Help:Template format

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Template format
Uses a specified template to format and display the results
Further Information
Provided by: Semantic MediaWiki
Added: 0.7
Removed: still supported
Requirements: none
Format name: template
Indicates whether the result format is enabled by default upon installation of the respective extension.
Authors: Markus Krötzsch
Categories: misc
Table of Contents

The result format template is used to format the results via a template.


Parameter Type Default Description
sep text empty The separator for values
valuesep text , The separator for values
template text empty The name of a template with which to display the printouts
template arguments text empty Sets how the named arguments are passed to the template
named args yes/no no Name the arguments passed to the template
userparam text empty A value passed into each template call, if a template is used
introtemplate text empty The name of a template to display before the query results, if there are any
outrotemplate text empty The name of a template to display after the query results, if there are any
import-annotation yes/no no Additional annotated data are to be copied during the parsing of a subject

Using templates for custom formatting

Some result formats support the use of wiki template to fully control the display of an inline query. This works for the formats template, list, ol and ul. If a template is specified, all result «rows» are formatted using this template. The name of the template (without the initial «Template:») is given in the parameter template, so the query has the following general form:

{{#ask: … | format=template/list/ol/ul | template=templatename }}

For each result in an inline query, SMW then calls the specified template, where the result and printout values are used as numbered template parameters. So a query that would display three columns when formatted as a table, will set three template parameters. These values can then be used in the template in the normal way writing {{{1}}}, {{{2}}}, etc. Each parameter refers to one "field" or column in the results that would be displayed by the inline query for each selected page. Normally the first field a query displays is the page title (see here), so parameter {{{1}}} is the page title, and {{{2}}}, {{{3}}}, ... are the other properties displayed by the query. A number of examples are given below.

The template feature allows greater flexibility in the display of the query, including:

  • Changing the order in which output is displayed, or omitting or duplicating output;
  • Displaying images depending on query results;
  • Creating links for property values;
  • Using CSS styles to vary font-size, alignment, background-color, etc. by column in tables.

If you do use a template to adjust the appearance of links, you will probably need to set the parameter | link=none | to disable SMW's automatic linking of article names. A similar effect can also be achieved by selecting the plain output format for some or all of the printouts, as described in Displaying information. Your template will then have to add [[ ]] around anything you want to be a link.

To understand how to create a template for formatting some query, it is useful to look at the query with format=table first. For example, queries that refer to a single page only (like the ones one would use with #show) hide the page title of the result page, so that the parameter {{{1}}} refers to the first printout statement. Using the printout statement ? or specifying any value for mainlabel will change this.

The following examples all use Template:Query output demo that basically contains the following wiki text:

{{{2}}} people squeeze into the {{{3}}} of {{{1}}}.

The following queries illustrate the effect of this template:

{{#ask: [[Category:City]] [[Area::+]] [[Population::+]] 
| ?Population=Inhabitants
| ?Area#km²=Size in km²
| format=template
| template=Query output demo
| limit=3
Result: 783,364 people squeeze into the 219.00 km²
84.56 sqmi
of Amsterdam. 43,765 people squeeze into the 60.00 km²
23.17 sqmi
of Belleville. 3,520,061 people squeeze into the 891.85 km²
344.34 sqmi
of Berlin. ... further results

In the above example you can see how the template ignores any header labels specified in the query such as «Size in km²». Yet the values the template displays do use the units specified in ?Area#km²=Size in km², and will similarly respect all given display formats (see Displaying information).

Below is a similar query sorted by population that uses format=ol to produce a numbered list.

{{#ask: [[Category:City]] [[Area::+]] [[Population::+]] 
| ?Population
| ?Area#km²
| format=ol
| template=Query output demo
| limit=3
| sort=population
| order=desc
  1. 7,825,200 people squeeze into the 1,706.80 km²
    659.00 sqmi
    of London. 
  2. 4,575,532 people squeeze into the 2,058.00 km²
    794.59 sqmi
    of Sydney. 
  3. 3,520,061 people squeeze into the 891.85 km²
    344.34 sqmi
    of Berlin. 
  4. ... further results

If we directly specify a single page, then normally the query results do not include the page, so to reuse the same template in the query below we must tell the query to display the page title as the first column by adding |?

 |template=Query output demo
3,520,061 people squeeze into the 891.85 km²
344.34 sqmi
of Berlin. 

The same can be accomplished using parser function <show>#show</show> even though this may not be the most typical use of it:

 |template=Query output demo
3,520,061 people squeeze into the 891.85 km²
344.34 sqmi
of Berlin. 

Templates may also include other parser functions such as conditionals and even queries. Examples of complex query formats can be found on the following pages (external links, may change):

  • Upcoming events on's main Page: the events section on this page displays only certain major events. Each such event is formatted with a template that uses another inline query to find sub-events (co-located workshops, tutorials, etc.) for a given event.
  • The publications on : all lists on this page are created with templated queries. Conditionals (#if and #ifeq) are used to change the format of a result depending on its publication type and provided data (major publications have bold-faced titles).

Usage for userparam (user parameters)

It is also possible to add a (single) extra parameter to the query. See the help page on the userparam parameter for information on how to do this.

Usage for named args (named arguments)

This parameter allows you to specify that you want named arguments, instead of numerical ones, in the formatting template.

Examples above will fetch template values through notions like {{{1|}}} but in case named args is selected values are recognized by variables names like {{{?Population|}}} or {{{?Area|}}} instead. If you specify an alternative label for the property being requested you can use that as well. Note, the question mark is required, even if you supply an alternate name.


To access {{{1}}} or {{{1|}}} using "named args=yes" you must name the default output (page name aka {{{1}}}) with:

| ?#=somename


| ?=somename

If clicking on the "further results" yields an empty query because the named args parameter is not reproduced here, you may have to remove the searchlabel parameter.

Usage for valuesep (value separator)

Semantic MediaWiki 2.5.0Released on 14 March 2017 and compatible with MW 1.23.0 - 1.29.x. added the valuesep option1 when SMW_RF_TEMPLATE_OUTSEP feature is enabled (default) to avoid ambiguity of the sep parameter semantics. The valuesep option separates several values queried from the property annotated to a subject (pages, subojects) while sep separates values queried from the same property annotated to different subjects (pages, subojects)2. Starting with Semantic MediaWiki 2.5.3Released on 8 July 2017 and compatible with MW 1.23.0 - 1.29.x. the default value for the valuesep option was changed from a space to a comma.3 See also the related configuration parameter $smwgResultFormatsFeaturesSets whether features for some result formats should be extended.

Display of the link to further results

When using the 'template' parameter, you will only see the 'further results...' link when 'format=template'. i.e. it doesn't seem to work with 'format=ol', for example.

If you are creating a tabular output with your template you may need to use the special introtemplate and outrotemplate parameters to ensure that 'further results...' works correctly.


The template may execute another ask query. By default the number of nested calls with "format=template" is, however, limited to 2 (see the help page on $maxRecursionDepth for the configuration setting). Example: page A contains an inline query that uses template B, which itself contains an inline query that uses template C. Template C may contain yet another ask query, but not one using the template format i.e. "format=template".


Related tips

This documentation page applies to all SMW versions from 0.7 to the most current version.
      Other languages: defrzh-hans

Help:Template format en 0.7


  1. ^  Semantic MediaWiki: GitHub pull request gh:smw:2331
  2. ^  Semantic MediaWiki: Sandbox example sb:smw:2331
  3. ^  Semantic MediaWiki: GitHub pull request gh:smw:2522