How to hide those super long URLs on your profiles--WikiTree Tip

+27 votes

I see this tip was posted in various forms over a year ago, but I wanted to bring it up again.

Have you noticed, when you post a super long web address on a profile or in a message on a profile, it goes complete across the page or off the page? Did you know you can clean that up in  a simple and easy manner?

All you have to do is take that super long address such as this ancestry example:

1) put brackets [   ] around the URL

2) put a space at the end of the URL and write a short description of the URL such as 1910 Census

3) It looks like this in the edit profile view:

[ 1910 Census]

4) It will now look like this when you click preview or click save and look at the profile in the view mode:  1910 Census

{Note: The only time this messes up is if you put too many spaces after the URL and the descriptor goes to the next line.  The descriptor MUST BE LEFT JUSTIFIED--as mine shows--or the coding will not work properly}

Voilà!  Nice and clean.  No hanging URLS off your page.  This works anywhere in your profile including inline sources.  It also works when writing a message in the message box of a profile.  Try it!  I think you will like the way it cleans up your page!

Emma :-)

asked in The Tree House by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (521k points)
Emma, Who posted that tip originally?  I'd like to see that person get credit for it, since it's so good that it deserves your repeating it now.
Gaile, I didn't copy the tip.  I learned it on my own by trial and error, but I checked G2G before posting this to see if anyone had posted about it recently.  But I can certainly find those old posts.
Sorry - I had the impression that you were re-posting something that another person had previously posted.  I hope you can forgive me for making that error.
No biggie :-)  I am an author, so I would never repost someone else's work.

This tip was one of the things keeping me awake last night because I saw so many URLS crossing profiles recently it was driving me crazy!  I only recently discovered how to use the brackets--especially when leaving links to help pages in messages on profile pages.

One of the Help pages is Adding Links.  There are so many of them now (which is good), that it can be hard to find something specific.

I've figured out lots of things on my own, like you, Emma, or by following other's examples. 

Great tip about having things left-justified!  This is also true for anything in the biography box.  A line will not wrap, and other coding will not work, if not lined up with the left margin.  That pesky little space on the left has foiled me many times.


Cynthia, and that extra left space will often create a Data Base error, I have recently learned!
This tip just cost me a few hours cleaning up profiles and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I guess I don't have to worry about 1,000 updates this month.
LOL Sue.  Are you saying you had a few URLS hanging off the page?
Still do. My favorite link is an online copy of the Pomeroy tree from the American Society which was created from the reference books, updated. It has an index which I use to connect unconnected Pomeroys.  I also add it to other profiles. I just updated my mainline back to Eltweed putting the link in brackets. I also updated the reference to the main printed book that I put in sources using the format that links back showing which profiles use it.  I need to go back and add pages. Now all I have left are all their children, descendants, and the people in the branches from the other sons of Eltweed. I don't want to think about how many that is, but it may be a big hunk of my watchlist (almost 3 thousand).
Oh goodness!  So sorry.  I hope you can do a lot of copy/paste at least.

6 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer

Another tip that someone showed me was that if you see '?backcurl' in the URL, you can delete everything from and including '?backcurl' to the end of the URL and it won't affect the effectiveness of the link. backcurl just gives the address of the page that you came from to get to that current page, so you don't need it to just get to the destination page. So:

is the same as:


[ 1910 Census]

is the same as

[ 1910 Census]


answered by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
selected by Pat Credit
This is true Chase, thank you!  I was just using the long form of an Ancestry address because it was one place I knew I could get an extra long URL :-)
Thanks very much for posting this, have been wondering how one got the name of a web site to act as a hot link, now I see it can be added after a space within the bracket - brilliant. Also very good to know about editing back to  "backcurl" as those long links to book searches obscure bio text as inline citations when editing. Shall go and practice.
Practice makes perfect :-)
+10 votes
Thank you, I knew it could be done and now I know how.
answered by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
It took me a little while to figure it out for myself :-)
+5 votes

And further ... the URL doesn't have to be lengthy, it just looks better if it's bracketed.  For the Family Search sources I will always cut the URL out of their source and put it in brackets at the start of the source.  So,

Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), William Jewitt, 26 Dec 1825; citing READFIELD,KENNEBEC,MAINE; FHL microfilm 12,043.

will be edited into:

[ Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900], database, FamilySearch (4 December 2014), William Jewitt, 26 Dec 1825; citing READFIELD,KENNEBEC,MAINE; FHL microfilm 12,043.

answered by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1m points)
+5 votes

I must have seen it done somewhere as I've been doing it since I first started in-line sourcing a couple of weeks after joining wikitree (in May/June) so all my links are hidden within brackets, hidden within in-line citations..e.g. Crouch-2165

but another hint....when you get to the end of your in-line source and you hit "preview" and your sources are all over the places because you forgot to put a pesky little forward/back slash in the right place ...use "control f" to find all the > signs that need a / but haven't got one lol

answered by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (106k points)
I have a Macintosh computer. Does control F still work for me? What does control F do?  (I love learning these little tips :-) )
"Control &F" on a PC is shortcut for "find"...I haven't a clue about a mac as I have never used one but will see if I can find out...
command+F on a mac


sourced from []
+4 votes
Great question, Emma. Very instructional, especially for newbies.
answered by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (166k points)
+3 votes
Holy Hannah - I've been putting in too many brackets?

I was wondering how everyone else  managed to make links without the brackets and mine always have brackets. I just need to use one lot of brackets and not two. Thank you so much!!!!
answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (479k points)
single pairs of brackets will link to full or external urls

double bracket pairs are a shortcut to link to internal WikiTree pages without requiring the full url.
Got it!!

Thanks Dennis!!

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