How to Reformat wikiHow Articles More Efficiently

Formatting refers to the specific layout and organization of an article. Proper formatting of steps and tips enhances clarity, improves readability and assures uniformity of wikiHow articles.

Reformatting is important work, but, can be time-consuming, so here are some tips for completing the task efficiently.

Steps

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    Pick an article which needs reformatting -- and may need clarifying, additional information, and/or rearranging. Click here for a list of articles.
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    Add an "Inuse" template/flag/tag to the article. Use this only for major edits.
    • Add {{Inuse}} to the very first line of the article and, then, publish the article. Make sure the inuse template gets added before the first word of the article or any wikitext/codes.
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    • Publish with the "inuse" template in place before you start a major edit. This way, others within the wikiHow community will be alerted that the article is under major revision and is unavailable to be edited by others.
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    Choose whether to edit in the wikiHow "Advanced Editor" mode which allows you to use your understanding of formatting codes -- or to use the "Guided Editor", if you are new to formatting and want forced, automatic codes, in guided mode.
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    Edit in an easy, special way, at first: by not yet rearranging the order of steps and tips, and not breaking up the existing text, but adding your inputs and rewording within the original steps and tips, still intact in your first published edit (you can boldly rearrange them in a later edit).
    • How? Do not strike the Enter key -- while adding/changing a little/or a lot in the existing steps and tips, but include material that you may break into new steps, sub-steps, and/or tips, sub-tips, in a later edit.
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    • Why? When you click "Show Changes" while editing (before saving it), then you can see all your rewording of action steps, your insertions and word deletions, highlighted, directly across the screen, next to the original wording, line by line, no blank lines, if you are using this method -- keeping the original text including your edits still lined up, in the original form of text.

      Preview (using the Preview Button) before publishing. See whether you combined or broke up a step or tip by an unintended keystroke or two.
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    Save your still "aligned" edit: so then any logged-in user/editor, or the starter-author, etc. can view the "diff" in the "History" -- in parallel, aligned, line for line, comparing your changes in blue highlighting. This then makes your initial edit easier for all to compare your changes, all aligned, using the automated side by side two-column display in History. This will clearly and reliably show your new punctuation, word choice/usage, phrasing, etc.
    • You can put <br><br> as a reminder of where you intend to edit later to insert codes for breaking long steps/and tips, to then insert #, #*, *, **, etc., in that edit, after your various aligned changes are saved.
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    Use "Find" and "Replace," if desired, by copying and pasting part or all of the article into Wordpad, TextEdit, or another external editor so that you can use the editor's "Find" and "Insert" (such as paste) or "Replace" functions to easily reword any code or phrases that you want to change throughout the text. Save the changes on your computer, if they are extensive, to give yourself a backup copy.

    Consider opening the article in two different tabs or in two windows in your browser, for an option that will provide reference to the original article (two windows can be sized and positioned to cover most of the screen while the "reference" window constantly shows from under the edit until switching to view the reference; then your editing widow can show from under this at the opposite edge of the screen by sizing and positioning the reference window appropriately). So, then you can swap back and forth easily -- if you need to compare or copy a part that you changed or is missing in your edit. If your browser allows it, "pin" the tab containing the original article so you will always know which version is "the original". (Some browsers do not allow pinned tabs.)
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    Identify formatting problems:
    • syntax
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    • image size/placement (see below)
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    • large blocks of text which could better be bulleted or listed
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    • broken links (which appear in red or as a string of HTML code)
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    Identify each step in the process.
    • Rewrite steps that are not clear and concise, yet may be complete.
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    • Begin each step with an action verb that an individual could do/or achieve.
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    • Limit each step to one main idea and provide only the necessary details.
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    • Ensure that the steps are in the right order in your additional published edits.
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    Make corrections to the problems you have identified, rearranging at this point.
    • Copy and paste wiki codes/syntax.
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    • Emphasize key words/phrases using italics or bold.
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    • Improve organization with lists: bulleted, numbered, or mixed.
    • Correct other problems at this time:These problems could include fixing misspelled words, unclear or awkward wording and anything else that you feel could be improved.
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    Fix the images (if any exist in the article). Ideally, images should be large, landscape, and uniformly sized. It's best to use the {{largeimage}} template if the image is big enough, and place the images under each step but before any sub-steps.
    • To use the {{largeimage}} template, after you upload your photo, take the image name and write the tag like this: . With this template, you won't need to add any other information or line-breaks (<BR>).
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    • Some exceptions to this include images that need to be portrait (like iPhone screenshots). These are better off on the righthand side of the steps.
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    • For more information on images, check out the page on How to Align a Photo in wikiHow.
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    Fix any broken links that may be created due to problems within your edit. Save a "draft" of the edit (using the "Save draft" button). Click on all the links to ensure that they point to the intended webpage/image.
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    View the appearance of your edit, in preview and also view your changes side-by-side with the original (using the "Show Changes" button). Fix any apparent problem.
    • Remove the "inuse" template/tag/flag, after checking your work using that preview.
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    Publish the reformatted article, after re-checking.
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    Check over your first and early edits, clicking on the "History" tab to compare your "tricky" edits directly across the same page, in blue highlighting, next to the original version, so that you can ensure that your changes are concise and beneficial.
    • "Recent Changes (RC) Patrollers" can also see the "highlights" after you publish your first edit, viewing the article's "diffs" in history and examining the relevant changes.
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    Congratulate yourself! You are an awesome contributor!

Tips

  • Save your work often (as a "draft"), instead of publishing repeatedly, in case your connection or computer devise might fail.
    • Click on the "Save draft" button near the bottom of the edit page.
    • If the "Save draft" button is not there and you see, instead, a grayed-out "Saved" button, you can change something in the article or in the "Summary" to be given another chance to "Save draft".
    • Whenever you revisit this article and enter edit mode, you will be shown the list of drafts you can access below the article title.
    • If you'd like to see all your drafts that have been started, the My Drafts menu item (to access a page of your drafts) can be found underneath the "My Pages" tab on the right siderail/sidebar to the article.
  • Information not closely tied to a step should be included in "Tips", not in the steps.
  • It is not always necessary to use bulleted/numbered lists, bold, or italics. Some articles do not lend themselves to a listing format.
    • Bold text is automatically created in most steps until the text reaches a period or colon, for the first sentence in each step.
    • Italics are sometimes helpful to emphasize a point such as an important action within a step, but too much can be distracting.

Article Info

Categories: Formatting