Help:FAQ/Editing

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How do I edit a page?[edit]

It's quite simple. Simply click "Edit this page" on the bottom or the side of the page, and type away. See How to edit a page to learn about making links, using bold and italics, linking to images, and many other things...

What happens if two or more people are editing the same page?[edit]

The second person (and later persons) to save the page will receive an "edit conflict" message, and the opportunity to merge their changes into the most-currently-saved version. The wiki will also check for a conflict if you are editing and do a preview of the edit. Multiple consecutive conflicts are noticed, and will generate a slightly different message. This is similar to Concurrent Versions System (CVS), a widely-used software version management system.

But I have problems editing with my browser![edit]

See Browser notes (Wikipedia page)

Why not use HTML?[edit]

The short answer is: for simplicity and security.
And now the longer answer. Wikibooks, and wikis in general, are meant to be edited on the fly. HTML is not easy to use when you simply want to write a module. Creating links gives us a particularly dramatic example. To link to the HTML page using HTML, one would have to type
<a href="http://www.Wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page">Main Page</a>
Using MediaWiki's markup is much easier:
[[Main Page]]
Then there's security. Different web browsers have bugs that can be exploited via HTML. Malicious users could also do things like JavaScript popup windows or page redirects if they had full HTML ability on Wikibooks. Several "experimental" sites that allowed full-HTML editing have suffered such attacks, including a couple other wikis that allowed arbitrary HTML.

So we can't use any HTML?[edit]

Alright, alright, a few tags work. Especially, HTML table tags can be used to create tables. See Wikibooks:How does one edit a page. However, there's been some rumbling among the MediaWiki software developers that most HTML tags are deprecated. There's also a wiki syntax for tables; see m:Help:Table for help in using it.

What about non-ASCII characters, and special symbols?[edit]

Just because the codes are defined in HTML 4 doesn't mean they actually work in any common browser. See meta:Help:Special characters for a discussion of what is generally safe and what isn't.

What about math topics, which require many special symbols, fonts, and graphics?[edit]

Just use TeX! See meta:Help:Displaying a formula.

How do I make links?[edit]

A link is just the name of the page surrounded by double square brackets. It's also possible to make the link display text that is different from that of the link itself:
[[page name]]
[[page name]]s -- suffix text will display as part of the link
[[page name|display name]] -- the piped link: hide the page name and display something else (but use this sparingly, and never "click here"!)
[[page name (disambiguation)|]] -- the "pipe trick": the part in parentheses or the namespace will not be displayed.
You don't need to put underscores ("_"), to act as space separators like you see in links. Spaces will work fine.
Note: to link to an external webpage, use [http://webpage Multi-word Title]

How do I rename a page?[edit]

Registered users can move a page; this moves the page content and edit history to a new title, and creates a redirecting page at the old title. This method is better than just copying the content by hand, as it preserves the page's history. Use the "Move this page" link. If you want to move a page, please click the "What links here" and fix the links to the page in question.

How do I edit a redirect page?[edit]

The easiest way to edit the redirected page is to click on the link you see at the top of the page after being redirected: "redirected from ...". At the very top of that page, you will see a message: "(redirected from page name)", Click on the page name link, and you will edit the redirect page page. See Redirect.

How do I figure out how big a page is?[edit]

Search results give the size, for example "Knot theory (3220 bytes)". See Help:Navigating#Searching

How do I determine what other users have changed in a module?[edit]

Wikibooks's software MediaWiki can produce a list of all the changes between two versions of a module (either between two consecutive versions, or between an old and the current version), laid out in two-columns side by side with changes highlighted. From the Recent Changes page you can click the "diff" link; from a module page itself click "Page history", then "cur" or "last" to see changes.

How can I put pictures on a page?[edit]

First, you need the right to publish the picture under the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that either you created the picture and therefore own the copyright, or it is in the public domain. If the picture is located on a server you control, you can refer to that image from your wiki page by simply including its URL, like this:

http://my.webserver.com/image.png and it will be included. (Note it will only be linked, not displayed.) If instead you want to upload a picture to Wikibooks.org, you can use commons:Commons:Upload as a logged-in user and once it is uploaded, you can refer to it in your wiki pages as above, by including its file name :[[File:NameOfImage.png|Alternate Text]].

See also Wikibooks:Media.

How can I delete uploaded items?[edit]

Only Wikibooks:Administrators can delete uploads, but anyone can upload a new item with the same name, thereby replacing the old one.

How do I describe images?[edit]

Click on the image to get the description page. Also, when you upload the file everything you put in the upload summary is placed into the image's description page. See Image:Introductory Physics fig 4.3.png for an example of what goes onto one of these pages. See also: Wikibooks:Image use policy

Can I give the references in a book?[edit]

Yes. See Help:Editing#References and Template:Reflist.

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

Yes, you can. 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 that 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:"
    http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Example_article#Foo_3
    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>
    <h3>Foo</h3>
    The ID and name tags (the ones that say "a name=" and "id=") show that this header can be linked to with [[#Foo 2]].

How do I get a page deleted?[edit]

First you should review our deletion policy. If a page qualifies for speedy deletion you can add {{delete|your reason}} to the top of the page. Otherwise you should add {{rfd}} to the top of the page and add a new section to Wikibooks:Requests for deletion explaining why the page ought to be deleted.

How can I easily change the title of a book?[edit]

Use the MOVE button/link at the top of the page to change the title of your book.

How do I archive my User Page?[edit]

See Help:Pages#Archiving

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

Yes, if you use the HTML <ol> and <li> tags and the <pre> tag like this:

<ol>
<li>one</li>
<li>two
<pre>
here are a couple lines
of preformatted text
</pre>
</li>
<li>and the numbering</li>
<li>does not start over</li>
</ol>
  1. one
  2. two
    here are a couple lines
    of preformatted text
    
  3. and the numbering
  4. does not start over

Can I use transparent borders on a table?[edit]

Yes. The easiest way to write this is using wiki table notation with a different background for the table and for each row.

{| style="background:transparent;"
 |- style="background:#0075ff;"
 | abc || def ||ghi
 |- style="background:#0075ff;"
 | jkl || mno || pqr
 |}
abc def ghi
jkl mno pqr

Can I change the style of something throughout a page without having to repeat the style?[edit]

There are two ways this can be done.

Method 1: This can be done by using a template and using the template repeatedly on the page instead. For example add <pre style="border:pink; ...">{{{1}}}</pre> to Template:Template sandbox and use {{template sandbox|some text}} throughout the Wikibooks:Sandbox page. Everyone will see what you see.

Method 2: You can set this up once using CSS on your User Style. Then every "pre" tag will have the same pink-on-yellow style. However, every person that wants to see that style will need to set it up in their own personal "User style". That allows people to see a yellow-on-pink style if they want, without messing up your pink-on-yellow view.