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This template is used to create footnotes in Wikipedia, as an alternative and complement to the <ref> tag. Because of a technical limitation, some of the standard Wikipedia markup elements that are often used in the article prose do not work within a set of <ref>...</ref> tags, including but not limited to the pipe trick, template substitution and another "nested" set of <ref>...</ref> tags. For example, the following does not work as expected:

  1. <ref>[[Help:Footnotes|]]</ref> (Generates: [[Help:Footnotes|]] instead of a wikilink)
  2. <ref>{{SUBST:TODAY}}</ref> (Generates: {{SUBST:TODAY}} instead of the date that the edit was made)
  3. <ref>Explanatory footnote<ref>Citation</ref></ref> (Generates: Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). </ref>)

Replacing the outermost <ref>...</ref> set with {{Refn}} allows for the use of the markup elements listed above.


{{refn|group=groupname|name=name|Contents of the footnote}}

  • groupname: Groupname per WP:REFGROUP; if not specified, then the main and nested references will be rendered into the same reference list
  • name: Reference name per WP:REFNAME

Names for footnotes and groups must follow these rules:

  • Names are case-sensitive
  • Names may not be purely numeric
  • Names must be unique—you cannot use the same name to define different groups or footnotes
  • Quotation marks are optional if the only characters used are letters A–Z, a–z, digits 0–9, and the symbols  ! $ % & ( ) * , - . : ; < @ [ ] ^ _ ` { | } ~ .
  • Inclusion of any other characters, including spaces, requires that the reference name be enclosed in quotes: name="John Smith".
  • The quote marks must be the standard straight keyboard marks ("); curly or other quotes will be parsed as part of the reference name.
  • Quote-enclosed reference names may not include a less-than sign (<) or a double straight quote symbol ("). These may be escaped with &lt; and &quot;, respectively.
  • Please consider keeping reference names simple and restricted to the standard English alphabet and numerals.
  • You may optionally provide reference names even when the reference name is not required. This makes later re-use of the sourced reference easier.


Footnotes with citations

Markup Renders as
An example.{{refn|group=note|name=first|A note.<ref>An included reference.</ref>}}
Another example.{{refn|group=note|Another note.<ref>Another included reference.</ref>}}
A third example.{{refn|group=note|The third note.<ref>The reference in the third note.</ref>}}
Repeating the first example.{{refn|group=note|name=first}}



An example.[note 1] Another example.[note 2] A third example.[note 3] Repeating the first example.[note 1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 A note.[1]
  2. Another note.[2]
  3. The third note.[3]
  1. An included reference.
  2. Another included reference.
  3. The reference in the third note.


The first example shows that substitution does not work in a regular <ref>...</ref> tag (the accessdate does not appear correctly). The second example shows that the accessdate is substituted correctly within {{refn}}.

Markup Renders as
<ref>{{cite web |accessdate={{Subst:TODAY}} |title=Languages |work=Apache HTTP Server |agency=Ohloh |publisher= Black Duck Software |url=https://www.ohloh.net/p/apache/analyses/latest/languages_summary}}</ref>


  1. "Languages". Apache HTTP Server. Black Duck Software. Ohloh. Retrieved {{Subst:TODAY}}.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
{{refn|{{cite web |accessdate={{Subst:TODAY}} |title=Languages |work=Apache HTTP Server |agency=Ohloh |publisher= Black Duck Software |url=https://www.ohloh.net/p/apache/analyses/latest/languages_summary}}}}


  1. "Languages". Apache HTTP Server. Black Duck Software. Ohloh. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 


If the reference or note content is missing, then "Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no name must have content." will be displayed.

See also