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Cite4Wiki in action
Cite4Wiki in action
Stable release
Preview release
1.5 / December 28, 2012
Written inJavaScript, XUL, RDF
Operating systemWindows (confirmed)
OS X (unconfirmed)
Unix-like (unconfirmed)
Available inEnglish
TypeWikipedia editing tool

Cite4Wiki is a free and open source Firefox add-on. It is a contextual menu ("right-click") citation generating tool for Wikipedia. The add-on is also compatible with Flock, and should work with stable versions of other Gecko based browsers that support add-ons. (One known exception is SeaMonkey 2.0.2/Vista as of this writing.)

The user can right-click to get a bare-bones {{Cite web}} source citation for the page currently loaded in the browser, such as a news report or a journal article. The information will be wrapped in a <ref> inline footnote citation. The code is then put on the clipboard for pasting into a Wikipedia article being edited.

The default output is in this format (see below for US-style dates):

<ref>{{Cite web
 |title=Page Title
 |url=page's URL
 |accessdate=today's date in D[D] Month YYYY form

You can even use it on multiple pages! Each one will get its own little popup window with citation details and you can just leave them there until needed, and re-use them multiple times.

The add-on is clever enough to strip "www." from domain names before using them for the |work= parameter.

There is also a second context menu entry for generating a "Month D[D], YYYY" American-style date, for use in articles written in American English, per WP:ENGVAR.


Far too many (especially inexperienced) editors simply paste in a URL and call it a source citation, leaving it to other editors to properly format the citation for even very basic information such as title, or to even determine whether the link pertains to the article at all rather than being a test edit, or spam or even an attack site (a serious potential problem for biographies of living people). This add-on alleviates some of the geeky pressure on inexperienced or technically disinclined editors, who need not remember complicated citation code to insert a basic citation with this add-on. It also makes cleanup of bare-URL citations easier on other editors, who can load the URL in question and copy-paste a proper, if minimal, citation over it in a matter of a seconds.

Download, installation and compatibility[edit]

The add-on is available from Add-ons for Firefox at

Click the install button, allow the add-on to install, and restart the browser to activate it. Its operation can be tested on any and all actual Web pages (browser-internal pages such as "Restore Session" cannot do anything with the add-on).

The add-on is known for certain to work with Mozilla Firefox 3.5.5 through 14.0.1, well as Flock 2.5.6+, all under Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP2 and/or Windows 7 x64 (last updated: 31 August 2012), and Firefox 3–13 under Mac OS X 10.5 through 10.7 (last updated: 17 July 2012). It is known to unfortunately not be compatible with Mozilla 2.0.2 (Vista, probably others), for unclear reasons. It is expected to work more broadly, but please leave feedback on the talk page or at the Add-ons for Firefox page about your experiences with other operating systems, Firefox versions and non-Firefox Mozilla browsers.


  • Edit an article.
  • In another browser tab, open a webpage you need to cite in the article.
  • Right-click on that page.
  • Select the Cite4Wiki context menu item (it has a helpful Wikipedia "W" logo next to it).
  • You'll get a dialog box showing the {{Cite web}} code; examine it, then press "Copy to cliboard", then close the dialog.
  • Paste the citation into the article, and edit it as needed.
  • Preview and save the article.

User input often needed[edit]

The add-on only grabs obvious information. Details that require human reading and judgment, such as author name, publication date, real-world publication company (|publisher=) and its location, etc., would need be entered manually when known, with specific parameters for such information. Ver. 1.4, in testing now, will auto-fill some of this information for a number of major news sites. If you frequently cite a website and would like it included leave a request with the cite URL on the talk page.

Users of the add-on should review the details before saving a Cite4Wiki-generated citation into a real article. The add-on is entirely dependent upon what it is told by the site it is building a citation for. It is very common for site authors to forget to update the <title> of a page, if they have been copy-pasting code from one page to another. In other cases, this HTML field may simply repeat the work (site) name, with the page actually providing a real title only in a <h1> heading that will need to be manually located, read and repeated in the template code generated by the add-on. Another common problem is the use of pipe ("|") characters as "breadcrumb" navigation separators in <title*>s; these will break the template, and must be escaped with |, e.g. |title=2010 Election results {{!}} Europe {{!}} France {{!}} Municipal. This "|" problem is fixed in ver. 1.4, now in testing.

