This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia's Manual of Style.
Disambiguation pages (abbreviated often as dab pages or simply DAB or DABs) are non-article pages designed to help a reader find the right Wikipedia article when different topics could be referred to by the same search term, as described in the guidelines on the Wikipedia:Disambiguation project page. In other words, disambiguation pages help readers find the specific article they want when there is topic ambiguity.
Note that even though most disambiguation pages are kept in the Main/Article namespace (aka mainspace), they are not articles. These pages are aids in searching for articles.
The style guidelines on this page aim to give disambiguation pages a consistent appearance and help the efficiency of searches by excluding extraneous information. Any page containing one of the disambiguation templates should contain only disambiguation content, whether or not the page title contains the parenthetical "(disambiguation)". For more information on these templates and identifying a disambiguation page, see § The disambiguation notice and categorization below.
Note that these style guidelines do not apply to article pages containing such sentence- or paragraph-level disambiguation techniques as having a hatnote at the top of an article pointing to a related subject. These guidelines only apply to pages correctly tagged with a disambiguation template.
|Manual of Style (MoS)|
In general, the title of a disambiguation page is the ambiguous term itself, provided there is no primary topic for that term. If there is already a primary topic, "(disambiguation)" should be added to the title of the disambiguation page, such as Jupiter (disambiguation). For more on how to title a disambiguation page, see Wikipedia:Disambiguation § Naming the disambiguation page.
The first lines should consist of the following, in order:
Each of these three should begin its own line (the Wiktionary template creates a box on the right side of the page).
Thus if there is no Wiktionary link and no primary topic link, the introductory line should be the first line.
When a dictionary definition should be included (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation § What not to include), rather than writing a text entry, create a cross-link to Wiktionary, one of the Wikimedia sister projects. To do this, use one of these Wiktionary link templates on the first line:
((Wiktionary))can be used with up to five optional parameters:
((wiktionary|WORD|WORD2|...|WORD5)). This can be useful for linking dictionary entries with multiple capitalizations (e.g., star, Star, and STAR). With no parameters, the template defaults to using the current page's name with a lowercase first letter.
((Wiktionary pipe))will behave like a piped link:
((wiktionary pipe|WORD|optional display name)).
Be sure to check the links created by these templates, as Wiktionary's case sensitivity sometimes differs from Wikipedia's. Most notably, Wiktionary uses proper capitalization for the first letter of its entries, unlike Wikipedia's use of an uppercase first letter for each page name.
It is recommended that a link back to the primary topic appear at the top, in a brief explanatory sentence. This link should be the primary topic set in bold. (This is opposite to the recommendation for primary topics in articles; that is, MOS:BOLDLINKAVOID does not apply to disambiguation pages.) The brief explanatory sentence is otherwise an individual entry per MOS:DABENTRY.
When the page has "(disambiguation)" in its title – i.e., it is the disambiguation page for a term for which a primary topic has been identified – users are most likely to arrive there by clicking on a top link from the primary topic article, generated by a template in the ((otheruses)) series. For example, the article School contains the hatnote:
For other uses, see School (disambiguation).
The primary topic is the one reached by using the disambiguation page title without the (disambiguation) qualifier. Capitalisation differences matter, so there will only be one primary topic for a title.
Since it is unlikely this primary topic is what readers are looking for if they have reached the disambiguation page, it should not be mixed in with the other links. As stated above, it is recommended that the link back to the primary topic appear at the top, in a brief explanatory sentence. For instance:
When the primary topic article has a different title than the term being disambiguated, then the first line normally uses a redirect from the ambiguous term to link to that article:
Similarly for an acronym, initialism or alphabetism:
However, in some cases it may be clearer to link directly to the target of the redirect, such as with surnames that have a primary holder:
instead of the more awkward:
The term being disambiguated should be in bold (not italics). It should begin a sentence fragment ending with a colon, introducing a bulleted list:
Where several variants of a term are being disambiguated together, significant variants may be included in the lead sentence. For example:
However, it is not necessary to mention minor variations of capitalization, punctuation or diacritics. For example, AU may refer to: is preferable to AU, au, Au or A-U may refer to; and Saiyuki may refer to: is preferable to Saiyuki, Saiyūki or Saiyûki may refer to.
When the title being disambiguated has a primary topic (i.e. when the disambiguation page's title ends in "(disambiguation)"), the introductory line includes the word "also": see the "school" example in § Linking to a primary topic above.
After the introductory line comes a list of individual entries – lines which direct the readers to Wikipedia articles on the various topics which might be referenced by the term being disambiguated. Keep in mind that the primary purpose of the disambiguation page is to help people find the specific article they want quickly and easily. For example:
Apply the following rules when constructing entries:
((lowercase title)), like eBay).
((ftq))can also be used to put only the title, and not the qualifier, in italics or quotes, respectively.
