Wikipedia:Navigational templates

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A navigational template is a grouping of links used in multiple related articles for the purposes of facilitating navigation between those articles. Editing of a navigational template is done in a central place, the template page. Advantages of using navigational templates rather than listing them all under "See also" sections include:

  • reduction of clutter in that area of the article before "References" and "External links",
  • compactness of the template compared to a standard list or table, in the case of many links,
  • if the most immediately related links are kept under "See also", the reader has a better idea of scope,
  • less directly related links are out of the way or in some cases hidden by default,
  • ease of maintenance in updating the template as articles get created or deleted.

They are categorized under Category:Navigational templates. Some WikiProjects maintain a list of their navigational templates. (There used to be an effort here to list all navigational templates, but it was not maintained and was redundant to the categorization effort.)


The style of any navigational template depends on its series of articles, how they are most intuitively presented, and previously established convention. For example, {{History of China}} is designed to appear at the right while {{Health in China}} is designed to appear at the bottom of each article, stacked with other templates like it. The latter type is being standardized to the format of {{Navbox}}.

Navigational templates provide navigation
  • The goal is not to cram as many related articles as possible into one space. Ask yourself, does this help the reader in reading up on related topics? Take any two articles in the template. Would a reader really want to go from A to B?
  • They should be kept small in size as a large template has limited navigational value. For article series with many articles, consider:
    • Split them into multiple, smaller templates on each sub-topic. For example, {{EMD diesels}} lists all models of diesel locomotives built by one manufacturer, but is too large to be transcluded on each of their articles. Instead, the individual sections of {{EMD diesels}} were split out into their own templates: {{EMD GPs}}, {{EMD SDs}}, etc.
    • Do the above with only one template using ParserFunctions.
    • Link only the immediately related articles while hiding the rest, like in the case of {{Johnny Cash}}.
  • They should not be too small. A navigational template with less than a handful of links can easily be replaced by "See also" sections, or relevant {{main}} and {{see also}} links within the articles' sections.
Navigational templates provide navigation between existing articles
  • Red links should be avoided unless they have a chance of being developed into articles.
  • Unlinked text should be avoided. For example, {{Axis of Justice}} lists non-articles under "Notable guests", but this content seems more appropriate in an article.
Navigational templates provide navigation between related articles
  • If the series of articles is not established as related in the actual articles by reliable sources, then it is probably not a good idea to interlink them.
Navigational templates are not arbitrarily decorative
  • There should be justification for a template to deviate from standard colors and styles
  • For footer boxes, the width should be 100% unless the convention for that type of article is otherwise. It looks inconsistent if multiple boxes in the same article have varying widths.
  • For footer boxes, {{Navbox}} is now the standard. Hard-coded collapsible tables or NavFrames that {{Navbox}} can deal with should be converted to standardize the look and to ease future maintenance.


In certain cases, there are alternatives preferable over the creation of a new navigational template.

  • If the series of articles overlaps significantly with an existing category, consider using {{otherarticles}} instead. Of course, since the category is already linked within those articles, {{otherarticles}} may not even provide extra navigational value.
  • For successive series of articles whose only shared characteristic is that they hold the same position or title, such as peerage or world champion sporting titles, consider using {{succession box}}. Variant templates for persons who have held several notable offices are discussed at Template talk:Succession box.
  • For relating articles across different categories in a logical sequence, use {{step}}.

See also

Navigation template comparison
view  talk  edit
collapsible Header color Image Groups Style (body)
{{Navbox}} collapsible navbox Left/right of body Yes Yes {{USCongress}}, {{Apollo program}}
{{Navbox with columns}} collapsible navbox Left/right of columns No Yes {{Current U.S. Senators}}, {{UK subdivisions}}
The background color for the header or title is inherited from the class listed below. The templates have titlestyle parameters that can be used to override the default.
Collapsible attributes
Type CSS classes Collapses when Custom
initial state
Nesting Default
header color
Font size
Collapsible tables collapsible, navbox 2 or more autocollapse on page Yes Yes #ccccff 90%

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