Help:Editing FAQ

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This page is meant to accompany Help:Editing.

These questions and answers have been culled from some of the talk pages of the various editing-related Help: pages. If you see a useful answer there or anywhere else, please add it here.


Q: How do I edit an existing page?[edit]

Each Wiki page that can be edited has an edit tab near the top of the page, and may have edit links to the right of each page section. If you wish to edit various parts of the whole page, click the edit tab at the top. If you only wish to edit one section, click the edit link to the right of that section name. See also the Wikipedia Editing Tutorial.

Q: How do I sign the content I edit?[edit]

Three consecutive tildes (~~~) will insert a link to your user page. Four (~~~~) will insert that link and the save time and date. Five (~~~~~) insert just the time and date.

Q: Can I link to a specific section header if there are multiple section headers of the same name? If so, how?[edit]

A: Certainly. Each section header, regardless of size or depth, has a number corresponding to how many times that header's name has already appeared on the page. The number is "1" for the very first instance, "2" for the next, "3" for the next, and so on. You can link to each header just like a normal header, but using that number after the header's name (i.e. if there are three headers named "Foo," then the first can be linked to like so: [[#Foo 1]], the second. [[#Foo 2]], and the third, [[#Foo 3]]). Using the number "1" for the first header is generally superfluous, as the software will automatically link to the first header without using the number (i.e. [[Foo]]). If you don't want the number to show, then you have to use a piped link (e.g. [[Foo 2|Foo]]).

If you don't know how many times a given header has already appeared on a page (and thus the number to use), there are two ways to find out.

  1. Use the table of contents.
    If a table of contents appears on the page, click on the header whom you wish to link to. The page will jump to that header. Now, look at the URL. At the end, it will show the ID of the header in question. An example of a URL who has just been linked to a header, whose name has already appeared twice (and so is the third instance), and whose name is "Foo:"
    The header link at the end of the URL shows that to link to this header, you would use [[#Foo 3]].
  2. Look at the source.
    While looking at the source, first find the section you're looking for, and then look at its ID tags. It will show the number in that tag. An example for a header, whose name has already appeared once (and so is the second instance), and whose name is "Foo:"
    <p><a name="Foo_2" id="Foo_2"></a></p>
    The ID and name tags (the ones that say "a name=" and "id=") show that this header can be linked to with [[#Foo 2]].

Problem and workaround[edit]

Unfortunately, these numbers are "live". (All the following examples are made up.) Suppose there's an article on "US Presidential Tastes", with a section for each of the presidents in order and subsections about their favorite books, foods, colors, and so on. While editing a different article, "Codfish", you remember that Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President, liked codfish for breakfast; so you include that fact, with a link to Harrison's "Breakfast" subsection of "US Presidential Tastes".

But later another editor discovers what James Buchanan (15th President) liked for breakfast. Since there's no Breakfast subsection for Buchanan, this editor adds one. Proper procedure. But that bumps up all the numbers of the subsequent Breakfast subsections, and your Harrison link now points to information about William McKinley's tastes in breakfast. (Don't worry about Grover Cleveland: he has only one section.)

For a workaround, see Section linking with arbitrary id.


Q: How do I get a page deleted?[edit]

For example, if I'm done fooling around with some sandbox pages created as sub-pages of my Wikimedia user page, how do I get them deleted? The Help mentions "contacting an administrator", but if there is a list of admins somewhere, I was unable to find it. The wikipedia "XfD" approach does not seem to be implemented on Wikimedia, so I'm at a loss.

A: Meta:Deletion_policy

A: The list of admins is here: Meta:Administrators#List of administrators

Q: How do I archive my User talk Page?[edit]

A: Five possibilities are:

  1. move talk page to page like User:a/b (history is now in this archive)
  2. move page contents to such a page (history is still in the regular talk page)
  3. just delete content (it is still in the history, but one can less easily search in that text) -- Patrick 14:32, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  4. Use a link to an earlier version of the page in its history. It does not require creating "sub pages" for archives. You can see an example at wikibooks:Talk:Wikijunior_Solar_System/Solar_System.
    • Click on the history tab
      • Click on the first version listed there
      • Copy the URL from the address bar. Let's say it is
    • Edit your talk page.
      • Delete all the stuff you want to remove from the current version of your talk page.
      • Link to the archive version as [ Sept 2005 archive]
      • Save the new version of your page.
  5. Automate the archiving process using ArchiverBot.

