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The goal of this page is to help you edit a media-wiki page. (Media-wiki is the software used on this page and at Wikipedia.)


Two Modes: read / edit

In read mode, you see what a visitor sees. Nothing can be changed in read mode.

In edit mode you see the page with formatting codes. Everything can be changed in edit mode.

Please enter edit mode by changing tabs from "read" to "edit" above (near the star above, at the top of the page. You may look at history mode too, if you wish.

If you see "view source" instead of "edit" you are not logged in.

It is often easier to find [edit] next to each section title. This permits editing section by section in structured documents.

  • NB: to make changes you must "save" the page, though it is always best to preview first. This brings you back to read mode where you can see the changed text.

Edit mode

To understand the next part switch to edit mode. This text is easier to read in read mode. ^^

Using the edit box buttons

Under the title of the page Editing Sandbox you should see 11 buttons (the first two are B and I)

  • B = bold (French gras)
  • I = italic
  • Ab = internal link to a page like Poetry
  • earth = external link to a page like State Quarters
  • A = an automatic heading: not very useful if you master the = sign (see below)
  • picture = to add a file (may not work yet)
  • trumpet = media file (may not work yet)
  • square root of n = math (formulae, special symbols)
  • canceled W = unformatted text: not very useful.
  • (signature) = Here's mine: --teacher 16:59, 30 March 2015 (CEST)
  • can you delete this line and add your signature?
  • = horizontal line...

You can type some text in the box below and modify it (click on [edit] on the right): </p>


Can you add a link to the wikipedia page about the scholar Al Kindi to this sentence?

Understanding the next part is easier in page mode!

Using HTML(5)

  • <p> = opening tag for a paragraph, </p> = closing tag for a paragraph
  • <span> = opening tag for a chunk of text, </span> = closing tag for a chunk of text
  • <span style="color:darkgreen;"> = opening tag to color a chunk of text green, </span> = closing tag for the chunk of green text
NB: You can also mix your own colors, if you wish.
  • <span style="color:#000;"> is black
  • <span style="color:#FFF;"> is white
  • <span style="color:#888;"> is gray (or grey)
  • <span style="color:#400;"> is dark red
  • <br /> = opening and closing tag for a line break.

  • <b> <i> <u> = opening tags for boldface, italics, underline . . . </b> </i> </u> = closing tags for boldface, italics, underline

Feel free to switch back and forth between Edit and Page mode for the next sections.

( just click on [edit] on the right, if you don't want to edit the whole page.)


This is a very short paragraph
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
with two line breaks and twenty-two pink dots.


Using MediaWiki / Wikipedia syntax

The number (#) sign

  1. To make a numbered list...
  2. Use # at the beginning of the line.
    1. To add a layer, use two!
    2. You can even do it twice.
      1. or even three times
  3. That's how you make a numbered list.
  4. beware! if you
  5. skip a line,
  1. this happens,
  2. and your numbering starts over.

The asterisk (*)

  • To make a "bullet" list..
  • Use an asterisk (*) at the start of the line.
    • To add a layer, use two!
      • or three.
        1. You can even mix things up!
        2. That's ***#.
  • Pretty simple, huh?

The equal (=) sign

                              equal sign = 'i:   kwəl   saɪn           equality = i: 'kwal ɪ ti

  • The equal sign (=) is not used to mark equality in wiki syntax. It marks a header level.
    • Just as the # and * signs are used to mark hierarchical levels in a list
    • = is used to add structure to the document.
    • Each and every heading is a section which can be edited separately
  • Please look at the table of contents in "read" mode. Click on hide, then show.
  • Return to edit mode and delete the asterisks at the beginning of the six lines below, then press save page:
  • =Heading 1=
  • ==Heading 2==
  • ===Heading 3===
  • ====Heading 4====
  • =Heading 1=
  • =Heading 1=

You return to read mode when you press save. How does the table of contents look now?

The apostrophe (')

                     apostrophe(s) = ə 'pa: strə fi:(z)

can also be used for

  • bold (3 apostrophes before and after)
  • italic (2 apostrophes before and after)
  • bold italic (5 apostrophes before and after)

ABBR pop-up, dotted underlining

<abbr title="superb!">excellent!<abbr>

Cf. W3 Schools

Further information