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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.


See the main article on this topic: Help:Categories

Used with every article to put in a category (or categories).

Usage: [[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. See Help:New Article for more information.

Formatting with apostrophes[edit]

Emphasise with italic or/and bold lettering.


  • Italic: ''This text is italic.'' = This text is italic.
  • Bold: '''This text is bold.''' = This text is bold.
  • Italic and bold: '''''This text is italic and bold''''' = This text is italic and bold
Note: This works with repeated single apostrophes (') only; double apostrophes, also known as quotes ("), do not have the same effect.

Combining: Although not recommended (as it may be confusing), you can also combine them: ''This text is all italic, '''but some of it is bold''''' = This text is all italic, but some of it is bold.


See the main article on this topic: Help:Sections

Divides an article into sections using headers. Besides making an article easier to read, headers also make it easier to edit, since each one becomes an editable section (and thus prevents editing conflicts).

Usage: Two or more equal signs (=) 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 (in subsections).


See the main article on this topic: Help:Lists

Indenting, like "tabbing" in a word processor, but affecting the whole paragraph that it precedes, is to create space before an element, like text (also known as padding).


  • Colon (:): Indents once for each colon; used in RationalWiki talk pages, where it is customary for successive entries (comments) to be indented one more than the previous using colons. When things get too far to the edge; use {{od}} (outdent).
  • Asterisk (*): 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 (#): Used to create numbered lists. Using multiple pounds (#) after a single one creates subsections.
  • Semicolon (;): Used for definition/reference lists.
Note: If you want to use an asterisk (*) literally "as an asterisk" at the start of a line (instead of starting a list), then enclose it with <nowiki></nowiki> e.g. <nowiki>*</nowiki>.

The various indent methods can be combined; experiment here!

Example of definition list:

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


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


See the main article on this topic: Help:Quotes

To differentiate actual quotations from the body of the article.

Usage: {{cquote|Quotation goes here.}} produces:

Quotation goes here.


Forces an incoming link or transclusion to be redirected to another page. 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.


#REDIRECT[[Destination page]].

Luckily, it is on your default toolbar when you are editing a page, in Wiki markup (as #REDIRECT [[]]).


See the main article on this topic: Help:References

Puts a superscript number in brackets (like [1]) at the point of insertion, as a link to the body of the reference at the end of the document.


<ref>Reference here</ref>: Shows 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 by norm placed at the bottom of the article.

==References== {{reflist|2|80%}}: 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.


See the main article on this topic: Help:Signature

Tildes (~) are used in wikitext for signing and/or dating Talk page contributions.


  • Four tildes (~~~~): automatically stamps your username, date and time at the point of insertion. This should always be done after talk page comments.
  • Three tildes (~~~): automatically stamps only your username.
  • Five tildes (~~~~~): automatically stamps only the date and time.

Your username is automatically formatted as a link to your user and talk pages.


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

Usage: {{DEFAULTSORT:surname, forename, othername}} — has no visible effect within the article but forces the sort order in category lists.

Example: {{DEFAULTSORT:Dawkins, Richard}} will force an article on Richard Dawkins to appear under page names starting with D.

Sorting can also be achieved within individual categories using Sortkey. For example, in the hypothetical category [[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 wikitext for "transfer/include"; it means the copying (transfering) of the contents of another page and adding (including) it in the target page.

Usage: {{Page to be transcluded}} — The page being copied is usually known as a Template and is likely to be in the Template namespace. There are many other magic words and symbols used in wikitext, feel free to research and experiment with them!

Formatting with HTML[edit]

Note: CSS markup is preferred over HTML.

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

Usage: These tags are in the Wiki markup section of the editing toolbox. Commonly used are:

  • <sub>Subscript</sub>: Makes the text appear smaller and below the normal line-height. Can be used, for example, in indexes in chemical formulas (e.g. H2O) or mathematical expressions (e.g. fx(x,y) = xy dx).
  • <sup>Superscript</sup>: Makes the text appear smaller and above the normal line-height. Can be used, for example, in exponents for isotopes (e.g. 14C) or mathematical expressions (e.g. f -1(x) = x2).
  • <s>Strikeout</s>: Strikes out text without removing them, ,any times used as a form of sarcasm, e.g. "G.W. Bush is a less worse better president than D.J. Trump."
  • <u>Underline</u>: Underlines text, many times used for emphasis, e.g. "Please do not feed the trolls."
  • <font color ="Color here">Colored text</font>: Changes the color of the font. Example: <font color = "red">Red words</font> produces Red words. See Help:Color for more information.
  • <br/>: Inserts a hard line break (cr/lf) in the text.
  • <center>Centrist text</center>: Centers the enclosed text across the page. Example: <center>Dump Trump!</center> produces:
Dump Trump!

Most HTML will probably work, but the Mediawiki software doesn't like some tags, especially if you mix them. Preferably, use the CSS defined span tags to color text e.g. <span style="color:red;">RED ALARM</span> to produce: RED ALARM.



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:


Comment Tags[edit]

Character put in comments are only visible when viewed on edit mode.

Edit mode:

Engi<!--nope.avi-->neer is building <!--a--> sentries.

Read mode:

Engineer is building sentries.


See also[edit]