An article with a table of contents block and an image near the start, then several sections
Sample article layout (click on image for larger view)

This guide presents the typical layout of Wikipedia articles, including the sections an article usually has, ordering of sections, and formatting styles for various elements of an article. For advice on the use of wiki markup, see Help:Editing; for guidance on writing style, see Manual of Style.

Order of article elements

A simple article should have, at least, (a) a lead section and (b) references. The following list includes additional standardized sections in an article. A complete article need not have all, or even most, of these elements.

  1. Before the article content
    1. Short description[1]
    2. {{DISPLAYTITLE}}, {{Lowercase title}}, {{Italic title}}[2] (some of these may also be placed before the infobox[3] or after the infobox[4])
    3. Hatnotes
    4. {{Featured list}}, {{Featured article}} and {{Good article}} (where appropriate for article status)
    5. Deletion / protection tags (CSD, PROD, AFD, PP notices)
    6. Maintenance, cleanup, and dispute tags
    7. Templates relating to English variety and date format[5][a]
    8. Infoboxes[b]
    9. Language maintenance templates
    10. Images
    11. Navigation header templates (sidebar templates)
  2. Article content
    1. Lead section (also called the introduction)
    2. Table of contents
    3. Body (see below for specialized layout)
  3. Appendices[6][c]
    1. Works or publications (for biographies only)
    2. See also
    3. Notes and references (this can be two sections in some citation systems)
    4. Further reading
    5. External links[d]
  4. End matter
    1. Succession boxes and geography boxes
    2. Other navigation footer templates (navboxes)[7]
    3. {{Portal bar}}[e]
    4. {{Taxonbar}}
    5. Authority control templates
    6. Geographical coordinates (if not in the infobox) or {{coord missing}}
    7. Defaultsort
    8. Categories[f]
    9. {{Improve categories}} or {{Uncategorized}} (These can alternatively be placed with other maintenance templates before the article content)
    10. Stub templates (follow WP:STUBSPACING)

Body sections

Articles longer than a stub are generally divided into sections, and sections over a certain length are generally divided into paragraphs: these divisions enhance the readability of the article. Recommended names and orders of section headings may vary by subject matter, although articles should still follow good organizational and writing principles regarding sections and paragraphs.

Headings and sections

Body sections appear after the lead and table of contents (click on image for larger view).

Headings introduce sections and subsections, clarify articles by breaking up text, organize content, and populate the table of contents. Very short sections and subsections clutter an article with headings and inhibit the flow of the prose. Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheadings.

Headings follow a six-level hierarchy, starting at 1 and ending at 6. The level of the heading is defined by the number of equals signs on each side of the title. Heading 1 (= Heading 1 =) is automatically generated as the title of the article, and is never appropriate within the body of an article. Sections start at the second level (== Heading 2 ==), with subsections at the third level (=== Heading 3 ===), and additional levels of subsections at the fourth level (==== Heading 4 ====), fifth level, and sixth level. Sections should be consecutive, such that they do not skip levels from sections to sub-subsections; the exact methodology is part of the Accessibility guideline.[g] Between sections, there should be a single blank line: multiple blank lines in the edit window create too much white space in the article. There is no need to include a blank line between a heading and sub-heading. When changing or removing a heading, consider adding an anchor template with the original heading name to provide for incoming external links and wikilinks (preferably using {{subst:anchor}} rather than using {{anchor}} directly—see MOS:RENAMESECTION).

Section order

Because of the diversity of subjects it covers, Wikipedia has no general standard or guideline regarding the order of section headings within the body of an article. The usual practice is to order body sections based on the precedent of similar articles. For exceptions, see Specialized layout below.

Section templates and summary style

When a section is a summary of another article that provides a full exposition of the section, a link to the other article should appear immediately under the section heading. You can use the {{Main}} template to generate a "Main article" link, in Wikipedia's "hatnote" style.

If one or more articles provide further information or additional details (rather than a full exposition, see above), links to such articles may be placed immediately after the section heading for that section, provided this does not duplicate a wikilink in the text. These additional links should be grouped along with the {{Main}} template (if there is one), or at the foot of the section that introduces the material for which these templates provide additional information. You can use one of the following templates to generate these links:

  • {{Further}} – generates a "Further information" link
  • {{See also}} – generates a "See also" link

For example, to generate a "See also" link to the article on Wikipedia:How to edit a page, type {{See also|Wikipedia:How to edit a page}}, which will generate:


Sections usually consist of paragraphs of running prose, each dealing with a particular point or idea. Between paragraphs—as between sections—there should be only a single blank line. First lines are not indented.

