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Note that the presence or not of a link is determined by the existence of the authority page, not by any action on the part of the parameter. If a page is not linked, there is a problem with the name as you have entered it. Categories are only added if the template is used in mainspace.

Base uses
{{au|Charles|Darwin}} → Darwin
{{au|Charles|Darwin|1850}} → Darwin, 1850
Adjusting display parameters
{{au|Alcide|d'Orbigny|a=A.D.Orb.}} → A.D.Orb.
{{au|Charles|Darwin|p=yes}} → (Darwin)
Suppressing the link
{{au|unlink|Darwin|1850}} → Darwin
{{au||Darwin|1850}} → Darwin
Adding a date category
{{au|Charles|Darwin|1850|date=yes}} → Darwin, 1850
{{au|Charles|Darwin|date=1850}} → Darwin, 1850
{{au|Charles|Darwin|date=185o}} → (No or incorrect date parameter defined)
{{au|Charles|Darwin||date=yes}} → Darwin (need to figure out how to make an error message here)
{{au|Charles|Darwin|date=yes}} → (No or incorrect date parameter defined)
Adding an author category
{{au|Charles|Darwin|1850|cat=yes}} → Darwin, 1850
Linking to a page that's not the author
{{au|Template:Darwin,|1854|1854|a=Darwin|cat=Charles Darwin}} → Darwin, 1854
This will also work as e.g. {{au|Template:Darwin, 1854||1854|a=Darwin|cat=Charles Darwin}}. Note that if splitting the template name, the parameters are separated by a space that must be present in the linked page.