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This citation template provides formatting and organizational features for footnotes. It encapsulates the <references></references> tag used by the Template:Cite.php MediaWiki extension to show the list of references as defined by <ref></ref> tags. It adds support for a reduced font size, columns, groups and Template: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 (e.g., <ref name=name></ref>); 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, e.g., {{Reflist|group=groupname}} renders all references with groupname as the group name (<ref></ref>).
  • 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 by browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera. 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[edit]

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

Template:CSS list-style-type values

Multiple uses[edit]


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[edit]


A list of references may be defined within {{Reflist}} using the |refs= parameter, just like including named <ref name=". . ."> elements inside the <references /> container. This has been available since September 2009. There are new error messages associated with this feature, documented at Help:Cite errors, including one for references defined in {{Reflist}} but not used within the body.



Grouped references[edit]

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. See WP:REFGROUP.

The general format for the reference tag is:

<ref group="groupname">

And using |group= for the reflist:

Where groupname is a group identifier such as "notes", "nb" or "label".

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[edit]

The font size should reduce to 90% for most browsers, but may appear to show at 100% for Internet Explorer and possibly other browsers.[1] As of December 21, 2010, the standard <references/> tag has the same font styling. The smaller font may be disabled through Template:Myprefs.

Technical details[edit]

Browser support for columns[edit]

CSS3 multiple column layout
browser support
Firefox Safari Chrome Opera
6 3 3.1 7 10.5
7 3.5 3.2 8 10.6
8 3.6 4 9 11
9 4 5 10 11.1

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}}.[2][3]

These browsers support CSS3 columns:

These browsers do not support CSS3 columns:

  • Microsoft Trident-based browsers including Internet Explorer through to version 9[4]
  • Opera through to version 11

Supporting CSS[edit]

{{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[edit]


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. See Wikipedia:Skin#Customisation (advanced users) for more help.

Font size

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

<source lang="css"> ol.references, div.reflist, div.refbegin {

 font-size: 90%;

} </source>

Change 90% to the desired size.


To disable columns, add:

<source lang="css"> .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;

} </source>

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

Column dividers

To add dividers (rules) between columns, add:

<source lang="css"> .references-column-count, .references-column-width {

 column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;
 -moz-column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;
 -webkit-column-rule: 1px solid #aaa;

} </source>

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

Perennial suggestions[edit]

Collapsing and scrolling

There have been a number of requests to add functionality for a collapsible or scrolling reference list. These requests have not been fulfilled to due to issues with readability, accessibility, and printing. The applicable guidelines are at MOS:SCROLL. Links between the inline cite and the reference list do not work when the reference list is enclosed in a collapsed box.

To display the reference list in a scrollbox or collapsed per user, see Help:Reference display customization.

For discussion on previous attempts to do this with a template, see the discussions for Scrollref and Refbox.

Including the section title

There have been suggestions to include section header markup such as ==References==. This is inadvisable because:

  • There is no standard section name; see WP:FNNR.
  • When transcluded, the article will have an edit link that will confusingly open the template for editing.

See also[edit]


  • {{Template reference list}} – version of reflist for use in templates
  • {{Reflist-talk}} – for use on talk pages
  • {{Notelist}} – for use with explanatory notes; sets |group=lower-alpha
  • {{Notelist-ua}} – for use with explanatory notes; sets |group=upper-alpha
  • {{Notelist-lr}} – for use with explanatory notes; sets |group=lower-roman


  1. See User:Edokter/fonttest for a comparison of font sizes for various browsers; see previous discussions on changing the font size to resolve the IE issue.
  2. "CSS3 Multi-Column Thriller". December 30, 2005. Retrieved November 24, 2006.
  3. "CSS3 module: Multi-column layout". W3C. December 15, 2005. Retrieved November 24, 2006.
  4. "CSS Compatibility and Internet Explorer: Multi-column Layout". Microsoft Developer Network. Microsoft. Retrieved March 16, 2011.