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Help  Contents → Page name

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 "MA_Help:Page_name" with an underscore. Alternative names for this page are mA Help:page name, mA Help:Page name, MA Help:page name and MA Help:Page name, but not MA Help:Page Name; the alternative names for this page 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 are not allowed in page titles (the configuration is in $wgLegalTitleChars):

# < > [ ] | { }

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 are that [, ], {, }, and | all have special meaning within MediaWiki's syntax, and are processed before the pagename is determined. For example, [[{{CURRENTYEAR}}]] links to 2021, not a page called {{CURRENTYEAR}}.

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

See also Wikipedia: Naming conventions (technical restrictions) and the {{DISPLAYTITLE}} magic word.

Forward slash (/)

A forward slash in the pagename provides special functionality: see subpage feature.

Namespace prefixes

The first part of a page name may not coincide with a generic namespace name with a colon that is automatically converted to another prefix. As an example, a name such as "Project: A-Kon" is not possible, for it will be automatically linked to "Memory Alpha: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; for example, 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, for example "en:" or one of the pseudo-namespaces "Media:" and "Special:".

Thus, for example, on Wikipedia 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 Wikipedia/en (try wikipedia:en:a and wikipedia:en:en:a), while "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" can exist on Wikiquote: wikiquote: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.

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 canonical form, shown in large font as page header, and in URLs generated by the system, is often with one capital; exceptions are, for example, MediaWiki and Hilfe Diskussion.

Case-sensitivity of the first character

On Memory Alpha and other Wikia wikis, the first character of the page name is case-insensitive (see $wgCapitalLinks). Any output from Special: Export results in an upper-case first letter of the page name. On Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wikiquote, etc.), currently the first character of the page name is case-insensitive as well, except in all Wiktionaries. Compare, for example, wiktionary:de:A and wiktionary:de:a.

Thus, 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. m:Template:H:h Help and m: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 File:Wiki.png and File:Wiki.PNG.

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, for example [[___MA Help__ :_ _template_ _]] becomes ___MA Help__ :_ _template_ _, linking to MA Help:Template.

However, a space before or after a "normal" colon makes a difference, for example m:MediaWiki User's Guide: Editing overview and m:MediaWiki User's Guide : Editing overview, and m: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, for example, %41, because that is automatically converted to the character A, for which %41 is the code. [[%41]] is thus rendered as A. Similarly %C3%80 is automatically converted to the character À, and [[%C3%80]] is rendered as À. The URL of the page is One can argue whether the real name of the page is %C3%80 or À (a user would say the latter), but in either case, there cannot 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, Memory Alpha:Qws azx. Compare this with the ordinary links Template:qwsazx, qwsazx, project:qws azx; these work like piped links. For example, [[Qwsazx|qwsazx]], in which 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, for example, {{wikipedia:qwsazx}}; ordinary interwiki links do not show existence and do not show a canonical form in the hover box or status bar: wikipedia:project:qwsazx. The same applies if interwiki link style is used for a link to a page in the same project: memoryalpha: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].

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 Variable) and PAGENAMEE.

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


The variable {{PAGENAME}} yields, for this page, Page name. {{PAGENAMEE}} yields 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}} yield for this page MA Help:Page name and MA Help:Page_name, respectively. For a page in the main namespace, the page name is prefixed with a colon.


gives Help:Page_name

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


See also