Basic Wiki Editing

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This is the shortened version of the longer Editing Guidelines, useful as a quick intro or primer. There are about 10 topics covered in this intro to wikitext editing.

1. Categories

Prior to completion of any new wiki page, it is important to properly categorize it. There are two parts to this requirement:

1. Categorize according to the existing, substantive category system. When editing a page, there is a dropdown list below the textarea field for editing that shows the available categories:

Category dropdown.png

Pick the applicable categories, then 'Add' to list them on the page. Repeat as needed.

2. For any page you think will be useful to others (that is, a public page), give it the category of zWiki, which is the convention for tagging suitable pages for imports and exports.

2. Headers

Headers are specified in a straightforward way, with individual headers put on a new line and denoted by the '=' character, equal in number on both sides (balanced) according the the heading level. Here are the examples, with the applicable wikitext shown after each example:

Header 1

 = Header 1 =

Header 2

 == Header 2 ==

Header 3

 === Header 3 ===

Header 4

 ==== Header 4 ====
Header 5
 ===== Header 5 =====
Header 6
 ====== Header 6 ======

3. Bold and Italics

Bolding items is done via the B button when in edit mode, or by bracketing the word or phrase to be bolded with triple apostrophes on both sides. Thus, wikitext code that looks like this:

 Here is a '''BOLDED''' word. Which gets rendered as:

Here is a BOLDED word.

Italicizing items is done via the I button when in edit mode, or by bracketing the word or phrase to be italicized with double apostrophes on both sides. Thus, wikitext code that looks like this:

 Here is an ''ITALICIZED'' word. Which gets rendered as:

Here is a ITALICIZED word.

4. Links

By convention, an external link is shown in single, square brackets, with the title separated by a space.

[http://example.com Example External Link], which then renders as:

Example External Link

By convension, an internal link is shown in DOUBLE, square brackets, with the title separated by a 'bar' (|).

[[Internal_link_one|Example Internal Link]], which then renders as:

Example Internal Link

Internal links may substitute spaces for underscores, which can make the link title easier to read. For example:

The actual internal link reference of [[Example_Internal_Link]] can also be written as [[Example internal link]], 
 with underscores and initial caps able to be substituted. This would render as:

Example_Internal_Link and Example internal link for the two cases.

5. Lists

We can use ordered lists (numbered) via use of the '#' character preceding a line:

  1. List A
  2. List B
  3. List C

We can do unordered lists via use of the '*' character preceding a line:

  • List 1
  • List 2
  • List 3

And, we can do mixed, nested lists:

See the actual wikitext code while editing to see how these nests occur.

6. Images

Images are themselves internal links. Thus, a reference such as:

[[Image:sd_logo_150.png|center]], then it renders as:
Sd logo 150.png

Either the prefix 'File:' or 'Image:' may be used.

7. Tables

Tables in wikitext are rather difficult to write directly. A single squiggly bracket ('{') opens and ends a table, with the pipe ('|') character used to start a new cell, with a row designated by the '|-' character sequence. For example, here is some wikitext table code, which also includes some table styling information:

{|  style="text-align: left; width: 100%;" border="1" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="2" 
 |  style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 153);" | '''Header A'''
 |  style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 153);" | '''Header B'''
 |  style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 153);" | '''Header C'''
 |- 
 |  style="vertical-align: top;" | Cell A1
 |  style="vertical-align: top;" | Cell B1
 |  style="vertical-align: top;" | Cell C1
 |- 
 |  style="vertical-align: top;" | Cell A2
 |  style="vertical-align: top;" | Cell B2
 |  style="vertical-align: top;" | Cell C2
 |}

this code renders thus:

Header A Header B Header C
Cell A1 Cell B1 Cell C1
Cell A2 Cell B2 Cell C2

8. Conversions

Since certain more complicated structures -- such as the tables above -- are rather hard to enter directly into wikitext, it may be useful to author such items with other tools and then convert them to wikitext format. HTML is one such good authoring framework, though it is also possible to use tools such as MS Word, which can then be converted to HTML and then wikitext (it is also possible to go directly to wikitext using tools such as Open Office).

A variety of conversion tools for various formats are found under the conversion tools link.

9. HTML (divs)

It is possible to enter many HTML commands directly into wikitext. There are also some prepared style classes that can be helpful for repeat use in your documents. Here is an example of a formatted box:

<div class="boxYellowDotted">'''Note:''' You can add HTML to your basic wikitext.</div>

which renders as:

Note: You can add HTML to your basic wikitext.

See further more detail in the Editing Guidelines, which also includes key examples of the available prepared style classes. You may also want to see further HTML in wikitext for a list of HTML tags that are allowed.

10. "Magic Words"

There are a number of useful "magic words" in the MediaWiki software that provide global or local control. One of the ones, used heavily in the examples above, is the <nowiki> tag (using both open and close tags) to ignore standard wikitext commands. (Edit this page to see the many examples.)

Other examples are the __NOTOC__ magic word that removes tables of contents on a given page, or the __NOEDITSECTION__ magic word that removes the edit link for each header.

There are more such words. See further the bottom of the Editing Guidelines.