Wikipedia:Creation and usage of media files

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Main page: Help:Files
A screencast that walks through how to upload files to Wikimedia Commons and add them to Wikipedia articles.

Images, audio and video files must be uploaded into Wikipedia using the "Upload file" link on the left-hand navigation bar. Only logged in users can upload files. Once a file is uploaded, other pages can include or link to the file. Uploaded files are given the "File:" prefix by the system, and each one has an image description page. Please consider uploading freely licensed content to the Wikimedia Commons instead of here. This allows the files to be used in articles instantly by all Wikimedia projects. Files from Wikimedia Commons use the same syntax described below, there is no extra step needed. The maximum size of an uploaded file is 100 megabytes. As of March 2010, the following file types may be uploaded: png, gif, jpg/jpeg, xcf, pdf, mid, ogg/ogv/oga, svg, djvu. All others are prohibited for security reasons, and pdf and djvu are intended primarily for projects like Wikisource.

If you want to give a link to the file description page in an article, use an extra colon at the front, e.g., "[[:File:FILENAME]]". If you type "[[Media:FILENAME]]", a download link to the media file is created. The file name has to contain the file type.

Special characters and math[edit]

It is not necessary to upload images to use special characters or even complex mathematical expressions.

Wikipedia uses a UTF-8 encoding scheme, which means that any Unicode character can and should be entered directly. See m:Help:Special characters for details and help. (You can also use SGML entities for certain characters, such as & for & or é for é.)

For mathematical formulae, we use TeX markup. For help and instructions, see m:Help:Formula.

Text files[edit]

Please do not upload plain text (.txt), Microsoft Word (.doc), or text files in other formats. Instead, please start a new page and input the text using standard wiki formatting. Please do not dump text into Wikipedia unless you wrote it yourself, or you know that it meets the project's stringent copyright licensing requirements.

In rare cases an html file is uploaded, for example as a test or demonstration.

Occasionally a PDF file is uploaded. However, most PDFs should be converted into wikitext. Source documents should be uploaded to Wikisource instead.

For a discussion on uploading spreadsheets, see the talk page.

Textfile usage[edit]

Type "[[:File:WikiReader Free Software and Free Contents.pdf]]" to create a link to the media description site of the document.


Further information: Wikipedia:Uploading images
See also: Introduction to uploading images

Typically the first step in using an image or other media file is to upload it to Wikimedia Commons, but for legal reasons, some files must be uploaded to the English Wikipedia instead. Wikipedia:Upload helps you to choose between these options.

Images can be displayed directly on Wikipedia pages.

The preferred formats are JPEG for photographic images and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) for drawings, though PNG can also be used. Vector graphics are preferred to raster graphics for drawings, because they can be scaled as needed without losing information, and can be edited more easily.

Image usage[edit]

Further information: Wikipedia:Picture tutorial

Type "[[Image:FILENAME|alt=ALT TEXT|TITLE TEXT]]" when you want to display an image file directly. In most cases, a thumbnail is more useful: "[[Image:FILENAME|thumb|alt=ALT TEXT|CAPTION]]". See Wikipedia:Picture tutorial for further information.

See also:


"WP:Audio" redirects here. For the Spoken Wikipedia Project, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia.

Wikipedia uses the Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and WAV format for audio, as they are not encumbered by patents (an issue that prompted the decision that MP3 files will not be hosted at Wikipedia).

Software supporting Vorbis exists for many platforms. Mozilla Firefox 4, Opera 10.5 and Google Chrome 3 and later each include their own support for Ogg Vorbis files. As for multimedia players, Winamp can be used to play Ogg Vorbis files. Although iTunes does not natively support Vorbis, Xiph.Org provides a QuickTime component which can be used in players that rely on QuickTime, such as iTunes, on both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. DirectShow filters exist to decode Vorbis in multimedia players like Windows Media Player and others which support DirectShow.

