Help:Create an external link

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Revision as of 01:56, 29 July 2012 by Lotje2 (talk | contribs) (How to create an external link)

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Help-content.png This help article will guide you as you edit in the Wiki. See Contributor Help for more help articles.

Quick Reference:

  • The blue globe/earth icon Globe (internal linking).jpg with the two chain links looped together on the toolbar is used for external linking.
  • Watch a video demonstration of how to create links.

What is an external link?

An external link is a link in a FamilySearch Wiki article that sends users to another website outside of the FamilySearch Research Wiki. In other words, if users click on an external link, the link will send them to a different website, rather than to an article in the FamilySearch Research Wiki website. Links that send users to other articles in the FamilySearch Research Wiki website are known as internal links.

Links should not display the full URL

Many URLs (website addresses) are long and not reader-friendly. For readability's sake, links should not include the full URL of the destination page. There may be extremely rare instances where displaying the full URL is desirable, but this should be the exception, not the rule, and should be done only if there is a compelling reason.

Example 1: a link by itself

Correct: FamilySearch


Example 2: a link in context

Correct: Order United States military records online.

Incorrect: Go to to order United States military records online.

Click here to order United States military records online.

Clearly, the first link is much easier to read, takes less space, and helps users understand what they will find by clicking the link.

Full URLs do NOT improve printouts

One reason some wiki users give for displaying a Website's full URL is that it will make the article more helpful to users who print the article. However, modern Web browsers print the full URL of linked sites by default even if the full URL is not displayed onscreen. Therefore, displaying full URLs onscreen adds no value to printouts.

How to create an external link

  1. Log in to the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  2. Navigate to the page where you want to add the external link. Click Edit in the navigation bar page options. This will open the editing window.
  3. In the editing window, type the text you want to create the link with. Remember, this should help the users understand what they will find by clicking on the link.
  4. Using your mouse, position your cursor in front of the text you just typed. While holding down the left mouse button, drag the cursor across the text until it is highlighted.
  5. On the editing toolbar, click the hyperlink icon. It looks like a tiny globe/earth with two chain links in front of it.
  6. After clicking the hyperlink icon, the "Link" window will open.
  7. At the top of the "Link" window, locate the "Link" box. Here you will type or paste the url or website to which you want to link. The website must begin with "http://" or "https://" for the link to work correctly.
  8. Once the correct url or website appears in the "Link" box, click OK to save the link in the editing window. 
  9. The text that you highlighted in step 4 will now appear blue in the editing window.
  10. Save your changes by scrolling down using the outside scroll-bar until you locate the Save page button located below the editing window.
  11. After clicking Save page, you will be able to click on the newly created link to another website.

Other Helpful Hints:

  • To link to another website, the url, or website address must match exactly. If there are any differences, the link will appear red on the page, and will not direct users to the intended website.
  • If the website was entered correctly in the "Link" box, the link will be blue.


In the URL, include the http:// or the link will not work.

To edit existing links to websites, follow the same steps above.

Other links

Help-content.png Questions?
Visit the Wiki Contributor Help Forum to receive help with contributing to the Wiki.

Internal Websites

Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) Links

  • Instructions for using the {{FHL}} template for creating links to the Family History Library Catalog.

Record Search Links

WorldCat/OCLC Links

  • Instructions for using the {{WorldCat}} template for creating links to the English-language WorldCat/OCLC catalog.

Wikipedia Links

  • Instructions for using the {{Wpd}} template for creating interwiki links to articles in the English-language Wikipedia.

Wayback Machine Internet Archive Links