Wiki Editing Basics

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You can manually edit wikis but keep in mind to make a functional good looking page you must have some basic wiki editing knowledge. Pay close attention to The "Creating Sections" subsection as MediaWiki will automatically create a table of contents but only if you create section headings appropriately.


Basic Editing

Some basic syntax that will get you up and editing in no time.

Font Formatting

Italicize text by putting 2 apostrophes ('') on each side.

  • Written as:
    ''Italicize text''

3 apostrophes (''') will embolden the text.

  • Written as:
    '''the text'''

5 apostrophes (''''') will embolden and italicize the text.

  • Written as:
    '''''the text'''''

Creating Sections

Media-wiki has a cool feature! If you add the appropriate section tags it will create a list of contents automatically. Thanks Media-wiki!

This is done by placing equal signs before and after the section header text. A good practice is to always start the wiki with a ==New Section== something like the title of the page and a description of the subject. The add ===Subsections=== and ====Sub-Subsections==== as needed.

== New section ==

=== Subsection ===

==== Sub-subsection ====


Lists are easy but not very intuitive.


For unordered lists(bullets) we use the asterisk (*)

  • Bullet1

Written as


To indent one more level use 2 asterisks (**) after the first level.

  • Bullet2
    • bullet2.1

Written as



Ordered list are exactly the same except we use the hash symbol (#)

  1. Item

Written as


To indent one more level use 2 hash symbols (##) after the first level.

  1. Item
    1. item

Written as



Definition lists are different we use the semicolon (;) to denote a term to be defined and a colon (:) to denote the definition(s).

Here's a definition list:

Definition of the term
Phrase defined
A word 
Which has more than 1 definition
Second definition
Third definition

Written as

Here's a '''''definition list''''':
; Term : Definition of the term
; Phrase 
: Phrase defined
; A word : Which has more than 1 definition
: Second definition
: Third definition


Links are another issue that makes wikis confusing to edit but is actually quite easy.


A Few Rules:

  • Notice that after the URL is a space and then the text to be displayed.
  • Never embed wiki-links into text of an external link, rather find the word that is most appropriate to use a wiki-link.
  • The URL must begin with http:// or another internet protocol, such as ftp:// or news://.

Link with no text (code and example output): [1]


Link containing text: The text read

[ The text read]

"The Category:How-To page website" Written as:

"The [[:Category:How-To]]-page [ website]". 


With interwiki links we have 3 elements

  1. Double square brackets tell wikimedia its and internal or interwiki link.
  2. Colon, notice the internal link to Main Page doesn't need the colon.
  3. The pipe in this instance it tells wikimedia where the link ends and the display text begins.

Notice the link Main_Page is linked to and internal page these are the safest and easiest links to use.

it is written as:


Interwiki (linking to another mediawiki site) is a little more complicated but still simple i.e.,Wikipedia:Main_Page Notice the use of semicolon it separates the wiki where the page is located and the page name itself.

is written as:


Easy but not visually appealing to make it ascetically pleasing i.e., Main Page Add the vertical bar or pipe symbol to hide the link text.

This is written as:

[[Wikipedia:Main_Page| Main Page]]

A short table of wikis to interlink to (there are many more)

Project Long form
Wikipedia [[wikipedia:]]
Wiktionary [[wiktionary:]]
Wikinews [[wikinews:]]
Wikibooks [[wikibooks:]]
Wikiquote [[wikiquote:]]
Wikisource [[wikisource:]]
Wikispecies [[wikispecies:]]
Wikiversity [[wikiversity:]]
Wikimedia Foundation [[wikimedia:]]
Wikimedia Commons [[commons:]]
Wikimedia Meta-Wiki [[metawikipedia:]]
(formerly MediaZilla)

Sidebar Editing

A user with administrative rights can change the contents of the sidebar for the wiki.
The wiki page MediaWiki:Sidebar is where the sidebar can be edited.
The sidebar is organized as a bullet list where the first level is just the label and the second level has the links within a box that contains them.

Advanced Editing

To use more advanced syntax you can continue the manual method here is a more comprehensive syntax list.
Another option is to use OpenOffice as an wiki editor.