In most cases the title of the target article will be an expansion or variation of the term being disambiguated (as in the example above). If this is the case:
However, in some cases the target article title is not an expansion or variation of the term being disambiguated. For example, in the Maggie Anderson (disambiguation) page for the entry corresponding to Maggie Anderson (activist), the link is an expansion or variation, but for the entry corresponding to the actress in Corpus Callosum (2007 film) it is not.
For cases where the link is not an expansion or variation see §§ Red links and Items appearing within other articles below.
Note also the following points when constructing lists of entries:
Further information: Wikipedia:Disambiguation § What not to include
Do not include entries for topics that are not ambiguous (according to the linked article) with the title. Use list articles for lists of related topics if needed.
On a page called Title, do not create entries merely because Title is part of the name (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation § Partial title matches). This does not apply if the subject is commonly referred to simply by Title. For instance, Oxford (disambiguation) should link to University of Oxford and Catalina might include Santa Catalina Island, California. If there is disagreement about whether this exception applies, it is often best to assume that it does. When multiple articles contain Title but are not referred to by it,
((look from)) and
((in title)) templates may be added in the "See also" section.
You may want to create entries on the same page for:
"MOS:DABNAME" redirects here. For the guideline regarding how to name disambiguation pages, see WP:DABNAME.
Main page: Wikipedia:WikiProject Anthroponymy
People who have the ambiguous term as surname or given name should be listed in the main disambiguation list of the disambiguation page only if they are frequently referred to simply by the single name (e.g., Elvis, Shakespeare).
There are two options for listing name-holders. A list of name-holders can be included in a People section of the page, or alternatively in sections such as People with the surname Xxxx or People with the given name Xxxx below the main disambiguation list. For longer lists (of 12 or more entries), and as an alternative for a short list, an anthroponymy list article can be created and linked from the disambiguation page. If it isn't clear that the article includes a list, consider mentioning that in the description, for example:
Articles only listing persons with a certain given name or surname, known as anthroponymy articles, are not disambiguation pages, and this Manual of Style does not apply to them. Anthroponymy articles follow their own style standards. For those articles, do not use
((given name)) or
Common misspellings should be listed only if there is a genuine risk of confusion or misspelling. These cross-links should be placed in a separate section entitled "Common misspellings" or "See also". For example, in a page called Kington (disambiguation), a link to Kingston (disambiguation) would appropriately be included in the "See also" section.
Piping and redirects are two different mechanisms that allow the displayed text of a link to differ from the title of the page that the link points to.
[[Moment (physics)|moment]], resulting in the link moment.
Apart from the exceptions listed below, piping and redirects should generally not be used on disambiguation pages. This is to make it clear to the reader which topic is the subject of an article title. For example, on the disambiguation page Moment, in the entry Moment (physics), the parenthetical disambiguator "(physics)" should be visible so that the reader sees which "moment" topic the entry is about, among others sharing the same base title. In many cases, what would be hidden by a pipe is exactly what the user would need in order to find their intended article. However, raw section and anchor points should not be displayed; see § Section and anchor point linking for those cases.
Though piping and redirects should generally not be used in disambiguation pages, there are certain cases in which they may be useful to the reader:
The above technique is used when the link is the subject of the line. For description sections, redirects or piped links may be used; follow the normal Wikipedia:Redirect and Wikipedia:Piped link guidelines.
The above example of a redirect is only appropriate because James Carrey is indicated as an alternative name in the lead section of the Jim Carrey article. If it were not, then the second example could have been used instead.
((ftq))may be used to create properly formatted links. These should be substituted, since templates are discouraged on disambiguation pages (see § Images and templates below).
[[Entertainment Software Rating Board#Ratings|Entertainment Software Rating Board]]) is preferable to simply linking to the entire article Entertainment Software Rating Board. Piping is commonly used to link to the track listing section of an album article. The text of the link should not be the title of a different article, and should not surprise the reader. For example:
"MOS:DABSECTION" redirects here. For guidance on how and when to create disambiguation page sections, see MOS:DABGROUPING.
Section and anchor points in links should not be visible to the reader (e.g.,
[[Galactic quadrant (Star Trek)#Delta Quadrant]]). If an anchor-point link is needed:
When creating a redirect to a section, add the template
((R to section)) on the redirect page within the
((Redirect category shell)). When a redirect to an anchor is created, make sure the
((anchor)) template is placed at the targeted topic in the article, and tag the redirect with
((R to anchor)).
External links should not be used on disambiguation pages.
For foreign-language terms, be sure an article exists or could be written for the word or phrase in question. Usually this means that the term has been at least partially adopted into English or is used by specialists.
Avoid adding foreign words or phrases that are merely translations of an English term. For example, do not include:
Instead, consider linking to Wiktionary.
