Wikidata:Infobox Tutorial

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This is a tutorial on how to create Wikidata-powered infoboxes for Wikipedia and other projects connected to Wikidata. At the moment it is work-in-progress, but you can already add questions and wishes to the talk page.

Knowledge of Lua[edit]

The tutorial assumes that you have a basic knowledge of Lua. The following page shows how to use Lua in the Wikimedia ecosystem:

Knowledge of templates[edit]

Templates are not part of this tutorial, but you should have a basic understanding how they work. Take some time to see how the template language works.

For this tutorial also look at Template:Infobox (Q5626735), which on many Wikipedias (and other projects) only calls Module:Infobox (Q13107716) to set up the Infobox. The details will be explained in the Module:Infobox section below.

Knowledge of Modules[edit]

Creating a new module on en-wiki will show a code editor instead of a Wikitext editor.

This section will teach you basic knowledge about modules on Wikipedia and related projects.


Modules are a special namespace (a set of pages with specialized properties). While the content namespace of Wikipedia handles Wikitext-content, the Module namespace will interpret any text written as Lua. In order to create a Wikidata-powered infobox we will have to create and edit some of the modules, so we need to understand how they work.

The module namespace uses the Scribunto-Extension which allows you to embed Lua code in Mediawiki. For this tutorial you don't need to know much of the background, but you can read the Scribunto documentation in case you want to learn more about it.

For us it is just important that if we visit a Module page we will see a slightly different interface. If you, for example visit this page: and click on "Edit" you will see that a code editor will be shown. On other Wikipedia languages you will also see some helpful information about what a module is, and where to find more documentation (See the figure to the right).

Demonstration modules to see how Modules work:

Debug console[edit]

The debug console can be used to execute Lua statements to check the written code

Below the code editor the Module-page has a debug console. The console can execute any Lua commands and will also parse the code that you have written in the code editor. That means that you can check if your code returns the right value. We can for example write this in the code editor:

local p = {}

function p.hello()
    return 'This is a hold-up, not a botany lesson.'

return p

and run the following commands in the console:

> print(p.hello())

This is a hold-up, not a botany lesson.
> print(p.hello() == True)

Lua is actually not disagreeing with our bold statement, but only evaluating that string == boolean is false.

When you import another module into your module you can also inspect it:

local p = {}
local wd = require('Module:Wikidata')

function p.returnModule()
    return wd

return p

and in the console we can inspect the object (or table as Lua calls them):

> wd_obj = p.returnModule()
> table.foreach(wd_obj, print)
pageId	function
getImages	function
labelIn	function
getQualifierDateValue	function

Using modules in wikitext[edit]

A module that already contains functions can be called anywhere in Wikitext. This is called invoking the module and uses the invoke-template (Examples: Module:Wikidata). The version of the Wikidata:Module here on Wikidata contains a function p.getLabel() (a method of the p object/table). If we invoke the function here, using {{#invoke:Wikidata|getLabel|entity=Q212730}}, it will display the following:

Output: Steven Pinker

It is easy to reconstruct that we are calling the Wikidata module and within it, the getLabel function. This function needs to know at least which item we are interested in which we pass as an argument |entity=Q212730. We are not requesting a specific language, so the Module will default to English.

Using preview on module[edit]

The preview function in Module namespace allows to view a page running the module.

Example 1:

  • Add {{#invoke:NewModule|functionname|id=Q24045706}} somewhere, e.g. at Wikidata:Sandbox/test1 or here: Script error: No such module "NewModule"..
  • On Module:NewModule write your code. The code should include an option to use an entity other than the one associated with the page (e.g. Q24045706 in the sample). You could try the below sample.
local p = {}

function p.functionname(frame)
    local frame = mw.getCurrentFrame()
	local id =

	local data = mw.wikibase.getEntityObject(id)
	if not data then
		return "no data"
	local name = data:getLabel( "en" )
	return '<b>' .. name .. '</b>'

return p
  • In "Preview page with this template" add the name of the page
    • (e.g. (for the first sample above) "Wikidata:Sandbox/test1"
    • or (for here, the second sample above) "Wikidata:Infobox Tutorial")
  • The red error text "Script error: No such module "NewModule"" should now be replaced by the label of Q24045706

Knowledge of Module:Wikidata[edit]

It is also recommended to read and understand the basic workings of your projects Wikidata-Module. The modules are developed separately and can have different approaches of retrieving certain information (e.g. local-specific date formats).

Take some time to review the Module and read the module in one of the languages and projects: Module:Wikidata (Q12069631).

Wikidata also has a Module:Wikidata which we will use as an example in this section. Depending on your local module the function names might have different names, arguments and return values. Module:Wikidata can be used on any Wikitext page on Wikidata. You can find examples here (Module:Wikidata#Examples) which you can try out in your sandbox. We will continue this tutorial by using Module:Wikidata from another Lua module. You can now visit and edit this page: Module:Wikidata on test.wikidata is less documented ( but has similar code to the normal Wikidata. And we are less likely to break anything while learning how to create infoboxes.

