Help:Style/Formatting and punctuation

From ArchWiki

The following directions define how different parts of the content of an article should be highlighted through formatting or punctuation.

General rules

These general rules always override #Specific cases. For cases not covered in this guide, Wikipedia:Manual of Style is the authority reference.

  • Do not mix more than one highlighting method except where explicitly allowed by these rules.
    This rule also applies in the cases where some formatting is already set by CSS rules, for example bold in definition list terms. If the preset CSS formatting is not allowed on the affected item (e.g. bold on #File names and paths), then you have to resort using a different, compatible wiki markup altogether (e.g. bullet points instead of a definition list).
  • Do not use different highlighting methods from the ones defined in this manual; this includes, but is not limited to, underlining, blinking, full-word capitalization, colors, asterisks, exclamation marks, emoticons, HTML tags with a style attribute.

First instances

  • The first relevant appearance of a term or name in an article (e.g. executable names) can be highlighted (see below) if regarded as worthy of particular attention, considering the topic of the article or the specific section. The first "relevant" appearance may not be the absolute first appearance of the name: its choice is left to the editor.
  • The preferable way of highlighting the name is using a link to a closely related article in the wiki or to an external page, like Wikipedia or a man page. If there are no possible pertinent links, bold can be used as a fallback solution.
Package and package group names must make use of Template:Pkg, Template:AUR or Template:Grp whenever the relevant template allows to link to the target.
  • If the name is already introduced by the title of the article or by a section heading, its first relevant appearance in the body can only be used as a link anchor, but not simply highlighted in bold, except in the case of #Name/term lists.
  • First-instance highlighting can be applied only to the #Specific cases that explicitly allow it.


  • No formatting shall be applied to the anchor text of links.

Name/term lists

  • It is allowed, not mandatory, to keep consistent formatting in lists of names or terms, even if normally not all of the items would require to be formatted. This can involve for example all-caps terms, which should not be italic-ized by themselves, or names in a list where most of the items are formatted according to #First instances.
    "List" is to be intended in a broad sense, so that for example also all the initial words of a series of subsequent paragraphs could be considered forming a list of terms.

Cases by formatting/punctuation

Cases marked by 1 are affected by #First instances. Cases marked by m apply to monospaced text.


Use the MediaWiki syntax ''italic text'' instead of <i> tags.


Use the MediaWiki syntax '''bold text''' instead of <b> tags.


Use Template:ic {{ic|monospace text}} instead of <code> tags for text outside of code blocks.

Quote marks

Use typewriter quotes "quoted text" instead of single quotes 'quoted text' or typographic quotes “quoted text”.

Specific cases

#General rules always override the following rules.

Acronym/abbreviation expansions

Use italic.

  • Pacman is the Arch Linux package manager.
  • cat (catenate) is a standard Unix utility that concatenates and lists files.

CLI lines

Use monospace. Must be inline command examples, not simple mentions of #Executable/application names. Also console output and text that may reasonably be useful to paste in a terminal.

  • You are encouraged to type man command to read the man page of any command.
  • You can use the command ip link to discover the names of your interfaces.
  • If you get a ping: unknown host error, first check if there is an issue with your cable or wireless signal strength.
  • Type yes and choose Quit (or press q) to exit without making any more changes.
  • Execute pacman -Syu with root privileges.

Configuration parameters, variables, options, properties...

Use monospace. Also affects command options, user groups, IP addresses, environment variables and variables in general.

When both the short and long form of a command option have to be represented, use the "/" symbol without spaces to separate them, for example -a/--anything.

