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This is the {{Ambox}} or Article message box meta-template.

It is used to build article message box templates such as {{wikify}}. It offers several different colours, uses default images if no image parameter is given and it has some other features.

Common parameters

The box on the right shows the most common parameters that are accepted by {{ambox}}. The purpose of each is described below.

Common parameters
| name  = 
| subst = <includeonly>{{subst:</includeonly><includeonly>substcheck}}</includeonly>
| small = {{{small|}}}
| type  = 
| image = 
| sect  = {{{1|}}}
| issue = 
| talk  = {{{talk|}}}
| fix   = 
| date  = {{{date|}}}
| cat   = 
| all   = 


The name parameter specifies the name of the template, without the Template namespace prefix. For example {{Wikify}} specifies |name=Wikify.

This parameter should be updated if the template is ever moved. The purpose of this parameter is twofold:

  • If incorrectly substituted, it allows the meta-template to notify the name of the template which has been substituted, which may help editors to fix the problem.
  • It allows the template to act slightly differently on its template page, for example to show the date even when not specified, and to apply categorisation of the template itself.


The subst parameter allows the meta-template to detect whether the template has been incorrectly substituted, and give an appropriate warning. It will also add such pages to Category:Pages with incorrectly substituted templates. Just copy the code exactly as it appears in the box.


The small parameter should be passed through the template, as this will allow editors to use the small format by specifying |small=left on an article:

Otherwise the standard format will be produced:

Other variations:

  • For templates which should never be small, specify |small=no or do not pass the small parameter at all.
  • For templates which should always be small, just specify |small=left.
  • For templates which should default to small, try |small={{{small|left}}}. This will allow an editor to override by using |small=no on an article.


The type parameter defines the colour of the left bar, and the image that is used by default. The type is chosen not on aesthetics but is based on the type of issue that the template describes. The seven available types and their default images are shown below.


You can choose a specific image to use for the template by using the image parameter. Images are specified using the standard syntax for inserting files in Wikipedia (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Images#How to place an image.) For example:

  • {{POV}} specifies |image=[[File:Unbalanced scales.svg|40px|link=|alt=]] and looks like this:
  • {{Wikify}} specifies |image=[[File:Wikitext.svg|50px|link=|alt=]] and looks like this:

Other variations:

  • If no image is specified then the default image corresponding to the type is used. (See #type above.)
  • If |image=none is specified, then no image is used and the text uses the whole message box area.


Many article message templates begin with the text This article ... and it is often desirable that this wording change to This section ... if the template is used on a section instead. Other possibilities include This list ... and This biographical article ...

To facilitate this functionality, pass |sect={{{1|}}}. This will allow editors to type section as the first unnamed parameter of the template to change the wording. For example, {{Advert|section}} produces:

If using this feature, be sure to remove the first two words ("This article") from the template's text, otherwise it will be duplicated.


This parameter is used to describe the issue with the article. Try to keep it short and to-the-point (approximately 10-20 words) and be sure to include a link to a relevant policy or guideline.

When the template is in its compact form (when placed inside {{article issues}}) or small form (when using |small=left), the issue is the only text that will be displayed. For example, {{Citation style}} defines

  • |issue=This article '''has an unclear citation style'''.
  • |fix=The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of [[Wikipedia:Citing sources|citation]], [[Wikipedia:Footnotes|footnoting]], or [[Wikipedia:External links|external linking]].

When used stand-alone it produces the whole text:

But when used inside {{article issues}} or with |small=left it displays only the issue:

Complex example

| name       = Name of template
| subst      = <includeonly>{{subst:</includeonly><includeonly>substcheck}}</includeonly>
| type       = style
| small      = left
| image      = [[File:Emblem-question-yellow.svg|40px|alt=Question mark]]
| smallimage = [[File:Emblem-question-yellow.svg|20px|alt=Question mark]]
| textstyle  = color: red; font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;
| text       = Text for a big box, for the top of articles.
| talk       = {{{talk|}}}
| smalltext  = Text for the top of article sections.
| date       = {{{date|}}}
| cat        = A name of a category to use for monthly categories
| all        = A category which all articles will be placed in

But you are not really supposed to use red bold italic text.


