What is an ACRONYM?

An acronym is an abbreviation that is typically made up of the first letter or letters of a phrase. A very familiar example would be WWW standing for World Wide Web. In Foswiki, an acronym of 3 or more letters will be automatically linked only if a topic of that name already exists in the Web.

When you type an Acronym, you establish a possible hyperlink. It's as easy as that.

Just like WikiWord linking, acronym linking is easy to use:
  • You don't have to know the full path to where the topic is stored - you just type the name
  • You don't need to write HTML
  • Without HTML, the topic text is easier to read when editing
  • Easy linking leads to interesting texts with links placed in context

Syntax of an Acronym

  • 3 or more Uppercase letter(s)

Acronym syntax in Extended Backus.Naur form (EBNF):

    Acronym        = 3*upperLetters ;
    upperLetters   = "A" | "B" | "C" | "D" | "E" | "F" | "G" | "H" | "I"
                    | "J" | "K" | "L" | "M" | "N" | "O" | "P" | "Q" | "R"
                    | "S" | "T" | "U" | "V" | "W" | "X" | "Y" | "Z" ;

Examples of Acronyms

  • HTML

But Not
  • HTML5 - A digit breaks the acronym link.
  • FAQs - The lower case letter breaks the link.

Variations in linking

When you write an acronym and the acronym topic already exists, it becomes a link. There are more ways

  • To force a link to to an acronym, use bracket notation: [[HTML5]] - this becomes: HTML5 and will display the broken link indicator (?) if the topic does not exist.
  • To link to an acronym in another web, write: Sandbox.HTML - this becomes: Sandbox.HTML
  • To link to an acronym on a site like the Acronym Finder, use: Acronym:HTTP - this becomes: Acronym:HTTP (sites are defined in the InterwikiPlugin)


  • To stop an Acronym from being turned into a hyperlink, insert an exclamation point immediately before the Acronym. For example, write !HTML to get HTML.
  • Unlike WikiWords, plural Acronyms are not automatically linked to the singular topic.
  • FAQ will be linked, but FAQIndex will not. Turn acronyms into WikiWords, i.e. Change FAQIndex to FaqIndex for a "FAQ index" topic.
  • It is possible to turn off the auto-linking and to rely only on the bracket notation using the NOAUTOLINK preference setting.
    • You can set NOAUTOLINK in your personal topic, or directly in any topic to change linking behavior for you or an individual topic.

Related Topics: WikiSyntax, TextFormattingRules