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A piped link is a link that is labeled differently from the name of the page it links to. This allows linking a word or phrase within the context of a page's text rather than using "see also." With a suitable browser and depending on the preferences set, one can still see what page is linked to: when you hover your cursor over the link, it will show the true target.
Using piped links in this way is called creating a "clean link."
First, let's start with an example:
[[World of Warcraft|WoW]]
- will show: WoW
The term "piped" refers to the use of the pipe character "|" used to separate the link text from the actual link. Piped links are generally used in situations where the link's actual target doesn't fit into the context of the sentence or you want to use a slightly different word.
Keep in mind, there are other methods besides pipes to use when creating different links.See Help:Editing for more information.
Pipes can also be used as shortcuts when dealing with complex links containing parentheses or namespaces.
If you leave the link text (the text that normally goes after the pipe) empty, the link is converted to an abbreviated form of the target link, as follows:
- If your link contains a namespace, the leftmost colon and any text to the left of that is removed.
- If there is a text in parentheses at the end, it will be removed.
- will show: Link
- will show: Guilds
You can also do both at the same time:
[[Weaken the Ramparts (Alliance)|]]
- will show: Weaken the Ramparts
Just like for the three or four tildes when signing on Talk pages, and the use of subst, the result already shows up in the preview itself but the conversion in the edit box is not yet shown. When you save and press edit again, you will see the properly rendered wikitext.
Using a redirect as an alternative
An alternative is linking directly to a page you know will redirect to the proper one. This is sometimes preferable if you know the redirect page exists and you don't want to type out the whole link. Policies all have redirect pages, such as WP:NPOV. (Keep in mind, you can also type
[[WP:NPOV|]] to show NPOV.
This method has a few drawbacks, mainly that the browser's hover text or status bar does not show the final page one will arrive at. A redirect also has a slight performance hit to the server, since the server has to generate and send two pages. However, these are minor and shouldn't heavily affect your decision to use redirects or piped links.