Help:Page name

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MediaWiki Handbook: Contents, Readers, Editors, Moderators, System admins +/-

The canonical form of a full page name is shown in large font as the page header. Another type of canonical form is what is in URLs generated by the system, for this page "Help:Page_name" with an underscore. Alternative names for this page (on most projects) are help:page name, help:Page name, Help:page name and Help:Page name, but not Help:Page Name; the alternative names for this page on this project are the bolded ones. For details, see below.



The terms "full page name" and "full pagename" include the namespace prefix; the terms "page name" and "pagename" are somewhat ambiguous for pages outside the main namespace as they may or may not include the namespace prefix. To avoid ambiguity one can use "full pagename" and "pagename without namespace prefix".


Special characters

The following characters (the configuration is made in "$wgLegalTitleChars") are not allowed in page titles:

# < > [ ] | { }

The non-printable characters with values 0 through 31, and the "delete" character 127 in ASCII are also not allowed.

The reasons for disallowing these characters include:

  • [, ], {, }, and | have special meaning within MediaWiki's syntax, which are processed before the pagename is determined. For example, [[{{CURRENTYEAR}}]] points at 2022, not a page called {{CURRENTYEAR}}.

In the default setup for MediaWiki prior to version 1.8.3., the + character is also not allowed in page titles. It allows '+' by default as of 1.8.3. For older versions, the '+' can be added to $wgLegalTitleChars$wgLegalTitleChars with

$wgLegalTitleChars .='+';

in LocalSettings.php

The backslash (\) gives problems: depending on where the pagename is used, the backslash may or may not be converted to a slash (/).

See also w:Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(technical_restrictions)http://en.wikipedia.org, and the {{DISPLAYTITLE}} magic word.

Forward slash (/)

Depending on the namespace and the settings, a forward slash in the pagename provides special functionality: see subpage feature.

Due to the subfeature for linking to a subpage, linking from a namespace where the subpage feature is enabled to a page in the main namespace with a name starting with "/", requires a workaround: put a colon in the link, between "[[" and the pagename.

Namespace prefixes

The first part of a page name may not coincide with a generic namespace name with colon that is automatically converted to another prefix. As an example, the name "Project: A-Kon" is not possible, for it will be automatically linked to "The Scuba Wiki:A-Kon".

If the first part of a page name coincides with a namespace prefix that is not converted, this page is in the corresponding namespace, and a space after the colon is automatically removed, so it is not possible to have a page with this name in the main namespace, or to have a space after the colon. For example, an article in the English Wikipedia about the film Help: A Day in the Life has to be called Help:A Day in the Life, and similarly for an article about the book called Wikipedia: The Missing Manual or about a book called Talk: Secrets are Bad. Also, in those cases the pages are in the wrong namespace, which may be inconvenient in searching or displaying a list of pages, and in displaying recent changes or user contributions etc. in a particular namespace. In addition, in the last case there is no link to the Talk page about the article, for the page itself is a Talk page. (As explained above, such names will not work on projects where they are converted into a different name; e.g. in the German Wikipedia the second page name will be converted to "Diskussion:Secrets are Bad".) As a workaround a page title can be prefixed with "&nbsp;", displayed as a blank space.

Prefixes referring to other projects or pseudo-namespaces

A page name cannot start with a prefix that is in use to refer to another project, including language codes, e.g. "en:" (see Wikimedia wikis), or one of the pseudo-namespaces "Media:" and "Special:".

Thus e.g. an article about the album "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" or the movie Species: The Awakening can not have that exact name. Attempts to create the articles, whether by a link or putting a URL in the address bar, leads to Wikiquote or Wikispecies, respectively. Again, as a workaround the title can be prefixed with "&nbsp;", displayed as a blank space.

With regard to using the prefix of the project itself there is no consistency: a name like en:a cannot be used on en: (try w:en:a and w:en:en:a), while "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" can exist on Wikiquote: q:Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!.

Maximum page name length

The maximum page name length is 255 bytes (excluding the namespace prefix). Be aware that non-ASCII characters may take up to four bytes in UTF-8 encoding, so the total number of characters you can fit into a title may be less than 255 depending on the language it's in.

See Test of maximum page name length: 255 characters; test of maximum page name length: 255 characters; test of maximum page name length: 255 characters; test of maximum page name length: 255 characters; test of maximum page name length: 255 characters; test.

First character

The first character of a page name cannot be a colon (:), space ( ), or underscore (_). A slash gives a mild complication, see above. A percent sign (%) gives complications because depending on what follows in a link, the link may not work or interpret the sign together with some following characters as a code for a character: % and %1 work normally (but perhaps there are complications with such page names), while [[%23]] gives #, [[%234]] gives #4 and [[%2542]] gives [[%2542]] (see also below).

Spaces vs. underscores

In page names a blank space is equivalent with an underscore. A blank space is displayed in the large font title at the top of the page, the URLs show an underscore. See also below.


If two cases exist for the letters used in a page name, as in the case of letters of the Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Armenian alphabets, the following applies.