List of all parameters:

| name        = Name of template without the Template: part
| subst       = <includeonly>{{subst:</includeonly><includeonly>substcheck}}</includeonly>
| type        = speedy / delete / content / style / notice / move / protection
| image       = none / [[File:...|40px|...]]
| imageright  = [[File:...|40px|...]]
| class       = A custom CSS class to apply to the box
| style       = CSS values
| textstyle   = CSS values
| text        = The message body text.
| talk        = {{{talk|}}}
| small       = {{{small|}}} / left
| smallimage  = none / [[File:...|20px|...]]
| smallimageright = none / [[File:...|20px|...]]
| smalltext   = A shorter message body text.
| preposition = Preposition between category name and month (defaults to "from")
| date        = {{{date|}}}
| category    = Prefix for monthly categories
| all         = Category which all articles will be placed in, if any
| category2   = Second prefix for monthly categories
| all2        = Second category which all articles will be placed in, if any
| category3   = Third prefix for monthly categories
| all3        = Third category which all articles will be placed in, if any


This is the name of the template (without the namespace) and allows the template to have a more useful display on its template page, and to give a specific warning when incorrectly substituted. For example, on Template:Orphan we define |name=orphan.


This should be used in order to detect when the template has been incorrectly substituted. Such pages will be placed in Category:Pages with incorrectly substituted templates


If no type parameter is given the template defaults to type notice. That means it gets a blue side bar.


No parameter = If no image parameter is given the template uses a default image. Which default image it uses depends on the type parameter.
An image = Should be an image with usual wiki notation. Widths of 40px - 50px are usually about right. (Images over 52 pixels wide will cause padding problems.)
Often an icon is purely decorative in the W3C sense that it repeats the text. To improve accessibility, it is desirable to not have it be announced by screen readers, as well as to avoid it linking to an irrelevant page. If (and only if) the image license allows this, it can be marked with "|link=|alt=". For example:
image = [[File:Unbalanced scales.svg|40px|link=|alt=]]
Conversely, an icon that does not use "|link=|alt=", and which therefore is announced to visually impaired readers, should use an "|alt=alt text" parameter that describes the icon. With no |link= parameter (using the default link), the alt text should describe the icon's visual appearance. For example:
image = [[File:Gnome globe current event.svg|40px|alt=Clock over a larger globe]]
With a nonempty "|link=Page" the alt text should describe the icon's function. For example:
image = [[File:Purple question mark.svg|40px|link=Special:Random|alt=Random article]]
An icon whose license requires attribution may have alt text, but must keep the default link. Although public domain images do not require a link, many licenses do require one. Please see Purely decorative images for more information about licensing.
none = Means that no image is used.
blank = This parameter is now deprecated. If you see it in use, change it to "image=none".


No parameter = If no imageright parameter is given then no image is shown on the right side.
An image = Should be an image with usual wiki notation. 40px - 50px width are usually about right depending on the image height to width ratio. (Images over 52 pixels width will cause padding problems.) For example:
imageright = [[File:Nuvola apps bookcase.png|40px|alt=Three stacked books]]
Anything = Any other object that you want to show on the right side.


Optional CSS values used by the entire message box table. Without quotation marks " " but with the ending semicolons ;. For example:
style = margin-bottom: 0.5em;


Optional CSS values used by the text cell. For example:
textstyle = text-align: center;


The text displayed in the message.


