Help:Tutorial (Editing)

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Editing pages

We'll start with the most basic wiki feature of all: Edit this page! With the exception of a few protected pages, every wiki page has a link at the top that says "edit this page" (sometimes it is just labeled "Edit"). This link lets you do exactly what it says: edit the page you're looking at. Sites such as these where anyone can edit anything are known as wikis. Try it! In a new window, open this page's sandbox, and then click the "edit this page" link. You'll see the wiki code for that page. Add something unique that you can take pride in. Then save it and see what you've done.

Show preview

An important feature to start using now is Show preview, which allows you to see what the page will look like after your edit, even before you save. Try making an edit in the sandbox, then clicking the Show Preview button. We all make mistakes, and this lets you catch them immediately. If you make a habit of using Show Preview before saving, you'll save yourself and other editors a lot of trouble. It also lets you try out format changes without actually changing the article until you're satisfied.

This is especially important if you think you may be making other edits on the page. It is a good idea to save just once, to keep the page history uncluttered. Saving less often is also a way of avoiding edit conflicts, which occur when two editors try to change a page at the same time. However, when you change large amounts of text you should consider doing this in successive steps (e.g. one paragraph at a time) so that others can follow your edits easily.

Another important thing to remember is to save the edits that you have previewed before moving on. A common mistake is to click to the preview page, read through it, and then click on through to other pages and forget to ever go back and save your changes. Certainly you should click through links you've added to make sure they go where you expect, but click Back immediately, and save your original edit. A good way to remember this is to remember to focus on getting rid of the red before leaving a page for good.

Minor changes

If you are logged in as a registered user, you can mark an edit as minor by checking the appropriate box before you save (unless, of course, it isn't minor). This is used to show others that your edit is not something substantive. There's no strict guideline on when to do this, but certainly spelling corrections and minor format changes like adding a space or a wikilink are considered minor edits. In other words, changing the presentation is generally minor, but changing the content is not. When in doubt, don't mark the box.

Edit summary

Before you hit Save, it's considered good practice to enter a very brief summary of your changes in the Edit summary box between the edit window and the Save and Preview buttons. It can be quite terse; for example if you just enter "typo," people will know you made a minor spelling or punctuation correction, or some other small change.

Play around in the sandbox if you'd like, and then continue with the tutorial.

Continue with the tutorial.