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Templates are a very powerful feature of MediaWiki, but can be confusing to new users and even experienced users can have difficulty making sense of the more complex ones. So, templates should have documentation to improve usability.

This documentation should explain what a template does and how to use it. It should be simple so someone without complete knowledge on how to use templates can use it correctly.

What should it include?

The documentation of some template should contain:

  • The purpose of the template; what it does/why it does that.
  • The parameters of the template.
  • Examples on how to use the templates
  • mw:Help:TemplateData
  • Related templates
  • Categories and interwikis; templates with a separate /doc subpage handle these differently.

How to add documentation

Adding the template

Adding documentation to templates is fairly easy. You do need to learn wikitext to do this.

  1. Go to a template, e.g. Template:Stub.
  2. Edit the page
  3. At the bottom of the page, add this code:
<noinclude>
<!-- Categories and interwikis go to the /doc subpage, not here! -->
{{Documentation}}
</noinclude>
  1. Save the page.

If documentation already exists, you should see text on the bottom, after the word Documentation. The display should be somewhat similar to:

Template documentation
Note: portions of the template sample might be invisible without values provided
View or edit this documentation.
Editors can experiment in this template sandbox and testcases pages.

Note: The display may vary depending on the modifications you have made on your wiki.

Creating documentation

If you have a more advanced version of the documentation template, you might see this popup when you add the {{Documentation}} template without the /doc subpage:

Documentation
[create]
The documentation is missing. Click here to create it.

You can click on the [create] link in the template, and it will preload the contents of Template:Documentation/preload. You can modify the editor text as you wish.

Otherwise, this will show: Template:<template>/doc.

Click the link, and write down the suggested contents below:

What to add to the documentation

There are many formats for writing template documetation. Be sure to read your wiki's rules to see if there is a standardized guide for this.

If there isn't, feel free to copy the below formats. You can also customize/adopt them to your wiki.

Basic format

== Description ==
This template is used to do something...

== Syntax ==
{{t|Template}}

== Sample output ==
<code>{{Template}}</code> gives:

{{Template}}

This is the most basic format for a template. It can be expanded, depending on what you want.

An alternative way to write this is by using description lists:

;Description
: This template is used to do something...
;Syntax
: {{t|Template}}
;Sample output
:<code>{{Template}}</code> gives:
:{{Template}}

Templates with parameters

For templates with parameters, it depends on what you want:

If the template is used on articles, adding TemplateData can be helpful, below the parameter list.

Add this code below == Syntax ==:

=== Parameters ===
;<code>param=</code>
: This parameter does abc.

=== TemplateData ===
<templatedata>{}</templatedata>

Categories and interwikis

If you are using a /doc subpage, here are the steps:

For the template

For categories, add:

<includeonly>
[[Category:<Category>]]
</includeonly>

Replace <Category> with the name of the category, such as Stubs.

For interwikis, add:

<includeonly>
[[<lang>:<page>]]
</includeonly>

For the /doc subpage

For categories, add:

<noinclude>
[[Category:<Category>]]
</noinclude>

Replace <Category> with the name of the category, such as Stubs.

For interwikis, add:

<noinclude>
[[<lang>:<page>]]
</noinclude>

See also

Further help and feedback

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