflist { font-size: 90%; }

One of the following classes is assigned by the template when either column count or column width is set:

  • .references-column-count and .references-column-count-n (where n is the number of columns)
  • .references-column-width

The following CSS properties are utilized using the {{column-count}} and {{column-width}} templates:

  • column-count CSS3 standard
  • column-width CSS3 standard
  • -moz-column-count Mozilla CSS extension
  • -moz-column-width Mozilla CSS extension
  • -webkit-column-count Webkit CSS extension
  • -webkit-column-width Webkit CSS extension

Customizing the view

By editing your CSS, the personal appearance of the reference list can be customized. From Preferences, select the Appearance tab, then on the selected skin select Custom CSS. After editing and saving, follow the instructions at the top of the page to purge.

Font size

The font size for all reference lists defaults to 90% of the standard size. To change it, add:

div.refbegin {
 font-size: 90%;

Change 90% to the desired size.


To disable columns, add:

.references-column-count, .references-column-width {
 column-count: 1 !important;
 column-width: auto !important;
 -moz-column-count: 1 !important;
 -moz-column-width: auto !important;
 -webkit-column-count: 1 !important;
 -webkit-column-width: auto !important;

Similarly, to force all reference lists to a number of columns, change the number.

Column dividers

To add dividers (rules) between columns, add:

.references-column-count, .references-column-width {
 column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;
 -moz-column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;
 -webkit-column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;

You can alter the appearance of the dividers by changing the values.