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Editing FAQ

This FAQ answers the most common questions about editing Wikipedia. Editing most Wikipedia pages is easy. 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.

How do I edit a page?

To edit the whole page at once, click the "edit this page" tab at the top. To edit just one section, click the "edit" link to the right of the section heading. To edit on Wikipedia, you type in a special markup language called wikitext. See the cheat sheet for the most basic wikitext codes. See How to edit a page for more details and examples of making links, using bold and italics, linking to images, and many other things. See also Alternative method of editing.

But I have problems editing with my browser!

See Wikipedia:Browser notes.

How do I make links?

Edit any page to see how wikilinks are made. (The edit-view is safe, and encouraged.) The most basic syntax you'll see in the wikitext is that the words of the link are surrounded by double square brackets: [[page name]].
To add a link, find the page that supports both the immediate context and main topic. The spelling of the page name can come from visiting the target and copying its title, from the search box name-completion, or from a guess.
Markup the link, and then activate a preview to diagnose and test the new link. A missing link will be red. Finally, follow a new link to prove its intent.
See Help:Link for more linking syntax, like the fact that the first letter (that begins a page title) will link just fine in lowercase. See Wikipedia's Manual of Style for linking in good style, for example, without over-linking.

How do I make a link appear different from a page name?

Use a piped link to separate the page name from the way the link will appear:
[[ page name | displayed text ]]
Note that the page name is the primary entry.
To add a suffix like "s" or "ed" or "ing", just append these letters immediately to the right of the brackets:
[[page name]]s, [[page name]]ed, and [[page name]]ing
The additional letters will render in the same style as the link. See more wikilink examples at [[Help:Link]].
See the many "pipe trick" examples for an in-depth look at how to save typing-in the right hand side of a piped link by appending the pipe character to the page name. (The pipe character, '|', is a commonly used keyboard key nowadays.)
To make the parenthetical phrase disappear from a page name:
[[page name (disambiguation)| ]]
To make the namespace name disappear from a page name:
[[ Namespace : page name| ]]

How do I insert a new line?

Normally, Wikipedia doesn't start a new line when you press the Enter key. If you press the Enter key twice, Wikipedia will start a new paragraph. To force a single new line (for instance, when you want to insert a poem) insert the HTML element <br /> after the line.

How do I rename a page?

Registered users with a little bit of editing history under their belts can move a page; this moves the page content and edit history to a new title, and creates a redirect page at the old title. This method is better than just copying and pasting the content by hand, as it preserves the article's history, as required by Wikipedia's license. Use the "Move this page" tab at the top of the article to perform a move or rename. Once you have moved a page, please click the "What links here" link in the "toolbox" in the left column and fix the links to the old page (which will be labelled as a redirect in the "What links here" list). See How to rename (move) a page for more details.
Images and other media files can only be renamed by administrators and file movers. Instead, you may want to save a copy of the file to your computer, rename it there, and then upload it with the new name. Fix any links to the old file to point to the new one, then tag the old file with an "images for speedy deletion" tag: copy the template {{isd|New image name}} into the image's description page (filling in the new image name). This will add it to the Files for discussion category, and an admin will delete it for you.

How do I delete a page?

First off, please don't blank articles (remove all the text from them). Such changes will most likely get reverted soon afterwards, so they are pointless, too.
The procedure for deletions is explained at Wikipedia:Deletion policy. Articles that should be deleted are most commonly nominated at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion.

How do I edit a redirect page?

The easiest way to edit the redirected page is to click on the link you see at the top of the page after being redirected: "redirected from ...". For example, if you try to go to the William Jefferson Clinton page, you are redirected to the Bill Clinton page. At the very top of that page, you will see a message: "(redirected from William Jefferson Clinton)", Click on the William Jefferson Clinton link, and you will edit the redirect page. See Redirect.

How do I edit mobile subtitles?

The mobile version often displays a "subtitle" or "subheading" below the page name and in search results. It is often not stored in Wikipedia but copied from the English Wikidata description when there is one. It can be edited by clicking "Wikidata item" under "Tools" in the left pane of the desktop version of the page. Mobile pages may have a "Desktop" link at the bottom. Wikidata descriptions are used in many other features. See wikidata:Help:Description for guidelines. Some pages do not use Wikidata but display a subtitle made with {{Short description}}. See Wikipedia:Short description.

How long should the ideal article be?