Useful software for audio:

  • For audio editing, Audacity is a high quality free audio recorder/editor for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux/Unix.
  • Sweep is another free audio editor which can be used in Linux environments.
  • For encoding to Ogg Vorbis, it is recommended that you use Hydrogenaudio-recommended encoders for best results. oggenc (cross-platform) is the command-line encoder, while OggDropXPd (Windows-only) is an easy-to-use GUI for encoding to Ogg Vorbis.
  • dBpowerAMP Music Converter (proprietary, Windows-only) offers a convenient GUI for transcoding between most audio codecs, including Ogg Vorbis. The Vorbis encoder must be downloaded separately from the software, but it is freely available from the same website.
  • The easiest way to play Ogg Vorbis files on legacy Macintoshes (OS 9 and earlier) is to use JustOgg.

The VorbisSoftwarePlayers node at the wiki has an up-to-date list of Vorbis-supporting software for all operating systems. Users can test these players using the list of Vorbis audio streams available at [1].

Audio usage[edit]

Most viable is to use Template:Listen, see its page for detailed description, common usage is listed here:

{{listen |filename=FILENAME.ogg |title=TITLE |description=DESCRIPTION }}
Chords being played on an accordion

Problems playing this file? See media help.


{{listen |filename=Accordian chords-01.ogg |title=Accordion chords |description=Chords being played on an accordion }}

There are several other audio templates used primarily for demonstrating pronunciation of foreign languages or obscure terms, such as {{audio-IPA}}. When adding a sound file to an article, such as English language or Irish phonology avoid using a template that only links to the raw sound file, as this effectively hides important licensing information that allows readers to see who created and uploaded the file, its source and under what license it was published.

Lists of uploaded music T2 @ T2[edit]

Lists of uploaded spoken articles[edit]

Further information on audio files[edit]


Further information: Wikipedia:Media help
See also Commons:Video and Commons:Help:Converting video

Wikipedia uses Ogg Theora and WebM for video because it is open and royalty-free. Because most popular movie/audio formats are patented and require a royalty, there are no free all purpose video converters. See also WikiCommons' Theora video conversion help page.

Limitations and Implementation Issues[edit]

Useful software[edit]

For assistance with conversion, consider contacting the following editors:

Video usage[edit]

Television clip of Buzz descending the ladder and stepping onto the moon.

Note also that this is the wrong way to use video in Wikipedia, as mentioned above. The encoded size of this file is 320 pixels wide by 240 pixels tall. This article is showing the movie at 250 pixels wide, which slightly shrinks the video.

However, the video is not recompressed to the smaller size on the fly, and so it still consumes the same amount of network bandwidth as if it were shown at the correct 320x240 size.

It is very easy to make this mistake using video in Wikipedia articles, and it is worthwhile to illustrate the mistake here.

If you want to show the video as a thumbnail the only option available is to download the video file to your computer, recompress it at the smaller size using a Theora compression tool, and upload it for use alongside the original larger size file.

The easiest way to embed video directly into an article is by using the same [[File:]] tag as for image files. The result is on the right.

[[File:A11v 1094228.ogg |thumb |200px |alt=A spacesuited astronaut slowly climbs down a ladder on a complicated metal structure, and then hops the last step onto a bright terrain. |Television clip of Buzz descending the ladder and stepping onto the moon. ]]

By default, a frame from the midpoint of the video is used for the initial still image. To use a different frame, use the thumbtime parameter. For instance:

[[File:Bombers of WW1.ogg |thumbtime=3 |thumb |200px |alt=World War I era biplanes on bombing runs, captioned "Captain 'Eddie' Rickenbacker, American 'Ace of Aces,' over the lines – looking for a scrap." then "Bombing the German lines." |"Bombers of WW1" with a still from 3 seconds]]

Specify the time in seconds, or use colons to separate hours, minutes and seconds.

"Bombers of WW1" with a still from the midpoint
"Bombers of WW1" with a still from 3 seconds

To just give a link to the video, use:

[[:File:A11v 1094228.ogg|the video]]

See also:

Related WikiProjects[edit]

Moving files to the Commons[edit]

Many files have been uploaded to Wikipedia. A long-term project under way is to move free content files—including images and audio—to the Wikimedia Commons. The Commons provides a central location for files for use on all Wikimedia Foundation projects.

Commons employs more restrictive policies on copyright issues than the English Wikipedia does; for instance, fair use images such as most images of album cover art cannot be hosted on Commons.

See also[edit]