Abbr and Acronym Macro


This macro returns an <abbr> or <acronym> element with a title attribute.

If you've used InlineMacro to create abbreviations or acronyms in your formatted wiki pages, you probably quickly realized how tedious it can be. This macro is designed to alleviate this issue.

It accepts keyword syntax only:

[[Abbr(key=XYZ, title=Xenon Yeti Zulu, <tag=abbr|acronym>)]]

Where key is the element content, title is required, and the tag keyword is optional. The element type (tag) will default to acronym if omitted. Why is acronym the default? For several reasons. First, most users are after acronyms (and as far as I know there are no plans for an initialism element). Second, Internet Explorer before version 7.0 does not support the <abbr> element, so any styling and defined tooltips will be ignored.

Many HTML authors mistakenly refer to elements as "tags". For a review of the syntax and nomenclature of WWW markup elements, visit the Wikipedia Element article, or this quick synopsis will help. Syntactically, HTML elements are constructed with:

  • A start tag marking the beginning of an element.
  • Any number of valid attributes (and their associated values in quotes).
  • Some amount of content (characters and other elements).
  • An end tag.


  • In general, empty elements do not have an end tag nor do they contain content.
  • HTML elements that include attributes do so in their start tags; they define additional properties and behavior.
  • The end tag is required for most elements and optional for others.
  • These rules vary depending on what DOCTYPE you are serving.

There has been a long and sometimes heated discussion on the <abbr> and <acronym> elements around the Web. A good article at Juicy Studios was written by my friend Pamela Berman: Abbreviations are a Breeze.

See also: TracTerminologyPlugin, AcronymsPlugin

Dictionary File

AbbrMacro is designed to be rolled out in phases. The first and simplest use case is described above. But even that can become tedious, especially if you use the same acronyms over and over. The second phase introduces a user-defined plain text dictionary file of key=value (content=title) pairs, which permits the omission of the title keyword. Assuming, that is, there is a matching abbreviation in the dictionary file.

You may also include the title attribute using the macro even if the element is defined in the dictionary file, the macro title keyword will take precedence. If you omit the title and the element is not defined in the dictionary, the macro will issue a error message and exit.

To configure the location of the dictionary file, add the following entry to your project trac.ini:

file = /path/to/your/abbreviations/file

The file must be readable (and eventually writable, see below) by your Web server for this feature to work.

The format of the dictionary file couldn't be simpler:

PEP = Python Enhancement Proposal
PHP = Hypertext Preprocesor
RFC = Request For Comments


Where leading and trailing whitespace are removed. Notice that there is a similarity between the dictionary file and trac.ini. Each has sections followed by name=value pairs. Sections other than [abbr] and [acronym] in the dictionary file are ignored, and there is no rule you must have both. I tend to only use acronyms for this sort of thing, and to help get you started here is an example AbbrMap. Like all Python/Trac files, strings beginning with a # (pound) character are treated as comments and are ignored. If you're going to use Unicode characters in your dictionary (typically in the title attribute), open the file, as always, with:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
Warning: Since abbreviations and acronyms kept in the dictionary file are stored in memory as unique key=value pairs, duplicates keys will cause a collision. If this happens, one will overwrite the other. However, since the keys are case-sensitive, in practice this should not be a issue—just something to keep in mind when you are editing your dictionary file.


A third and final phase will allow the user to edit this file from within the wiki, similar to the InterMapTxt page for InterWiki links.

Bugs/Feature Requests

Existing bugs and feature requests for AbbrMacro are here.

If you have any issues, create a new ticket.


0 / 1


0 / 1


  • Browse the source at: GitHub.
  • Public clone URL:
    git clone git://


Download the zipfile, unzip the archive to a temporary location, visit the 0.11 folder and run:

python bdist_egg
cp dist/*.egg /trac/env/Project/plugins


Enable the macro in /trac/env/Project/conf/trac.ini as follows:

abbr.* = enabled

See Dictionary File above if you plan on using this feature.

You may have to restart your Web server.


No sense doing it without style, here's mine.

/* acronyms and abbrs */

acronym {
  border-bottom: none;
  cursor: default;
  color: #309;
acronym:hover {
  border-bottom: 1px dotted #309;



[[Abbr(key=PEP,title=Python Enhancement Proposal)]]



Recent Changes

15264 by rjollos on 2016-02-11 05:22:34
Remove unnecessary svn:mime-type on py files

svn:mime-type was set to "plain" for many files.

8490 by rjollos on 2010-08-28 06:55:44
Adding AbbrMacro from project's wiki page.
5097 by dwclifton on 2009-01-06 18:58:56
New hack AbbrMacro, created by dwclifton


Author: dwclifton
Maintainer: none (needsadoption)
Contributors: the Trac and Python development community.

Last modified 11 months ago Last modified on Nov 13, 2015, 9:11:41 AM