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Editing Wikipedia: How to Edit

Use this guide to find resources and ideas for editing Wikipedia.

Editing Tutorials

There are many tutorials on Wikipedia and elsewhere. These are a few we use:

Wikipedia: Tutorial
A general introduction to Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia Adventure
An in-depth tutorial in the form of a game.

WikiEdu Student training modules
This set of modules helps students get started with Wikipedia.

Art+Feminism editing kit
Slide decks and short videos for beginner and intermediate editors, available in English and Spanish.

Wikimedia Bookshelf
A collection of high-quality, freely licensed, user-generated informational material about Wikipedia and its sister projects.

Editing Best Practices

A few tips for good editing:

Creating an Account

Create an account

You do not need to register a username to edit, but if you do not have an account your editing capabilities will be limited. Anonymous user names are recommended for those who want to protect their privacy.

Once you create an account, you can set up your user page. This is optional, but if you have a conflict of interest, this is a good space to disclose that information.

Learn more about your user page and sandbox with this Art+Feminism tutorial. (Español)

Editing Basics

How to edit Wikipedia

Anyone can edit Wikipedia, including you! There are two main ways to edit pages: VisualEditor (great for new editors) and wiki markup (great for editors who like using markup languages). VisualEditor users can orient themselves using this help guide, and wiki markup users will find this guide and this cheatsheet handy (PDF).

Learn how to navigate Wikipedia pages with this Art+Feminism tutorial. (Español)

Before publishing any edits, make sure to provide an edit summary (here are some handy abbreviations).

For those who like to dive in deep to style and formatting, the Manual of Style will be your new best friend.

Practice Editing

Need some editing practice? Here are some places to begin.

  • You can always practice editing in your sandbox.
  • The Community portal includes lists of editing tasks you can work on including adding images, fixing links, and more.
  • Template messages\Cleanup: These messages are used to notify other editors that an entry could use some work.

Like to write?

Like to do research?

The content in this section was sourced from the Cornell University Library guide to Editing and Contributing to Wikipedia.

Creating Articles

How to write an article

Editors whose accounts are more than four days old and who have made at least ten edits can publish new articles. If you do not have an account or have not yet met the above requirements, you can submit a proposed article through the Articles for Creation process, where it will eventually be reviewed and considered for publication.

Before you start a new article, make sure the subject you have in mind meets Wikipedia's notability guidelines. You may also find Wikipedia's pages on article development and writing better articles helpful.

Use the Article Wizard to create your article.

Learn more about creating an article with this Art+Feminism tutorial.

Wikipedia's Five Pillars

The fundamental principles of Wikipedia may be summarized in five "pillars":

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia

Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view

Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, & distribute

Wikipedia's editors should treat each other with respect & civility

Wikipedia has no firm rules

Learn more about the five pillars with this Art+Feminism tutorial. (Español)

Conflicts of Interest

Conflict of interest guidelines

Do not edit Wikipedia in your own interests or in the interests of your external relationships. For example, do not create or edit a page for yourself or your company, and do not edit for pay.

When in doubt:

  1. Disclose your affiliation on your user page to make it clear to the editing community.
  2. Propose changes by using the {{request edit}} template on talk pages.

Writing a Biography

WikiProject: Women in Red has created a guide, Simple Rules for Creating Women's Biographies, that may be useful when starting a new biography. Wikipedia's biographies for living persons policy and Guide to Writing Wikipedia Pages for Notable Women in Computing (applicable to any biography) also have good advice.

Adding References

How to add references

References are an important way to verify information added to Wikipedia and point readers to reliable sources. Published sources like books, journals, mainstream press publications, and reliable websites are preferred.

Before you start:

  1. Check for a "References" section towards the bottom of the article (below the "See also" section and above the "External links" section).
  2. If the article does not have a "References" section, add one by clicking "Edit," then click "Insert" and select "References list" OR click "Edit source" and enter the following code in the appropriate location:

Learn more about adding references with this Art+Feminism tutorial. (Español)

Choosing Sources

The Wikipedia Library helps editors access reliable sources to improve Wikipedia.

From Library holdings, special collections and archives in the Wikipedia Library:

"While primary source materials are not appropriate sources for Wikipedia, including references to archival collections in an article can be an excellent way to lead interested researchers to rich collections as further resources. However, care should be used when linking to archival collection descriptions or finding aids—if the editor is affiliated with the holding institution they should only include links to collections which would provide the best information about a topic. The editor should take care to include links to other important collections located at other institutions. Links to archival collections can be included in the 'External links' section of an article."

The content in this section was sourced from the Cornell University Library guide to Editing and Contributing to Wikipedia.

Adding Images

Add images to Wikimedia Commons

Images are a great way to enhance articles. Most images on Wikipedia are stored on Wikimedia Commons, a free image repository and sister project to Wikipedia. Learn more about Wikimedia Commons and uploading images with this tutorial.

Have a question? Ask the Commons Help Desk. Not sure what to upload? The picture request page has lists of requests organized by location and topic.

Add images to Wikipedia

Here is how to add images using VisualEditor and wiki markup.


More Tasks

Here are a few more ways to improve Wikipedia articles:

Add infoboxes (here is a list of templates)

Add categories (if you're adventurous try HotCat)

Add external links using VisualEditor and wiki markup

Add authority controls