User:John Broughton/VisualEditor - help system
|Note: When you edit this page, you agree to release your contribution under the CC0. See Public Domain Help Pages for more info.
|To edit a page using VisualEditor, click on the "Edit" tab at the top of the page.
It can take a few seconds for the page to open for editing, and longer if the page is very long.
Clicking on the "Edit source" tab will open the classic wikitext source editor.
|You can also open VisualEditor by clicking on the "edit" link on each section.|
Getting started: the VisualEditor toolbarEdit
|The VisualEditor toolbar appears at the top of the screen when you begin editing. It includes some familiar icons:|
|Undo and Redo the changes you have made.|
|Headings pull-down menu: allows you to change how the paragraph is formatted. To change the style of a paragraph, put your caret in the paragraph and select an item in this menu (you don't have to highlight any text). Section titles are formatted "Heading", and subsections are "Heading 2", "Heading 3", and so on. The normal format for text is "Paragraph".|
Formatting: Clicking the "A" opens a menu. For any item to have an effect, you must have first selected (highlighted) some text.
|Linking tool: The chain is the linking tool. Clicking on it (usually after selecting some text) opens the link dialog.|
|⧼visualeditor-toolbar-cite-label⧽ menu: The "⧼visualeditor-toolbar-cite-label⧽" menu is used to add inline citations (also called "footnotes" or "references"). All projects have access to "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-reference-tooltip⧽" reference formatting and the ability to "⧼visualeditor-dialog-reference-useexisting-tool⧽" citations, using this menu. This menu also gives you quick access to local citation templates, if these are enabled on your wiki.
(Instructions for adding local citation templates to the ⧼visualeditor-toolbar-cite-label⧽ menu at a specific wiki are available at VisualEditor/Citation tool.)
|Lists & indentation: The first two items allow you to format text as either a "Bullet list" or a "Numbered list". The last two items allow you to decrease or increase the indentation level of list items.|
|Insert: The "Insert" menu may be different on some projects. Below is a list of all options that may appear.
|Special character insertion: The "Special character" (Ω) icon on the "Insert" menu, when clicked, displays a dialog showing many special characters. By clicking on a specific character, you place it into the text. These special characters include some standard symbols, accents, and mathematical symbols. (This list may be customized locally. See VisualEditor/Special characters for instructions.)|
|The Page options menu is to the left of the ⧼visualeditor-toolbar-savedialog⧽ button. On this menu there are options to adjust page settings, such as whether the page is a redirect, or how it is indexed; to add, edit, or delete categories; and to see, using the "Language" item, the list of articles on the same subject that are in other languages. You can also switch (one-way only) from VisualEditor to the classic wikitext source editor without losing the editing work you've done.|
|When you're done editing, click the blue "⧼visualeditor-toolbar-savedialog⧽" button in the toolbar. If you have made no changes, the button will be disabled (grayed out). To cancel all your editing changes, just close your browser window.|
|Pressing the green "⧼visualeditor-toolbar-savedialog⧽" button opens a dialog. You can then enter a brief summary of your actions, mark your edit as minor, and add the page to your Watchlist. The box for the summary is the equivalent of the Summary (?): field in the wikitext editor.
You can also review your changes using the "Review your changes" button to be sure they will work as intended before saving your changes. This is similar to the "Show changes" button in the wikitext editor.
The "Cancel" button returns you to the page you were editing. You can save all of your changes later.
|Links can be added through the "Link" icon (links in a chain) in the toolbar, or by using the shortcut Ctrl+K (or ⌘ Command+K on a Mac).
If you select (highlight) text and then press the "Link" button, a link will be inserted using that text. For single-word links it's enough to just do it while the caret is on that word.
|When you use either the button or the shortcut, a dialog will open in which you may type the link.
VisualEditor will try to help with internal links by looking for likely matches as you begin to type.
|Once you have entered or selected the link, you complete the linking process by pressing ↵ Enter, pressing the "Done" button, or just clicking outside of the box. Your link will immediately appear on the VisualEditor page, but it will not be saved until you save the entire page.|
|To link to a web page on another website, the process is the similar: Choose the "External site" tab, and enter a URL in the box.|
|External links without labels look like this: . You can add these by placing your cursor away from any word (e.g., after a space). Open the link tool by clicking on the button or pressing the shortcut keys. Type the URL in the box, and click the "Done" button to insert the link.|
|To change or remove an existing link, click within the text for that link, then press the "Link" icon that appears near it. The dialog will appear, for editing. (You can also get to the dialog with the Ctrl+K keyboard shortcut.)
In the dialog, you can then change where the link goes. You can also remove the link altogether by pressing the "Remove" button in the lower left corner of the dialog. You can also open the link's target in another window by clicking on the "⧼visualeditor-linkinspector-open⧽" button. (You might want do this to check if an external link is valid.)
