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I've created a custom template that links to the author of an article that I'm publishing. Whenever I render that variant, I get the Sitecore Item ID instead of the text of that link. I'd like to do this without any coding (I'm trying to use SXA as much as I can OOB), but if there's not a way, then a coded solution would be OK. Here's how my Author field is setup: Author Configuration

Here's my Variant Configuration: Variant Configuration

Here's what the rendered version looks like: Variant Display

What do I need to do in order to display the sitecore item instead of the ID?

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That's because your Author field (defined on a page template) is a link type and what you are displaying right now is a raw field value (which in your case is a guid).

This is normal and expected. To fulfil your requirements you need to create so called 'pass through field' or field reference.

Instead of creating VariantField with Author value in FieldName field, create a VariantReference with Author value in PassThroughField field.

Then underneath create the variant structure to display fields from linked author item.

Your variant definition item could look like this.

enter image description here

To summarize

Title and Image under variant definition node displays fields from the page you are currently on but Name, Profile Picture, Short Bio displays fields from different item (linked author item).

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