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wikiHow:Image Policy

EditImage Guidelines

Good, relevant images are key to clarifying some articles, and add welcome color and visual interest to others.


When adding images to wikiHow, look for high quality, instructional images to help our readers. When adding an image, put yourself in the shoes of a reader trying to learn the task. Would seeing this image help you learn the task?


Whether you are creating and uploading your own images, importing free images, or evaluating images contributed by others, please take a minute to review our policy and understand what makes an image appropriate and relevant.


Click here to review our Image Deletion Policy.

Images We Want

  • High quality, instructional material. Does it help the reader complete the task? If it is a symbolic image, is the symbol appropriate and relevant?
  • Good or at least acceptable quality. Is the image clear? Can you see what you need to see?
  • Step-by-step images that illustrate the article. Some articles, such as how to tie a knot, require step-by-step images. Others, particularly articles on abstract topics such as "How to Be Helpful", may not need or benefit from images.
  • Universal in nature. Keep in mind that we are building the "world's how-to manual," not just a manual for the USA or any other specific geography. While it is not always possible, try to select images that apply universally.
  • Freely-licensed images. If you take photos or create illustrations yourself, you grant wikiHow the license to use them. If you import images, use wikiHow's tools to find images that have an appropriate, free license.

Images We May Not Want

  • Photos of recognizable people. It is important to exercise good judgment for such photos. In particular, is the topic of the article positive, neutral, or negative? It's no big deal to include a recognizable photo in an article about a neutral subject, such as helping somebody to move, but for an article such as "Cope With Depression," it is best to use something that evokes the emotion without a recognizable face, perhaps a teardrop, a shadow, a hand, a statue, or a gray cityscape.
  • Copyrighted photos not published under a free license. Do not upload a photo you just found in a Google Image search. It is most probably copyrighted.
    • Copyrighted images occasionally pop up even in searches for freely licensed images, because an uploader on Flickr did not understand that an image is copyright. If a photo has a watermark or shows other signs of being copyrighted, it is best to choose something else.
  • Joke / spoof images. If you choose to use an image that is humorous, make sure it is freely licensed and that it is relevant to the article. Also make sure that the size is such that the image is still clear and visible when the image is in the article.

Images We Will Take Reluctantly

  • Images that contain text. While text in an image is not a showstopper, it often does not resize or translate well. Text in images also will not get read for anyone using software to read the page aloud. It is better to have a plain image and handle text in the caption.
  • Images that promote products or that show recognizable brand names.
    • The Smurfs are copyrighted characters, and a photo of some Smurf action figures may still pose a copyright issue even if the photographer licenses it for reuse.
    • wikiHow prefers that instructions not call for brand names, unless those brands are truly important and a substitution will not have the same result. If possible, choose images of just the product, which do not display or do not feature the brand name.

EditImage Selection Tips

  • Feature the activity, not the person doing it. If the point is the food, focus in on the food, not the person cooking it.
  • Choose simple, uncluttered backgrounds as much as possible.
  • If you don't have, or cannot find an image that is the right fit for an article, it's perfectly acceptable to leave it without any images. Images are often the first thing a reader sees, and a bad image can cause readers to be confused and leave the page, even when the text is accurate and helpful.

Article Info

Categories: Using Images | Policy | Help