Bogleheads:Navigation templates

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A navigation template is a grouping of links used in multiple related articles to facilitate navigation between those articles. Editing of a navigation template is done in a central place, the template page.

There are two main varieties of navigation templates: navigation boxes (or navboxes), designed to sit at the very bottom of articles, and sidebars, designed to sit at the side of the article text. The two are complementary and either or both may be appropriate in different situations.

The usual way to create navigation templates is to use the {{Navbox}} or {{Sidebar}} master templates. This simplifies the process of creating a functional and consistent template.

Navboxes are categorized under Category:Navigation templates and sidebars under Category:Sidebar templates.

Navigation boxes

Navigation templates are footer templates that sit below the standard article appendices and are laid out horizontally. They are created using the {{Navbox}} template.

An example navigation template is the {{Helpful tools}} template shown below.

The wiki follows Wikipedia guidelines. By Wikipedia convention, navigation templates should default to "Show" (show the contents) if it is the only navigation template on the page. Pages with 2 or more navigation templates will default to "Hide" (do not show the contents). There are always exceptions, so use your judgment.

The documentation for {{Navbox}} is correct, but may not be clear how to use the template. Here are some examples:

  • {{Statistics}} (autocollapse) using no parameters will follow Wikipedia convention.
  • {{Statistics | state = uncollapsed}} will force the table to be uncollapsed ("Show" all rows)
  • {{Statistics | state = collapsed}} forces collapse ("Hide" all rows)


Sidebars sit alongside content, in the same manner as infoboxes, and are predominantly laid out vertically. They are created using the {{sidebar}} template. An example sidebar is shown to the right. As demonstrated by the example, sidebars intrude into the article's content. This is one reason for utilizing a navigation template instead of a sidebar.

Placement of the sidebar is appropriate for certain pages: presenting content in an easy-to-read and understand format is always desired. The collection of articles in a sidebar template should be fairly tightly related, and the template should meet most or all of the 5 guidelines listed in the next section. If the articles are not tightly related, a footer template (located at the bottom of the article) may be more appropriate.

Design concepts

Navboxes are laid out horizontally, and so work best for longer lists of links in a small number of sub-categories. As they are placed at the very bottom of articles, they are better for broader lists of links than would be appropriate in a sidebar. Articles often have more than one navbox and content may overlap to a degree: nevertheless, not everything needs a navbox, so navbox templates should only be created when they would be genuinely useful as navigational tools.

Sidebars are laid out predominantly vertically, and are placed relatively prominently in the body of articles alongside the text. This makes them useful for smaller amounts of directly relevant links. Tangential information should be kept out of sidebars. Few articles have more than one sidebar.

A major advantage of navigation templates is that they do not intrude into the article space. A sidebar will significantly reduce the width of a displayed page, thereby reducing a page's readability.

Navigation templates are particularly useful for a small, well-defined group of articles; templates with a large numbers of links are not forbidden, but can appear overly busy and be hard to read and use. Good templates generally follow some of these guidelines:

  1. All articles within a template relate to a single, coherent subject.
  2. The subject of the template should be mentioned in every article.
  3. The articles should refer to each other, to a reasonable extent.
  4. There should be a Wikipedia article on the subject of the template.
  5. If not for the navigation template, an editor would be inclined to link many of these articles in the See also sections of the articles.

If the collection of articles does not meet these tests, that indicates that the articles are loosely related, and a list or category may be more appropriate.

See also