Editing most Wikipedia pages is easy. You can choose between two methods: classic editing through wiki markup (wikitext); and a newer system, VisualEditor (VE).
The VisualEditor option is a user-friendly, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) system that allows you to edit pages without needing to first learn the wikitext "markup". The VisualEditor user guide has further information.
To edit, click the Edit tab at the top of a Wikipedia page, or click on the blue link () to the right of a section heading. This will take you to a new page containing the editable content of the current page. Wiki markup is used extensively throughout Wikipedia for such things as hyperlinks, tables and columns, footnotes, inline citation, special characters.
- Two editing environments: wikitext and VisualEditor
Edit box showing the wikitext markup (screenshot from 2012). You can change the formatting and contents of the page by changing what is written in this box.
Screenshot showing the same article in VisualEditor. Unlike the wiki markup display, VisualEditor will show the text being edited almost as if it were already published.
It's considered good practice to enter a brief explanation of an edit you make. This is done in the edit summary box, under the edit window. For example, after correcting a spelling error, you might just type "sp."; after correcting a typo, you might enter "typo". In such cases, you can, if you wish, check the box "This is a minor edit" (available only if you've logged in).
Before saving your edit by clicking "Publish changes", it's usually a good idea to click the Show preview button . This lets you see what the page will look like after your edit. We all make mistakes; this feature helps you catch them before other people see them! Using Show preview before saving also lets you format and try other edits without cluttering the page history.
Save the page
Have you provided an edit summary? Previewed the page? Then you're ready for the final step: Click "Publish changes".
Only logged-in users can upload files, which must be given an appropriate title. The first step is to determine the file's copyright status. The Wikimedia Commons' File Upload Wizard and Wikipedia's File Upload Wizard will guide you through the process of submitting media. All files uploaded are mirrored between Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, and are mutually searchable.
A screencast that walks through how to upload files to Wikimedia Commons and add them to Wikipedia articles.
Images, sounds, and videos can significantly enhance an article. A file that is already hosted on Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons can be inserted with the code "
Image:" can be substituted for "
File:" with no change in effect. Choose either—it doesn't make any difference.) Using "
thumb" generates a thumbnail of an image (the most common placement option), which is typically sized differently from the original image. Several options can affect a thumbnail's placement and size, and there are other methods for placing images not in a thumbnail format, such as in a frame, table or "infobox", which we don't cover here.
Clicking the "Media" icon opens a dialog that automatically searches Wikimedia Commons and your local wiki for media files related to the title of the page you're editing. You can change the search by changing the text in the dialog's search box. To choose a file, click on its thumbnail image. This places the image onto the page you are editing.
After the image you selected is inserted into the page, another dialog will open, allowing you to add and edit the caption of the image. You can add formating and links to the caption where appropriate.
The media dialog allows you to add alternative text captions, to help users who use screen-readers or have disabled image display.
You can set various parameters for the image in the "Advanced settings" window. These include the alignment, type, and size of the image.
When you're done, click "Apply changes" to close the dialog and return to editing the page.
A screencast demonstrating how to create a Wikipedia article manually.
Before starting a new article please understand Wikipedia's notability requirements. In short, the topic of an article must have already been the subject of publication in reliable sources, such as books published by major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals and websites that meet the same requirements as reputable print-based sources. Information on Wikipedia must be verifiable; if no reliable third-party sources can be found on a topic, then it should not have a separate article. Wikipedia's concept of notability applies this basic standard to avoid indiscriminate inclusion of topics.
An Article Wizard is available to help you create articles — it is not required but will help you construct better articles. Before creating an article, please search Wikipedia first to make sure that an article does not already exist on the subject, and please also review the article titling policy for guidance on what to name the article. Note: The ability to create articles directly in mainspace is restricted to autoconfirmed users, though non-confirmed users and non-registered users can submit a proposed article through the Articles for Creation process, where it will be reviewed and considered for publication.
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" – a user 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.
If you ever make a change that gets reverted by another editor, discuss the change on the talk page! The BOLD, revert, discuss cycle is a popular method of reaching consensus, and may be useful for identifying objections, keeping discussion moving forward and helping to break deadlocks. Edit warring (repeatedly overriding or reimplementing contributions) is highly discouraged. There is a bright-line rule called the three-revert rule, the violation of which may lead someone to be blocked from editing to prevent further disruption. Disruptive editing is not always intentional, as new editors may simply not understand the ins and outs of Wikipedia.
To practice editing, go to the sandbox, and select an edit type. Type in something, or make changes to the text you'll find there. Then click the Publish changes button and see what the result looks like.
Note: To view this information in an article style format, see contributing to Wikipedia. Wikipedia also has "topic specific tutorials"; and The Wikipedia Adventure a comprehensive and fun 7-mission interactive guided tour, which covers all the essentials about editing and the expectations and norms of the Wikipedia community.