Template:Short description

From Gerald R. Lucas
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Template:High risk


This template is intended to hold a short description of a Wikipedia article, which can be edited from within Wikipedia. Eventually all articles should have a short description, either directly by using this template, in which case the short description will be unique to the article, or transcluded in another template, such as a disambiguation template, where a generic short description is adequate for a large class of pages, or in a more complex form such as transcluded in a template like an infobox, where the short description is assembled from data in the infobox.

Automatically generated descriptions within templates should give as a second parameter "noreplace" so they are overridden by any short descriptions manually added to the transcluding article.

Short descriptions are not required in other namespaces, but in some cases may be useful.

Please refer to Wikipedia:Short description and Wikipedia:WikiProject Short descriptions for more detailed information.

The short descriptions should enable a user to recognise the associated article they want from a list of search results. It is not necessarily the same function as the Wikidata description for an item and they do not have to be the same, but some overlap is expected in many cases.

The short description function is to disambiguate not only from current ambiguities, but also from reasonably probable future ambiguities.

The short description should concisely state what the article is about, not be a list of what it is not about, nor a list of what the reader might be looking for. Keep it short and simple. Avoid specialist terminology. As much detail as is necessary should be provided, no more—avoid listing examples. It will be displayed on mobile view along with other possible hits, and must be intelligible to the lay reader. Content of the short description should be considered part of the article content and should be managed in the same way as any other content.

If the article title alone is sufficient to ensure reliable identification of the desired article, a null value of {{Short description|none}} may be used. However, this will not override the descriptions from Wikidata.

Perhaps a bot might be used to import the initial short description from Wikidata – or not, as preferred. Some Wikidata descriptions may be unsuitable, and if imported, must be checked for relevance, accuracy and fitness for purpose. Responsibility for such imports lies with the importer.

The idea is that a class can be set to display differently on desktop Wikipedia from how it displays on mobile view. The intention is to bring the short description within the immediate editing ability of most editors.

Articles using this template can be found in Category:Articles with short description, which the template automatically sets.


At Oxygen therapy, add the following at the top of the article:

  • {{Short description|Use of oxygen as medical treatment}}


  • {{Short description|1=Use of oxygen as medical treatment}}

Use the second form if the text of the short description contains an equals sign (=).


  • Also known as... (list of all redirects to this template that may also be used).


For testing purposes, the display of this template can be enabled by adding a line to your Special:MyPage/common.css:

  • .shortdescription { display:block !important; }

This can be easily removed or disabled when finished testing.

If you wish to always see short descriptions, you may want a more utilitarian layout, such as:

.shortdescription {
  display:block !important;
  white-space: pre-wrap;
.shortdescription::before { 
  content: "\A[Short description:\0020";
.shortdescription::after { 
  content: "]\A";

There is a test version of this template available as Template:Short description/test which displays its text by default.

  • {{Short description/test}} displays the short description if supplied
  • {{Short description/test}} displays nothing if none is supplied
  • {{Short description/test}} displays the description from Wikidata if wikidata is supplied.

Taking Template:Q as an example:

Creates a short description for a Wikipedia article, which is used in the Visual Editor to provide context on wikilinks.

Template parameters

This template has custom formatting.


The short description of the article

Online free encyclopedia anyone can edit
Auto value

Whether to override a short description if transcluded. Should be unused or 'noreplace'.

Auto value

The type of page. This puts it in the appropriate category. - <foo>s with short description

The namespace of the page.
Auto value