Bullet points should not be used in the lead of an article, and should be used in the body only to break up a mass of text, particularly if the topic requires significant effort to comprehend. However, bulleted lists are typical in the reference, further reading, and external links sections towards the end of the article. Bullet points are usually not separated by blank lines, as that causes an accessibility issue (see MOS:LISTGAP for ways to create multiple paragraphs within list items that do not cause this issue).

The number of single-sentence paragraphs should be minimized, since they can inhibit the flow of the text; by the same token, paragraphs that exceed a certain length become hard to read. Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheadings; in such circumstances, it may be preferable to use bullet points instead.

Standard appendices and footers


When appendix sections are used, they should appear at the bottom of an article, with ==level 2 headings==,[h] followed by the various footers. When it is useful to sub-divide these sections (for example, to separate a list of magazine articles from a list of books), this should be done using level 3 headings (===Books===) instead of definition list headings (;Books), as explained in the accessibility guidelines.

Works or publications

Contents: A bulleted list, usually ordered chronologically, of the works created by the subject of the article.

Heading names: Many different headings are used, depending on the subject matter. "Works" is preferred when the list includes items that are not written publications (e.g. music, films, paintings, choreography, or architectural designs), or if multiple types of works are included. "Publications", "Discography" or "Filmography" are occasionally used where appropriate; however, "Bibliography" is discouraged because it is not clear whether it is limited to the works of the subject of the article.[8][i] "Works" or "Publications" should be plural, even if it lists only a single item.[j]

"See also" section

A "See also" section is a useful way to organize internal links to related or comparable articles and build the web. However, the section itself is not required; many high-quality and comprehensive articles do not have one.

The section should be a bulleted list, sorted either logically (for example, by subject matter), chronologically, or alphabetically. Consider using {{Columns-list}} or {{Div col}} if the list is lengthy.

Contents: Links in this section should be relevant and limited to a reasonable number. Whether a link belongs in the "See also" section is ultimately a matter of editorial judgment and common sense. One purpose of "See also" links is to enable readers to explore tangentially related topics; however, articles linked should be related to the topic of the article or be in the same defining category. For example, the article on Jesus might include a link to List of people claimed to be Jesus because it is related to the subject but not otherwise linked in the article. The article on Tacos might include Fajita as another example of Mexican cuisine.

The "See also" section should not include red links, links to disambiguation pages (unless used in a disambiguation page for further disambiguation), or external links (including links to pages within Wikimedia sister projects). As a general rule, the "See also" section should not repeat links that appear in the article's body.[9]

Editors should provide a brief annotation when a link's relevance is not immediately apparent, when the meaning of the term may not be generally known, or when the term is ambiguous. For example:

  • Joe Shmoe – made a similar achievement on April 4, 2005
  • Ischemia – restriction in blood supply

If the linked article has a short description then you can use {{annotated link}} to automatically generate an annotation. For example, {{annotated link|Winston Churchill}} will produce:

Other internal links: {{Portal}} links are usually placed in this section. As an alternative, {{Portal bar}} may be placed with the end matter navigation templates. See relevant template documentation for correct placement.

Heading name: The standardized name for this section is "See also".

Notes and references

Notes and References appear after See also (click on image for larger view).

Contents: This section, or series of sections, may contain any or all of the following:

  1. Explanatory footnotes that give information which is too detailed or awkward to be in the body of the article
  2. Citation footnotes (either short citations or full citations) that connect specific material in the article with specific sources
  3. Full citations to sources, if short citations are used in the footnotes
  4. General references (full bibliographic citations to sources that were consulted in writing the article but that are not explicitly connected to any specific material in the article)

Editors may use any citation method they choose, but it should be consistent within an article.

If there are both citation footnotes and explanatory footnotes, then they may be combined in a single section, or separated using the grouped footnotes function. General references and other full citations may similarly be either combined or separated (e.g. "References" and "General references"). There may therefore be one, two, three or four sections in all.

