Basic formatting

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Basic Formatting

Click on the edit button at the top of the page to start editing a page.

Formatting WikiDoc articles is a bit different from writing on a standard word processor. Instead of a strict WYSIWYG or "what you see is what you get" approach, 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.

When you click edit, you can begin to enter or edit text on a page. The right hand column of the table shows you what to type in the space where you are editing to end up with the text you see in the righthand column.

Why Use the Formatting Below Including "Equal Signs" to Create Sections, Subsections, and Sub Sub Sections?

So that WikiDoc can automatically generate a table of contents for you. If you just use bold, an automatic table of contents won't be created.

Examples

What it looks like What you type

Start your sections as follows:

New section

Subsection

Sub-subsection

  • Start with a second-level heading (==); don't use first-level headings (=).
  • Don't skip levels (for example, second-level followed by fourth-level).
  • A Table of Contents will automatically be added to an article that has four or more sections.
  • If appropriate, place subsections in an appropriate order. If listing countries, place them in alphabetical order rather than, say, relative to population of OECD countries, or some random order.
==New section==

===Subsection===

====Sub-subsection====

A single newline generally has no effect on the layout. These can be used to separate sentences within a paragraph. Some editors find that this aids editing and improves the function diff (used internally to compare different versions of a page).

But an empty line starts a new paragraph.

  • When used in a list, a newline does affect the layout (see below).
A single newline
generally has no effect on the layout. 
These can be used to separate
sentences within a paragraph.
Some editors find that this aids editing
and improves the function ''diff'' 
(used internally to compare
different versions of a page).

But an empty line
starts a new paragraph.

You can break lines
without starting a new paragraph.

  • Please use this sparingly.
  • Close markup between lines, do not start a link or italics or bold on one line and close it on the next.
You can break lines<br>
without starting a new paragraph.
  • It's easy to create a list:
    • Start every line with a star (asterisk).
      • More stars means deeper levels.
        • A newline in a list

marks the end of a list item.

  • An empty line starts a new list.
* It's easy to create a list:
** Start every line with a star.
*** More stars means deeper levels.
**** A newline in a list
marks the end of a list item.

* An empty line starts a new list.
  1. Numbered lists are also good
    1. very organized
    2. easy to follow
      1. easier still
# Numbered lists are also good
## very organized
## easy to follow
### easier still
Definition list 
list of definitions
item 
the item's definition
another item
the other item's definition
  • Begin with a semicolon. One item per line; a newline can appear before the colon, but using a space before the colon improves parsing.
; Definition list : list of definitions
; item : the item's definition
; another item
: the other item's definition
  • You can even create mixed lists
    1. and nest them
      • like this
        can I mix definition list as well?
        yes
        how?
        it's easy as
        • a
        • b
        • c
* You can even create mixed lists
*# and nest them
*#* like this
*#*; can I mix definition list as well?
*#*: yes
*#*; how?
*#*: it's easy as
*#*:* a 
*#*:* b
*#*:* c
A colon indents a line or paragraph.

A manual newline starts a new paragraph.

  • This is primarily for displayed material, but is also used for discussion on Talk pages.
: A colon indents a line or paragraph.
A manual newline starts a new paragraph.

When there is a need for separating a block of text

the blockquote command will indent both margins when needed instead of the left margin only as the colon does.

This is useful for (as the name says) inserting blocks of quoted (and cited) text.

<blockquote>
The '''blockquote''' command will indent 
both margins when needed instead of the 
left margin only as the colon does.  
</blockquote>

(See formula on right):

  • This is useful for:
    • pasting preformatted text;
    • algorithm descriptions;
    • program source code;
    • ASCII art;
    • chemical structures;
  • WARNING: If you make it wide, you force the whole page to be wide and hence less readable, especially for people who use lower resolutions. Never start ordinary lines with spaces.
 IF a line starts with a space THEN
 it will be formatted exactly
 as typed;
 in a fixed-width font;
 lines will not wrap;
 ENDIF
Centered text.
  • Please note the American spelling of "center."
<center>Centered text.</center>

A horizontal dividing line: this is above it


and this is below it.

  • Mainly useful for
    • disambiguation - but to be used sparsely, only when separating completely different, unrelated (groups of) meanings
    • separating threads on Talk pages.
A horizontal dividing line:
this is above it
----
and this is below it.

This page is for assisting in basic formatting of text on wiki pages.

