wikiHow:Use Advanced Wiki Syntax Formatting

To make articles and user pages more usable and visually appealing, you can adjust the formatting using wiki markup, and a variety of existing templates. Of course html tags (<htmltag>) or CSS (page styling) will also work—alone or in combination. Please limit, though, the use of anything other than wiki markup, simple html, and existing templates on the main namespace pages. This will help keep wikiHow pages easy for everyone to edit.

Quick access to related articles: Templates to dress up articles:
wikiHow Editing Basics Show Keystrokes Using Keypress
Type Symbols Using the ALT Key Add Button and Tab Examples
Make Symbols on a Mac Add Tables to a wikiHow Article
Make Words in wikiHow Stick Out Make Wiki Tables
Categorize a wikiHow Article Add Playing Cards to Your wikiHow Article
Suggest a New Category on wikiHow Use the wikiHow Math Button
Divide a wikiHow Article into Subsections

EditSymbols, pictographs, and special symbols

It is easy to copy and paste graphic symbols that you do not see on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can insert such symbols at the cursor position using Alt+####.

For details on this alternative input method, peruse:

EditItalics and Embolden (wikiMarkup)

Use a string of single apostrophes to emphasize a word, phrase, or concept within a sentence. Two opening apostrophes start italics and two more end italics. A series of three single apostrophes starts and ends embolden, while five will italicize and embolden. Do not overuse the italics and keep the embolden to a minimum or the effect will be diminished and the article will become harder to read.

  • How to Make Words in wikiHow Stick Out gives additional options.

resulting text

This '''Emboldens''' text.

This Emboldens text.

This ''Italicizes'' text.

This Italicizes text.

'''''Embolden and Italicize''''' text

Embolden and Italicize text

EditColored text

Please limit use of any colored font within an article. Read How to Add Color to Your Personal wikiHow Page to learn more.

Type {{YourColorHere |YourTextHere}}. Example: {{blue|Hello}} = Hello.

Note: Stay away from green, as it's reserved for links, and may confuse the reader when used for other things. For the same reason, it may be best to stay away from red also. (Red indicates a broken link.) List of usable color names.

EditFormatted text (simple html)

There are many other possible text codes; here are a few:

html tags

resulting text

Break a line <br>in two. Break a line
in two.

Insert white space: <br><br>between lines. Insert white space:

between lines.

H<sub>2</sub>O H2O (subscript)

x<sup>2</sup> = 9 x2 = 9 (superscript)

<big><big>Large</big></big> text Large text

<u>underline</u> text underline text

<strike>line through</strike> text line through

<center>center each<br>line of<br>a text block</center> text
center each
line of
a text block

  • Search math articles, and you will find text and table codes, especially in some of the more complicated calculations.
  • Make it easy on your fellow editors: KISS (Keep It Super-Simple). Remember that complicated html code may easily be broken and it might also intimidate contributors and dampen collaborative spirit.


In the below declarations, replace CategoryName with an appropriate name of an existing category. (For additional information, read How to Categorize a wikiHow Article.)

Specific uses
Add an article to a category [[Category:CategoryName]]

Link to a category without placing the article (or page) in a category [[:Category:CategoryName]]

Display text for link to a category [[:Category:CategoryName | text]]

Note: You can request a new category be created, but only if there are five or more articles that will fit in the proposed category.

EditCreating section headings

== Steps == is required for auto-numbered steps and to enable other features of the automatic wikiHow formatting.

Below that, nest:
=== Level One Headings ===
==== Level Two Headings ====
===== Level Three Headings =====
...and so forth.

Note: You must be in Advanced Edit Mode to add sections to an article or to further edit an article with sections.
i.e., The Guided Editor does not support sections.

Magic Words

  • Use the magic word __Methods__ if the sections are different ways of doing the same thing. __method__, __methods__, __Method__, __Methods__, __METHOD__, and __METHODS__ all work.
  • Use the magic word __Parts__ if the sections are sequential divisions of a large task. The magic words may be singular or plural, ALL CAPS or all lower case. To be sure that the magic word "triggers," click Preview and look.
  • Magic words work when placed anywhere in an article, but, for consistency, the community has decided to place them at the end of the article.

How to Divide a wikiHow Article into Subsections gives visual guidance.


The following "bullets" are used in the Tips and Warnings section of articles:

  • Text for a bulleted list.
    • Text for second level.
      • Text for third level, etc.
 * Text for a bulleted list. ** Text for second level. *** Text for third level, etc. 

EditOrdered and unordered lists

This kind of "bullets" may be useful in the Tips section of articles.

