How to Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow

This is a guide for the new user from your first anonymous edit all the way to advanced tasks. This is a fairly comprehensive page for a beginner, and hopefully answers most of the questions you have directly, or links to the page with the answer you need. The links come fast and furious here; it is suggested that you at least click on a link as you pass it in reading; remain ignorant of a link here at your peril.

From the first time you hit "pub" on wH you are building a portfolio of edits that remain a permanent, publicly traceable record, so grasp that communication, whether it be via a discuss or talk page or hitting pub, need not be immediate here; you can always save a draft and pub later.

This is always a work in progress.


  1. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 1
    Create an account. On wikiHow, you can write and edit without registering, but there are some other tasks that you might like to do that are off limits to anonymous contributors. Creating an account makes it easier to keep track of your contributions, and requires no personal information; only a username and password of your choice.
  2. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 2
    Create a user page. You may just want to create your user page to hang your hat on, for now, with a brief "profile". If you're ready to dive in and make a more comprehensive user page, take a look at fun templates you can add to your profile.
  3. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 3
    Explore. On your the right side of any page on wikiHow is an entire menu, grouped "Things to Do", "Places to Visit", "Editing Tools", and "My Pages", which all have relevant links embedded. Familiarize yourself with all of the links, to avoid unnecessarily reinventing wheels.
  4. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 4
    Practice beginning editing skills. These links have useful info in them, even for more advanced English users:
    • How to spell.
    • How to use English punctuation.
    • The category, "English grammar".
    • How to format a wikiHow article.
    • Edit a wikiHow Page is a good article to get you started.
    • wikiHow Editing Basics is a good next building block. wikiHow:Use Advanced Wiki Syntax is an article that will explain basic through advanced wiki syntax, such as how to accentuate text (italicize and/or bold print), etc.
    • Remember to "Save Draft" and "Preview" as a rule, rather than "Publish". When you click "publish" on a draft, it publishes, overwriting existing published edits. This is an awesome responsibility, in a sense; learn how to do it correctly.
      1. When you leave the page you just hit "preview" on, and come back 5 minutes later, and discover your edits have disappeared; your edits either got "reverted", for some reason (look in 'history'), or more likely, your edits are now in "my drafts", because you forgot to hit publish. This will drive you nuts until you figure it out.
    • This is the "Sandbox", where you may practice your editing, or get used to the "Draft" feature. As a registered user, you can make your own personal sandbox, provided that this page is only used when absolutely necessary. The standard sandbox is more than sufficient.
    • A contribution you make might stay here for years -- but it may be gone in a few seconds; at least, gone from the published page -- understand that it never disappears (unless it was in a draft that you never published, and then deleted). It is preserved in the page history forever.
    • Recognize that you are going to have great ideas, and not so great ones, as concerns edits, articles, and titles ~ understand that little is set in stone here, and try to stay open minded.
    • You will have to get comfortable with the drafts feature in wikiHow, and it is not intuitive to a new editor, due to its lack of "browsing restriction"; see Use the My Drafts Feature on wikiHow.
  5. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 5
    There are quite a few directions to go in, in editing here at wikiHow. You can copy edit, content edit, edit an article to add references or sources, add images, embed videos, or patrol recent changes (edits made by other editors).
  6. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 6
    Learn how to communicate with links. Most of the editing here will involve the use of links for use in communication and discussions with other editors and to provide various practical links in articles.
    • Learn How to Use Discussion Pages on wikiHow, and become familiar with discussion page templates, which are like internal communication devices.
    • While you can do basic editing without templates or links, you will be observing them everywhere, and they will quickly become too handy to ignore.
  7. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 7
    Understand that when you have finished this article, there will still be a lot about wikiHow that is untold; despite best efforts. Luckily, the maximum separation from you and a piece of relevant information here is only two degrees; although you will have cause to doubt this, when you have been looking for a page that you know exists for 20 minutes! It is there, somewhere. If you wrote it or you edited it, it will be listed somewhere in your contribution history.
  8. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 8
    Write your first article. Do not add "How to" in the title, as the system will do this for you; also, don't add the number, in each step. Try to begin each step with an "action" verb. Avoid using personal references. If you are using wikiHow "Drafts" get in the habit of clicking "Save Draft" then "Preview" to see how your draft will publish. Read the Writer's Guide which will explain more.
    • An alternative is to write in Wordpad or another word processor. Instead of writing an article in the wikiHow Edit Window, you may use your computer's "Wordpad" or "Word", or other program to write the article; then, just go to wikiHow, click "Write an Article", enter the title, click "Submit", click "next", click "advanced editing", "navigate away from this page "OK", and copy/paste your article. "Preview", then "Publish"; add pictures (called images), video, links (called weaving links), related articles, and a category.
    • Any of these, after you publish, can be done by other editors, including edits; a successful, polished article takes much input, and you will come to appreciate the valuable input of other editors. Don't get distressed if/when edits to add content to your newly published article seem to impact its readability; this is an indication that your article is on a timely or popular subject, and your article can be polished later to incorporate these edits.
  9. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 9
    Rewrite a "stub", or otherwise deficient article. You can look at the list of stubs or you can also browse articles that have been nominated for deletion. Look them over and see if there is one you can save from deletion. Just find one that interests you, click edit, type {{Inuse}} on the top line in the introduction, and "Publish". You will be using the "Inuse" template to avoid conflicting edits during your rewrite, but all other rules apply. When you're done, remove the {{Inuse}} template. Now hopefully the article has a better chance of not getting deleted.
  10. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 10
    Feel free to seek help. Check the help category, ask the help team, or Log In to the wikiHow IRC Room to chat with other wikiHowians. You can also visit the wikiHow forums to ask for help, or file a bug (a technical problem).
  11. Image titled Get Started Editing and Writing on wikiHow Step 11
    Use advanced templates. At the point these become relevant to you, you will probably no longer need this page; they are provided here as a "snapshot".
    • Category:WikiHow Functions is "WikiHow Functions", a great one.
    • Advanced editor discussion is here, as well as above, because of info timely to both spots.
    • Use this article for deletion templates.
    • "Improve article" by reading help templates here.
    • There are many templates not used much, so they are not listed on this page; they are buried in obscure articles. As you have probably seen by now, there are many articles not currently linked in here directly (although they are all within two clicks), that can also provide useful information. You can even Create a wikiHow Template. Roaming around in wikiHow can uncover some of the neatest stuff! Good writing.