The first thing we will check is if we can load the Wikidata Module:


local p = {}
local wd = require('Module:Wikidata')

function p.returnModule()
    return wd

return p

And in the console we inspect the p variable:

> wd_obj = p.returnModule()
> table.foreach(wd_obj, print)

stringTable	function
sortclaims	function
_formatAndCat	function
getEntityFromId	function
formatAndCat	function

We see that we now have access to all the methods of Module:Wikidata.

Accessing frame object[edit]

This is also a good time to introduce the frame object (mw:Extension:Scribunto/Lua_reference_manual#Frame_object). The frame object holds among other things arguments about the Wikidata item that is connected to the page (entity) and the language of the current page (lang). We can simulate this behaviour by pasting the following code at

local p = {}
local wd = require('Module:Wikidata')

function p.getFinchLabel()
    local frame = mw.getCurrentFrame()
    frame.args.lang = 'en'
    frame.args.entity = 'Q167'
    finchLabel = wd.getLabel(frame)
    return finchLabel

return p

The code gets the current frame, which does not have any values in args and adds the lang and entity manually. Then we can run this command in the console:

> print(p.getFrenchLabel())
Common chaffinch

We see that we get the English label from which currently reads "Common chaffinch".

Knowledge of Module:Infobox[edit]

Similar to Module:Wikidata there is usually a Module:Infobox on each Wikipedia (and other projects). This module is also developed separately on each project, so you will have to adapt your code to work with the local module (or adapt the Module to be more similar to the others).

There are basically two implementations. The first receives the infobox structure from any Infobox template (e.g. Template:Infobox book (Q5858283)), which calls Template:Infobox (Q5626735), which invokes Module:Infobox (Q13107716) (usually calling the infobox function within it). The template is then parsed and the headers, rows and other elements are styled accordingly.

The second implementation of Module:Infobox (Q13107716) also allows the infobox to be constructed from another Lua module. An example of this is fr:Module:Infobox/Tapis persan (Persian rug). The template fr:Modèle:Infobox Tapis persan invokes the following code: {{#invoke:Infobox|build|nom=Tapis persan}}. This calls Module:Infobox and the build function in that module. It only passes the name of the infobox, which the Module:Infobox uses to call the structure at fr:Modèle:Infobox Tapis persan. This return the structure to Module:Infobox and then constructs the layout for it.

Links to the different implementations can be found here:

Introduction to Wikidata infoboxes[edit]

The tutorial will show how to create a simple infobox that will retrieve different datatypes and their citations. The information will come from the item directly connected to that item and also connected items.

Best practices[edit]

The 2012 and 2016 version of the Gout Infobox. The right version gives the reader a much better summary of the topic.

Infoboxes have a very prominent spot on the users screen and should therefore be carefully designed. This is especially true on small screens, where the infobox comes right below the headline. If an infobox is very a long a user will have to scroll 2 or even more screen height until they reach the first paragraph of text. Therefore when rebuilding an infobox it is a good idea to check if any updates are needed.

Especially in the times before Wikidata Infoboxes became storages for all kinds of identifiers that usually offer little benefit to the reader. The figure to the right shows the transformation the Gout infobox has made between 2012 and 2016. It is of course necessary to discuss these changes with the respective community.

See also: no label (Q8614811)

How traditional infoboxes work[edit]

Infoboxes are templates that can be called from any other page using Wikitext templates (the double-curly brackets). If you look for example at the page about the book en:Capital in the Twenty-First Century you will see that this code is used to call the infobox:

{{infobox book
| name         = Capital in the Twenty-First Century
| title_orig   = Le Capital au XXIe siècle
| translator   = [[Arthur Goldhammer]]
| image        = File:Capital in the Twenty-First Century (front cover).jpg
| caption      = <small>Hardcover edition</small>
| author       = [[Thomas Piketty]]
| language     = French
| subject      = [[Capitalism]], [[economic history]], [[economic inequality]]
| genre        = Non fiction
| publisher    = [[Éditions du Seuil]],<br />[[Harvard University Press|Belknap Press]]
| pub_date     = August 2013
| english_pub_date = April 15, 2014
| media_type   = Print ([[Hardcover|Hardback]])
| pages        = 696 pp.
| isbn =  978-0674430006

We see that the curly brackets call the en:Template:Infobox book. The keys (e.g. |name) and values (Capital in the Twenty-First Century) are stored on the page itself. Only keys that are supported by the template can be used. When looking at the code of en:Template:Infobox book we see that it itself uses en:Template:Infobox which depends on en:Module:Infobox. This was the only way to fill inboxes with information before Wikidata.

How do Wikidata infoboxes work[edit]

Wikidata-powered infoboxes are either a mix of data stored on a page and Wikidata information or even completely generated from Wikidata. That means that the Infobox-Book example from above could even look like this:

{{infobox book}}

Or just provide a minimum amount of local data:

{{infobox book
|language = French and others

For tradional infoboxes that would result in an empty or near empty infobox. But for Wikidata infoboxes it is possible to store all the keys in the template definition and grab all the values from the connected Wikidata item.