It is most common for only citation footnotes to be used, and therefore it is most common for only one section ("References") to be needed. Usually, if the sections are separated, then explanatory footnotes are listed first, short citations or other footnoted citations are next, and any full citations or general references are listed last.

Heading names: Editors may use any reasonable section and subsection names that they choose.[k] The most frequent choice is "References". Other options, in diminishing order of popularity, are "Notes", "Footnotes" or "Works cited", although these are more often used to distinguish between multiple end-matter sections or subsections.

Several alternate titles ("Sources", "Citations", "Bibliography") may also be used, although each is questionable in some contexts: "Sources" may be confused with source code in computer-related articles, product purchase locations, river origins, journalism sourcing, etc.; "Citations" may be confused with official awards, or a summons to court; "Bibliography" may be confused with the complete list of printed works by the subject of a biography ("Works" or "Publications").

If multiple sections are wanted, then some possibilities include:

  • For a list of explanatory footnotes or shortened citation footnotes: "Notes", "Endnotes" or "Footnotes"
  • For a list of full citations or general references: "References" or "Works cited"

With the exception of "Bibliography", the heading should be plural even if it lists only a single item.[j]

Further reading

Contents: An optional bulleted list, usually alphabetized, of a reasonable number of publications that would help interested readers learn more about the article subject. Editors may include brief annotations. Publications listed in further reading are formatted in the same citation style used by the rest of the article. The Further reading section should not duplicate the content of the External links section, and should normally not duplicate the content of the References section, unless the References section is too long for a reader to use as part of a general reading list. This section is not intended as a repository for general references or full citations that were used to create the article content. Any links to external websites included under "Further reading" are subject to the guidelines described at Wikipedia:External links.

Contents: A bulleted list of recommended relevant websites, each accompanied by a short description. These hyperlinks should not appear in the article's body text, nor should links used as references normally be duplicated in this section. "External links" should be plural, even if it lists only a single item.[j] Depending on the nature of the link contents, this section may be accompanied or replaced by a "Further reading" section.

Links to Wikimedia sister projects and {{Spoken Wikipedia}} should generally appear in "External links", not under "See also". If the article has no "External links" section, then place the sister link(s) in a new "External links" section using inline templates. If there is more than one sister link, a combination of box-type and "inline" templates can be used, as long as the section contains at least one "inline" template.

  • Box-type templates (such as {{Commons category}}, shown at right) have to be put at the beginning of the "External links" section of the article so that boxes will appear next to, rather than below, the list items. (Do not make a section whose sole content is box-type templates.)
  • "Inline" templates are used when box-type templates are not good, either because they result in a long sequence of right-aligned boxes hanging off the bottom of the article, or because there are no external links except sister project ones. "Inline" templates, such as {{Commons category-inline}}, create links to sister projects that appear as list items, like this:

If an external link is added and/or exists in the "External links" section, the "inline" templates linking to sister projects can be replaced with their respective box-type templates.

An article may end with Navigation templates and footer navboxes, such as succession boxes and geography boxes (for example, {{Geographic location}}). Most navboxes do not appear in printed versions of Wikipedia articles.[l]

For navigation templates in the lead, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section § Sidebars.

Specialized layout

Stand-alone lists and talk pages have their own layout designs.

Certain topics have Manual of Style pages that provide layout advice, including:

Some WikiProjects have advice pages that include layout recommendations. You can find those pages at Category:WikiProject style advice.



Each image should ideally be located in the section to which it is most relevant, and most should carry an explanatory caption. An image that would otherwise overwhelm the text space available within a 1024×768 window should generally be formatted as described in relevant formatting guidelines (e.g. WP:IMAGESIZE, MOS:IMGSIZE, Help:Pictures § Panoramas). Try to harmonize the sizes of images on a given page in order to maintain visual coherence.

If "stacked" images in one section spill over into the next section at 1024×768 screen resolution, there may be too many images in that section. If an article overall has so many images that they lengthen the page beyond the length of the text itself, you can use a gallery; or you can create a page or category combining all of them at Wikimedia Commons and use a relevant template ({{Commons}}, {{Commons category}}, {{Commons-inline}} or {{Commons category-inline}}) to link to it instead, so that further images are readily available when the article is expanded. See Wikipedia:Image use policy § Image galleries for further information on galleries.

Use |upright=scaling factor to adjust the size of images; for example, |upright=1.3 displays an image 30% larger than the default, and |upright=0.60 displays it 40% smaller. Lead images should usually be no larger than |upright=1.35.