  • By default, the keyboard layout is set to us.
  • [...] where layout can be fr, uk, dvorak, be-latin1, etc.
  • As of v197, udev no longer assigns network interface names according to the wlanX and ethX naming scheme.
  • In this example, the Ethernet interface is enp2s0f0.
  • If you are unsure, your Ethernet interface is likely to start with the letter "e", and unlikely to be lo or start with the letter "w".
  • Currently, you may include a maximum of three nameserver lines.
  • You will need to create an extra BIOS Boot Partition of size 1007 KiB and EF02 type code.
  • All files should have 644 permissions and root:root ownership.
  • The -i switch can be omitted if you wish to install every package from the base-devel group without prompting.
  • Adding your user to groups (sys, disk, lp, network, video, audio, optical, storage, scanner, power, etc.) is not necessary for most use cases with systemd.
  • If you are behind a proxy server, you will need to export the http_proxy and ftp_proxy environment variables.
  • To use other locales for other LC_* variables, run locale to see the available options and add them to locale.conf. It is not recommended to set the LC_ALL variable. See Locale#Setting the system locale for an advanced example.
  • [...] this roughly equates to what you included in the DAEMONS array.
  • If you are running a private network, it is safe to use IP addresses in 192.168.*.* for your IP addresses, with a subnet mask of and a broadcast address of 192.168.*.255. The gateway is usually 192.168.*.1 or 192.168.*.254.
  • By giving the -net nic argument to QEMU, it will, by default, assign a virtual machine a network interface with the link-level address 52:54:00:12:34:56.

Daemons/services, kernel modules

Use monospace.

  • The dhcpcd.service starts the daemon for all network interfaces.
  • Some unit names contain an @ sign (e.g. name@string.service).
  • The generic Bluetooth driver is the btusb kernel module.

Executable/application names

Use italic, but only for full lower-case names. Affected by #First instances.

Note that this rule applies to executables only when they represent the application/file itself, not when used in #CLI lines. In particular pay attention to executables that are usually run without any arguments. See also Help:Style#Spelling.

  • Uncomment the selected locale in /etc/locale.gen and generate it with the locale-gen utility.
  • Uncomment the selected locale in /etc/locale.gen and generate it with locale-gen.
  • As of v197, udev no longer assigns network interface names according to the wlanX and ethX naming scheme.
  • The Arch Linux install media includes the following partitioning tools: fdisk, gdisk, cfdisk, cgdisk, parted.
  • If pacman fails to verify your packages, check the system time with cal.
  • Set a root password with passwd.

File content

Use monospace for content that can be both read or written on a file or that may reasonably be useful to copy from or paste in a text editor.

  • At the end of the string type nomodeset and press Enter. Alternatively, try video=SVIDEO-1:d which, if it works, will not disable kernel mode setting.
  • Remove the # in front of the locale you want from /etc/locale.gen.

File extensions

Use italic.

  • Pacman is written in the C programming language and uses the .pkg.tar.zst package format.

File names and paths

Use monospace. Also device names and names with wildcards are affected. #File extensions are treated differently, though.

  • To test if you have booted into UEFI mode check if directory /sys/firmware/efi has been created.
  • All files and directories appear under the root directory /, even if they are stored on different physical devices.
  • Edit /etc/resolv.conf, substituting your name servers' IP addresses and your local domain name.
  • Before installing, you may want to edit the mirrorlist file and place your preferred mirror first.
  • For kernel modules to load during boot, place a .conf file with a name based on the program that uses them in /etc/modules-load.d/.
  • Each partition is identified with a number suffix. For example, sda1 specifies the first partition of the first drive, while sda designates the entire drive.

Generic words used in an improper or questionable way

Use "typewriter quotes".

  • Words/letters when referenced as mere "text entities".

GUI/TUI text

Use italic. For example for menu entries. When representing navigation in menus, use the ">" symbol, still in italic, to separate the items.

  • Then, select Boot Arch Linux from the menu and press Enter in order to begin with the installation.
  • When using Gparted, selecting the option to create a new partition table gives an msdos partition table by default. If you are intending to follow the advice to create a GPT partition table then you need to choose Advanced and then select gpt from the drop-down menu.
  • Type yes and choose Quit (or press Q) to exit without making any more changes.
  • For plugins to be updated, you should check to have their update repositories enabled in Window > Preferences > Install/Update > Available Software Sites.

Important part of file/command line contents

Use bold. Since these contents are code themselves, when referenced outside of the template, monospace should be preserved.

