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Sep 30, 2023




Wiki Trails

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authors (basic)

The WikiTrails feature allows wiki authors to create “trails” through sequences of pages in the wiki. You simply specify pages and their order on a “trail index”, and then place the navigation markup on the pages that you will be navigating.

(Don’t confuse the pagelist directive with WikiTrails - they are different animals as explained in the Q and A below.)

Creating a trail

Before you can use a trail through a group of pages, you have to create a “trail index” on a separate page, which we will call the “trail index page”. On that trail index page, you simply create a numbered or bulleted list of links. (So every numbered or bulleted list of links implicitly creates a trail.) It is important that each page name (link) be the first item following each bullet; any text or formatting in front of the page name will exclude it from the trail.
If you want to format your trail (list), you can include a CSS.

An example trail index page might contain the list:

PmWiki philosophy
Design notes (The first link will, and the second link won’t, be in the trail defined by (definition list))
  • Security (This won’t be in the trail because its preceded by a (hidden) anchor)
  • Links (This won’t be in the trail because its preceded by a (hidden) %newwin% style)
  • Troubleshooting (This won’t be in the trail because its preceded by (hidden) italic style markup)

The list above creates the following “wikitrail”, displayed using a pagelist:

(:pagelist trail={$FullName}#trailstart#trailend


  1. In general, indentation levels in the page list don’t matter — trails are a linear sequence of pages.
  2. A page is part of the trail only if the page link immediately follows the list markup.
  3. The list itself can be delineated by the use of anchors, allowing for multiple lists on a page, or for some list items to be excluded.

Trail types

PmWiki defines 2 trail markups:

  • <<|[[Trail Index Page]]|>> displays as “<< PreviousPage | Trail Index Page | NextPage >>”.
  • <|[[Trail Index Page]]|> displays as “< PreviousPage | Trail Index Page | NextPage >”, except the appropriate arrow is omitted at the beginning and end of the trail.

Trail link syntax

The trail link has the same syntax as a standard link, this means for example you can specify

  • <|[[TrailIndexPage | +]]|>

Trail links can be restricted by anchors (links to a specific location within a page), this means you can have more than one trail on a page, or start a trail from a specific location in a page.

  • <|[[Trail Index Page#trailstart#trailend]]|>

Using the trail

What makes a trail “work” is adding trail markup on the pages in the trail (i.e. the pages that are listed in the bullet/numbered list on the trail index page).

To build a trail, add trail markup like <<|[[TrailIndexPage]]|>> to a page, where TrailIndexPage is the page, described above, containing the bulleted list of pages in the trail. PmWiki will display the trail markup with links to any previous and next pages in the trail.

The trail markup can be placed anywhere in a page, and a page can contain multiple trail markups. If you are adding a trail to every page in a group, consider setting the trail markup in the GroupHeader or GroupFooter pages instead of on every individual page in your group.

Path trail

^|[[TrailIndexPage]]|^ treats the list levels as a hierarchy and displays the “path” to reach the current page (i.e., a “breadcrumb” trail). In the example trail above, the markup ^|TrailIndexPage|^ on TrailPage4 would display as “TrailIndexPage | TrailPage2 | TrailPage4”.

Wiki administrators can change the trail separator of the “path” trail ( ^|[[TrailIndexPage]]|^ ) from the default | by setting the variable $TrailPathSep in the config.php file. For instance $TrailPathSep = ‘ › ‘; will output “TrailIndexPage > TrailPage2 > TrailPage4”.

Circular trails

Typically, a trail is a linear list with a first and a last page. However, the trail can be made “circular” by repeating the first page as the last item in the trail index:

 * [[TrailPage1]]
 * [[TrailPage2]]
 * [[TrailPageN]]
 * [[TrailPage1]]

If the trail index page is intended to be read by others, the last item can be made invisible inside an (:if false:) block:

 * [[TrailPage1]]
 * [[TrailPage2]]
 * [[TrailPageN]]
 (:if false:)
 * [[TrailPage1]]

Cross Group Trails

Before version 2.2.1, if your trail contains pages in different groups, it should use full [[Group.Name]] links instead of just [[Name]].

Other notes

  • There is no space between and [[link]] and ; same for the other trail markups.
  • Note that non-existing pages will appear in the WikiTrail as links.

Trail style

PmWiki encapsulates the trail with a wikitrail css class. This allows the wiki trail to be customised by defining CSS for the wikitrail in the local.css file.

Trail in page lists

Trails from a single page can only be displayed using the pagelist trail parameter. For example

(:pagelist trail=PmWiki/WikiTrails
order=random count=3:)

A simple example of a WikiTrail

1) On the TrailIndexPage:

* [[MyTrailPage1]]
* [[MyTrailPage2]]
* [[MyTrailPage3]]

2) On the pages MyTrailPage1, 2, and 3:


> {=$Groupspaced}.{=$Namespaced}? <


What’s the difference between a PageList and a WikiTrail?

The pagelist directive dynamically generates a list of pages. There are many ways to generate the list, including using a WikiTrail as the source. The pagelist directive then displays the pages that match the criteria using an optional template - for example displaying each page name on a separate line as a link or including the entire content. The pagelist directive currently does not have built-in navigation markup that you can put on the pages in the list. By contrast, WikiTrails are simply specified via links on an “index” page and you can put previous-next navigation markup on each page. The two serve very different purposes. WikiTrails are useful for specifying the pages in web feeds, for creating a “tour” through a predefined set of pages, and many other things.

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This page may have a more recent version on PmWiki:WikiTrails, and a talk page: PmWiki:WikiTrails-Talk.

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