Avoid article text referring to images as being to the left, right, above or below, because image placement varies with platform (especially mobile platforms) and screen size, and is meaningless to people using screen readers; instead, use captions to identify images.

Horizontal rule

Horizontal rules are sometimes used in some special circumstances, such as inside {{sidebar}} template derivatives, but not in regular article prose.

Collapsible content

As explained at MOS:COLLAPSE, limit the use of {{Collapse top}}/{{Collapse bottom}} and similar templates in articles. That said, they can be useful in talk pages.

See also


  1. ^ These templates (see Category:Use English templates) can also be placed at the end of an article.
  2. ^ It is important that hatnotes and maintenance/dispute tags appear on the first page of the article. On the mobile site, the first paragraph of the lead section is moved above the infobox for the sake of readability. Since the infobox is generally more than one page long, putting hatnotes, etc., after it will result in them being placed after the first page, making them less effective.
  3. ^ The original rationale for the ordering of the appendices is that, with the exception of "Works", sections which contain material outside Wikipedia (including "Further reading" and "External links") should come after sections that contain Wikipedia material (including "See also") to help keep the distinction clear. The sections containing notes and references often contain both kinds of material and, consequently, appear after the "See also" section (if any) and before the "Further reading" section (if any). Whatever the merits of the original rationale, there is now the additional factor that readers have come to expect the appendices to appear in this order.
  4. ^ There are several reasons why this section should appear as the last appendix section. So many articles have the "External links" section at the end that many people expect this to be the case. Some "External links" and "References" (or "Footnotes", etc.) sections are quite long and, when the name of the section is not visible on the screen, it could cause problems if someone meant to delete an external link but deleted a reference citation instead. Keeping the "External links" last is also helpful to editors who patrol external links.
  5. ^ The primary purpose of this template is for when using Template:Portal would cause formatting problems.
  6. ^ While categories are entered on the editing page ahead of stub templates, they appear on the visual page in a separate box after the stub templates. One of the reasons this happens is that every stub template generates a stub category, and those stub categories appear after the "main" categories. Another is that certain bots and scripts are set up to expect the categories, stubs and interlanguage links to appear in that order, and will reposition them if they don't. Therefore, any manual attempt to change the order is futile unless the bots and scripts are also altered.
  7. ^ For example, skipping heading levels, such as jumping from == Heading 2 == to ==== Heading 4 ==== without === Heading 3 === in the middle, violates Wikipedia:Accessibility as it reduces usability for users of screen readers who use heading levels to navigate pages.
  8. ^ Syntax:
    ==See also==
    * [[Wikipedia:How to edit a page]]
    * [[Wikipedia:Manual of Style]]

    Which produces:

    See also
  9. ^ Find all examples of "Bibliography" and "Selected bibliography"
  10. ^ a b c For further information, see Wikipedia:External links § External links section.
  11. ^ One reason this guideline does not standardize section headings for citations and explanatory notes is that Wikipedia draws editors from many disciplines (history, English, science, etc.), each with its own note and reference section-naming convention (or conventions). For more, see Wikipedia:Perennial proposals § Changes to standard appendices, § Establish a house citation style, and Template:Cnote2/example.
  12. ^ The rationale for not printing navigation boxes is that these templates mostly consist of wikilinks that are of no use to print readers. There are two problems with this rationale: first, other wikilink content does print, for example "See also" sections and succession boxes; second, some navigation boxes contain useful information regarding the relationship of the article to the subjects of related articles.


  1. ^ Discussed in 2018 and 2019.
  2. ^ Per the template documentation at Template:Italic title/doc § Location on page
  3. ^ Per the RFC at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout/Archive 14 § DISPLAYTITLE
  4. ^ Per the template documentation at Template:DISPLAYTITLE § Instructions
  5. ^ The matter was discussed in 2012, 2014, and 2015.
  6. ^ This sequence has been in place since at least December 2003 (when "See also" was called "Related topics"). See, for example, Wikipedia:Perennial proposals § Changes to standard appendices.
  7. ^ Rationale for placing navboxes at the end of the article.
  8. ^ Rationale for discouraging the use of "Bibliography."
  9. ^ The community has rejected past proposals to do away with this guidance. See, for example, this RfC.