  • Create mixed lists
    1. and nest them
      • like this
    2. another second level
 * Create mixed lists *# and nest them *#* like this *# another second level 

EditList Numbered

Numbering a list is formatted using #, ##, or ###, etc. as the first text on a line of text; see the examples below. Article pages in general will only allow first level numbering in the Steps sections to avoid reader confusion, but lists with multiple levels can be used on other pages, like User pages and pages in the wikiHow namespace.

Do not strike the enter key for a line of space between lines of text, or line numbering will be disrupted (the lines of whitespace you see in the example were placed there automatically by the wikiHow system).

  1. Text for first level.
    1. Text for second level.
      1. Text for third level.
      2. Text for another third level.
      3. Text for an additional third level.
    2. Text for another second level.
  2. Text for another first level.
 # Text for first level. ## Text for second level. ### Text for third level, etc. ### Text for another third level. ### Text for an additional third level. ## Text for another second level. # Text for another first level. 


The table below is filled with text that looks like it is formally declaring [row 1, column 1] (it's not): merely replace that with text, alpha and/or numbers, and it will display your text instead.

Table Title
header header 1 header 2 header 3
row 1 header row 1 cell 1 row 1 cell 2 row 1 cell 3
row 2 header row 2 cell 1 row 2 cell 2 row 2 cell 3
 {| class="wikitable" border="1" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1" |+ Table Title |- ! header ! header 1 ! header 2 ! header 3 |- Style="color: red; background: yellow" ! row 1 header | row 1 cell 1 | row 1 cell 2 | row 1 cell 3 |- ! row 2 header | row 2 cell 1 | Style="color: white; background: blue"|row 2 cell 2 | row 2 cell 3 |} 

Simple Example Table

Table Title
Text Any text! This, okay? That'll do!
stuff tricycles 'cycles wheelies
What? Trivial Pursuits trivia game steps extraterrestrial-entity
 {| class="wikitable" border="1" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1" |+ Table Title |- ! Text ! Any text! ! This, okay? ! That'll do! |- Style="color: red; background: yellow" ! stuff | tricycles | 'cycles | wheelies |- ! What? | ''Trivial Pursuits'' trivia game | Style="color: white; background: blue"|steps | extraterrestrial-entity |- |} 
  1. Notice that the "!" as the first character in cell 1 of each row is the center and bold header modifier, which looks good for headers.
    • Cells expand to accommodate a long word and automatically set that column width to the longest word in the text of that column, and use two or more lines.
    • If you look at this article in edit mode you'll see much of it uses tables to set up the columnar format used. The <pre></pre> is like <nowiki></nowiki>, meaning the table code can be previewed, and since the two tables are combined it makes the "pre" table be "sort of another column" automatically.
  2. Start simply and build up various understandings of wikitable syntax. One caveat is that declaring {|class= "wikitable" causes the system to follow the rules of that class of objects; so, you may want to find out the rules at wikipedia.org "Help:Table".
  3. Get "Table Help": Scan and find the table syntax in step by step increasingly complex tables at Wikipedia:Help:Table for a series of such examples.

Complex Example Convert Feet to Meters

  1. Calculate and display math using codes -- perhaps too many -- such as, tr align="center", margin-left:auto and margin-right:auto, span and /span, strike and /strike, span style="text-decoration: underline;", td width="15px" : Here's a not very complex looking calculation using a surprising slough of table codes:

    ____ ft * 12 in
    1 ft
    * 2.54 cm
    1 in
    * 1 m
    100 cm
    = ? m

  2. Go into edit mode: in this article, or the source Convert Feet to Meters, to see what an astonishing collection of codes produced this calculation.
    • See article "History" for codes that were "unnecessary" like declaring border="0" and margins="auto"; that was default (not needed to declare), but center code was necessary to be moved outside after margin declaration was gone!; also it had span id="formulavaluefrom" and span id="formulavalueto", which were not being used (at all), so, no such id was needed. Removed! Previewed! Worked! "To use or not to use such codes?" -- that is the question':
      • Answer! Some times it's good to use all those in early versions of a table and experiment with various values and preview the results, repeatedly, but here they were not used in the long-run, so -- were deleted!


  • See the Wikipedia: Cheatsheet of syntax for formatting; the great majority of these codes and examples work for wikiHow, also! Note, though, that Wikipedia's "edit-window-toolbar" has a "table tool", but wikiHow's tools do not include that table-icon to click.
  • Make sure to preview your edits and look at them carefully before publishing.

Article Info

Categories: Help | Formatting | Writing and Editing