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RefNotes Plugin

Compatible with DokuWiki

  • 2024-02-06 "Kaos" yes
  • 2023-04-04 "Jack Jackrum" yes
  • 2022-07-31 "Igor" yes
  • 2020-07-29 "Hogfather" yes

plugin Extended syntax for footnotes and references

Last updated on

The RefNotes plugin is an extension for build-in DokuWiki footnotes syntax. In addition to the basic footnotes functionality it provides a number of extra features, most notably:

  • Multiple independent note classes on the same page (e.g. citations, footnotes, etc).
  • Customizable look of the references and notes.
  • Render the notes at any place on the page, not only at the very bottom.
  • Often used notes (e.g. book references) can be shared between different pages.
  • Bibliographical elements stored in separate namespace(s) that can be referenced by name (Structured References).

Download and Installation

Search and install the plugin using the Extension Manager. Refer to Plugins on how to install plugins manually.


There are two major parts of the syntax: references and note blocks. The references are used in a text body to define a note and during rendering are replaced with a short link. The basic reference syntax is similar to the footnotes:

Here goes the reference[(This is a note.)].

Apart from the basic functionality provided by footnotes, the references have a number of extra features:

  • Better support for multiple references to the same note.
  • You can name a note and later refer to it by name from another reference. The named notes can be shared between different pages via the reference database.
  • The notes can be grouped into namespaces. For example, you can keep footnotes apart from bibliographical references.
  • References can be hidden from rendering and used only to define the note text. This can be convenient if you want to keep the notes apart from the main text body.

The note blocks indicate a page location where text of the notes will be rendered. They are optional and if there are no explicit note blocks on the page, all notes will be rendered at the end of the page. The minimal syntax for the note block is:


Apart of specifying the notes location the note blocks can be used to:

  • Render notes from a certain namespace.
  • Render only part of the notes. For example, this can be used to render the notes in multiple columns.
  • Change formatting of the references and the note blocks.

For more details on the extended syntax see the complete syntax description.


The RefNotes plugin has a complex configuration that is not embedded into the dokuwiki configuration page. It has its own configuration interface which is made available by a separate link named “RefNotes Configuration” on the main administration page.

This interface allows to control some general settings, predefine commonly used namespace styles and notes (it's the only place to define inline notes). The predefined namespaces and notes are available on any wiki page without explicit declaration.

The configuration page heavily uses JavaScript, so it must be enabled or the page will be completely useless.

Version History


  • Fixed compatibility with DokuWiki 2024-02-06 “Kaos”.


  • Improved support for referencing electronic publications (format and accessed fields).
  • Long author lists are automatically shortened in Harvard-style references.
  • Added third option for note-font-size.
  • Improved compatibility with Include plugin.
  • Minor fixes.


  • Fixed compatibility with PHP8.
  • Fixed merging of root namespace.
  • Updated admin page JavaScript (requires ES6 support).


  • Fixed compatibility with DokuWiki “Hogfather”. The fixes are not backward compatible, so with DokuWiki “Greebo” use the previous version.


  • Added new style for custom formatting of reference groups.
  • Added support for starting extended note names with a digit.
  • Sorting of note blocks is based on order of referencing.
  • Updated configuration interface.
  • Fixed rendering of references at the start of a paragraph.
  • Fixed handling of ref-authors in BibTeX note definitions.


  • Fixed compatibility with DokuWiki “Greebo”.


  • Added support for booktitle field in structured references. (rwduzhao)
  • Show author names in “Last, First Middle” form as “First Middle Last”. (rwduzhao)
  • Added basic ODT export for references. (Veelz)
  • Use standard DokuWiki directories for storing database cache and configuration files.


  • Fixed BibTeX note name handling.


  • Fixed PHP 7 compatibility.


  • Added support for structured references.
  • Added BibTeX syntax support in the reference database.
  • Added Data plugin support in the reference database.
  • Added selection of rendering style for structured references and notes.
  • Added support for merging multiple namespaces into a single note block.
  • Improved handling of note names. The names are no longer limited to alpha-numeric characters.
  • Improved control over inline note formatting.
  • Fixed non-operational configuration UI on some webhost servers.
  • Fixed compatibility with DokuWiki Angua.
  • Fixed a couple of minor issues.


  • Added support for structured note definition in the reference database.
  • Added note text alignment style.
  • Improved detection of hidden notes.
  • Fixed handling of references inside of list items.
  • A number of fixes in handling of database references.


  • Fixed ignoring of the settings from General section.
  • Fixed a couple of minor issues.


  • Fixed disabled configuration UI on DokuWiki installations that use URL rewriting.
  • Fixed a number of minor issues.


  • First public release

Bugs and Feature Requests

Please report bugs or feature requests at the bug tracker.

See Also

plugin/refnotes.txt · Last modified: 2024-02-12 11:46 by dwp-forge

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