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A shortcut is a specialized type of redirect page that provides an abbreviated wikilink to a project page or one of its sections, usually from the Scratchpad namespace (i.e., the Project namespace). They are commonly used on community pages and talk pages rather than in articles themselves. If there is a shortcut for a page or section, it is usually displayed in an information box labelled shortcuts:, as can be seen on this page.

Shortcuts are created for the convenience of editors. It is possible to create a shortcut for any page at all.

Ambox important Important: The existence of a shortcut does not imply or prove that the linked page is a policy or guideline.

How to use a Scratchpad shortcut

A Scratchpad shortcut can be entered into the Scratchpad search box to quickly bring you to a project page. For example, you can type SP:SC into the search box and then press the enter key (or click the magnifying glass icon), to get to the Scratchpad:Shortcut page (this page), instead of having to type in the complete phrase.

Alternatively, you can use a shortcut in the URL in your browser’s address bar. For example, you are currently viewing the Scratchpad:Shortcut page. The URL for this page is

You could then get from here to the Scratchpad:Redirect page by replacing Scratchpad:Shortcut with SP:R in the address bar, followed by pressing the enter key.

Shortcuts are presented in all capital letters (ALL CAPS); however, the search box is case-insensitive. For example, in the search box, you can type sp:r, instead of SP:R. However, when using the URL method (or when making links) it is generally necessary to match the capitalization of the shortcut itself.


Shortcuts are often used on talk pages in their abbreviated form, without any piped links, decreasing readability for the general reader. For example, some editors are familiar with the bulk of the Scratchpad namespace shortcuts, even recognizing what they stand for on sight. However, others are faced with pages full of incomprehensible jargon, the meanings of which are not immediately decipherable, especially if the reader happens to be offline.

While shortcuts can help with linking, it is best, when referring to a project page, to be mindful of the general reader and not use the shortcuts as a title, without piping their links. For example, the piped link [[SP:SC|shortcuts]] gives readers an idea of the subject of the target page, while just using the abbreviation SP:SC is unintelligible to those unfamiliar with the term. For this reason, many shortcuts are also created as common English words that are easily identifiable and memorable (e.g., [[SP:SHORT|shortcuts]]).

Link boxes


Small link boxes, listing the names of a page’s shortcuts, appear at the top of many pages, especially those on policies and guidelines. A shortcut link box can be added to a page, by placing the template {{shortcut|SP:<x>}} at the top of the page’s text, while editing.

The point of these template boxes is not to list every single redirect for any given page (indeed, that’s what Special:WhatLinksHere is for). Instead, they generally should list only one or two common and easily remembered redirects. As a general rule, FOUR (4) is the maximum.

Guideline pages with shortcuts pointing to them typically use {{guideline|SP:<x>}} or the {{subcat guideline}} template, such as on this page, instead of the shortcut template {{shortcut}}. Another frequently used template is: {{MoS-guideline|SP:<x>}}.

To learn more about the different shortcut box templates and their functions, see the documentation at Template:Shortcut. Among other things, there are templates for making boxes float left and now, anchors are automatically added, making it much simpler to link to a page section.

How to create a shortcut

The abbreviations SP: and sp: for the namespace Scratchpad: are automatically translated by the Wikia servers, so that they work anyway, regardless of redirects. Similarly ST: and st: are automatically translated to the namespace Scratchpad talk:. Thus SP:SC = Scratchpad:SC and ST:SC = Scratchpad talk:SC.

Ambox notice Note: The following is an example: The shortcut SP:SC already exists.

Say you want to create the shortcut SP:SC to an existing page like Scratchpad:Shortcut (i.e., this page). Then create the desired new Scratchpad:SC page with a single line:

#REDIRECT [[Scratchpad:Shortcut]] {{R from shortcut}}

Many shortcuts are acronyms, others are abbreviations, quite a lot are simply bad, but technically they are all redirects.[1]

Ambox important Important: When creating a shortcut for a category, it is necessary to insert an additional colon (:) at the beginning of the link, as follows:

#REDIRECT [[:Category:Redirects from shortcut]] {{R from shortcut}}[2]


Shortcut-class redirects should be tagged with {{R from shortcut}} so they will auto-categorize into Category:Redirects from shortcuts. Like this:

#REDIRECT [[Pagename]] {{R from shortcut}}

Changing shortcuts


Technically, changing shortcuts is easy:

  • Click on the shortcut, wherever it is on the page it leads to
  • Click on the “redirected from” link up towards the top of the page
  • Edit the target  #REDIRECT [[Scratchpad:Whatever]]
    • be sure to add {{R from shortcut}} if the redirect is truly a shortcut
      • Ambox notice Note: While all shortcuts are redirects, not all redirects are shortcuts

But there are some potential traps and pitfalls:

  1. If the shortcut is already listed somewhere (e.g., Scratchpad:List of shortcuts), please update that list entry showing the new target page.
  2. If the old target page indicates its shortcut (for example, in a shortcut box), then that should also be updated, typically in {{shortcut}} or similar header templates.
  3. If you wish to usurp an existing shortcut that’s already in use, you should take into account how active its target page is.
    • For example, if you just created a policy page in the Scratchpad namespace, and want a specific shortcut for it, but the one you want is already in use by another page in the Scratchpad namespace, it’s generally recommended to post a message on that page’s talk page asking the community if you may usurp their shortcut link, even if the page is tagged as being obsolete, or out of date.
  4. Most importantly, check the backlinks for the shortcut via  Special:WhatLinksHere/pagename
    • Ambox important Important: Changing a shortcut used elsewhere can be highly disruptive.
    • If you do change a shortcut under these circumstances, you should be sure to change it in the pages that linked to it as well, so that they continue to link to the old target.
  5. If it has no backlink, then people might still use it directly with search forms.
    • If you’re not 100% sure that the old target is unused, then ask about it on the shortcut’s talk page.
  6. For controversial cases, contact an Administrator.

List of shortcuts

An incomplete list of shortcuts can be found at Scratchpad:List of shortcuts, and as expected this page has itself various shortcuts (e.g., SP:CUTS, SP:SHORTCUTS, etc.).

Use Special pages to find uncategorized or unlisted pages starting with a given prefix. For example: Special:Prefixindex/Scratchpad: for shortcuts in the Project namespace; or, Special:Prefixindex/Help: for shortcuts in the Help namespace; etc.

List of prefixes

Namespace aliases


The following abbreviations (namespace aliases) are automatically translated by the Wikia servers. They are case-insensitive (so sp: or sP: or Sp: have the same meaning as SP:).

SP: Scratchpad:
ST: Scratchpad talk:
Project: Scratchpad:
Image: File:



Commonly used pseudo-namespaces include the following.

CAT: Category:
MOS: Scratchpad:Manual of Style
P: Portal:

Ambox notice Note: The links in the table go to a page where the term prefix is not used in the meaning it has in this section. Rather the term prefix there means, as it does for the search parameter, the beginning string of characters in a title, whether that string ends before, during or after the colon character in a page name.


  1. While not all redirects are shortcuts, all shortcuts are redirects.
  2. It is advisable that the same be done when creating a shortcut for a template. Thus,
    #REDIRECT [[:Template:Template shortcut]] {{R from shortcut}}

See also

Wikipedia This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wikipedia:Shortcut.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
As with Scratchpad, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Licence.