  • # ln -s /usr/src/linux-$(uname -r)/include/generated/uapi/linux/version.h /usr/src/linux-$(uname -r)/include/linux/
You can replace $(uname -r) with any kernel not currently running.

Keyboard keys

Use monospace according to Help:Style#Keyboard keys.

  • You have to press a key (usually Delete, F1, F2, F11, or F12) during the POST.
  • Quickly send a command in the background with Ctrl+Alt+b, discarding all of its output.

Package and group names

Use Template:Pkg, Template:AUR or Template:Grp according to Help:Style#Package management instructions. When not formatted as a link (e.g. when referencing a package in an unofficial repository), use italic.

  • Install the foobar package.
  • Install the foobarAUR package.
  • Install the foobar group.
  • Install the foobar package from the example repository.

Pseudo-variables in file/command line contents

Use italic. When mentioning a variable outside of the template, monospace should be preserved.

Make sure that variables do not contain any spaces: underscores should be used in their place.

Ensure naming consistency with the rest of the article, which may already use a pseudo-variable. For example do not introduce a new keyboardlayout variable, if keyboard_layout is already used.

  • # loadkeys keyboard_layout
[...] where keyboard_layout can be fr, uk, dvorak, be-latin1, etc.
  • Bring the interface up with ip link set interface up.
  • You can connect to the network with:
# wifi-menu interface_name
Where interface_name is the interface of your wireless chipset.


For inline quotations, use "typewriter quotes". For block quotations, use indentation through a line-initial colon without any additional punctuation or formatting.

The X.Org project provides an open source implementation of the X Window System. The development work is being done in conjunction with the community. The X.Org Foundation is the educational non-profit corporation whose Board serves this effort, and whose Members lead this work.

References to titles, headings...

Use "typewriter quotes". When referencing section headings, however, use internal anchor links ([[#Section]]).

  • The column "dm-crypt +/- LUKS" denotes features of dm-crypt for both LUKS ("+") and plain ("-") encryption modes. If a specific feature requires using LUKS, this is indicated by "(with LUKS)". Likewise "(without LUKS)" indicates usage of LUKS is counter-productive to achieve the feature and plain mode should be used.

Repository names

Use italic for repository names. Affected by #First instances.

  • To enable the core-testing repository, you have to uncomment the [core-testing] section in /etc/pacman.conf.
  • If you enable the core-testing repository, you must also enable the extra-testing repository.

Stressed/strong words or statements

Use italic for words whose importance in giving the meaning to a sentence would not be recognized otherwise; usually they would be pronounced in a stressed way if reading out loud.

However, when particular attention is needed, words like "not", "only", "exactly", "strongly", "before"... can be highlighted in bold.

The same goes for very important statements that cannot be put in a separate Warning or Note as they are an essential part of the section itself.

  • Choose the best environment for your needs.
  • This command can synchronize the repository databases and update the system's packages.
  • If the screen does not go blank and the boot process gets stuck.
  • [...] so please type it exactly as you see it.
  • If you want, you can make it the only mirror available by getting rid of everything else.
  • Partitioning can destroy data. You are strongly cautioned and advised to backup any critical data before proceeding.
  • keep up to date with changes in Arch Linux that require manual intervention before upgrading your system.
  • When performing a system update, it is essential that users read all information output by pacman and use common sense.
  • This means that partial upgrades are not supported.

Technical terms

Use italic, except for all-caps terms (usually acronyms). Affected by #First instances.

  • You are encouraged to type man command to read the man page of any command.
  • This article deals with so-called core utilities on a GNU/Linux system.
  • Primary partitions can be bootable and are limited to four partitions per disk or RAID volume.
  • This is already a separate partition by default, by virtue of being mounted as tmpfs by systemd.
  • You have to press a key (usually Delete, F1, F2, F11 or F12) during the POST (Power On Self-Test) phase.

Words/letters when referenced as mere "text entities"

Use "typewriter quotes".

  • When however particular attention is needed, words like "not", "only", "exactly", "strongly", "before"... can be highlighted in bold.
  • If you are unsure, your Ethernet interface is likely to start with the letter "e", and unlikely to be lo or start with the letter "w".