GIST Support Wiki


This is an advanced help page related to using hyperlinks in MediaWiki. Hyperlinks allow users to move between pages. For some basic examples of how to use hyperlinks, see Help:Editing#Common_Editing_Markups. There are three general types of hyperlinks recognized by MediaWiki, each with a different look to set them appart: Wikilinks (i.e., Internal Links), External Links, and Section Links.




A wikilink or internal link links a page to another page within the same wiki project.

  • [[a]] gives a.
  • [[a|b]] gives b (links to a, labelled as b).
  • [[a]]b gives ab, just like [[a|ab]] does: ab.
  • [[a|b]]c gives bc, just like [[a|bc]] does: bc.
  • a[[b]] gives ab.
  • [[a]]<nowiki>b</nowiki> gives ab.
  • [[a]]''b'' gives ab.
  • ''[[a]]''b gives ab.
  • [[a|b]]c<nowiki>d</nowiki> gives bcd.

Links that show different text than the name of the page are said to be "piped" because of the pipe symbol used ( | ). See Help:Piped link.

MediaWiki automatically checks if the target of a wikilink exists ("existence detection"). If the page doesn't exist, the link leads to the editing screen, and it is assigned the class "new". Such wikilinks are nicknamed "red links" because they are colored red. Red links are useful in determining the current status of the page (created or not created). Creating incoming links to a future page encourages others to create the page.

Note that the image and category syntax are the same as the wikilink syntax. Attempting to link normally will place the image on the page or add the page to the category. This can be prevented by prefixing a colon, which creates a link to the image or category instead. For example, [[:Image:Mediawiki.png]] and [[:Category:Help]].

See also

Stub feature

The stub feature allows users to see links to small pages differently (i.e., they show up as a faded red, not a bright red like a broken link). This can help you to find small pages that may need additional content.

Enabling the stub feature: Once you are logged in, visit the Misc section of your user preferences. Type in a maximum size limit (in Bytes) for a stub page where it says "threshold for stub display." The size only measures the wikitext, not the rendered page. This means if images are included the size of the wikitext could be very small, while the size of the rendered page may be large. Make sure and save your preferences.


  • Only pages in the main namespace that are not redirects can be stubs.
  • Section linking to "stub" pages does not work (i.e., a link to a section of a stub page will just take you to the top of the page). This is normally a minor issue, although it can be a problem if the stub threshold is set very high.
  • A page with a few sentences is about 500 Bytes. You may want to visit the Special:Shortpages to get an idea of the size of smaller pages when setting your threshold.

External links

External links use absolute URLs that link directly to any webpage. They are identified by an arrow icon following the link. External links are in the form [ link name] (resulting in link name), with the link name separated from the URL by a space. Links without link names will be numbered: [] becomes [1]. Links with no square brackets will be displayed in their entirety: .

Unlike in the case of internal links, [ a]s gives as.

This wiki produces an arrow icon after every external link.

Special links

PubMed Links

It is possible to link directly to articles in the PubMed database] using the unique article identifier called the PMID #. You do not need to enter brackets when doing this. Just type in the following: PMID 14713653 to get PMID 14713653. See Help:PubMed links.

Book Links

It is also possible to link to books using their ISBN #. To do this, just type in ISBN 1930683006, which gives: ISBN 1930683006

It is important to remember that each ISBN number represents only one publication (i.e., version) of the book. When following an ISBN link, you will be taken to a separate page that provides several online bookstores that sell new and used books. Just select the one you would like and you will be taken to the entry for the book whose ISBN number you followed.

Section linking (anchors)

It is possible to link to a specific section of a wiki page. For example, #Wikilinks (entered as [[#Wikilinks]]) links to the first section of this page. This works for sections of other pages as well. For example, Help:Section#Section_linking takes you to the relevant section of the Help:Section page. Make sure that your capitalization is exactly the same as the section and the section is a level 2 headline (i.e., has two "=" signs, not more).

It is also possible to link to any part of a page (i.e., not just a section header). The code [[#top]] takes you to the top of a page. To link to another place on the page, you need to insert an anchor (with a name) using the HTML code <span id="anchor_name"></span> and placing it in the page where you want people to be taken.

Problems with page name conversion

Note that if the page name is automatically converted (for example, from "/main_Page" to "/Main_Page"), the section link will still work but will disappear from the address bar. As a consequence, this will make it more difficult to bookmark the section itself. This is not applicable for wikilinks, because the conversions have already taken place on Preview or Save of the referring page.

Redirects with section links

A redirect to a page section does not go to the section. However, one can add the section anyway as a clarification, and it will work if the redirect is manually clicked from the redirect page.

See Also