Formatting Wikipedia articles is a bit different from writing on a standard word processor. Instead of a strict WYSIWYG approach ("What You See Is What You Get"), Wikipedia uses text codes to create particular elements of the page (e.g. headings). This "language" is known as Wikitext (or Wiki-markup) and is designed for ease of editing.
Bold and italics
The most commonly used wiki tags are bold and italics. Bolding and italicizing are done by surrounding a word or phrase with multiple apostrophes ('):
On Wikipedia, the names of an article's subject are written in bold when they are first mentioned in the article. For example, the article Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom begins:
- Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is queen regnant of 16 independent sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms:...
Italics may be used for the names of books, movies, albums, and computer/video game titles. If the first mention of the subject of an article is also a book or movie title then bold italics is used.
For more information about when to use bold and italics, see Wikipedia:Manual of style.
Headings and subheadings
Headings and subheadings are an easy way to improve the organization of an article. If you can see two or more distinct topics being discussed, you can break up the article by inserting a heading for each section.
Headings can be created like this:
If an article has at least four headings, a table of contents will automatically be generated. Try creating a heading in this page's sandbox. It will be added automatically to the table of contents for the page, assuming three others already exist.
Wikitext contains all the features required to follow Wikipedia's formatting conventions and knowledge of HTML code is not necessary, although it is often used for more specific formatting such as using colors, text and paragraph styles, and page layout.
Test what you have learned in the sandbox