For people, include their birth and death years (when known), and only enough descriptive information that the reader can distinguish between different people with the same name. Keep in mind the conventions for birth and death dates—see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers § Dates of birth and death. Do not include a, an or the before the description of the person's occupation or role.
It is common practice for sources to refer to holders of certain offices or stations by their title and surname. These references frequently make their way into articles, complete with links. Having disambiguation pages at these titles makes it easier for readers to find particular individuals who might be known by this combination, while also helping to eliminate incorrect links. These pages provide better results than Wikipedia's search function, which will sometimes return every article containing the title and the surname, even where the words have no relation to one another in the article. Jumbled results from the search function bury those most relevant to a search for people who might actually be called by that title and name. This is exacerbated by Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography#Titles of people, which generally prohibits referring to article subjects by their title in running text. These pages also provide a better result than merely redirecting the combination to a surname page, as the surname page will likely include many names of persons not associated with the title.
A title-and-name disambiguation page should only be created if there are multiple individuals who can be included on the page. Furthermore, an individual should only be included on a page if the subject was notably known by that title and name, and this is reflected in reliable sources. For example, there is no redirect from Lieutenant Kennedy to John F. Kennedy, even though Kennedy at one point in his military service held this rank. Although many notable people with the surname Kennedy may have at some point held the rank of Lieutenant, none of them were notable for having held the rank, and it is therefore inappropriate to have a disambiguation page at that title. By contrast, William Howard Taft can be listed at both Governor Taft and Justice Taft (and can be the redirect target of President Taft) as he would have been notable even if any one of those was the only office he had held.
Having a title in some capacity is also not, by itself, sufficient to merit inclusion on the page. There must be a reasonable propensity for the subject to be referred to by the title and name in combination. Thus, people who are merely a sports team captain should not be listed with people titled "Captain", and people who are merely the president of a company should not be listed with people titled "President". In some cases, people have given names that in other contexts are a title (such as actor Justice Smith, politician Major Owens, and musician Earl Hines). Where this is the case, the person with such a name will often be considered the primary topic over any person with a corresponding title and name.
For places, it may only be necessary to write the name of the article.
It may be appropriate to add the country after the link. Leave the country unlinked.
A link to a non-existent article (a "red link") should be included on a disambiguation page only when a linked article (not just other disambiguation pages) also includes that red link. Do not create red links to articles that are unlikely ever to be written, or are likely to be removed as insufficiently notable topics. To find out if any article uses the red link, follow the link, and then use the "What links here" link in the toolbox.
If the only pages that use the red link are disambiguation pages, do one of the following:
In the following (made-up) examples, if the entry with the architectural motif is judged to be appropriate for a future article, and assuming that the fictitious "flibbygibby" is mentioned in its respectively linked article, it is considered a valid entry. If "flibbygibby" is not mentioned in the noodle article, or there is no linked article at all, as in the toy example, it is not a valid entry; therefore, only the entry for the architectural motif can include a red link.
If the link is to a synonym (where the disambiguated title is mentioned as a synonym), simply use it as it is named:
If a topic does not have an article of its own, but is mentioned within another article, then a link to that article may be included if it would provide value to the reader. In this case, the link does not start the line, but it should still be the only blue wikilink. For example:
It is often useful to link to the relevant section of the target page using anchors and conceal that by making it a piped link. For examples, see § Where piping may be appropriate, above.
If the topic is not mentioned on the other article, that article should not be linked to in the disambiguation page, since linking to it would not help readers find information about the sought topic.
Many pages serve primarily to disambiguate short letter combinations that can represent various acronyms and initialisms. When considering articles to include in the list, it is important that each individual entry is referred to by its respective abbreviation within its article. For example:
The second entry is incorrect because the article that it refers to, Acronym, does not mention that "Two-letter acronym" is abbreviated "TLA", and therefore is unlikely to be searched for by that letter combination. The Three-letter acronym page, however, notes that the topic is abbreviated "TLA", and would thus be a likely candidate for someone searching that initialism. If an abbreviation is verifiable, but not mentioned in the target article, consider adding it to the target article. Similar to MOS:DABNOENTRY, if there is disagreement about whether this applies, it is often best to assume that it does.
The following guidelines describe the appropriate order of entries on disambiguation pages:
When appropriate, place easily confused terms or commonly confused alternate spellings in a hatnote instead of a See also section. For example, Sidney has a hatnote linking to Sydney and Sydney (disambiguation). Generally, there should not be more than a few of these links.
Some entries may belong in a See also section at the bottom of the page:
((look from|Title))) or article titles containing Title (using
As with any See also section, the ordering should be logical.
The See also should always be separated from the other entries with a section header. Links to other disambiguation pages should use the "(disambiguation)" link per WP:INTDABLINK.
In the See also section of a disambiguation page, an intentional link to another disambiguation page that does not contain "(disambiguation)" in the title should be written as
[[Foo (disambiguation)]], and a redirect to
[[Foo]] should be created at that location.
