Wikipedia:Signature tutorial

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Your signature, left on talk pages, is usually the first thing seen by users who meet you for the first time. As a result, many users choose to customise their signature, or 'sig'. These changes can vary from providing a link to your talk page to completely redesigning the entire signature. This page will attempt to provide some helpful tips and advice for producing a unique signature.

Be sure to comply with WP:SIGAPP, a Wikipedia policy, which says "Your signature must not blink, scroll, or otherwise cause inconvenience to or annoy other editors."

Note that changing your signature will not change signatures which have already been produced, only ones that are created after save has been clicked.

Also note that the basics to changing the background of signatures is included on the Wikipedia:Signatures page (though more in-depth instructions are soon to follow)

UserBob currently has a very simple signature:

UserBob 22:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC).

As a result, he would like to produce a more complicated signature.


The easiest way to customise your signature is to change the 'Nickname' section of My Preferences. This changes the name shown to other users to the new nickname.

For example, if UserBob typed "Bob" into the 'Nickname' section of his preferences page and clicked 'save' (making sure the box marked "Raw signature" is not selected), his signature would change to

Bob 22:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC).

Note that it still links to User:UserBob, but says "Bob". This is useful if you no longer like your name, but don't want it changed altogether. However, it is good practice to have your nickname related in an obvious way to your real username; if UserBob chose the nickname "Jenkinson", this would be confusing, since other users would have no idea who "Jenkinson" was, even if UserBob's real name is Jenkinson.

Talk pages[edit]

UserBob would like to link his signature to his talk page. To do this, he needs to produce a 'Raw Signature'.

To create a link to your talk page, click on My Preferences. In the Signature heading, there is a checkbox labeled Treat the above as wiki markup. Check this box, and then type into the "Signature" field:

[[User:(your name)|(your name)]] [[User talk:(your name)|talk]]

and click "Save".

For example, if UserBob types

[[User:UserBob|UserBob]] [[User talk:UserBob|talk]]

then his signature would become

UserBob talk 22:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC).

These can be changed to use any other text. For example, [[User:UserBob|Bob]] [[User talk:UserBob|Chat]], which would make

Bob Chat 22:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC).

Some users "hide" their talk page link; it is there, but it is not labelled.

UserBob 22:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC).

This looks like the plain UserBob, but clicking on "Bob" leads to his talk page, as the code for it shows: [[User:UserBob|User]][[User talk:UserBob|Bob]].

To find these, hover your mouse over different parts of the signature. The status bar at the bottom of your web browser should show you where each bit of the signature leads.

Getting colourful...[edit]

See WP:Colour contrast for advice on choosing colour combinations that are accessible to people with colour blindness or other conditions.

UserBob doesn't much like the colour blue, and decides to produce a more colourful signature.

In order to produce a signature with colours other than blue (or red), you'll need to use a bit of HTML, specifically the <span> tag.

If I put at the start of some text <span style="color: green">, all the text I write turns green. Note that the text will not turn back into black until I type </span> .

Bob wants a green and maroon signature, so he types [[User:UserBob|<span style="color: green">UserBob</span>]] [[User talk:UserBob|<span style="color: maroon">talk</span>]], producing

UserBob talk 22:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC).

He can even use different colours in the same part. For example, [[User:UserBob|<span style="color: red">User</span><span style="color: green">Bob</span>]] [[User talk:UserBob|<span style="color: maroon">talk</span>]] produces

UserBob talk 22:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC).

Note that "User" and "Bob" are now different colours.

Any colour can be chosen, although it is wise not to use very pale colours on the white background, for obvious reasons. If the colour you want is not available, consider finding the web colour code for the colour.

Also, some users don't use a white background; many users prefer light colored text on a dark background and may have enabled the Gadget "Use a black background with green text on the Monobook skin". So if you specify foreground colors, you should consider specifying background colors as well.

If you want to manually edit colors, as so; <span style="background-color: blue; color: white"> everything typed becomes highlighted blue, and is in white text.

But, since we know UserBob doesn't much like the color blue, so he chooses the colors green (for the text), and maroon (for the background). Therefore, [[User:UserBob|<span style="background-color: maroon; color: green">UserBob</span>]] [[User talk:UserBob|talk]] produces:

UserBob talk

But wait, the talk is displayed in blue with no highlight! The reason is simple, the text to be entered into preferences must include the <span> tag before the [[User:UserBob|UserBob]] linking. Also, due to the fact that UserBob is displayed as a link, the color change must be included in the area of the link.