The site name reported in |work= may be more readable with cleanup (e.g. "" instead of ""), or the site as a publication may prefer and advertise a different title (e.g. " - The A to Z of Billiards and Pool", not just "", or even completely different, such as "BBC News" vs. ""). Some sites also munge the page title and site name (for example, this page at Wikipedia itself has a <title> of "Wikipedia:Cite4Wiki - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" in which only the first part would be the |title= information). Ver. 1.4, in testing, now stripps "www." from the front of URLs.

If the page is going to be cited more than once in the same article, be sure to name the reference: <ref name="something unique here">.

Use outside of en.wikipedia[edit]

The add-on will also work "out of the box" on other MediaWiki sites that have a copy of Wikipedia's Template:Cite web, as long as it is at that name, and uses the same basic parameters. Cite4Wiki's JavaScript source code can be easily modified, in the file cite4wiki.js to handle other set-ups, such as non-English Wikipedias with different template and parameter names.


The first add-on of this sort, WPCite, was designed in September 2008 by Jehochman (talk · contribs) and coded by his associate Diego "Manuar" Cadogan, in Javascript, XUL and RDF, wrapped in Java and packaged in .jar files). It was released under the GNU Lesser General Public License, and provided basic citation information in a new browser window. In August 2009, Unit 5 (talk · contribs) adapted it into a Java-free implementation, Cite for Wiki, using a pop-up window. It was also modified by Ratel (talk · contribs). It was later modified by "Yojimbo Doodah" (details unknown). In January 2010 it was updated by SMcCandlish (talk · contribs), whose subsequent versions fixed some bugs, added new features, and consistently used the name Cite4Wiki. More resent development has been taken up by MarkAHershberger (talk · contribs) and Ijon.

The tool still needs further development. Volunteers should contact the developers, register at GitHub, then check out the project at Mozilla Add-ons and GitHub.

The current stable version is 1.4, and was released in January 2011. The source code is at MediaWiki, with current development on the repository at GitHub.


Version 1.5 is in beta testing. It seems to work with recent versions of Firefox, but still has some minor Java-script errors. You can try it out here. Please leave a note about your experiences with this version on this talk page.

An all new version with updated code, rewritten with Mozilla Add-on SDK (formerly Jetpack), is in the works. It will have improved interface, new features, better data capture, and translations. If you would like to help with development or translations, contact the developers, register at GitHub, and look at the Cite4wikiNG repository.

Known issues[edit]

To-do list of stuff to fix:

  1. The add-ons validation process at Add-ons for Firefox's "Developer Hub" throws a yellow warning (i.e., not a red error message) about a potential JavaScript issue, namely use of wrappedJSObject; code should be replaced if possible.
  2. Needs more localization, so it will be more easily portable to other Wikipedias, and so it will stop giving another warning when uploaded to
  3. Inexplicable vestigial code ripped from AdBlockPlus needs to be removed from; some of this has been changed to refer to Cite4Wiki, but the presence of any of it at all is questionable.
  4. No installer script does pre-install cleanup of previous versions' files (such a script was included with the original WPCite, but was abandoned in Cite for Wiki for unknown reasons). This doesn't seem to be strictly necessary, but it can't hurt and could become necessary in later versions.
  5. Should auto-detect the (declared-in-HTTP-headers) language and add that as a parameter, if not English.
  6. Should auto-detect the (declared) file format as a MIME type and add that as a parameter, if not HTML.
  7. An option to format output with no linebreaks.
  8. Should, if possible, grab the company name, for the |publisher= parameter, from authentication data, the same way that Firefox itself provides this information just to the left of the URL entry field when at an http address and the site has a valid security cert.
  9. Should auto-detect the character "|" (pipe) and escape it as {{!}} to keep from breaking the {{Cite web}} template. Already in beta testing for ver. 1.4.
  10. Completely fails in SeaMonkey 2.0.2 (at least under Windows Vista x64 SP2), and has not been tested with any other version. Add-on installs, but no right-click context menu items are available, ergo no popup window of wiki code. Not tested in any other version, on any other platform.