Help:Editing

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Editing tutorial for Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a wiki, meaning that anyone can edit any unprotected page and improve articles immediately for all readers. You do not need to register to do this. Anyone who has edited is known as a "Wikipedian" and, no matter how trivial the edit may seem, can be proud that he or she has helped make Wikipedia what it is. All of these edits add up!

However, 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" – an editor 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.

Note: You can use the sandbox to experiment with page editing.

Contents

Editing

Editing most Wikipedia pages is simple. Simply click on the "edit" tab at the top of a Wikipedia page (or on a section-edit link). This will bring you to a new page with a text box containing the editable text of the current page.

Text in a large rectangle below two toolbars and next to a scrollbar.
Edit box showing the wiki markup as of Aug 2nd 2012.


In this box, you can type in the text that you want to add, using wiki markup to format the text and add other elements like images and tables. The toolbar above the text box can help with formatting. A quick reference to wiki markup can be opened by clicking 'Help' in this toolbar.

Never start a line with a leading space unless you want the special formatting it causes. Paragraphs can be separated with a blank line. The Wikipedia community has developed style guidelines to make articles and facts appear in a standardized form, and Wikipedia easier to use as a whole.

If you add information to a page, please provide references, as unreferenced statements are subject to removal.

When you have finished editing, you should write a short edit summary in the small field below the edit-box. You may use shorthand to describe your changes, as described in the legend. To see how the page looks with your edits, press the "Show preview" button. To see the differences between the page with your edits and the previous version of the page, press the "Show changes" button. If you're satisfied with what you see, be bold and press the "Save page" button. Your changes will immediately be visible to all Wikipedia users.

Edit summary (Briefly describe the changes you have made)

 

This is a minor edit Watch this page

By clicking the "Save page" button, you agree to the Terms of Use, and you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL.
You agree that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient attribution under the Creative Commons license.

Save page Show preview Show changes Cancel

Note: Do not sign the Edit Summary line with your ~~~~ signature as it does not work there.

Talk (discussion) pages

Talk pages are similar to articles in that they also have a "new section" tab to start a new section or edit the whole page.

Minor edits

A check to the "minor edit" box signifies that only superficial differences exist between the version with your edit and the previous version: typo corrections, formatting and presentational changes, rearranging of text without modifying content, etc. A minor edit is a version that the editor believes requires no review and could never be the subject of a dispute. The "minor edit" option is one of several options available only to registered users.

Major edits

All editors are encouraged to be bold, but there are several things that a user can do to ensure that major edits are performed smoothly. Before engaging in a major edit, a user should consider discussing proposed changes on the article discussion/talk page. During the edit, if doing so over an extended period, the {{In use}} tag can reduce the likelihood of an edit conflict. Once the edit has been completed, the inclusion of an edit summary will assist in documenting the changes. These steps will help all to ensure that major edits are well received by the Wikipedia community.

A major edit should be reviewed to confirm that it is consensual to all concerned editors. Therefore, any change that affects the meaning of an article is major (not minor), even if the edit is a single word.

There are no necessary terms to which you have to agree when doing major edits, but the recommendations above have become best practice. If you do it your own way, the likelihood of your edits being reedited may be higher.

When performing a large edit, it is suggested you periodically, and before pressing 'save page', copy your edits into an external text editor (preferably one without formatting, such as Notepad). This ensures that in the case of a browser crash you will not lose your work. If you are adding substantial amounts of work, it is also a good idea to save changes in stages.

"View source" – protected pages

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" – an editor 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.

Adding references

There is a tool built into the top of the edit box that makes it easier to add and properly format references. The tool can use a single piece of data, such as the PMID or ISBN, to fill in the rest of the details.

Wiki markup

Wiki markup is the information not displayed on the finished article. Wiki markup is only visible in the edit section and is used to instruct the MediaWiki software so it knows how to display, categorize and process the article. A basic list of Wiki markup can be found on the cheatsheet.

More information on editing wiki pages

Getting started

Policies and conventions

Make sure that you submit information which is relevant to Wikipedia's specific purpose, or your content might be deleted. You can always use the talk pages to ask questions or check to see if your idea will be accepted. Please make note of the license your contributions will be covered by.

Helpful tips

Naming and moving

Style and layout

Tools

See also