Editing most Wikipedia pages is easy. Wikipedia uses two methods of editing: classic editing through wiki markup (wikitext) and through a newer VisualEditor (VE).
The VisualEditor option is intended as a user-friendly, "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) editing aid allowing one to edit pages without the need to learn wikitext markup. See the VisualEditor user guide for more information.
Editing is chosen by clicking the Edit tab at the top of a Wikipedia page (or on a section-edit link). This will take you to a new page containing the editable contents of the current page. Wiki markup is used extensively throughout Wikipedia for such things as hyperlinks, tables and columns, footnotes, inline citation, special characters and so on.
- 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.
First, any time you edit a page, it is considered good etiquette (or "Wikiquette") to enter an explanation of your changes in the Edit summary box, which you will find below the edit window. It is okay for your explanation to be quite short. For example, if you are making a spelling correction, you might just type "typo." Also, if the change you have made to a page is minor, such as correcting a spelling or grammar error, check the box "This is a minor edit" (this box is available only if you have logged in).
Second, you should always use the Show preview button. After you have entered a change in the edit box, click the Show preview button instead of Publish changes. This lets you see what the page will look like after your edit, before you actually save. We all make mistakes; this feature helps you catch them before other people see them. Using Show preview before saving also lets you try format changes and other edits without cluttering up the page history.
Save the page
Provided an edit summary? Previewed the page? Then you are ready for the final step: Click the Publish changes button.
Only logged in users can upload files under an appropriate title. The first step in uploading a file is to determine its 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 searchable from either one.
A screencast that walks through how to upload files to Wikimedia Commons and add them to Wikipedia articles.
Images, sounds, and videos enhance articles greatly. A file that is already hosted on Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons can be inserted with the code "
Image:" can be substituted for "
File:" with no change in effect; the choice between the two is purely a matter of editorial preference.) 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 this summary page does not delve into.
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. This dialog allows you to add and edit the caption of the image. The caption can contain formatting and links.
The media dialog also allows you to add alternative text captions, to help users who use screen readers, or who have disabled image display.
You can also set various parameters for the image in the "Advanced settings" window. These include the alignment, the 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. Only registered users may create articles directly, though unregistered users can submit a proposed article through the Articles for Creation process, where it will be reviewed and considered for publication. 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.
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.