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Editing tutorial for Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a wiki, meaning that anyone can edit any unprotected page, and improve articles immediately for all readers. You do not even need to register to do this. Anyone who has edited is known as a Wikipedia editor and no matter how trivial the edit may seem, can be proud that they have helped make Wikipedia what it is – all those edits add up!

Note: You can use the sandbox to experiment with page editing.



Editing most Wikipedia pages is easy. Simply click on the "edit" tab at the top of a Wikipedia page (or on a section-edit link). This will bring you to a new page with a text box containing the editable text of the current page.

Text in a large rectangle next to a scrollbar. It starts with a line "==Editing==", then a line "Editing most Wikipedia pages is easy. Simply click on the edit this page tab at the top...", and then about 30 more lines.
Edit box showing the wiki markup for this page. You can see the markup for a level-two heading, and bold-face.

In this box, you can type in the text that you want to add, using wiki markup to format the text and add other elements like images and tables. The toolbar above the text box can help with formatting. A quick reference to wiki markup can be opened in a new window by clicking 'Editing help', found near the 'save page' button.

Never start a line with a leading space unless you want the special formatting it causes. Paragraphs can be separated with a blank line.

When you have finished editing, you should write a short edit summary in the small field below the edit-box. You may use shorthand to describe your changes, as described in the legend. To see how the page looks with your edits, press the "Show preview" button. To see the differences between the page with your edits and the previous version of the page, press the "Show changes" button. If you're satisfied with what you see, be bold and press the "Save page" button. Your changes will immediately be visible to all Wikipedia users.

A four-line window. The top line says "Edit summary (Briefly describe the changes you have made)". The second line is a blank input area. The third is one checkbox for "This is a minor edit" and another for "Watch this page". The last line contains buttons "Save page", "Show preview", "Save Changes", and a non-button "Cancel".
Edit commands

Note: Do not sign the Edit Summary line with your ~~~~ signature as it does not work here.

The Wikipedia community has developed style guidelines to make articles and facts appear in a standardized form, and Wikipedia easier to use as a whole.

If you add information to a page, please provide references, as unreferenced facts are subject to removal.

Talk (discussion) pages

Talk pages are similar to articles in that they also have a "new section" tab to start a new section or edit the whole page.

Minor edits

A check to the "minor edit" box signifies that only superficial differences exist between the version with your edit and the previous version: typo corrections, formatting and presentational changes, rearranging of text without modifying content, etc. A minor edit is a version that the editor believes requires no review and could never be the subject of a dispute. The "minor edit" option is one of several options available only to registered users.

Major edits

All editors are encouraged to be bold, but there are several things that a user can do to ensure that major edits are performed smoothly. Before engaging in a major edit, a user should consider discussing proposed changes on the article discussion/talk page. During the edit, if doing so over an extended period, the {{In use}} tag can reduce the likelihood of an edit conflict. Once the edit has been completed, the inclusion of an edit summary will assist in documenting the changes. These steps will help all to ensure that major edits are well received by the Wikipedia community.

A major edit should be reviewed to confirm that it is consensual to all concerned editors. Therefore, any change that affects the meaning of an article is major (not minor), even if the edit is a single word.

There are no necessary terms to which you have to agree when doing major edits, but the recommendations above have become best practice. If you do it your own way, the likelihood of your edits being reedited may be higher.

When performing a large edit, it is suggested you periodically, and before pressing 'save page', copy your edits into an external text editor (preferably one without formatting, such as Notepad). This ensures that in the case of a browser crash you will not lose your work. If you are adding substantial amounts of work, it is also a good idea to save changes in stages.

Wiki markup

Wiki markup is the extra information (apart from the text which will be displayed) you enter in the edit window which tells the MediaWiki software how to display, categorize and process the article.

More information on editing wiki pages

Getting started

Policies and conventions

Make sure that you submit information which is relevant to the specific purpose of the wiki, or your content might be deleted. You can always use the talk pages to ask questions or check to see if your idea will be accepted. Please make note of the license your contributions will be covered with.

Helpful tips

Naming and moving

Style and layout


See also

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