Help:Editing

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" (commonly referred to as, simply, editors) and, no matter how trivial the edit may seem, can be proud that they have helped make Wikipedia what it is. All of these edits add up! Wikipedia uses two methods of editing: the new VisualEditor (VE), and classic editing through wiki markup (wikitext).

Some pages are protected from editing. These pages are denoted by a lock icon on the top right of the page and, if you are not allowed to edit the page, it will 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.

Editing articles

See also: Wikipedia:FAQ/Editing and Help:Editing with VisualEditor

Content protocols

When adding content and creating new articles, an encyclopedic style with a formal tone is important. Instead of essay-like, argumentative, or opinionated writing, Wikipedia articles should have a straightforward, just-the-facts style. The goal of a Wikipedia article is to create a comprehensive and neutrally written summary of existing mainstream knowledge about a topic. Accordingly, Wikipedia does not publish original research. An encyclopedia is, by its nature, a tertiary source that provides a survey of information already the subject of publication in the wider world. Ideally, all information should be cited and verifiable by reliable sources. Sourcing requirements are significantly stricter in articles on living persons.

Edit screen(s)

Editing most Wikipedia pages is quite simple. Wikipedia uses two methods of editing: classic editing through wiki markup (wikitext) and through a new VisualEditor (VE). Wiki markup 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.

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. It is only available to registered logged-in users through an opt-in choice available through personal preferences, see the VisualEditor user guide for more information.

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. A basic list of wiki markup can be found on the cheatsheet. An "edit toolbar" is provided just above the edit box (pictured below), which will allow logged-in users (by selecting the option in personal preferences) to automatically place and format various aspects of wiki code. See Help:Wiki markup for more information, remember that you can't break Wikipedia, and, although there are many protocols, perfection is not required, as Wikipedia is a work in progress.

Advanced toolbar of vector skin.png

When you have finished editing, you should write a short edit summary in the small field below the edit box (pictured below). 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 "Publish changes" button. Your changes will immediately be visible to all Wikipedia users.

Edit summary (Briefly describe your changes)

 

This is a minor edit Watch this page

By publishing changes, 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.

Publish changes Show preview Cancel

Note: Do not sign the edit summary line with your ~~~~ signature, as it does not work there.

Minor edits

The "minor edit" checkbox (circled) in the wikitext editor

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. Editors should not feel that marking a change as minor devalues their effort.

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 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 preceding recommendations 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 that you periodically, and before pressing "Publish changes", 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 publish changes in stages.

Adding references

Introductions: Help:Introduction to referencing (Wiki Markup) and Help:Introduction to referencing (VisualEditor)
A screencast that walks through the essentials needed in citing your sources. (2:01 min)
A screencast that walks through how to use the various features of RefTools. (5:03 min)

Generally, sources are added directly after the facts they support at the end of the sentence and after any punctuation. Wikipedia permits editors to use any citation system that allows the reader to understand where the information came from, and strongly encourages use of inline citations to do so. Common methods of placing inline citations include footnotes, shortened footnotes and parenthetical references.

Inline citations are most commonly placed by inserting a reference between <ref> ... </ref> tags, directly in the text of an article. The reference is a footnote, appearing as an inline link (e.g. [1][2]) to a particular item in a collated, numbered list of footnotes, found wherever a {{Reflist}} template or <references /> tag is present, usually in a section titled "References" or "Notes". If you are creating a new page or adding references to a page that didn't previously have any, don't forget to add a references section with this display markup.

There are a number of tools available to help with citation placement and formatting, some of which are internal tools and scripts while others are available from external sites. For an example of the former, RefToolbar is a JavaScript toolbar displayed above the edit box that provides the ability to automatically fill out various Wikipedia citation tool for Google Books converts a Google Books address (URL) into a filled-out {{cite book}} template ready to be pasted into an article. See Help:Citation tools for many others.

Adding images, sounds, and videos

Introductions: Help:Introduction uploading images and Help:Introduction to images (VisualEditor)

A file that is already hosted on Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons can be inserted with the basic code [[File:FILENAME|thumb|DESCRIPTION]]. (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. 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. There are various file formats available.

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