  • Use "Publish" sparingly. Get in the habit of using "Save Draft" and "Preview".
  • Reference Sources on wikiHow, and wikiHow:External Links will guide you in referencing sources.
  • Create My Links on wikiHow is a way for you to put links (or pages) important to you, that you want handy, on the right sidebar so you can access them from anywhere on wikiHow.
  • Import Content Into wikiHow will direct you in how to import content from another website.
  • The creation of a personal sandbox is generally discouraged because these pages are published, creating a need for each and every test edit to be patrolled by another editor. If an editor creates a personal sandbox, and that sandbox is published too often it is possible that an admin will delete the page and block the future creation of personal sandboxes by that editor. That's an action no one wants. The use of the sandbox, without publishing, is sufficient.


  • Never discard your last draft until you have clicked the article to be sure you actually see that your last draft is "publish"-ed.
    • Adhering to this rule will save you much pain. If you are unsure if your last draft published, just enter "edit" on your last draft (title in "existing drafts" box turns to bold~face), and click "Show changes", at the bottom. If there are no differences, your last draft published, and you can click "cancel"; if there are differences, and you were the last editor, click "publish", if you wish (you may opt to wait, and complete the article edit in the draft)~ if you weren't the last editor, merge, or "amend" the two versions. More on "amend" in Use-the-My-Drafts-Feature-on-wikiHow.
  • Publishing several edits makes for excess "patrol" work. In that same file, you should not create a dozen or dozens of edits to check when it should be "publish"-ed 1, 2 or 3 times even in a really, long session.

Article Info

Categories: WikiHow | WikiHow User's Manual