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The MediaWiki software is extremely easy to use. Viewing pages is self-explanatory, but adding new pages and making edits to existing content is extremely easy and intuitive as well. Editing SDIY wiki is much the same as editing on Wikipedia.

Editing rules and conventions

The number one rule of wiki editing is to be bold. Go ahead – make changes. No damage can be done that can't be easily fixed.

An edit can contribute whole new paragraphs or pages of information, or it can be as simple as fixing a typo or a spelling mistake. In general, try to add or edit text so that it is clear and concise.

Editing the wiki

At the top of any wiki the page, you will see some tabs titled Page, Talk, Edit, History, Move And Watch. Clicking the edit tab opens the editor, a large text entry box in the middle of the page. This is where to enter plain text. Unlike regular websites using HTML and CSS, very little formatting code (known as "wiki markup") is required. At the top of this text entry box is a row of buttons with small icons on them. Holding the mouse cursor over an icon displays a tool-tip telling you its function. These buttons make it very simple to use the formatting features of the wiki software. You can achieve the same effect by typing the correct wiki code, however using the buttons makes it very simple and also eases the process of learning the correct code syntax. Please do your best to always fill in the edit summary field.

By default an enhanced editing toolbar is disabled. To enable it go to Preferences:Editing and tick Enable enhanced editing toolbar.

Try it out on the sandbox page

Use the sandbox page to play around and experiment with editing. It isn't for formal wiki info, just a place to play and explore. Any content here won't be preserved. You can create your own sandbox area by appending "/sandbox" to the URL of your user page, or click the Sandbox link in the personal toolbar area, if enabled in your preferences. Your own sandbox is where to rough out articles until they're ready for posting. Don't do articles in rough in the main wiki. Sandboxes will be indexed by search engines like any other page, unless the first line is __NOINDEX__ or {{User sandbox}}.

Creating links and adding pages

The third and fourth buttons are create "Internal link" and "External link". The third button creates an internal link (aka a wikilink) which, in the editor, has the format [[Eurocard]] ie. surrounded by double square brackets. Use a vertical bar "|" (the "pipe" symbol) to create a link with a different name to original article eg. [[Printed circuit board|PCB]], only PCB appears on the page.

Only the first occurence of a link on the page needs to be the link, any further uses of the word/phrase can be in plain text. If the page doesn't exist already the link will be in shown with red text. Following a redlink opens up the editor window for creating that page within the wiki structure. Linking articles in a structured way is the preferred method of adding new pages to the wiki. Except for names, use ordinary sentence case for article titles.

Using the fourth button will make an external link to a page elsewhere on the Internet. This has the form [ Google], ie. the URL, followed by a space, followed by linking text in single square brackets.

Every article is part of a network of connected topics. Establishing such connections via internal links is a good way to establish context. Each article should be linked from more general subjects, and contain links where readers might want to use them to help clarify a detail. Only create relevant links. When you write a new article, make sure that one or more other pages link to it. Ideally there would be an unbroken chain of links leading from every article in the wiki to the Main Page.

Always preview your edits before saving them and also check any links you have made to confirm that they do link to where you expect.

See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking


Headings help clarify articles and create a structure shown in the table of contents.

Headings are hierarchical. The article's title uses a level 1 heading, so you should start with level 2 heading (==Some heading==) and follow it with a level 3 (===A sub-heading===, and just use '''Text made bold''' after that). Whether extensive subtopics should be kept on one page or moved to individual pages is a matter of personal judgment.

Headings should not be links. This is because headings in themselves introduce information and let the reader know what subtopics will be presented; links should be incorporated in the text of the section.

Except for names, use ordinary sentence case for headings, also don't have all words with initial caps.


In an article, significant items should normally be mentioned naturally within the text rather than merely listed. Where a "bulleted list" is required each item/line of the list is preceded by an asterix (*) or for indenting a sublist use two asterixes **). For numbered lists use a hash sign (#) and further hash signs for subsections. Lists of links are usually bulleted, giving each link on a new line.


Capacitors are passive components ...

  • Ceramic
  • Electrolytic
    • Aluminum
    • Tantalum
  • Polyester
    Replacing polystyrene
  • Polypropylene

Definition lists

Are useful for more than just terms and definitions. Use semi-colons and colons:

Some term – this line starts with ;
And then a definition – this line starts with a :


For a large selection of freely usable media see Category:Synth DIY (and parent categories) at Wikimedia Commons. To fulfill the free license requirements, please read the Reuse guide. For more info see Wikipedia:Images

File names should be clear and descriptive, without being excessively long. It is helpful to have descriptive names for editors. Very generic filenames should not be used when uploading, as sooner or later someone else will use same name and this will overwrite the first file.