If this parameter is passed through it adds the message "More details and relevant discussion can be found on the talk page." The talk parameter can be used in either of the following ways:
  • |talk=SECTION NAME - the link will point to the specified section on the current article's talk page, e.g. |talk=Foo
  • |talk=FULL PAGE NAME - the link will point to the page name specified (which may include a section anchor), e.g. |talk=Talk:Banana#Foo

Categorisation parameters

  • date= - pass through the date parameter when using monthly cleanup categories
  • category / cat - prefix for monthly categories, e.g. Wikipedia articles needing style editing
  • preposition - preposition between category name and month; the default is from
  • all - category which all articles will be placed in, e.g. All articles needing style editing

The small parameters

The small article message boxes are meant for the top of sections. Normally they should only contain one or two lines of text.


left = Makes it a smaller left aligned message box. This also makes the default images smaller. Note that any data fed to the smallimage, smallimageright and smalltext parameters is only used if "small=left". To make it so your template also understands the small parameter you can use this code:
small = {{{small|}}}
any other value, including blank and no parameter = Default-sized inlined message box. Ignores smallimage, smallimageright and smalltext.


No parameter = If no smallimage parameter is given then this template falls back to use the image parameter. If the image parameter also is empty then a small default image is used.
An image = Should be an image with usual wiki notation. 20px width is usually about right for boxes with one line of text, while 25px width is usually about right for boxes with two lines of text. For example:
smallimage = [[File:Gnome globe current event.svg|20px|alt=Clock over a larger globe]]
none = Means that no image is used. This overrides any image fed to image, when "small=left".


No parameter = If no smallimageright parameter is given then this template falls back to use the imageright parameter. If the imageright parameter also is empty then no image is shown on the right side.
An image = Should be an image with usual wiki notation. 20px - 25px width is usually about right. For example:
smallimageright = [[File:Nuvola apps bookcase.png|20px|alt=Three stacked books]]
Anything = Any other object that you want to show on the right side.
none = Means that no right side image is used. This overrides any image fed to imageright, when "small=left".


A shorter version of the message body text. If no smalltext parameter is given then this template falls back to use the text parameter.

Technical details

This meta-template uses the ambox CSS classes in MediaWiki:Common.css. The classes can also be used directly in a wikitable if special functionality is needed. See the how-to guide for that.

If you need to use special characters in the text parameter then you need to escape them like this:

| text  = <div>
Equal sign = and a start and end brace { } work fine as they are.
But here is a pipe &#124; and two end braces <nowiki>}}</nowiki>.
And now a pipe and end braces <nowiki>|}}</nowiki>.

The <div> tags that surround the text in the example above are usually not needed. But if the text contains line breaks then sometimes we get weird line spacing. This especially happens when using vertical dotted lists. Then use the div tags to fix that.

This template uses CSS classes in MediaWiki:Common.css for most of its looks, thus it is fully skinnable.

This template calls {{Ambox/core}} which holds most of the code for {{Ambox}}, while {{Ambox}} itself does parameter preprocessing.

Internally this meta-template uses HTML markup instead of wikimarkup for the table code. That is the usual way we make meta-templates since wikimarkup has several drawbacks. For instance it makes it harder to use parser functions and some special characters in parameters.

The default images for this meta-template are in png format instead of svg format. The main reason is that some older web browsers have trouble with the transparent background that MediaWiki renders for svg images. The png images here have hand optimised transparent background colour so they look good in all browsers. Note that svg icons only look somewhat bad in the old browsers, thus such hand optimisation is only worth the trouble for very widely used icons.

For more technical details see the talk page and the "See also" links below. Since this template works almost exactly like {{Tmbox}}, {{Imbox}}, {{Cmbox}} and {{Ombox}} their talk pages and related pages might also contain more details.

See also

There are several meta-templates in the mbox family:

  • {{ambox}} – For article message boxes.
  • {{cmbox}} – For category message boxes.
  • {{imbox}} – For file (image) page message boxes.
  • {{mbox}} – Has namespace detection, for message boxes that are used on several types of pages and thus need to change style depending on what page they are used on.
  • {{ombox}} – For other pages message boxes.
  • {{tmbox}} – For talk page message boxes.

Closely related meta-templates:

  • {{asbox}} – For article stub message boxes.
  • {{dmbox}} – For disambiguation and set index message boxes.
  • {{fmbox}} – For header and footer message boxes.

Other pages: