Difference between revisions of "Help:Editing"

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Revision as of 04:22, 3 November 2011

This template has only maintenance purposes. For linking to local translations please use interlanguage links, see Help:i18n#Interlanguage links.

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Template:Article summary start

Template:Article summary text Template:Article summary heading Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary end

This is a short tutorial about editing the ArchWiki. To experiment with editing, please use the sandbox. For an overview of wiki markup, see ArchWiki Cheatsheet.


ArchWiki is a community documentation process. The contents are created by the community for the community.

Wikis, by design, thrive on collaboration. Contributors volunteer their time and energy to share their knowledge and skill with the community. All users are encouraged to contribute. Tasks on ArchWiki can roughly be divided into the following:

  • Technical maintenance
  • Content management
  • Content editing
  • Content creation and translation

Please see AboutWiki for more information.

ArchWiki is powered by MediaWiki, a free software wiki package written in PHP, originally for use on Wikipedia. More in-depth help can be found at Help:Contents on MediaWiki and Help:Contents on Wikipedia.

Before editing or creating pages, users are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the general tone, layout, and style of existing articles. An effort should be made to maintain a level of consistency throughout the wiki.

Tone, layout, and style

More detail: Help:Style

In general, language should be concise, professional, and formal. Contractions should be avoided. Write objectively; avoid all types of personal references and opinions. Whenever possible, link to existing articles and resources; avoid duplication of effort.

In terms of layout, articles on ArchWiki can be considered to consist of two components, the preface and the body. Most articles follow this general order:

  • Preface: categories, i18n and article status, article overviews, brief introduction
  • Body content: introduction, installation, configuration, tips and tricks, troubleshooting, more resources

Individual subheadings should be used under each of the main headings in the body (see #Headings and subheadings below). This is simply a guideline, feel free to deviate where appropriate.

While writing, remember not only to answer how, but also why? Explanatory information always goes further toward imparting knowledge than does instruction alone.

See Help:Reading for an overview of common stylistic conventions. Additional considerations are detailed in the sections that follow.


You must be logged-in to edit pages. Visit Special:UserLogin to log in or create an account.

To begin editing a page, click the edit tab at the top of the page. Alternatively, users may edit a specific section of an article by clicking the edit link to the right of the section heading. The Editing page will be displayed, which consists of the following elements:

  • Edit toolbar (optional)
  • Edit box
  • Edit summary box
  • Save page, Show preview, Show changes, and Cancel links

The edit box will contain the wikitext (the editable source code from which the server produces the web page) for the current revision of the page or section. To perform an edit:

  1. Modify the wikitext as needed (see #Formatting below for details).
  2. Explain the edit in the Summary box (e.g. "fixed typo" or "added info on xyz" (see Help:Edit summary for details)).
    Note: All edits should be accompanied by a descriptive summary. The summary allows administrators and other maintainers to easily identify controversial edits and vandalism.
  3. Use the Show preview button to facilitate proofreading and verify formatting before saving.
  4. Mark the edit as minor by checking the This is a minor edit box if the edit is superficial and indisputable.
  5. Save changes by clicking Save page. If unsatisfied, click Cancel instead (or repeat the process until satisfied).
Note: If you are not going to use an external editor like vim, you may want to consider using wikEd, which adds syntax highlighting, regex search and replace and other nice features to the standard MediaWiki editor. The greasemonkey script works flawlessly with the ArchWiki.

To experiment with editing, visit the Sandbox and click the edit tab.

Note: Articles should not be signed because they are shared works; one editor should not be singled out above others.

Reverting edits

If a page was edited incorrectly, the following procedures describe how to revert an article to a previous version. To revert a single edit:

  1. Click the history tab at the top of the page to be modified (beside the edit tab). A list of revisions is displayed.
  2. Click the undo link to the right of the offending edit. An edit preview is displayed, showing the current revision on the left and the text to be saved on the right.
  3. If satisfied, click the Save page button at the bottom of the page.

The wiki page should now be back in its original state.

Occasionally, it is necessary to revert several edits at once. To revert an article to a previous version:

  1. Click the history tab at the top of the page to be modified (beside the edit tab). A list of revisions is displayed.
  2. View the desired revision (i.e. the last good version) by clicking on the appropriate timestamp. That revision is displayed.
  3. If satisfied, click the edit tab at the top of the page. A warning is displayed: You are editing an out-of-date revision of this page. Simply click the Save page button to revert to this version.
Note: Avoid combining an undo and an edit! Revert the edit first, then make additional changes; do not edit the revision preview.

Creating pages

Before creating a new page, please consider the following:

  1. Is your topic relevant to Arch Linux? Irrelevant or unhelpful articles will be deleted.
  2. Is your topic of interest to others? Consider not only what you wish to write about, but also what others may wish to read. Personal notes belong on your user page.
  3. Is your topic worthy of a new page? Search the wiki for similar articles. If they exist, consider improving or adding a section to an existing article instead.
  4. Will your contribution be significant? Avoid creating stubs unless planning to expand them shortly thereafter.

Creating a new page requires selection of a descriptive title and an appropriate category.

Please read Article Naming Guidelines and Writing Short Article Names for article naming advice.

  1. Titles should be capitalized appropriately: Title for New Page; not Title for new page.
  2. Do not include "Arch Linux" or variations in page titles. This is the Arch Linux wiki; it is assumed that articles will be related to Arch Linux. (e.g., Installing Openbox; not Installing Openbox in Arch Linux).

Visit the Table of Contents to help choose an appropriate category. Articles may belong to multiple categories.

To add a new page to some category (say "My New Page" to "Some Category") you need to:

  1. Create a page with your new title by browsing to http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/My_New_Page (remember to replace "My_New_Page" with the intended title!)
  2. Add Template:Codeline to the top of your page
Note: Do not create uncategorized pages! All pages must belong to at least one category. If you cannot find a suitable category, consider creating a new one.


Text formatting is accomplished with wiki markup whenever possible; learning HTML is not necessary. Various templates are also available for common formatting tasks; see Help:Template for information about templates. The ArchWiki Cheatsheet summarizes the most common formatting options.

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings are an easy way to improve the organization of an article. If you can see distinct topics being discussed, you can break up an article by inserting a heading for each section. See Help:Style#Section headings and Effective Use of Headers for style information.

Headings can be created like this:

==First-level heading==
===Second-level heading===
====Third-level heading====
=====Fourth-level heading=====

If an article has at least four headings, a table of contents (TOC) will be automatically generated. If this is not desired, place Template:Codeline in the article. Try creating some headings in the Sandbox and see the effect on the TOC.

Line breaks

An important formatting note: a single newline generally has no effect on the layout. Thus,

This sentence
is broken into
three lines.

...is rendered as:

This sentence is broken into three lines.

An empty line is used to start a new paragraph. For example:

This is paragraph number one.

This is paragraph number two.

...is rendered as:

This is paragraph number one.

This is paragraph number two.

The HTML Template:Codeline tag can be used to manually insert line breaks, but should be avoided. A manual break may be justified with other formatting elements, such as a list (lists are covered in more detail below):

* This point <br> spans multiple lines
* This point
ends the list

...is rendered as:

  • This point
    spans multiple lines
  • This point

ends the list

See Help:Style#Blank_lines for information on the use of blank lines.

Bold and italics

Bold and italics are added by surrounding a word or phrase with multiple apostrophes (Template:Codeline):


Use strike-out text to show that the text no longer applies or has relevance.

For example:

<s>Strike-out text</s>

...is rendered as

Strike-out text


To indent text, place a colon (Template:Codeline) at the beginning of a line. The more colons you put, the further indented the text will be. A newline (pressing Enter or Return) marks the end of the indented paragraph.

For example:

This is aligned all the way to the left.
:This is indented slightly.
::This is indented more.

