Editing a page

We recommend that you edit Wikipedia with the visual editor rather than by learning to edit the source code of pages.

Screenshot showing a dropdown menu from the pencil icon on a Wikipedia editor page. The two options are 'Visual editing' and 'Source editing'

If the source editor loads by default, click the pencil icon to switch to the visual editor.

Screenshot showing the 'Preferences' page of a WIkipedia user's account. The link to the 'Preferences' page is circled in pink, as is the subheading 'Editing mode' and the dropdown menu below it, which is set to 'Show me both editor tabs'.

If the pencil icon is not visible, head to ‘Preferences’ in the top right of the screen and scroll down to ‘Editing mode’. Select the option ‘Show me both editor tabs’. This should allow you to switch between the source editor (‘Edit source’ tab) and the visual editor (‘Edit’ tab).

Here’s how the visual editor works:

A screenshot of the Wikipedia visual editor, with important features circled and described as follows:

Cursor: Place your cursor anywhere to begin to type

Chain link: Add a link to another page

Cite: Make sure to add a citation for any claim or fact that you add

Publish changes: When you are happy with your changes, publish them!

Add citations for every piece of information you add to the article by hitting the ‘Cite’ button at the top of the editor:

A screenshot of the citation tool in the Wikipedia visual editor. It advises:

When you hit 'Cite', add a link to your source here. Wikipedia will generate the citation, which you can edit if needed.
  • Make sure not to infringe on copyright by using any copyrighted material without the proper citations.
  • You can add media such as photographs with the ‘Insert’ tab in the toolbar. The search function provided will search through media which is free and safe to use under Wikipedia Commons. If you are uploading your own content, you must follow strict guidelines around content ownership which are detailed in the uploader.
  • Don’t forget to remain impartial – avoid offering your opinion as fact.

The first edit: The basics

When you begin editing it can be useful to start with key basic information, as it’s an essential first insight into any practitioner/topic and as you can see below, sometimes a lot can be missing.

Check for example that the following information available about individual figures or practitioners:

  • Name
  • D.O.B
  • Age
  • Birthplace
  • Nationality
  • Education
  • Known for
  • Movement
  • Awards
On the left, a screenshot of Lorna Simpson's Wikipedia page's basic info. The subheadings 'Born' and 'Nationality' are circled, and annotated as follows:

'Details such as birth date, place/location of birth, nationality and age are key to any Wikipedia and are surprisingly missing a lot!'

On the right, an overview of the revisions of this part of the page. An entry dated 11 June 2020 shows the birth date simply as "1960", while an update on 14 June 2020 changes this to "13th August 1960 (age 59)".
An overview of revisions for another Wikipedia page. 

On the left, captions 'age', 'birth place', 'nationality' and 'known for' are all circled, with the caption 'In this instance, the following basic information was missing'. 

On the right, we see the same sections circled but updated with new information. The caption reads 'Basic details such as nationality are crucial'.

Once the basic information is noted, it’s time to delve further into the page. Don’t be shy to get stuck in!

For further help, check the FAQ page or the forum.

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