How to Make a Wikipedia Page

Are you ready to start sharing your knowledge with Wikipedia and the world?  Great!  This tutorial will go over how to create your very own article on Wikipedia.  Remember, you need an account on Wikipedia to create an article, so see our Wikipedia accounts tutorial if you don’t have an account yet.

Creating a Wikipedia Page

  1. Go to www.wikipedia.org in your web browser and click on the language version that you want to use.
  2. In the upper-right corner, click Log In.
  3. Click in the box labelled “Enter your user name” and type in your user name.  Then click on the box labelled “Enter your password” and type in your password (it will appear as bullet points to protect it from prying eyes).  Finally, click the Log In button.
  4. You will notice that the menu in the top-right corner has changed.  Click on Sandbox.
  5. Your “Sandbox” is your personal editing space, where you can practice how to create and edit pages, and even submit new pages to Wikipedia once they’re done. The top toolbar gives you some quick formatting options, such as bolding or italicizing your font, inserting a hyperlink or image, or using other common formatting conventions (such as lists or tables). The bottom toolbar lets you add special characters, including codes that have various effects on Wikipedia. The middle of the page is your main window, where you’ll start typing to bring your article to life!
  6. If you’re still totally lost, type https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Simple_guide_to_creating_your_first_article into your web browser to get an easy example of how to create a Wikipedia article.
  7. When you’re done, you can click Show Preview to see what your article will actually look like once it’s up on Wikipedia.  If you like what you see, you can click Save Page.
  8. If you’re satisfied and want to try to make your page available for everyone who visits Wikipedia to see, click Submit Your Draft for Review.  Then click Save Page again when you get to the next screen.

You’ll probably get plenty of feedback from the community on things that are good or can be improved.  Don’t be discouraged if your article doesn’t pass the first time; just take the feedback you get into consideration and try again, or ask for help on a “talk” page.  Either way, you’ve taken your first step towards contributing to a global archive of shared knowledge!


Wikipedia Accounts

Want to join the community on Wikipedia that’s spreading free knowledge worldwide?  Creating an account on Wikipedia is the best way to do it!

Why create a Wikipedia account?

There are a few benefits to creating an account on Wikipedia if you’re going to be using the website frequently, some of which we’ve already pointed out.  They include:

  • Having your own page to practice editing or creating articles, or tell the Wikipedia community a little about yourself
  • Being able to see and discuss feedback on your creations or edits from other members of the Wikipedia community, either on public forums or by private (i.e. no address) emails
  • Being able to create new articles, rename existing articles, or put new pictures on Wikipedia to be used in articles
  • Being able to edit articles that are somewhat protected because they (for example) contain the rules of Wikipedia, are about controversial topics, or get vandalized frequently

How to create a Wikipedia account

  1. Go to www.wikipedia.org in your web browser and click on the language version you want.
  2. In the upper-right corner of the screen, click on Create Account.
  3. You’ll use a window like the one in the screenshot below to set up your account.  Click in each of the boxes shown in the screenshot below and type in a user name (click Help Me Choose to get suggestions), a password, a copy of that password, your email address (optionally), and the text shown in the security check (click Refresh to get a new puzzle if you can’t read the current one). Then click Create Your Account and you’re all set!

How to delete a Wikipedia account

Short version: you can’t.

Long version: Wikipedia doesn’t allow you to outright delete your account because of how its content ownership system works.  When you create an article on Wikipedia, or add to or edit an existing article, you’re automatically giving anyone else who uses Wikipedia the right to copy or edit your work.  However, they have to give you credit for the original information, and allow anyone else on Wikipedia to copy or edit what they have copied or edited.

In other words, since nobody on Wikipedia “owns” any information that they create or edit, users have to give each other credit for where they get their original information.  This is to ensure that as much information on Wikipedia as possible can be traced back to reliable sources.  Thus, it becomes kind of hard to trust information that’s based on the work of someone whose account doesn’t exist anymore.  It might as well be gossip or a rumor.

Other than simply not using your Wikipedia account anymore, there is one way to (sort of) delete your account on Wikipedia: requesting a courtesy vanishing.

Courtesy Vanishing

You can ask for a courtesy vanishing to change your user name, delete your user pages, and get rid of at least some discussions about you as a user on Wikipedia.  This is to be used as a last resort, as if you never want to create or edit anything on Wikipedia ever again.

  1. Write {{db-user}} or {{retired}} at the top of your user pages and subpages, in order to let administrators know that you would like them to be deleted, or that you otherwise won’t be using them ever again.
  2. Consider going to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:EmailUser/Oversight (while you’re logged in to Wikipedia) and sending an email to Wikipedia’s oversight board asking them to delete your personal information.
  3. Finally, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:EmailUser/Bureaucrats (while you’re logged into Wikipedia) to ask Wikipedia’s administrators to change your user name, and be sure to tell them that the reason why is that you’re requesting a courtesy vanishing.
  4. You can also send a direct email to “wikien-bureaucrats@lists.wikimedia.org,” but this will display your request publicly, so you may not want to do so.