Since one can link from page to page to page, how long should the ideal Wikipedia article be? A good rule of thumb would be fewer than 5000 words, unless the subject really, really needs much exposition. However, for a subject that is that complex, one can link several shorter articles together, using a hub page to tie all articles together.
For example:
History of Foo
Physical Description of Foo
Relationship with Bar
Modern Cultural Icons and Foo
Foo and You: Making it work in the long run
Minimum Foo-Tree, the Gidsy-David Algorithm.
If you write one long article, you will need new headings anyway. If you write a long paragraph, then you need to add new linebreaks. The structure of Wikipedia is a web, instead of a text that you read linearly.
See m:Wiki is not paper for further discussion.
Keywords: Length

How do I figure out how big an article is?

Search for the Page name of interest by typing    intitle:Page name.    The size in kilobytes is shown in parenthesis for each match in the list. See WP:SIZE for more.
When the article size is over about 30 kilobytes, smartphones and dialups have problems.

What do I do when an article is too long?

See Wikipedia:Summary style.

How do I determine who made what changes to an article?

Click the View History tab to see the revision history of a page. (Your user preferences offers customization.) See Help:Page history.
On the left column of the page, activate the Toolbox's Related changes to see the revision history of an article, classes of articles, or of the entire Wikipedia.
The Toolbox's Special pages offers logs that can report many types of recent changes.

How can I add pictures to pages?

First, you need the right to publish the picture under the GNU Free Documentation License, an acceptable Creative Commons license or another free license. This means that either you created the picture and therefore own the copyright, or it is in the public domain. If you have a registered account that is four days old with at least ten edits, you can use Wikipedia:File Upload Wizard to upload the image to Wikipedia, including it in wiki pages by including its file name, the thumbnail option, and a caption: [[File:NameOfImage.png|thumb|A descriptive caption]].
See also:

How can I delete uploaded items?

Only Wikipedia:Administrators can delete uploads, but anyone can upload a new item with the same name, thereby replacing the old one.
If you want to nominate an uploaded image for deletion, see Wikipedia:Files for discussion.

How do I describe images?

Click on the image to get the description page. Also, when you upload the file everything you put in the upload summary is placed into the image description page. See Image:Boat.jpg for an example of what goes onto one of these pages.

Are there any tools to make editing easier/faster/more fun?

See Wikipedia:Tools for a list of such tools. Among other things, you can find browser plugins for faster editing and searching, tools for importing HTML and exporting documents from word processors, editing enhancements for the blind.

How do I cite sources?

See Wikipedia:How to cite sources and Wikipedia:Footnotes.

Is there any way to see how many people have viewed a particular page?

Not exactly, but there is an official "Wikipedia article traffic statistics" report available (since September 2008, developed by User:Henrik). For each page, view its History page to activate its page-view statistics link. This report can't account for caching or mirroring views though.
There is no accurate way to account for the many viewings that occur beyond the officially reported number. 1) The servers that run the Internet store copies of Wikipedia in "web caches" to speed up access to the material. The many viewings of the cached copies are not counted. (Wikipedia does not have access to the many different companies which own those servers). 2) Wikipedia is free for anyone to download, display, and serve out autonomously. How local links will function on fully mirrored copies are an important consideration. Many websites, such as, provide their users with their copies of Wikipedia articles.

Why does part of an article not appear, although it's there in the edit screen?

This is normally due to a mistake in the markup for citing sources; look for a <ref> tag without a matching </ref> tag ('closing tag'), and add that closing tag in the appropriate place on the page. For more information, see Wikipedia:Footnotes.

Where can I find information on the markup used in editing, eg <br /> and <noinclude>?

See Wiki markup and Help:HTML in wikitext.

Why have I been blocked?

There may be several reasons for this — if you feel you've been blocked wrongly, then put the text {{unblock|reason}} tag on your talk page, putting the reason you think you have been wrongly blocked in for reason. An administrator will come and take a look. It may be due to an automatic block by the software. Please be sure to include your IP address, which you can find in the block message.

How can I insert a new section in an article?

See Help:Section. There is no automated way to create a new section within an article, it is done manually by placing ='s around a heading, for example:
==Original heading==

===New (sub) heading===

==New main heading==

Where can I find the quotation templates?

The big, blue quotation mark templates are {{Cquote}} and {{Rquote}}. Also see Category:Quotation templates.

Alternative method of editing

VisualEditor (VE) is a way to edit pages without needing to learn wikitext markup. It is only available to registered logged-in users if they opt-in, by changing your preferences. For instructions on using VisualEditor, see Wikipedia:VisualEditor/User guide. VisualEditor is in the beta testing stages and may contain bugs and glitches.

For full documentation on editing articles, see the Help page, and the following articles:

More FAQ topics