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{{ safesubst:p{{ safesubst:#if{{{1}}}:{{{2}}}|1|2}}|{{{3}}}|}}

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With this template the parser functions of the ParserFunctions collection with names starting with "#if" can be used in a way such that they do not strip spaces and newlines from the "then" and "else" part. Spaces still do not affect the outcome of the condition. Parameter 1 selects the if-type as "eq", "expr", "exists" or "error" (for #iferror), or empty "||" for a simple if-there (for #if). The template can be repeatedly nested 6 or 7 levels, one inside the other, because the outer-most is completed before running either the then/else inner levels.

This template can be substituted, when the expression or comparison will not change. Functionally, a lead-space character is stored, internally, as a simple blank character. Note, in many cases a null nowiki tag ("<nowiki/>") could be used, without Template:If, to allow a lead-space (such as "<nowiki/> xx") anywhere, but the internal storage puts a 43-character marker for "<nowiki/>" in string length. However, there is no extra expansion depth for a nowiki-tag, such as in trailing space, "zz <nowiki/>".


  • {{if||x| p | q }} gives " p ". Notice the pair of vertical bars surrounding the empty first parameter.
  • {{if|expr|2<3| p | q }} gives " p "
  • {{if|eq| u |u| p | q }} gives " p "
  • {{if|exist| Help:Link | p | q }} gives " q "
  • {{if|error|{{#expr:x}}| p | q }} gives " p "


  • {{#if:x| p | q }} gives "p"
  • {{#ifexpr:2<3| p | q }} gives "p"
  • {{#ifeq: u |u| p | q }} gives "p"
  • {{#ifexist: Help:Link | p | q }} gives "q"
  • {{#iferror:{{#expr:x}}| p | q }} gives "p"

The text of either the then-clause or else-clause is only processed and expanded when triggered. Hence, any templates in use are only expanded once the then-clause or else-clause is matched, otherwise they are skipped as merely paired braces, "{{" with "}}".

Indentation: If indenting the markup, care must be taken to avoid extra newlines when indenting "}}" on the next line. An extra bar pipe "|" can be added after the else-clause to complete that text, and allow "}}" to then be placed anywhere without adding a newline into the else-clause. For example:

  • {{if|{{{1|}}}
        |then found parameter 1|else no parameter 1| ← extra "|" ends else-clause

When the else-clause is indented to the next line, a newline (CR/LF) is added:

  • {{if|{{{1|}}}
        |then found parameter 1 ← extra newline here
        |else noparameter 1|

To indent the else-clause, split an HTML-form comment, as "<!--" with next line as "-->|else...". Unless each then-clause and else-clause is carefully tested, to watch for extra newlines, then the results are likely to cause broken lines, with extra line breaks for each newline. For that reason, a global edit with simple search-and-replace of "{#if:" to "{if||" is likely to leave newline problems, wherever the original markup was wrapped to indent either the else-clause or "}}" of each if-structure. Indenting the then-clause is not a problem.

Performance considerations

Because Template:If must prepare the parameters for #if, #ifeq, #ifexpr, (etc.) there is a slight overhead when using it. It has been timed to run at speeds of 290 instances per second, so 29 uses would take only 0.1 s, a tenth of a second to run, to make 29 comparisons. Each nested use adds 5 levels to the template expansion depth, so 7 nested if-templates would use 35 levels (5*7) of the 41-level limit.

Using P-if syntax: A similar if-structure can be coded without Template:If, by using the {P1} and {P2} templates in a "P-if" structure. Template:P1 always returns parameter 1, and P2 returns the 2nd. So, a comparison of 4 versus 3 can be coded using P-if syntax form:

Example of #ifexpr: "{{P{{#ifexpr: 4 > 3|1|2}}| then 4 greater| else 4 lower}}"
Result for #ifexpr:   " then 4 greater" ← the comparison invoked {{P1}}.

The expansion depth of a P-if is only 4 levels deep, but nesting of the then-clause or else-clause might be more confusing than using nested levels of Template:if.

Example of #if: "{{P{{#if:{{{2|x}}}|1|2}}| then {2} set| else {2} empty}}"
Result for #if: " else {2} empty" ← the comparison invoked {{P2}}.

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