Article titles, headings, and sections
A title should be a recognizable name or description of the topic that is natural, sufficiently precise, concise, and consistent with those of related articles. If these criteria are in conflict, they should be balanced against one another.
For formatting guidance see the WP:Article titles § Article title format section, noting the following:
- Capitalize the initial letter (except in rare cases, such as eBay), but otherwise follow sentence case[b] (Funding of UNESCO projects) not title case (Funding of UNESCO Projects), except where title case would be expected were the title to occur in ordinary prose. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization).
- To italicize, add
instead. Use of italics should conform to WP:Manual of Style/Text formatting § Italic type.
- Do not use A, An, or The as the first word (Economy of the Second Empire, not The economy of the Second Empire), unless it is an inseparable part of a name (The Hague) or title of a work (A Clockwork Orange, The Simpsons).
- Normally use nouns or noun phrases: Early life, not In early life.[c]
- The final character should not be punctuation unless it is part of a name (Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, What Is To Be Done?), an abbreviation (Inverness City F.C.), or when a closing round bracket or quotation mark is required (John Palmer (1814 schooner)).
- Whenever quotation marks or apostrophes appear, add a redirect for the same title but using “curly” quotemarks/apostrophes instead of the usual "straight" ones.[d]
Subject both to the above and to WP:Article titles, the rest of the MoS, particularly § Punctuation, applies also to the title.
An article should begin with an introductory lead section – a concise summary of the article – which is never divided into sections . The remainder of the article is typically into sections.
Infoboxes, images, and related content in the lead section must be right-aligned.
If an article has at least four section headings, a navigable table of contents appears automatically, just after the lead.
If the topic of a section is covered in more detail in a dedicated article
immediately under the section heading.
As explained in detail in WP:Manual of Style/Layout § Standard appendices and footers, optional appendix and footer sections may appear after the body of the article, in the following order:
- books or other works created by the subject of the article (under a section heading "Works", "Publications", "Discography", etc. as appropriate);
- internal links to related English Wikipedia articles (section heading "See also");
- notes and references (section heading "Notes" or "References", or a separate section for each; see Citing sources);
- relevant books, articles, or other publications that have not been used as sources (section heading "Further reading");
- relevant websites that have not been used as sources and do not appear in the earlier appendices (added as part of "Further reading" or in a separate section headed "External links");
- internal links organized into navigational boxes (sometimes placed at the top in the form of sidebars);
Other article elements include disambiguation hatnotes (normally placed at the very top of the article) and infoboxes (usually placed before the lead section).
Section headings should follow all of the guidance for article titles (above), and should be presented in sentence case (Funding of UNESCO projects) not title case (Funding of UNESCO Projects).
Use equal signs around a section heading:
==Title== for a primary section,
===Title=== for a subsection, and so on to
=Title= is never used.[e]) Spaces around the title (e.g.
== Title ==) are optional and ignored.
In addition, a heading should:
- not redundantly refer back to the subject of the article (Early life, not Smith's early life or His early life), or to a higher-level heading, unless doing so is shorter or clearer.
- not contain links, especially where only part of a heading is linked.
- be unique within a page (otherwise section links may lead to the wrong place, and edit summaries may be ambiguous).
- not contain citations on the same line.
- not contain images, icons or <math> markup.
- not be phrased as a question.
- not start with a number (other than a year).
An on the same line must be inside the
== == markup:[f]
Before changing a heading, consider whether you might be breaking existing links to it. If there are many links to the old title, create an anchor with that title to ensure that these still work. Similarly, when linking to a section, leave an invisible comment at the heading of the target section, naming the linking articles, so that if the heading is later altered these can be fixed. For example:
The above guidance about sentence case, redundancy, images, and questions also applies to headers of tables (and of table columns and rows). However, table headings can incorporate citations and may begin with, or be, numbers. Unlike page headings, table headers do not automatically generate link anchors. Aside from sentence case in glossaries, the heading advice also applies to the term entries in description lists. If using template-structured glossaries, terms will automatically have link anchors, but will not otherwise. Citations for description-list content go in the term or definition element, as needed.