A large number of entries can make it difficult for a reader to find a particular topic. On longer disambiguation pages, separate entries by subject sections. Subject areas should be chosen carefully to simplify navigation; see Organizing disambiguation pages by subject area for detailed guidance. Use subject areas that are well-defined, and that group the entries into similarly sized sections. Very small sections may impede navigation, and should usually be avoided. Section headings should be as simple as possible; Sports is preferred to Sports people or Sports figures, since the nature of the category (people, in this case) should be obvious.
Entries which do not fit neatly into any section should be placed in an "Other uses" section or subsection, at the bottom of the page or section (but above any "See also" section). The "Other uses" section should be relatively short; if it becomes excessively long, the page may need to be reorganized. Uncategorized entries should never be left at the top of the page, with the exception of one or two primary topics as stated above.
Keep in mind that a particular division scheme may not work equally well on all disambiguation pages. An example:
Use sections rather than bold text (see WP:PSEUDOHEAD). Using more than one level may be necessary, as on Aurora (disambiguation). Always use ==Level two== as the highest-level header. Section headings should not include links. See Wikipedia:Writing better articles § Headings for more.
On longer lists,
((TOC right)) may be used to move the table of contents to the right hand side of the page. This reduces the amount of white space and may improve the readability of the page. (For more information, see Help:Section § Floating the TOC.) If used,
((TOC right)) should be placed after the lead section of the wiki markup and immediately before the first section heading. Users of screen readers do not expect any text between the TOC and the first heading, and having no text above the TOC is confusing. (For more information, see Wikipedia:Accessibility § Article structure.)
Including images and transcluding templates are discouraged unless they aid in selecting between articles on the particular search term in question. Examples of this are the images at Congo (disambiguation) and Mississippi Delta (disambiguation).
Icons, including flag icons, should not be used on disambiguation pages. Only if flag topics are being disambiguated and images are needed to do so, then flag icons or flag images might be added. See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Icons.
See also: Wikipedia:Disambiguation § Categories
After all of the disambiguation content (including the See also section, if present), but before any categories (see below) or interlanguage links, a template should be placed identifying the page as a disambiguation page. This generates a message to the reader explaining the purpose of the page, and also places the page in the appropriate category or categories.
The usual template to use is
((disambiguation)), which produces a general disambiguation notice, and places the page in Category:Disambiguation pages. Parameters can be added to place the page additionally into other more specific disambiguation categories. For example, if a page includes multiple places and multiple people with the same surname (and possibly other items), use
((disambiguation|geo|surname)). A full list of available parameters and their corresponding categories can be found in the
((disambiguation)) template documentation.
If a disambiguation page consists exclusively of items in one of the more specific classes, then a specific template should be used instead of
((disambiguation)). For example, use
((place name disambiguation)) for locations,
((human name disambiguation)) for human names and so on. A full list can be found in the
((disambiguation)) template documentation.
If a disambiguation page needs cleaning up to bring it into conformance with this style manual, use
((disambiguation cleanup)). This replaces both
Do not use
((subst:disambiguation cleanup)), as the contents of this notice may change in the future (see Wikipedia:Transclusion costs and benefits). Also, the Wikipedia software relies on links to the templates to determine which pages are disambiguation pages, and subst'ing breaks this feature.
Most disambiguation pages do not need to be placed into any categories other than those generated by the template. If such cases do arise (for example, specific categories of personal names that do not have corresponding template parameters), then the additional categories should be placed after the template.
If new topical categories of disambiguation pages seem to be needed, please bring this up for discussion at Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation.
Set index articles are list articles about a set of items of a specific type that have similar or identical names. Set index articles are not disambiguation pages and do not have to follow the style outlined on this page. Note that the set index article exception was designed to be narrow: for pages that contain links to articles about different topics, please follow this style guide for disambiguation pages. An example of a set index article is a list of ships with the same name, such as HMS Albatross. For more information about such ship lists, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships/Guidelines § Index pages.
Further information: Wikipedia:Disambiguation § Disambiguation page or hatnotes?
A disambiguation page with only two meanings is not necessary if one of them is the primary topic for that term. The recommended practice in these situations is to place a hatnote on the primary topic article to link directly to the secondary topic. The
((redirect)) templates are useful. A two-entry disambiguation page with a primary topic can be tagged with
If neither of the two meanings is primary, then a normal disambiguation page is still used at the base name.
See also: Wikipedia:Ignore all rules
Application of these guidelines will generally produce useful disambiguation pages that are consistent with each other and therefore easily usable by most readers. Usefulness to the reader is their principal goal. However, for every style recommendation above, there may be pages in which a good reason exists to use another way; so ignore these guidelines if doing so will be more helpful to readers than following them.
Also see the categories located, as usual, at the bottom of this page.