Namespace prefixes

All characters of namespace prefixes are case-insensitive. The w:Canonical#canonical form, shown in large font as page header, and in URLs generated by the system, is often with one capital; exceptions are e.g. MediaWiki and Hilfe Diskussion.

Case-sensitivity of the first character

The first character of the page name (after the namespace prefix, if applicable) may or may not be case-sensitive, depending on the project (see mw:Manual:$wgCapitalLinks$wgCapitalLinks). [[Help:page name]] gives on this project: Help:page name. If the first character of the page name is case-sensitive this is a link (to a different page), otherwise it is bold (a self link to this page). Any result of Special:Export shows <case>case-sensitive</case> or <case>first-letter</case>, respectively.

On Wikimedia projects currently the first character of the page name is case-insensitive, except in all Wiktionaries. Compare e.g. wikt:de:A and wikt:de:a.

Where the first character is case-insensitive, the canonical form is with a capital.

Note that this only applies to the first character of the page name. In the case of a "prefix" that is not defined for the software, the case-insensitivity does not apply to the first character after this "prefix", e.g. Template:H:h Help and Template:H:H Help are distinguished.

Case-sensitivity of the file name extension of an image

Note that even the file name extension of an image is case-sensitive: compare image:Stop_sign_us.jpg and image:Stop_sign_us.JPG

Ignored spaces/underscores

Spaces/underscores which are ignored:

  • those at the start and end of a full page name
  • those at the end of a namespace prefix, before the colon
  • those after the colon of the namespace prefix
  • duplicate consecutive spaces

Some show up in the link label, e.g. [[___help__ :_ _template_ _]] becomes ___help__ :_ _template_ _, linking to Help:Template.

However, a space before or after a "normal" colon makes a difference, e.g. MediaWiki User's Guide: Editing overview and MediaWiki User's Guide : Editing overview, and MediaWiki User's Guide:Editing overview are all distinguished, because "MediaWiki User's Guide:" is a pseudo-namespace, not a real one.

Coding of characters

A page name cannot contain e.g. %41, because that is automatically converted to the character A, for which %41 is the code. [[%41]] is rendered as A. Similarly %C3%80 is automatically converted to the character À. [[%C3%80]] is rendered as À. The URL of the page is One can argue what is the real name of the page, %C3%80 or À (a user will say the latter), but anyway there can not be distinct pages with these names.

Canonical form

The inclusion tag for a non-existing page shows a link with the canonical form of the page name: {{qwsazx}}, {{:qwsazx}}, {{project:qws azx}} give Template:Qwsazx, Qwsazx, The Scuba Wiki:Qws azx; compare with ordinary links Template:qwsazx, qwsazx, project:qws azx; these work like Piped links, e.g. [[Qwsazx|qwsazx]]; in this case the conversion shows up on the referring page only when pointing at it: in the pop-up and in the status bar (if applicable for the browser); whether the target is a redirect, and what the final target is, is not shown at all.

An attempt to include a page from another project results in just displaying the wikitext, e.g. Template:En:qwsazx; ordinary interwiki links do not show existence and do not show a canonical form in the hover box or status bar: en:project:qwsazx. The same applies if interwiki link style is used for a link to a page in the same project: m:project:qwsazx.

A saved redirect page shows the canonical form of the target, even though the preview renders the link in the usual way, compare [1] with the preview of [2].


Alphabetic order

This section appears in Help:Page name.

The system applies alphabetical order only in page names, namely in the following features:

They are in Unicode order: the range 32-127 corresponds to ASCII. For more information on non-ASCII special characters, see Special characters.

Thus we have the following partial list showing the order:


Note in particular that "Z" comes before "a", and "z" before "é". The blank space within a page name is treated as an underscore, and therefore comes after the capitals, and before the lower case letters. However, a "blank space" after the name comes before any character. Sometimes a special character looks like a regular letter, but has a special code anyway.

Thus we have the order PC, PCX, PC Bruno, PCjr, Κύρια Σελίδα.

See also:

Conversion of spaces to underscores etc.

There is no feature for just conversion of spaces to underscores and of special characters to escape codes, but there are two features for doing this in combination with something else: localurl (see Help:Variable) and PAGENAMEE.

Most needs for conversion are covered by these, but e.g. in a template one cannot link to a page with a given name {{{1}}} on a project with a different $wgScript.


The variable {{PAGENAME}} gives, for this page, Page name. {{PAGENAMEE}} gives Page_name.

Thus in the first case a space is used, in the second case an underscore, like in URLs. Similarly, À becomes the escape code %C3%80 (see above), and so on.

{{NAMESPACE}}:{{PAGENAME}} and {{NAMESPACE}}:{{PAGENAMEE}} give for this page Help:Page name and Help:Page_name, respectively. For a page in the main namespace, the page name is prefixed with a colon.



Within localurl, {{PAGENAME}} should be used in the first part (because it is converted by localurl), or {{PAGENAMEE}} in the second part:


See Help:ĀāĆćĎďĒēĜĝĤĥĨĩĴĵĹĺŃń and PAGENAMEE for an example of how these variables interact with special characters.

See also


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