Editing an existing referenceEdit
|To edit an existing reference, click on it where it appears in the text (usually as a bracketed number). You will see either a "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-reference-tooltip⧽" icon (bookmark) or an icon (and name) for the template that was used to create this reference. Clicking on this icon will open a dialog where you can edit the reference.|
|If what appears is the "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-reference-tooltip⧽" icon, clicking on it opens the Reference dialog, where you can edit the reference's contents.
Many wikis use templates to format references. If a template is used in your reference, then all the text in the template will be highlighted when you click on the reference information.
If a template was used and you've clicked on information in that template, then the Template icon (puzzle piece) will appear. Click on that icon to edit the content of the template in the template mini-editor dialog.
|If, instead of the "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-reference-tooltip⧽" icon (bookmark), what appears when you click on a reference is an icon for a standard template for citations, then clicking on that icon will take you directly to the template mini-editor dialog.|
|Inside the template mini-editor, you can add or remove types of information or change current content. Only fields (template parameters) that have content are supposed to be shown initially. To add fields, click on "Add more information" at the bottom of the mini-editor.|
|Click on "Apply changes" when you're done.|
Re-using an existing referenceEdit
|If the page already contains a citation that applies to the text you want to source, then you can choose to re-use the existing citation.
To re-use an existing reference, place your cursor in the body of the text where you want to add a new reference (number) for that citation. Then click on the "⧼visualeditor-dialog-reference-useexisting-tool⧽" item from the "⧼visualeditor-toolbar-cite-label⧽" menu.
|In the ⧼visualeditor-dialog-reference-title⧽ dialog, look at the list for the reference you want to reuse, and select it. If there are many references, you can use the search box (labeled "⧼visualeditor-reference-input-placeholder⧽") to list only those references that include certain text.|
Adding a new referenceEdit
|To add a citation using the "⧼visualeditor-toolbar-cite-label⧽" menu, place your cursor where you want to add it in the text. Then select the appropriate citation type in the menu.|
Using the "Basic" citationEdit
|Shown here is what you will see if you select the "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-reference-tooltip⧽" item. In the Reference editor, you can add your citation, including formatting.
You can make the reference belong to a given group, although normally this is left blank. (This option is used to display groups of references with the "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-referenceslist-tooltip⧽" tool.)
|In the Reference dialog, if you want to include a template in your new reference, click the Template icon (puzzle piece) in the "Insert" toolbar menu within the Reference editor.|
|Then, look for the template you want to use, add it and edit it as you would any other template. (See the Editing templates section, below, if you need more information about templates.)
After you're done editing your new template, click on "Apply changes" to return to the Reference editor, and "Apply changes" again to return to the page you're editing.
|If there isn't already a list of references on the page (for example, if you're adding the first reference for the page), you need to specify where the list of references, and their text, will be displayed to the reader.
Place the cursor where you want to display the references list (usually at the bottom of the page), open the "Insert" menu and click the "⧼visualeditor-dialogbutton-referenceslist-tooltip⧽" icon (three books).
|If you are using several groups of references, which is relatively rare, you can specify the group in this dialog. Only the references that belong to that group will be displayed here.
The final step in the References list dialog is to click "Insert".
Using standard cite templatesEdit
|Your local wiki may have added extra citation templates to this menu. This offers quick access to the most-used citation templates. (Instructions for adding extra citation templates to your local wiki are available at VisualEditor/Citation tool.)|
|Clicking on a template icon such as "Cite book" will take you into the template mini-editor for that template. Important information fields may be marked with an asterisk. While the most common fields will be shown, not all of them are required.|
|To add more parameters, scroll down in the template mini-editor and click on the "Add more information" option.
Click on "Insert" when you're done.
Editing images and other media filesEdit
|To add a new image (or another type of media file) to the page, click the "Images and media" icon (a picture of mountains) in the "Insert" menu. The image will be added wherever your cursor is.|
|Clicking the "Images and media" icon opens a dialog that automatically searches Wikimedia Commons and your local wiki for media files related to the title of the page you're editing.
You can change the search by changing the text in the dialog's search box.
To choose a file, click on its thumbnail image.
This places the image onto the page you are editing.
|After the image you selected is inserted into the page, another dialog will open. This dialog allows you to add and edit the caption of the image. The caption can contain formatting and links.|
|The media dialog also allows you to add alternative text captions, to help users who use screen readers, or who have disabled image display.|
|You can also set various parameters for the image in the "Advanced settings" window. These include the alignment, the type, and size of the image.|
|When you're done, click "Apply changes" to close the dialog and return to editing the page.|
|For an existing image, you can add or edit a caption or other settings by clicking on the image, then clicking on the "Images and media" icon that appears below the picture.
You can resize an existing image by clicking on it, then moving the resize icon (the two-headed arrow on the bottom left).
You can also drag and drop an image to a place higher or lower on the page.
