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This is a documentation subpage for Template:Ambox (see that page for the template itself).
It contains usage information, categories and other content that is not part of the original template page.

Mbox templates This is the Tl|Ambox or Article message box meta-template.

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

Common parameters

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

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


The name parameter specifies the name of the template, without the Template namespace prefix. For example tl|underlinked specifies para|name|Underlinked.

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 have a more useful display 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. {{Ambox |nocat=true | type = speedy | text = type=speedy – Speedy deletion issues, such as {{tl|db-g1 and {{[[Template:db-g3. |db-g3. ]]}}

{{Ambox |nocat=true | type = delete | text = type=delete – Deletion issues, such as {{tl|afd and {{[[Template:prod. |prod. ]]}}

{{Ambox |nocat=true | type = content | text = type=content – Content issues, such as {{tl|POV and {{[[Template:globalize. |globalize. ]]}}

{{Ambox |nocat=true | type = style | text = type=style – Style issues, such as {{tl|cleanup and {{[[Template:underlinked. |underlinked. ]]}}

{{ambox |nocat=true | type = notice | text = type=notice – Article notices, such as {{tl|current and {{[[Template:inuse. |inuse. ]]}}

{{Ambox |nocat=true | type = move | text = type=move – Merge, split and transwiki proposals, such as {{[[Template:split and copy to wiktionary. |split and copy to wiktionary. ]]}}

If no type parameter is given the template defaults to |type=notice.


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.) Widths of 40-50px are typical. For example:

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

{{POV|date=April 2013

  • {{tl|underlinked specifies |image=[[File:Ambox wikify.svg|50x40px|link=|alt=]] and looks like this:

{{underlinked|date=April 2013

Please note:

  • 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.
  • If an icon is purely decorative and also in the public domain, accessibility can be improved by suppressing the link to the file page by adding "|link=|alt=" as seen above.


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: Script error: No such module "Unsubst". <noprint> </noprint>

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

issue and fix

The issue 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.

The fix parameter contains some text which describes what should be done to improve the article. It may be longer than the text in issue, but should not usually be more than two sentences.

When the template is in its compact form (when placed inside {{multiple issues}}

) or small form (when using |small=left), the issue is the only text that will be displayed. For example, {{Citation style}}

  • |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: Script error: No such module "Unsubst".

But when used inside {{multiple issues}}

or with |small=left it displays only the issue:

Script error: No such module "Unsubst". Script error: No such module "Unsubst".


Passing the date parameter through to the meta-template means that the date that the article is tagged may be specified by an editor (or more commonly a WP:bot|bot). This will be displayed after the message in a smaller font.

Passing this parameter also enables :Category:Wikipedia maintenance categories sorted by month|monthly cleanup categorisation when the cat parameter is also defined.


This parameter defines a monthly cleanup category. If |cat=CATEGORY then:

  • articles will be placed in Category:CATEGORY from DATE if |date=DATE is specified.
  • articles will be placed in Category:CATEGORY if the date is not specified.

For example, {{no footnotes}}

specifies |cat=Articles lacking in-text citations and so an article with the template {{No footnotes|date=June 2010}} will be placed in :Category:Articles lacking in-text citations from June 2010.


The all parameter defines a category into which all articles should be placed.

Other parameters

The box on the right shows all possible parameters for this template. However, it is not recommended to copy this, because it will never be required to use all parameters simultaneously.

All parameters
| name        = 
| subst       = <includeonly>{{subst:</includeonly><includeonly>substcheck}}</includeonly>
| small       = {{{small|}}}
| type        = 
| image       = 
| imageright  = 
| smallimage  = 
| smallimageright = 
| class       = 
| style       = 
| textstyle   = 
| sect        = {{{1|}}}
| issue       = 
| talk        = {{{talk|}}}
| fix         = 
| date        = {{{date|}}}
| text        = 
| smalltext   = 
| cat         = 
| all         = 
| cat2        = 
| all2        = 
| cat3        = 
| all3        = 


An image on the right side of the message box may be specified using this parameter. The syntax is the same as for the image parameter, except that the default is no image.

smallimage and smallimageright

Images for the small format box may be specified using these parameters. They will have no effect unless |small=left is specified.


A custom Cascading Style Sheets|CSS class to apply to the box.

style and textstyle

Optional CSS values may be defined, without quotation marks " " but with the ending semicolons ;.

  • style specifies the style used by the entire message box table.
  • textstyle relates to the text cell.

text and smalltext

Instead of specifying the issue and the fix it is possible to use the text parameter instead.

Customised text for the small format can be defined using smalltext.

Additional categorisation parameters

  • cat2 and cat3 provide additional monthly categories; see #cat.
  • all2 and all3 provide additional categories into which all articles are placed, just like #all.

Technical notes

  • This meta-template uses the ambox CSS classes in MediaWiki:Common.css. The classes can also be used directly in a Help:Table|wikitable if special functionality is needed. See the Wikipedia:Ambox CSS classes|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}}
or {{ambox/small}}
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 meta-templates are made, since wikimarkup has several drawbacks. For instance, it makes it harder to use m:Help:ParserFunctions|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 Template talk:Ambox|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 seven meta-templates in this family:

– For article message boxes.
– For category message boxes.
– For file (image) page message boxes.
– For header and footer message boxes.
– 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.
– For other pages message boxes.
– For talk page message boxes.

Closely related meta-templates:

– For article stub message boxes.
– For disambiguation and set index message boxes.
– A simplistic, full-width box intended to surround important messages or notices, with an ivory background by default.

Other pages:

  • Wikipedia:Ambox CSS classes – Describes how to use the ambox CSS classes directly in Help:Table|wikitables and HTML element#Tables|HTML tables.
  • Wikipedia:Article message boxes – The style guideline for creating article message boxes.
  • Wikipedia talk:Article message boxes – For discussion about these matters.