...is rendered as:

This is aligned all the way to the left.

This is indented slightly.
This is indented more.

Bullet points

To insert a bullet, use an asterisk (Template:Codeline). Multiple Template:Codelines will increase the level of indentation.

For example:

* First item 
* Second item 
** Sub-item
* Third item 

...is rendered as:

  • First item
  • Second item
    • Sub-item
  • Third item

Numbered lists

To create numbered lists, use the number sign or hash symbol (Template:Codeline). Multiple Template:Codelines will increase the level of indentation.

For example:

# First item 
# Second item 
## Sub-item
# Third item 

...is rendered as:

  1. First item
  2. Second item
    1. Sub-item
  3. Third item

Numbered lists can be combined with bullet points. For example:

# First item
# Second item
#* Sub-item
# Third item

...is rendered as:

  1. First item
  2. Second item
    • Sub-item
  3. Third item

Definition lists

Definition lists are defined with a leading semicolon (Template:Codeline) and a colon (Template:Codeline) following the term.

For example:

; Apple: Fruit with red or yellow or green skin and sweet to tart crisp whitish flesh
; Banana: Elongated crescent-shaped yellow fruit with soft sweet flesh

...is rendered as:

Fruit with red or yellow or green skin and sweet to tart crisp whitish flesh
Elongated crescent-shaped yellow fruit with soft sweet flesh

Use additional colons if a definition spans multiple lines.

For example:

; Term: First line of definition
: Second line of definition
: Third line of definition

...is rendered as:

First line of definition
Second line of definition
Third line of definition


To add code to the wiki, simply start each line with a single whitespace character. However, be mindful of line length, as the text will not automatically wrap to fit the screen.

Alternatively, use Template:Codeline tags, or one of the available code formatting templates.

For example:


if true; then
    echo "Yes"
    echo "No"

...is rendered as:


if true; then
    echo "Yes"
    echo "No"


Used effectively, tables can help organize and summarize swaths of data. For advanced table syntax and formatting see Help:Table.

For example:

{| border="1"
|+ Tabular data
! Fruit !! Color
| Apple || Red
| Orange || Orange
| Banana || Yellow

...is rendered as:

Tabular data
Fruit Color
Apple Red
Orange Orange
Banana Yellow


Links are essential to help readers navigate the site. In general, editors should ensure that every article contains outgoing links to other articles (avoid dead-end pages) and is referenced by incoming links from other articles (the what links here special page can be used to display incoming links).

Internal links

You can extensively cross-reference wiki pages using internal links. You can add links to existing titles, and also to titles you think ought to exist in future.

To make a link to another page on the same wiki, just put the title in double square brackets.

For example, if you want to make a link to, say, the pacman article, use:


If you want to use words other than the article title as the text of the link, you can add an alternative name after the pipe "|" divider (Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress on English-layout and similar keyboards).

For example:

View [[Arch Linux|this]] article...

...is rendered as:

View this article...

When you want to use the plural of an article title (or add any other suffix) for your link, you can add the extra letters directly outside the double square brackets.

For example:

makepkg is used in conjunction with [[PKGBUILD]]s.

...is rendered as:

makepkg is used in conjunction with PKGBUILDs.

Links to sections of a document

To create a link to a section of a document, simply add a Template:Codeline followed by the section's heading.

For example:

[[ArchWiki Tutorial#Links to sections of a document]]

...is rendered as:

ArchWiki Tutorial#Links to sections of a document
Tip: If linking to a section within the same page, the page name can be omitted (e.g. Template:Codeline). Do not needlessly reformat section links to hide the anchor symbol (e.g. Template:Codeline).

Interlanguage links

The ArchWiki is international; articles may be written in multiple languages. If an article exists in more than one language, Template:i18n may be added to the article to display links to available translations.

To use this template in an article, add at the beginning of the article:

{{i18n|Title in English}}

See Help:i18n for detailed information about ArchWiki internationalization and localization.