Q: Can I put preformatted text inside a numbered list?[edit]

A: It used to be possible almost until 1.5.7 version. But as of now [15:03, 5 September 2006 (UTC)] the following does not work anymore: Question, what can i do

If you use the <nowiki> tag and the <pre> tag like this:

  1. one
  2. two
here are a couple lines of preformatted text
  1. and the numbering
  2. starts over
# one
# two<pre><nowiki>
here are a couple lines
of preformatted text
# and the numbering
# starts over

Ulf Rompe 10:54, 27 August 2009 (UTC): You can make it (kind of) work if you don't mind prepending every line of your preformatted text with "#:" and getting some more indentation than usual. Instead of or in addition to "<code>" you may use other block tags except "<nowiki>":Reply[reply]
  1. one
  2. two
    here are a couple lines
    of preformatted text
  3. and the numbering
  4. continues
# one
# two
#:<code lang="text">
#:here are a couple lines
#:of preformatted text
# and the numbering
# continues

Try this (Jeremy Koppel):

  • one
  • two
    Here are a couple lines...
    ...of preformatted text
  • and the numbering
  • starts over


Here are a couple lines...
...of preformatted text

      <li>and the numbering</li>
      <li>starts over</li>

HTML Ordered Lists (UBCToad (talk) 19:50, 5 November 2013 (UTC)):Reply[reply]
Note: This is an expansion of Jeremy's suggestion above.

  1. Use ordered lists (OL) to begin each item with a number.
  2. End a list item before starting a line with spaces.
  3. Here is pre-formatted text. Enclosed in a border.
  4. And the last item
      <li>Use ordered lists (OL) to begin each item with a number.</li>
      <li>End a list item before starting a line with spaces.</li>
 Here is pre-formatted text.
 Enclosed in a border.
      <li>And the last item</li>

Q: Signing?[edit]

I type the four tildes as it says every time, but where my name is there isn't a link to my user page and after I do it the SineBot says I haven't signed it (even though you can see my name there) and then it signs it for me. Bsrboy 22:57, 25 March 2008 (UTC) <<< see? >>>

Q: Can I generate a frame-like structure on a Wiki page?[edit]

(I have a chart generated dynamically in Bugzilla and I would like to display it within my Wiki page.)

A: ???

"Technically, you can do this with html div's and inline css styles, i.e. use a div with height and width set and overflow set to scroll" -- 01:11, 9 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A good suggestion, but that won't work for the originally requested use case. You can't make your DIV pull external content from Bugzilla, like frames do. You can only lay out the wiki page content in a frame-like design. 09:37, 16 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The last comment was from me, I wasn't logged in. -- Alexey Feldgendler 09:39, 16 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it not possible to use the FRAME tag inside HTML inside of a wiki page?

Q: Can I display only so many lines of text?[edit]

I want to set up a template that pipes in 'n' lines of text to a page, and then provides a link to the rest of the article. Can I do this?

Not in the current version of MediaWiki, as far as I know. -- Alexey Feldgendler 09:43, 16 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Q: How can I place a note underneath and to the right of an image (but keeping the image by default to the left of the page)?[edit]

-- 09:53, 28 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A: ??


Q: Can I make transparent borders and rules on a table?[edit]

A: Yes.

That's a tough one because there is no "cellborder" directive for the table style. You can play with the BORDER and RULE attributes of table, but it seems that you cannot rely upon your browser to interpret that stuff the way you want it.
I think the easiest way to write this is using wiki table notation with a different background for the table and for each row.
abc def ghi
jkl mno pqr
|- style="background:lightgrey;"
| abc || def ||ghi
|- style="background:lightgrey;"
| jkl || mno || pqr


Q: Can I make a link to open in a new page?[edit]

see: VoskampM 08:38, 10 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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