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This page is about a general introduction on how to edit. For the editing policy, see Wikipedia:Editing policy. For the page on how and where you can contribute, see Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia.
"Wikipedia:How" redirects here. For other Wikipedia how-to guides, see Wikipedia:How-to.
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 need to register to do this. Anyone who has edited is known as a "Wikipedian" and, no matter how trivial the edit may seem, can be proud that he or she has helped make Wikipedia what it is. All of these edits add up! Wikipedia uses two methods of editing: the new VisualEditor (VE), and classic editing through wiki markup (wikitext). The explanations on this page deal with wikitext editing (the method most used). For instructions on using VisualEditor see the VisualEditor user guide.

Some pages are protected from editing. These pages are denoted by a lock icon on the top right of the page and have a View source tab instead of an Edit tab. You can still edit these pages indirectly, by submitting an "edit request" – an editor with the ability to edit the protected page will respond to your request. You can submit a request by clicking on the View source tab on that page and using the "Submit an edit request" link at the bottom right.

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


Editing most Wikipedia pages is simple. Simply click on the "Edit" tab at the top of a Wikipedia page (or, elsewhere on that page, a section-level edit link to edit only that section). This will take you to a new page with a text box containing the editable text of the current page.

Text in a large rectangle below two toolbars and next to a scrollbar.
Edit box showing the wiki markup as of August 2nd 2012.

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 by clicking 'Help' in this toolbar.

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

Edit summary (Briefly describe your changes)


This is a minor edit Watch this page

By clicking the "Save page" button, you agree to the Terms of Use and you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the CC BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL with the understanding that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient for CC BY-SA 3.0 attribution.

Save page Show preview Show changes Cancel

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.

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

Talk (discussion) pages

Talk pages have a "new section" tab to start a new section, in addition to a tab to edit the whole page. Sign your contributions to a Talk page by using four tildes (~~~~), which produces your username and a time/date stamp.

Minor edits

Further information: Help:Minor edit

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. Editors should not feel that marking a change as minor devalues their effort.

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 that 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.

"View source" – protected pages

Some pages are protected from editing. These pages have a View source tab instead of an Edit tab. You can still edit these pages indirectly, by submitting an "edit request" – an editor with the ability to edit the protected page will respond to your request. You can submit a request by clicking on the View source tab on that page and using the "Submit an edit request" link at the bottom right.

Adding references

There is the Wikipedia:refToolbar 2.0 tool built into the top of the edit box that makes it easier to add and properly format references. The tool can use a single piece of data, such as the PMID or ISBN, to fill in the rest of the details. This tool however only works occasionally. A more reliable tool can be found here: [1], but currently this is broken.

Wiki markup

Main page: Help:Wiki markup

Wiki markup is the information not displayed in the finished article. Wiki markup is only visible in the edit section and instructs the software on the display of the article. A basic list of Wiki markup can be found on the cheatsheet.

More information on editing wiki pages

Getting started

Policies and conventions

Make sure that you submit information which is relevant to Wikipedia's specific purpose, 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 by.

Helpful tips

Naming and moving

Style and layout


See also

  • WikiProjects, if you are writing an article about something that belongs to a group of topics, check here first!
  • Wikimedia Bookshelf, learning materials, videos, and handouts