Editing media galleriesEdit
|To add a new gallery, click the "⧼visualeditor-mwgalleryinspector-title⧽" icon (a set of photos) on the "Insert" menu. (If you don't see this icon on that menu, then your local wiki has decided to delay implementing this functionality in VisualEditor.)|
|To edit an existing gallery in VisualEditor, click that gallery. Then, near the bottom of the gallery, click the gallery icon (a set of photos). This brings up the gallery editor, with the full list of images included in the gallery.|
|The gallery editor is currently a simple box that allows you to edit existing galleries using wikitext markup. To add a new image to an existing gallery, type the file name, followed by a bar (
When you click the "Done" button, you will exit the gallery editor. You should then see your changes, with the gallery as it will now appear to readers.
Remember that exiting the gallery editor does not save your changes. As with other changes made using VisualEditor, you must save the entire page in order to save your work.
|To add a new template to the page, place your cursor where you want the template to be inserted, and click on the "Template" icon (puzzle piece) in the "Insert" menu.|
|Type the name of the template you want to insert. When you see it on the list, click on its name. Then click "Add template".|
|You can also edit templates that are already on the page by selecting them (they turn blue), and clicking on the "Template" icon (puzzle piece) that appears.|
|Adding a new template or opening an existing one opens the "⧼visualeditor-dialog-transclusion-title⧽" dialog. If the template has been updated to contain TemplateData information, then the dialog will show a list of individual parameters; otherwise, a link to the documentation will be available in the dialog.
If the template does not use named parameters, then use numbers as the name for each nameless parameter. The first un-named parameter is named
|For an existing template, you edit the parameters already listed, and you can add additional parameters by clicking "Add more information", at the very bottom of the dialog.|
|When a template embeds other templates, these sub-templates will appear inside the parameters that display them. They can be edited or removed inside the parameter field.
New sub-templates are added by following the steps of adding a parameter. You may need to check the template documentation to make sure that the sub-template is supported.
|When you're done, click "Apply changes" to close the dialog and return to the page editor.|
|When a template must be substituted, type
Autocompletion doesn't work with
Then, click the green "Add template" button.
|Add any parameters as usual and "Apply changes".|
|You will see the template expand on the page after you click "Apply changes". When you're ready save the page.|
|You can use VisualEditor to insert and change tables. This is a new feature, and the details will be changing rapidly. You can also import tables by dragging a comma-separated value (.csv) file from your computer into an open editing window.|
|You can add and remove columns and rows.|
|Double-click inside a cell to add or change the contents.|
|To edit categories, on the "Page options" menu, click the "Categories" button.|
|The "Categories" button opens a dialog that lists existing categories and allows you to add new ones.
You have the option of setting or changing the general (default) sorting key, which used to determine where the page appears when listed with other pages in the same category.
For example, the default sorting key for the article "George Washington" is "Washington, George", and so in the category "Presidents of the United States", the article is listed under the letter "W", not the letter "G".
|To add a category for a page, type the name of the category into the field "Add a category". As you type, VisualEditor will search for possible matching, existing categories. You can either select an existing category, or you can add a category that doesn't yet have its own category page. (Until that category page is created, your new category will show as a red link after you save all your editing changes.)|
|To remove an existing category, click on it and click on the "Remove" icon (trash can) in the dialog that opens.
Clicking on a category also allows you to specify a sorting key for that specific category. Such a sorting key overrides the default sorting key.
|Click "Apply changes" when you're done editing categories to return to the page editor.|
Editing page settingsEdit
|To edit a page's settings, click to open the "Page options" menu, in the toolbar, and select the "Page settings" button.|
|The "Page settings" button opens a dialog that shows several options.|
|You can make a page a redirect to another page by checking the "Redirect this page to" checkbox, and then typing the name of the page to which you want to send the reader who tries to go to the page that you're editing.
At the bottom is the option to prevent page renames from updating this redirect. This is very rarely used.
|You can change whether the page shows a Table of Contents by selecting one of these three buttons. The default option is "If needed", which shows a Table of Contents if there are three or more headings.|
|You can make a page not show edit links next to each section header by checking this checkbox.|
|Click "Apply changes" when you're done editing the Page options to return to the page editor.|
Editing mathematical formulaeEdit
|To add a new mathematical formula to the page, place your cursor where you want it to be inserted, and click on the "⧼math-visualeditor-mwmathinspector-title⧽" icon ("Σ") in the "Insert" menu on the toolbar.|
|A window will open in which you can type the formula, using LaTeX syntax. VisualEditor will update the formula as you type it, so you can see how it will look as you make changes. Once you are happy with the formula, click the "Done" button.|
|To edit an existing mathematical formula on the page, click on it and then click on the "Σ" icon that appears. This will open up the formula window, where you make changes.|
Editing poems and other special itemsEdit
Some items, such as poems and musical scores, are not yet supported by VisualEditor. Until they are, you will need to edit the source wikitext directly if you want to add these or change these.
You can not add an automatic signature or datestamp to a page in VisualEditor.
Many editors are used to entering wikitext directly, especially bold, italics and wikilinks. Keyboard shortcuts allow to quickly insert similar formatting without having to use toolbar items. Here are the common general shortcuts in VisualEditor:
|PC shortcut||Action||Mac shortcut|
|Ctrl+K||Insert link||⌘ Cmd+K|