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Wikipedia:Piped link

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A piped link is an internal link that displays text different from the title of the page to which the text links. It is created with wikitext (markup code) that results in hyperlinked (underlined, clickable) text. It is called "piped" because it uses the pipe character ("|") or vertical bar.

For example, the wikitext [[train station|station]] displays as station but links to the Wikipedia article about train stations.

Do not confuse piped links and redirects: they are two very different mechanisms. Both allow the displayed text of a link to differ from the title of the final destination page (the page that a reader will see after clicking that link). However, a piped link conceals the destination page's title only in that single line on the single page where its wikitext is used, while on any page throughout Wikipedia any link, piped or not, to a specific redirect page will always lead to the same destination page.



Piped links are useful for preserving the grammatical structure and flow of a sentence when:

  1. the wording of the exact link title does not fit in context (see here as an example), or
  2. there are multiple meanings of the word (see "Mercury" example on the Disambiguation page).

The pipe ("|") character is also known as a vertical bar.

There are two ways to create the pipe ("|") character: using the keyboard or choosing from a list of symbols. On English-layout keyboards, you may press ⇧ Shift+\. On Spanish keyboards, the pipe character can be obtained by pressing AltGr+1. On French (AZERTY) keyboards, the pipe character can be obtained by pressing AltGr+6. Or note that, when you are in "edit this page" mode, the "pipe" appears as the third character in the "Wiki markup" section at the bottom of the page, among the list of symbols. (You may need to choose "Wiki markup" on the pull-down menu.) Clicking on the pipe symbol there inserts it at the cursor spot, just as happens for any symbol chosen from this page.

For full details on how to use this feature, see Help:Piped link.

When not to use


First of all, keep links as simple as possible:

  • Avoid making links longer than necessary:

☒N [[George Washington|President George Washington]]

checkY President [[George Washington]]

☒N [[Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|Mozart]]

checkY [[Mozart]]

Unnecessary piping makes the wikitext harder to read.
Furthermore, the number of links to a redirect page can be a useful gauge of when it would be helpful to spin off a subtopic of an article into its own page, and such links would also continue to work correctly after the spin-off.
For example: [[Leningrad]] currently redirects to Saint Petersburg, but one day it could be decided to spin off a dedicated article about the old city of Leningrad; when that happens, all existing links [[Leningrad]] will automatically point to the correct article, while the unnecessarily piped ones [[Saint Petersburg|Leningrad]] will point to the wrong place.
  • Given the option to pipe a link or to "blend" an affix, preferred style is to use a blended affix:

☒N [[public transport|public transportation]]

checkY [[public transport]]ation

  • In a link, the first letter of a page title (after the namespace prefix) is never case-sensitive. This means: It is not necessary to pipe a link to convert the first letter to lower case. So, never do this:

☒N [[Public transport|public transport]]

checkY [[public transport]]

Both correctly link to the Public transport article.



Wikipedia is not an Advent calendar, so don't tease the reader.

Keep piped links as transparent as possible. Do not use piped links to create "Easter egg" links that require the reader to open them (or, at least, to hover their mouse pointer on those links to get page previews in the form of navigation popups) before understanding where they lead. Wikipedia is not an Advent calendar.

Also remember there are people who print the articles. For example, do not write this:

...and by mid-century the puns and sexual humor were (with only a few [[Thomas Bowdler|exceptions]]) back in to stay.

The readers will not see the hidden reference to Thomas Bowdler unless they click or hover over the piped exceptions link. In a print version, there is no link to select, and the reference is lost. Instead, reference the article explicitly:

...and by mid-century the puns and sexual humor were (with only a few exceptions, such as [[Thomas Bowdler]]) back in to stay.

Similarly, instead of:

After an [[1944 Bombay explosion|earlier disaster]]...


After an earlier disaster, the [[1944 Bombay explosion]], ...

or simply:

After the [[1944 Bombay explosion]], ...

It will occasionally be useful to link to a fuller explanation of a phrase; when this is done, link the phrase, not a single word.

For example: If Pontiac's War is defined as having been

a war launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes,

and there is no space for further explanation in that context (this is a quote from the lead of the article), then some readers will value a link to a description of the confederation. This should not be linked from the word confederation; the link in the following phrase:

a war launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes

looks like a link to the article Confederation.

At a minimum, link something that, obviously, wouldn't be the title of an article under our article title conventions:

a war launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes.

Further, it is inappropriate to contain veiled and uncited interpretations of fiction through piped links, as in this excerpt from the The Iron Dream article, which contained over 30 interpretations of the book's allusions hidden in links:

The pure and strong young "Trueman" (so named for the lack of mutations in his DNA) Feric Jaggar returns from the outlands of Borgravia where his family was exiled by the Treaty of Karmak with the surrounding mutant states ...

...and in wikitext:

The pure and strong young [[breeding true|"Trueman"]] (so named for the lack of mutations in his [[DNA]]) Feric Jaggar returns from the outlands of [[Austria|Borgravia]] where his family was exiled by the [[Treaty of Versailles|Treaty of Karmak]] with the [[Allies of World War I|surrounding mutant states]] ...

Such interpretation, if properly sourced, should be placed in its own section and citations provided. If the interpretation is purely that of the editor, it is original research and should be removed.


In the case of a category link, a piped link overrides the alphabetical sort order of the article, as shown on the linked category page.

For example, in a hypothetical new article Albert Einstein, using [[Category:Theoretical physicists]] places him in Category:Theoretical physicists. And that category page will list him as "Albert Einstein". But if this link is used in this simplest form, it will list the title (lemma) among the "A"s, instead of the "E"s (where he belongs), because it sorts on the article's name, "Albert Einstein".

One way to impose correct sort order is to use [[Category:Theoretical physicists|Einstein, Albert]], which makes that category page list "Albert Einstein" among the "E"s (between "Martin B. Einhorn" and "Leonard Eisenbud"), by sorting it as if it were "Einstein, Albert" rather than "Albert Einstein".

However, the actual Albert Einstein page has 83 category links. Piping every category link would be unattractive. As is standard for most "person" pages, that page uses the template {{DEFAULTSORT:Einstein, Albert}} to override the default sorting for category links. Thus [[Category:Theoretical physicists]] on that page, places him in Category:Theoretical physicists as "Albert Einstein", and makes that category page sort him as "Einstein, Albert", without need of a piped link, and likewise for 81 other category links.

But because of this template that page needs to pipe the category link, [[Category:Einstein family|Albert]], to place him in Category:Einstein family and make (only) that category alphabetize him under "Albert".



The pipe character is also used when supplying parameters to templates; this is not the same thing as a piped link.

See also