How are Wikidata infoboxes made[edit]

There are a number of ways how Wikidata infoboxes can be created. Some approaches work almost completely in Lua, while others retain most of the code that traditional infobox templates use. The following two sections will show how to build an infobox based on existing templates and one that is done in Lua.

Wikidata infoboxes using existing templates[edit]

Wikidata infoboxes largely based on existing templates function like this: When a Wikipedia page loads, it will parse the infobox code and look for local data (and keywords opting in or out of Wikidata). Then (1) it will check the Template:Infobox for Wikidata invokations ({{#invoke:Wikidata|..}}) and check which values need to be retrieved. For each value (2) Module:Wikidata is called which calls the connected Wikidata item (3), which then sends the data back to the Wikipedia page (4).

Wikidata-powered Infoboxes can be made using the existing templates and adding calls to Module:Wikidata to certain rows. This is the simplest approach to retrieve information from Wikidata. There are of course limitations to what can be done using the Template language.

All that needs to be done for this approach is usually to add a {{#invoke:}}, which usually calls Module:Wikidata which would look like this: {{#invoke:Wikidata}}. Calling the Module alone will not do anything unless you call a specific function of the module, which can also take function-arguments. {{#invoke:Wikidata|getRawValue|argument1|argument2|argument3}}. Looking at this function in Module:Wikidata we can see how it works:

p.getRawValue = function(frame)
	local propertyID = mw.text.trim(frame.args[1] or "")
	local input_parm = mw.text.trim(frame.args[2] or "")
	if input_parm == "FETCH_WIKIDATA" then
		local entity = mw.wikibase.getEntityObject()
		local claims
		if entity and then claims =[propertyID] end
		if claims then
			local result = entity:formatPropertyValues(propertyID, mw.wikibase.entity.claimRanks).value
			-- if number type: remove thousand separators, bounds and units
			if (claims[1] and claims[1].mainsnak.snaktype == "value" and claims[1].mainsnak.datavalue.type == "quantity") then
				result = mw.ustring.gsub(result, "(%d),(%d)", "%1%2")
				result = mw.ustring.gsub(result, "(%d)±.*", "%1")
			return result
			return ""
		return input_parm

We see that the function takes one argument, the Frame object. The arguments we pass in with the {{#invoke:}} template are send along inside the frame object and the first one can be accessed as frame.args[1]. The function then checks whether the Wikidata value is requested or not. If the value is anything different from FETCH_WIKIDATA the original value will be returned (that is the local value stored on the Wikipedia page). If the Wikidata value is requested the function fetches the claim from Wikidata.

In case you haven't read your target Module:Wikidata yet, this is the time to look at it (Module:Wikidata (Q12069631)) and if documentation is missing. Also remember to update the local documentation and discuss unclear things on the talk page.

Wikidata on demand infobox[edit]

The most conservative approach are infoboxes that only get a Wikidata value if the article author uses a keyword to retrieve the value. The person infobox is an example of this kind of infobox. When we click on "Edit Source" and scroll down we can see how this works:

<!-- Template:Infobox person/Wikidata -->

| label26    = Occupation
| class26    = role
| data26     = {{#invoke:Wikidata|getRawValue|P106|{{{occupation|FETCH_WIKIDATA}}}}}

We see that only if FETCH_WIKIDATA is written in the infobox, will the code fetch the Wikidata statement.

<!-- A Wikipedia Page using the template -->

{{Infobox person/Wikidata
| occupation = FETCH_WIKIDATA

Wikidata by default infobox[edit]

Some infoboxes also choose to always display a Wikidata value when the field is empty. That usually means that a keyword is used to hide the field where no local data is present, but the Wikidata value is not desired. Using the same example as above the infobox could look like this:

<!-- Template:Infobox person/Wikidata -->

| label26    = Occupation
| class26    = role
| data26     = {{#invoke:Wikidata|getRawValue|P106|{{{occupation|}}}}}

Now the following code on any Wikipedia-page will retrieve the Wikidata statement:

<!-- A Wikipedia Page using the template -->

{{Infobox person/Wikidata
| occupation =


Wikidata infoboxes using Lua[edit]

Lua also allows it to build infoboxes almost completely without having to deal with the Wikitext template language. This approach is a little more versatile when it comes to the data retrieval from Wikidata, but also means that more has to be learned and more Modules need to be adapted.

What properties to use?[edit]

There are several lists at Wikidata:List of properties that can help you find applicable properties.

Some WikiProjects provide more targeted lists of properties (Category:Properties list in a WikiProject) and sometimes even mappings for Wikipedia infoboxes to Wikidata properties.

Sample: WikiProject Movies with its list of properties and Wikipedia infobox mapping.

To assess what properties are currently in use for a specific field, Related Properties (Q25337203) can be useful.

Sample: for a list of properties in use on items with instance of (P31) = lighthouse (Q39715), try claim[31:39715] on related_properties.php. Note that this may be slow and/or time-out.



Other Tutorials[edit]


Many examples can be found in this category:

For specific fields