Interwiki links

So-called interwiki links can be used to easily link to articles in other external Wikis, like Wikipedia for example. The syntax for for this link type is the wiki name followed by a colon and the article you want to link to enclosed in double square brackets.

If you want to link to the Wikipedia:Arch Linux article you can use the following:

[[Wikipedia:Arch Linux]]

Or you can create a piped link with an alternate link label to the Arch Linux Wikipedia article:

[[Wikipedia:Arch Linux|Arch Linux Wikipedia article]]
Note: Using a piped link with an alternative link label should be reserved for abbreviating longer URLs.

See: Wikipedia:InterWikimedia links

External links

If you want to link to an external site, just type the full URL for the page you want to link to.


It is often more useful to make the link display something other than the URL, so use one square bracket at each end, with the alternative title after the address separated by a space (not a pipe). So if you want the link to appear as Google search engine, just type:

[http://www.google.com/ Google search engine]
Note: If linking to another ArchWiki or Wikipedia page, use #Internal links or #Interwiki links rather than external links! That is, if your link starts with https://wiki.archlinux.org/ use an internal link; if your link starts with http://en.wikipedia.org/ use an interwiki link!


To redirect automatically from one page to another, add Template:Codeline and an internal link to the page to be redirected to at the beginning of a page.

For example, you could redirect from "Cats" to "Cat":


Thus, anyone typing either version in the search box will automatically go to "Cat".

Any content after the redirect will not be rendered when the page is displayed. However, category tags will still have the desired effect, and can be used to ensure that a redirect is included in category listings.

Wiki variables, magic words, and templates

MediaWiki recognizes certain special strings within an article that alter standard behavior. For example, adding the word Template:Codeline anywhere in an article will prevent generation of a table of contents. Similarly, the word Template:Codeline can be used to alter the default position of the table of contents. See Help:Magic words for details.

Templates and variables are predefined portions of wikitext that can be inserted into an article to aid in formatting content.

Variables are defined by the system and can be used to display information about the current page, wiki, or date. For example, use Template:Codeline to display the wiki's site name (which, on this wiki, is: ArchWiki). To set an alternate title header for the current page, another wiki variable can be used: Template:Codeline (only capitalization changes are permitted).

Templates, on the other hand, are user-defined. The content of any page can be included in another page by adding Template:Codeline to an article, but this is rarely used with pages outside the Template namespace. (If the namespace is omitted, Template is assumed.) For example, Template:Note, which can be included in an article with the following wikitext:

{{Note|This is a note.}}

...is rendered as:

Note: This is a note.

See Help:Template for more information.

Discussion pages

Discussion or "talk" pages are for communicating with other ArchWiki users.

To discuss any page, go to that page and then click the "discussion" tab at the top of the page. Add a new comment at the end of the page or reply below an existing comment. Use indenting to format your discussion. Standard practice is to indent your reply one more level deep than the person to whom you are replying. Further, you should insert your comment beneath the one to which you are replying, but below others who are doing the same.

Sign comments by typing Template:Codeline to insert your username and a timestamp. Avoid editing another user's comments.

Experiment by editing the talk page of the Sandbox.

User talk pages

Note the difference between a user page, and a user talk page. Everyone may have a user talk page on which other people can leave public messages. If one does not exist for a particular user, you may create it so that you can leave a comment. If someone has left you a message on yours, you will see a note saying "You have new messages" with a link to your own user talk page.

You can add comments on the user talk page of the person you are replying to or on your own talk page beneath the original message with appropriate indentation. If you reply on their talk page, they will receive notification of it.

Do not edit a user's own page without permission (i.e. [[User:Name]]); these serve as personal user spaces. The "user talk page" is the correct place for communicating (other than sending private email if the address is published).

Requests and special categories

Requests for specific articles or improvements to existing articles can be added to the Requests wiki page.

There also exist several special request categories to facilitate ArchWiki maintenance:

Visit these category pages for details.

See also