How to Use Templates on wikiHow

Templates are versatile, time-saving tools. Most often they are used to flag an article for specific improvement or to communicate quickly and easily with community members—by leaving coaching messages, congratulatory messages, or warnings. Use of templates on Talk pages and in articles is described in detail because these exemplify use of templates for other purposes.


Some other template uses are: clarifying the licensing of images, organizing images, leaving notes on discussion pages, embedding videos. These uses are rather specific and, once the mechanics of placing templates is understood, the other uses are fairly intuitive and straight forward. These other uses are not explicitly covered by this article.

Steps

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    Know what the template says. Many templates work both on article pages and on Talk pages, displaying different, page-specific messages.
    • If you don't remember the exact message that a template generates, you can select Preview to view what will be displayed. The preview option is not available in Quick Note mode (from RC Patrol).
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    Enter edit mode to place a template on an article. There are several ways:
    • On the article page:
      • Click the Edit Article link to the right of the article title.
      • Click the Edit tab/link on the left just below the green wikiHow bar at the top of the article page.
      • Hover over the EDIT tab just right of center in the green wikiHow bar, then select Edit this Article from the dropdown menu.
    • From RC Patrol, click the Quick Edit button. Note that the preview option is unavailable in Quick Note mode.
    • If you're using a template on a Talk page or through a Quick Note, just send it within your message. It is a best practice to include your own messages so that the template-generated message is more friendly and personal.
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    Apply a template at the start of an article.
    • The template name goes between two sets of braces (curly brackets). For example, you might write {{copyedit}} to indicate that an article needs copyediting, or you might send someone a {{NewPatroller}} Talk message to help them find their feet with patrolling.
    • Article templates generally go at the very beginning of an article, before the introduction. Make sure to start the text of the introduction right after the closing template bracket, with no extra spaces so everything displays correctly. If you leave a space, the wikicode will be broken and you will get smaller, plain text that runs right off the page.
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    You shouldn't add a date to most wikiHow templates because those are added automatically by the server after you publish your edit. If you find, however, that a date isn't displaying correctly, you can add a date within the template like this: {{cleanup|date=2014-01-04}}
    • One of the templates that doesn't add a date is the {{screenshots}} template. You will manually have to add one, if you want it to be dated.
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    Click the Preview button, at the bottom of the page, to view the effect of your edit and verify that it is as you intended.
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    Write a note in the Edit Summary, at the bottom of the page, to specify the template you added as well as relevant details.
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    Click the green Publish button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.
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    Review the result. Make sure the template came out as you intended.

Tips

  • Have a good understanding of each template before applying it to a page.
  • Ask for new templates in the Village Pump.
  • Most templates automatically insert the date for you.
  • Best practice is to correct an article rather than apply a template.

Article Info

Categories: Making and Using Templates