For a large list of links to public domain image resources see Wikipedia:Public domain image resources.


Hotlinking from from Wikimedia Commons is allowed. You can first upload your file there, but be sure to use a long descriptive or unique file name. This is to avoid name clash. When files have the same name, some other other file might be displayed locally instead of the one expected.

See also Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia/technical.

Hotlinking is not recommended because anyone could change, vandalise, rename or delete a hotlinked image. There is no control over what is served locally. If you do hotlink, then it is still necessary to follow any licensing conditions.

Generally hotlinking is wrong because it exploits another servers bandwidth to supply the files. For files on sites other than Wikimedia, don't link directly to those files without permission. Either download a copy from the other site and then upload it to the wiki, or link to the other site's page on which the file can be found.


For quickly illustrating articles with simple schematics, there are some suggestions listed at StackExchange EE:Good Tools for Drawing Schematics and at Wikipedia:Project Electronics/Programs.


An article without at least one illustration seems incomplete. Just a few images can help to explain complex ideas. If not photographs then here are a few applications for creating images, that may be worth investigating:

Other file types

See Help:Editing/Multimedia


Use wiki markup not HTML nor images. The easiest way to work with tables is to use Microsoft Excel. Paste and edit or create a table in Excel, then copy the table into the tab-delimited string to wiki markup converter. Other methods are described at Commons:Convert tables and charts to wiki code.

Enabling the enhanced editor in user preferences, gives an Insert a table button. Clicking this produces the following.

{| class="wikitable"
!header1!!header 2!!header 3
| row 1, cell 1|| row 1, cell 2|| row 1, cell 3
| row 2, cell 1|| row 2, cell 2|| row 2, cell 3

Which displays as

header1 header 2 header 3
row 1, cell 1 row 1, cell 2 row 1, cell 3
row 2, cell 1 row 2, cell 2 row 2, cell 3

For more in depth information on table markup see Wikipedia:Help:Table.


Be sure to keep your content meaningful. Relying on styling to indicate meaning is a bad practice (e.g. for machine readability such as by search engines, screen readers using text-to-speech, and text browsers).

Inline styling

See Mediawiki:Help:Formatting.

Inline CSS styling

Some HTML tags and inline styling is allowed, for example <code>, <div>, <span> and <font>. These apply anywhere you insert them but depend upon which fonts are installed on the client. Here is an example using <span style="font-family:Courier;font-size:100%;color:#0000ff;background-color:#dddddd"></span>.

Indenting text

Use a colon : to indent text.

Subscript and superscript

Foo<sub>Bar</sub> gives FooBar and Bar<sup>Baz</sup> gives BarBaz.

Inserting symbols

Symbols and other special characters can be inserted through HTML entities. For example &Omega; will show Ω and &gt; will show >. These are case-sensitive. For a list of HTML entities see Wikipedia:List of HTML entities

Text boxes

For preformatted text (in a dashed box) simply indent it by one space. Inline styling allows more options e.g. <div style="background: #eeffff; border: 1px solid #999999; padding: 1em; width:88%;">


See Help:Editing/Mathematical


Add one or more categories to pages or uploaded file, by simply adding eg. [[Category:Whatever]]. Categories themselves need to be categorised to create a hierarchy for navigating through the wiki.

Standard appendices

Information that can follow after the body of the article should follow in this order:

  • Lists, e.g. a list of designs, or a table of usage
  • See also, a list of internal links to related articles
  • Notes and references
  • Further reading, a list of recommended relevant books, articles, or other publications that have not been used as sources
  • External links, a list of recommended relevant websites that have not been used as sources


A template is a page that gets included in another page, (this is called transclusion). This is useful for text that is often repeated. For example, create a page called "Template:Main article" with the text
''The main article for this is [[{{{1}}}]].''

and then to use the template insert "{{Main article|Whatever}}" where you want that text to appear.

Talk pages

Don't leave visible notes and comments in the article. At the top of every article, the second tab entitled Talk opens the articles talk page. This is where to dicuss the article or leave notes for other editors. Remember to sign you posts on talk pages, (second from last button). In articles to leave notes or explanations use HTML commenting. These will be hidden except from other editors. An HTML comment, which has the form:<!--This is a comment.-->, will work fine in Mediawiki.

See also


Further reading

External links