Note that requests for courtesy vanishings and deletion of personal information can be denied or reversed, and some of your discussion pages may not be deleted except under special circumstances.


Wikipedia Search

Searching for things on Wikipedia is a snap!  Even if Wikipedia can’t find what you’re looking for right away, its search tools will help you get back on track quickly and easily.

To Search on Wikipedia:

  1. Go to www.wikipedia.org and select your language version.
  2. In the upper-right corner of the screen, click inside the box that says “Search” and type in what you’re looking for.  Then click the search button () or press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.  One of three things will happen, depending on what you typed in.

  3. The first (and ideal one) is that you’ll go straight to the article you’re looking for, if what you typed in is close enough to the specific title of that article.  Congratulations!  No further searching needed!

  4. If you type in a word or phrase that might refer to multiple different articles that Wikipedia has, you’ll be taken to a disambiguation page.  Here, you’ll see a list of articles that your search term might refer to, grouped by categories.  Click one of the words or phrases in blue font in the list to take you to further disambiguation pages, or to a specific article about what you clicked on.

  5. If you type in a phrase or something else related to a topic, but not the specific name of a topic itself, you may be taken to a general search page.

    Underneath the search box in the main window, you can filter your results by:

    Content Pages: if you’re looking for a specific article on Wikipedia.
    Multimedia: if you’re looking for an image, sound clip, or video in a Wikipedia article.
    Everything: if you want to look for your topic anywhere on Wikipedia.
    Advanced: you can click check boxes here to select where you want to search.

    Like in a disambiguation page, click one of the words or phrases in blue font in the list to take you to further disambiguation pages, or to a specific article about what you clicked on.

And those are the basics of how to search for something on Wikipedia!


How Wikipedia Works

Now that you know a little bit about what Wikipedia is (and isn’t), it’s time to learn what’s on the actual website and how to use it.

Title Screen

Go to www.wikipedia.org in your web browser.  You should see a page like the one in the screenshot below.  Click one of the languages surrounding the Wikipedia logo to view Wikipedia in that language. Or, if you’re looking for an article in a specific language, click in the search box below the logo and type in what you hope to find. Then click the drop-down menu beside it and select what language to search in, and then click the arrow button beside that to search.

You can also click in the search box marked “Find Wikipedia in a Language” and type in a language, and then click the arrow button next to it to see if there’s a version of Wikipedia in that language. Alternatively, if you scroll down a little bit, you can also see all of the different language versions of Wikipedia, and approximately how many articles they have. Click on a language (in blue font) to go to the main page of that version of Wikipedia.

Main Page

Once you select a language version of Wikipedia, you’ll be taken to that version’s main page. Here, the bulk of the page will be taken up by featured content, such as things that are in the news, events that happened on the current day in history, and other tidbits from topics that have recently been created or edited.

On the left side of the page, you can click the tabs marked Page and Talk to switch back and forth between reading the page and discussing how to change or correct it. The options on the far left let you do various things, like get more help with how to use Wikipedia, see what the Wikipedia community is up to, look at special content, or change the current language version of Wikipedia.

You have even more options in the upper-right corner of the page. Of the three tabs here, Read lets you view the content on the current page, View Source lets you see the page with formatting code included, and View History lets you browse an archive of previous versions of the page. You can also click Create Account to sign up for Wikipedia (our article on how to make a Wikipedia account can help you there), or Log In if you already have an account.

You can also click in the box labeled “Search” and type in a specific topic you’re looking for, and then click the magnifying glass to see if it has a page on Wikipedia (our lesson on how to search Wikipedia can tell you more). Or, if you’d rather look for something by category, click one of the portal links below the search box to filter through a series of sub-portals until you get to where you want to go.

Article Page

Clicking on pretty much any word or phrase in blue font in the main window of Wikipedia will take you to its corresponding article.

You’ll notice many of the same features from the main page; we’ll highlight a few more in the screenshots below.  For example, after the introductory paragraph, there is an interactive table of contents.  You can click on the headings here to automatically jump to a specific part of the article.

On the right-hand side, there is usually a window with a summary of related information about the topic.  In the example below, we’re looking at an animal, so you’ll see information such as its genetic categories, where it lives, and whether or not it’s in danger of becoming extinct.  If you were to look up a business, by contrast, you’d see information like whether it’s publicly or privately traded, who founded it, who it’s currently run by, its market performance, and so on.

Near the bottom of the article, you will see a list of references about where people got the information needed to put this article together.  If you click on a word or phrase in blue font with a symbol beside it, such as a portable document download () or link to an external page (), it will usually take you to a place where you can read the source of the information, so you can decide for yourself if it’s accurate or not.

There are a few more things at the bottom of the page that you’ll notice. Below “External Links,” you can click a link highlighted in blue to visit a web page with more information on your current topic (though this may take you outside of Wikipedia). In the table below that, you can click Show or Hide beside categories to see lists of topics similar to the current one, then click a link to visit a different page. In the box at the bottom of the screen, you can click one of the links to visit a portal of topics that contains the current topic.


And that’s the bulk of what you’ll find on Wikipedia’s most common pages!