Creating pages with preloaded text

From Joomla! Documentation

Please note: Some techniques recommended in this article require the use of extensions. Please use with care. The status assigned to each extension is self-assigned by the maintainer and does not represent the opinion of the MediaWiki development team.

Preloading wikitext is one of many techniques for helping users create pages more quickly and for improving the quality of those pages. Instead of creating a new page from scratch, users are presented with a partially created page, and possibly instructions for filling it in.

This technique is especially useful when:

  • wiki users are willing to read and write simple wikitext (sometimes an issue on intranet installations of MediaWiki)
  • the wiki contains one or more categories of articles with lots of pro-forma text
  • the information that needs to be collected for such articles is a mix of structured data and free form text

Creating pages with preloaded text is a three step process:

  1. Design the preload file and its supporting templates
  2. Create pages for the preload files and supporting templates
  3. Set up the trigger to load the preload file

Designing the preload file[edit]

The preload file is often an article with an embedded template. For example, if you wanted one article for each customer or marketing contact, you might want to preload text that looks something like this:

   <!-- Please enter your customer's contact information after the equal sign.
        If you need help uploading the business card images, please see
        [[Help:Uploading business card images]] 
   |Primary phone number=

Naming and documenting the preload file[edit]

Some extensions (see mediawiki:Extension:Boilerplate) have specific expectations as to where the preloaded text should be stored. Others leave that decision entirely up to the system administrator.

Naming and documenting the preload file takes some care because preload files don't always show up on "What links here" and so are at risk for accidental deletion (no info/no links - hard to tell from an article that got created and abandoned). For template based preload files, the following naming conventions may help avoid accidental deletion:

  • place template in Template:CategoryName
  • place preload file in Template:CategoryName/Preload

While documentation of regular templates is often presented on the template page itself (using noinclude tags), this is not possible for a page to be preloaded. Also categories and interlanguage links for the preload page itself are not possible without affecting the wikitext that is preloaded. The talk page has to be used for all these.

Loading the preload file[edit]

Preloading can be done with a preload parameter in a URL like //docs.joomla.org/index.php?title=Joomla:Sandbox/Preloadtest&action=edit&preload=Template:Preload_demo which links to the edit box of a new page, preloaded with Template:Preload demo (talk, backlinks, edit). There are also a number of extensions available to trigger your preload file, see below.

The wikitext of the source page, including noinclude parts and tags, but not includeonly tags, is preloaded into the editbox if the page or section does not exist yet. If the page or section to be edited already exists then only its wikitext is loaded, the preload command is ignored.


  • Both the <noinclude> and </noinclude> tags AND their content are preloaded, which means you can't categorize the source page or include some self-documentation: it'd be dumped into the preloaded text too.
  • The <includeonly> and </includeonly> tags are stripped from the source page. If you need the preloaded text to provide includeonly tags, you can use
in your source: since the two middle tags will be stripped, the preloaded text will end up with just the <includeonly> wanted.

Thus there is neither a complete inclusion nor a regular transclusion. See also bug 5210 (since 2006-03-09).