That would look something like this: <span style="background-color: maroon">[[User:UserBob|<span style="color: green">UserBob</span>]] [[User talk:UserBob|<span style="color: green">talk</span>]]</span> in order to produce:

UserBob talk
  • NOTE: The </span> tag is not required in the signature except at the end. However, if the </span> tag is not put at the end of the example above, then all following text will be highlighted too!

Fine tuning[edit]

UserBob is reasonably happy with his signature. However, there are still many other ways to alter a signature. The most commonly used are: adding <sup></sup>, <sub></sub>, '''bold''', ''italics'' and <small></small> for special effects, and using special unicode symbols, such as ☯, ☺ and ★.

Some users may have other links in their signature. For example, Esperanza members had a green "e", which linked straight to Wikipedia:Esperanza. So, if UserBob had joined Esperanza, his signature might have changed like so:

[[User:UserBob|<span style="color: purple">Us</span>]][[WP:EA|<span style="color: green">'''''e'''''</span>]][[User:UserBob|<span style="color: purple">r</span><span style="color: green">Bob</span>]] [[User talk:UserBob|<span style="color: maroon">talk</span>]]
UserBob talk


Don't do it...

Tempting as it may be, there are some things that should not be done, as they annoy editors or increase server load. These include:

Using pictures in your signature

Crystal licq.pngUserBob talkCrystal licq.png

Big signatures

UserBob talk

Blinking signatures (most modern browers will not display blinking text anyway)

Signatures which include line breaks


Or any mix of the above!

Real-life examples[edit]

Here are some actual signatures contributed by actual editors. Edit this section to see the code for each. Feel free to share your own creation! (Do not add someone else's signature, no matter how interesting it is.)

<font>...</font> tags were deprecated in HTML 4.0 and are unsupported in HTML5. This means that the popular browsers may drop support for them at any time. If your signature uses these tags, we ask that you remove them before adding your signature here. See existing examples below for how to achieve the same effect using <span>...</span> and CSS properties. For more information, see this talk page discussion (it is an archived discussion and should not be continued there).

  Mandruss |talk  01:31, 26 July 2014 (UTC) - (I found this 3D effect to be annoying when several were on-screen at the same time-Mandruss)

w.carter-Talk 13:45, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

~Helicopter Llama~ 15:43, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

 ΤheQ Editor  Talk? 15:55, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Cullen328 Let's discuss it 21:11, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Brandon (MrWooHoo)Talk to Brandon! 03:12, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

- Cwobeel (talk) 22:09, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Darylgolden(talk) 09:28, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Mandruss  20:52, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

CrunchySkies « talk ± gawk » 15:30, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

RomtamTalkToMe 15:00, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

SounderBruce 01:56, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

--Chamith (talk) 11:10, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

-- Orduin T 23:04, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

PamD 16:51, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Ochilov (talk) 15:57, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

aGastya  ✉ let’s talk about it  :) 17:09, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Pikachu pika!2568 @ 09:22, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

 Padenton|   08:09, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

--♥Jewel-chanXOXO♥talk 09:54, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

-- adu ♣ Let's chat 7:49, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

SONIC678 (Let’s hang out) 17:26, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

MangoStone14Let's interview 8:15, October 2, 2015 (UTC)

~ NottNott talk|contrib 18:26, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

White Arabian Filly (Neigh) 19:57, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

themidget17blah blah blah 05:27, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Tom29739 [talk] 20:21, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

D'Ranged 1 | VTalk :  00:44, 26 February 2016 (UTC)       (The maroon and orange colors and stylized VT are references to my alma mater, VA Tech)

{{u|Checkingfax}} {Talk} 12:59, 27 February 2016 (UTC)  ‍—‌(Had to get creative to be able to include curly braces and pipes within my signature. This sigstyle allows other editors to copy/paste my sig to {{ping}} me.)

—{{u|Goldenshimmer}}|✝️|ze/zer|😹|T/C|☮️|John15:12|🍂 20:28, 1 June 2016 (UTC) (Includes Checkingfax's idea that's right above mine, cause it's AWESOME :) )

Natalie Desautels …as within, so without 21:34, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

BalchMike   talk 22:05, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

MediaKill13 (talk) 06:52, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

Level3Sentry ❯❯❯ Talk 01:06, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

Aru@baska❯❯❯ Vanguard14:39, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Gestrid (talk) 02:04, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

{{u|Gamall Wednesday Ida}}  19:05, 12 October 2016 (UTC) (Compact, "pingable" signature for long username, with userpage/talk/contribs links.)

JackOfPanTrades | Card Hunter (Converse intellectually) 19:49, 15 January 2017 (UTC)