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Magic Words and Symbols[edit]

Wikitext uses many words and symbols to format, edit and facilitate reading articles, a few of the more common are explained here. There are links to more explanatory pages where they exist.


used with every article to put in a category (or categories).[1]


[[Category:''category name here'']]. These are usually placed at the end of an article, but even if they aren't, they will always appear at the bottom to a reader.

Formatting with apostrophes[edit]

emphasise with italic or bold lettering.


  • ''This text is italic.'' = This text is italic.
  • '''This text is bold.''' = This text is bold.
  • '''''bold and italic''''' = bold and italic

Note: this works with repeated single apostrophes only, double apostrophes (quotes) do not have any effect.


divide an article into sections using headers.[2]

Usage: Two or more equals (=) signs before and after words makes them into headers and divides the page into sections. "Two equals sign" headers are used for main sections. "Three equals sign" headers are used to further break them up. Besides making an article easier to read, headers also make it easier to edit, since each one becomes an editable section.


indenting (like 'tabbing' in a word processor, but affecting the whole following paragraph)


  • : (colon) indents once for each colon. On RationalWiki talk pages it is customary for successive entries to be indented one more than the previous using colons (until thing get too far to the edge).
  • * (asterisk) is used as a talk page indent symbol on some wikis. Do not use it as such on RationalWiki. Asterisks are for making bulleted lists.
  • # (pound, hash, or number) these are used to create numbered lists. Using double "#"s after a single one creates a subsection.
  • ;: (semicolon & colon) are used for definition/ref lists.

If you want to stick an asterisk as an asterisk at the start of a line then enclose it in <nowiki>*</nowiki> tags.

Example of definition list: ;Marmalade : a delicious conserve of (normally) oranges. ;Orange : the fruit of the orange tree produces:

a delicious conserve of (normally) oranges.
the fruit of the orange tree.

The various indent methods can be combined - experiment.

See: Help:Lists for use of *,#,;: in lists.


See the main article on this topic: Help:Quotes

to differentiate actual quotations from the bulk of the article.[3]

Usage: {{cquote|quotation goes here}}

quotation goes here


forces an incoming link to go directly to another page or article.


#REDIRECT[[page to go to]]. Used when there is more than one way of referring to a subject. Alternately spelled or titled articles contain only the Redirect to the primary page.


See the main article on this topic: Help:References

puts a number like: [1] at the point of insertion, as a link to the body of the reference at the end of the document.[4]


<ref> reference wording here </ref> Will show only as a "footnote" superscripted number. The text that is between the tags will appear as a corresponding footnote in the "references" section, which is usually placed at the bottom of the article.

==References== {{reflist|2|80%}} is what is used to automatically generate this list of footnotes.


needed to stop many of the effects here, two returns put a clear line in the text flow.


tildes ~ are used as a wikisymbol for signing/dating "talk" contributions.


  • four tildes ~~~~ will put your username and date/time at the point of insertion. This should always be done after talk page comments.*
  • three tildes ~~~ leaves just your username;
  • five tildes ~~~~~ leaves only the date/time stamp
  • your username (result of three & four tildes) is automatically formatted as a link to your user page.[5]


Defaultsort changes the order in which the title is sorted in category listings. This is mostly used with people's names.


with e.g. forename othername surname: {{DEFAULTSORT:surname, forename, othername}} Has no visible effect within the article but forces the sort order in category lists. E.g {{DEFAULTSORT:Dawkins, Richard}} will force an article on Richard Dawkins to appear under D.

Sorting can also be achieved within individual categories using "sortkey". In the category statement ([[Category: thiscat]]) use: [[Category: thiscat|sortkey wording]]. Within that category the article will be listed under the alpha order of the sortkey wording, although the article will still be referred to by its title.


See the main article on this topic: Help:Templates

transclude is a wikiword "transfer/include", it means the copying of the contents of another page to the point of transclusion.


{{page to be included}} The page being copied is usually known as a "template" and is likely to be in "Template:" namespace. There are many other magic words and symbols used in wikitalk, feel free to research and use them.

Formatting with html[edit]

Hyper text markup language can be used to alter the appearance of text, but is not 100% reliable as it might conflict with wiki syntax.

Usage: Commonly used are:

  • <sub>characters/words</sub> to subscript (H2O),*
  • <sup>characters/words</sup> to superscript (X2),*
  • <s> characters/words</s> to strike out without removing (characters/words)*
  • <font color ="colourname here">''words to colour here'' to change the font colour (like these red words )
  • <br/> puts a hard line break (cr/lf) in the text.
  • <center></center> will center enclosed text across the page.

Most html will work, but the wiki software doesn't like some tags, especially if you mix them. * These markups are in the Wiki markup section of the editing toolbox. Note: CSS markup is preferred to HTML e.g. <span style="color:Red;"> Red script </span> produces: Red script



There shall not be too much of a gap between paragraphs or headings.


As you can see there is unnerving gap above. This big gap is caused by:

=== Example ===

Two line breaks. One line break is enough.

In wikitext examples[edit]

Whitespace should be used to enhance the readability of wikitext examples.

==Hey, try reading this==
It is '''harder'' to read.
*All the text
*is squished
== Hey, try reading this ==

It is '''easier'' to read.
* All the text
* isn't squished
* tightly
* together

In the wikitext of our actual article, use whatever you like. *This is valid and * This is also ok

There are cases where bad whitespace should be used in examples; cases where the accurate transcribing of the result is priority.


Non breaking space[edit]

See the Wikipedia article on Non breaking space.

Can be induced by {{Nowrap}} however the simple HTML entity &nbsp; is sufficient for most cases.

With non breaking space:

Chicken Pig Monkey Hen Banana Goat Monster Cake Dragon Cheese Evil No Death Love Hate Fear Cute Dog Honey

Without non breaking space:

Chicken Pig Monkey Hen Banana Goat Monster Cake Dragon Cheese Evil No Death Love Hate Fear Cute Dog Honey

Zero-width space[edit]

See the Wikipedia article on Zero-width space.

HTML entity: &#8203

Example stolen from Wikipedia. In the first example, zero width spaces are placed between each word.

With zero-width space:


Without zero-width space:



See also[edit]