Boldness and Italics

Boldness can be performed simply by using three apostrophes on each side of the text you wish to boldify. For example,

'''This is bold text'''

becomes This is bold text


Italics can be perfomed by using two apostrophes on either side of the text you wish to italicise. For example,

''This is italicised text''

becomes This is italicised text.


Naturally, these two can be combined:

'''''This is bold and italicised'''''

becomes This is bold and italicised.


In order to print something like multiple apostrophes or tildes (without wiki interpreting), use the nowiki tag: <nowiki> Here are five apostrophes in a row '''''without bold italics'''''. </nowiki>


Putting Something in Quotes

{{cquote|You can put something inside these big quote marks this way!}}

and it looks like this (indented with big quote marks)

You can put something inside these big quote marks this way!

Font Color

Changing the font color can be performed by placing <font color="desired color"> and </font> around your text. For example,

 <font color="red">your text</font>

becomes this red text: your text

Text can be in any hexadecimal color. For example,

 <font color="#1f4099">your text</font> 

becomes your text with hexadecimal color #1f4099: your text

Font Size

The fonts come in sizes from 1 to 7. The standard size is 3, unless otherwise specified in the <body> or other tags.

Changing the font size can be performed by placing <font size="desired size"> and </font> around your text. For example,

 <font size="4">your text</font> 

creates a bigger font size of size 4: your text

Also, typing this:

 <font size="+1">your text</font>

creates text with size 1 bigger than the standard: your text

Typing this:

 <font size="-1">your text</font>

creates text with size 1 smaller than the standard: your text

Font Typeface

Changing the font typeface can be performed by placing <font face="desired typeface"> and </font> around your text. For example,

 <font face="Courier">your text</font> 

creates text with Courier font: your text

Signatures

Users can leave timestamped signatures to identify themselves. Three tildes (~~~) inserts the user's name, four tildes (~~~~) inserts the user's name with a timestamp, and five tildes (~~~~~) gives just a timestamp with no name. You can also insert your signature with timestamp from edit screen toolbar (second button from the right).

Signatures should be used on all talk pages.

Line Breaks

Paragraphs are identified in wikicode by the simple expedient of leaving a blank line between paragraphs. This has the side effect that two lines of text without a blank line between them will remain on the same line on-screen. Also, <br /> can be used to force a line break (but not a paragraph break) at any time within a paragraph, though you shouldn't need to use this much.

Horizontal Lines

A horizontal lines can be created by adding four dashes in a row on a separate line.

This code in the edit window:

----

creates this horizontal line:


(Equivalently, the XHTML code <hr /> also creates a horizontal line.)

Also, the largest two section headers automatically create a horizontal line immediately below the heading title.

HTML and XHTML tags

What's the Difference?

Background

HTML is an interpreted language that is currently used to write web pages. HTML is now considered deprecated by the W3C, and is strongly discouraged. XHTML is a revised version of HTML, designed to counter problems within the HTML standard.

Compatability and Future Proofing

Older browers will rarely have issues with XHTML, but the same cannot be said of any browser in regards to regular HTML; the flaws within the original HTML specifications left too much room for ambiguity and both can, and often have been, misinterpreted.

The primary reason behind the stated strong preference for wikimarkup over either HTML or XHTML is future proofing. As stated earlier, HTML is deprecated and discouraged. One can imagine that backwards compatability with aging and defunct standards may eventually be discarded in order to reduce the size and complexity of browsers.

At present, wikimarkup can be likened to "shorthand" of XHTML, but will presumably take advantage of the capabilities of XML when it becomes reasonable. Therefore, it is strongly advised that wherever possible, wikimarkup should be used instead of HTML or XHTML.

Non-exhaustive List of HTML and XHTML Tags

Some more useful HTML formatting codes are as follows:

  • Using <tt></tt> and <code></code> to put items in typewriter font. These tags are often synonymous, but not in every case. The <code></code> tag is actually intended to delineate program source code from other text.
  • Using <s></s> or <strike></strike> to strikethrough text.
  • Using <u></u> to underline text.
  • Using <span style="font-variant:small-caps"></span> to put text in small caps. Technically, this is using XHTML and CSS.
  • Using <sup></sup> and <sub></sub> to make text Superscript and subscript respectively.
  • As mentioned previously, <br /> generates a line break. Use blank lines wherever possible, try to use the <br /> tag as a last resort.
  • As mentioned previously <hr /> will generate a horizontal line. Again, use <hr /> as a last resort.

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