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<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Example Domain|publisher=}}</ref>

reFill converts bare references (red) into more complete ones (green)

reFill (formerly Reflinks) is a tool that expands bare references semi-automatically, hosted on Toolforge. It adds information (page title, work/website, author and publication date, if metadata is included) to bare references, and does additional fixes as well (e.g. combining duplicated references). The tool is written in Python and licensed under Simplified BSD License. The tool is an open-source replacement of Dispenser's Reflinks. The source code is available on GitHub. The templates created automatically by the tool need to be reviewed to ensure that they are accurate, as they are often not.


Tagging bare URLs for cleanupEdit

If there is a particular article which contains bare URLs in the references, like this one,[1] and you would like to request a Wikipedian that already has reFill installed (and is familiar with how it works) to help you fix the problem:


  1. Open the article in question in your browser
  2. Click the 'edit' button
  3. Paste the following line into the very top of the article:
            {{Cleanup-bare URLs}}
  4. Click the 'preview' button to verify that your change did not interfere with any other parts of the article
  5. Click the 'save' button

This will display a visible message (the text of which is shown at the top of Template:Cleanup-bare URLs) at the top of the Wikipedia article, and will also add the article to an 'invisible' category which requests that a Wikipedian experienced with reFill, apply it to the bare URLs in that article. It may take up to a week before someone notices your request, but if it has been several days and you have received no response, you can ask for additional assistance at the WP:TEAHOUSE.

To use reFill yourselfEdit


  • Use plain formatting instead of {{cite web}}: If selected, the tool will fill out bare references in plain CS1 format instead of {{cite web}}. All available metadata is included.
  • Do not remove link rot tags: If selected, the tool will not remove any link rot tags from the source, even if no bare references are skipped.
  • Add blank metadata fields when the information is unavailable If selected, the tool will insert blank |author= and/or |date= for filling in manually, when the corresponding metadata is unavailable.
  • Do not add access dates: If selected, access dates will be omitted from the result.
  • Use the base domain name as work when this information cannot be parsed: If selected, the base domain of the link will be used in the |website= field if the website does not supply its name in embedded metadata.

Toolbox linkEdit

Insert this code into Special:MyPage/common.js:

mw.loader.load( "" );




An API is available, enabling user script and bot developers to take advantage of the APIs exposed by reFill to complete bare references programmatically.

Frequently asked questionsEdit

Q1: Why is there an empty |publisher=?
A1: There isn't any reliable way to parse that field, and an empty one is intentionally left when |work= cannot be parsed. Please fill it in manually.
Q2: Why does reFill change various characters to "#"?
A2: The hash signs are being inserted by Internet Explorer's cross-site scripting (XSS) filter. You can disable the filter by going to  →"Internet options"→"Security"→Custom level..., scrolling to near the bottom of the list to "Enable XSS filter", and choosing "Disable". You can also work around the filter by copying everything in reFill's "New Wiki Markup" box and manually pasting it into Wikipedia or by using another web browser.

See MediaWiki Bug T34013

Q3: How can I run my own reFill instance for testing?
A3: See reFill has zero Toolforge dependency, and can be easily installed.
Q4: Can you add support for other Wikipedias?
A4: Yes! Just add a request on the talk page.
Q5: How to find articles which can be improved using reFill?
A5: You can use these categories: Category:All articles with bare URLs for citations (for articles tagged with {{linkrot}} or {{Cleanup bare URLs}}), Category:CS1 errors and Category:Wikipedia references cleanup.
Q6: It's not working right now! What alternatives can I use while you're fixing it?
A6: The citoid service in the visual editor provides a "Convert" button. You can also use Diberri's tool and similar scripts to generate citation templates, which you can paste into articles. You can also use reflinks This tool has the advantage of marking some (though not all) dead links with the proper template.

Health warningEdit

ReFill is not perfect, and never will be. You are responsible for every edit that ReFill 2 suggests so you must take the time to inspect every citation that this tool creates and fix anything that isn't quite right. Do not make work for other editors to clean up. Some publications misuse the HTML metadata tags that ReFill extracts such as:

  • the author name (first= and last=) containing the name of the publication e.g. first=Deutsche|last=Welle ( representing Deutsche Welle, rather than the author's name, or first=Editorial|last=team
  • the title including metadata elements that shouldn't be in the title, e.g. Kosovo MPs elect lawyer Vjosa Osmani as president &#124; DW &#124; 04.04.2021 - the title here is "Kosovo MPs elect lawyer Vjosa Osmani as president" and the text that follows it - such as the article's date - should be stripped out and a date= element added if not already present.

You'll need to remove these issues yourself.

ReFill extracts the date from the date meta tag. On some web pages there isn't such a meta tag, but the date can easily be found at the top of the body of the page. ReFill will not find it, but you can add it manually.

Known issuesEdit

When ReFill encounters a bare URL which is an archive site, such as in this example:

  • it writes the archive URL to the deprecated archiveurl parameter rather than the newer archive-url parameter
  • adds the deprecated deadurl=y rather than the newer url-status=dead parameter
  • does not add the mandatory archive-date parameter

You will need to fix such references yourself manually to avoid an error showing in red in the references section. If your edit results in such an error, please fix it.

Reporting problemsEdit

If the tool is stuck displaying "waiting for an available worker", use this link to raise a report to get it restarted. You will need to register for a Phabricator account, which you will be able to link to your Wikipedia account. Fill in the description field and hit the "Create New Task" button.

If you have found a bug or want extra features, please post to the talk page. Alternatively, you can also create an issue on GitHub.


Having no Labs dependency, reFill can be easily installed on your own computer so that you can work on it. To contribute to reFill, create a fork on GitHub, make your changes and submit a pull request. Thank you for your contributions!

Volunteers are needed to help support and maintain reFill. If you are a software developer with experience with Python, Celery and Node.js and you are willing to help to any extent then please leave a message.

To translate the tool, please head over to

See alsoEdit

 This user uses reFill to expand bare references.