Reference Tooltips

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A reference tooltip; the hand-shaped cursor is hovering over a footnote link '[19]'. The Reference tooltip displays the footnote contents without requiring a click, or even scrolling down to footnote 19.
The options menu

The Reference Tooltips is a gadget that shows notes when you hover over them. A hint appears right on the line, without the need to scroll down the page.

This feature is enabled by default on many wikis and users can disable it by accessing the feature's options, which sets a cookie; logged-in users can disable it permanently in the Gadgets tab of Special:Preferences.


The script was originally developed by User:Yair rand in 2012 and reworked by User:Jack who built the house in 2019. To install the gadget in your wiki, you need to transfer the following files there:

For the normal functioning of the script, the following dependencies are necessary: mediawiki.cookie, jquery.client, mediawiki.notify.


Currently, Wikimedia sites list all references at the bottom of the article. For large articles, especially those with many references, this is sub-optimal. Checking an article's references requires several traversals over the entire length of the article, during which time the reader will often lose their place.


This is a general usability feature. It is hypothesized that readers will be more likely to visit references if they are immediately accessible without having to traverse the entire page length.

Current workflow[edit]

In articles, a statement is referenced with a super-scripted, internal page link. Clicking on this link will take the user to the bottom of the page to the whole reference list. The specific reference is then highlighted. The user then clicks the link there and the referenced external link is opened.

Proposed user experience[edit]

Reference Tooltips reworked - nested tooltips animation.gif

When the user hovers their mouse over the super-scripted citation link in an article, a hover will appear above that includes the reference footnote. The user can then move their mouse into the hover and click on the link(s) there to open the external references.

Clicking on the super-scripted reference link will behave as normal (the user will be brought to the reference list).

Javascript and tablet considerations[edit]

This feature requires Javascript. Browsers with Javascript disabled will not have this feature.

This feature may not be usable with tablets and other touch screen interfaces without eliminating the current "click takes you to the reference list" behavior.

See also[edit]