Basic Wiki Formatting

From This Might Be A Wiki

Introduction to Wiki Formatting[edit]

Simple editing is one of the major benefits of using a wiki. Users can edit pages without knowing HTML, and still use many formatting features of HTML. Most wikis define a set of formatting rules to convert plain text into HTML. Some wikis (like this one) also allow some HTML "tags", like <b>, <i>, and <pre> within a page. (Some wikis use raw HTML instead of special formatting rules.)

The following text is an overview of the MediaWiki text formatting rules. For examples without all the explanatory text, see the TextFormattingExamples. To try these rules for yourself, please feel free to edit the Sandbox page. To see how any page is formatted, just follow the link "Edit" at the top of the page.

Basic Text Formatting[edit]

Most text does not require any special changes for wiki form. A few basic rules are:

  • Do not indent paragraphs. (Indenting may cause your text to appear in a monospaced font.)
  • Leave a single blank line between paragraphs.
  • To create a horizontal line, type four dashes (----).
  • There is no need to encode HTML characters like <, >, or &.
  • HTML characters like © and ∞ can be used on pages: do "&copy;" and "&infin;" (version 0.91 and later). See

Bold and Italics[edit]

To mark text as bold, italic or fixed-width, you can use single quotation-mark formatting (the MediaWiki standard). Examples:

''Two single quotes are italics'',
'''three single quotes are bold''',
'''''five single quotes are bold and italic.'''''

looks like:

Two single quotes are italics, three single quotes are bold, five single quotes are bold and italic.

HTML <b> and <i> tags can also be used. For example:

<b> bold </b>, 
<i> italic </i>,
<b> <i> bold+italic </i> </b>.

Note that MediaWiki (like most Wikis) processes pages line-by-line, so if you want three bold lines of text, you will need to use three separate <b>...</b> tags. Also note that unclosed or unmatched tags are not removed from the page.


Headings are delimited by 1-6 equal signs (=). They basically correspond to HTML's <h1> through <h6> tags. Size 1 headings are reserved for page titles, and should not be used on any article or talk page.

= Headline size 1 =
== Headline size 2 ==
=== Headline size 3 ===
==== Headline size 4 ====
===== Headline size 5 =====
====== Headline size 6 ======


Simple lists:

* Text for a bulleted list item.
* Text for another bulleted list item.
** Text for second-level list.
*** Text for third-level, etc.

...which looks like:

  • Text for a bulleted list item.
  • Text for another bulleted list item.
    • Text for second-level list.
      • Text for third-level, etc.

Numbered lists:

# Text for a numbered list item.
# Text for another numbered list item.
## Text for second-level list.
### Text for third-level, etc.
## More text for second-level.

...which looks like:

  1. Text for a numbered list item.
  2. Text for another numbered list item.
    1. Text for second-level list.
      1. Text for third-level, etc.
    2. More text for second-level.

Indented Text[edit]

Simple indented text:

: Text to be indented (quote-block)
:: Text indented more
::: Text indented to third level

...which looks like:

Text to be indented (quote-block)
Text indented more
Text indented to third level

Term with indented definition: [without a blank line between term and definition]

;Term:Definition (indented)
:;Term (indented):Definition (indented two levels)
::;Term (indented twice):Definition (indented to third level)

...which looks like:

Definition (indented)
Term (indented)
Definition (indented two levels)
Term (indented twice)
Definition (indented to third level)

Line Breaks[edit]

Normally paragraphs are separated by a completely empty line in between, but you may occasionally want to start text on an immediate new line without a paragraph break. To do this, add an HTML line break to the end of a line like this:

Here's one line...<br>
And another immediately below it.

...which looks like:
Here's one line...
And another immediately below it.

Preformatted Text[edit]

Individual lines can be displayed as preformatted (fixed-width or "typewriter"-font) text by placing one or more spaces at the start of the line. Other wiki formatting (like links) will be applied to this kind of preformatted text.

Additionally, multi-line sections can be marked as pre-formatted text using lines starting with <pre> (to start pre-formatted text), and </pre> (to end preformatted text). The <pre> and </pre> tags are not displayed. Wiki links and other formatting is not done within a preformatted section. (If you want wiki formatting, use spaces at the start of the line instead of the <pre> and </pre> tags.)

For instance:

Pre-formatted section here. No other
link or format processing
is done on pre-formatted sections.
For instance, [[UseModWiki]] is not a link here.


This is the starting-spaces version of
preformatted text. Note that links like
UseModWiki still work.

Embedding Tables[edit]

Rather than going through the lengthy and complicated way to add a table, you can easily do it using wiki code. To start a table, add this text:


Next, to start a row, use a pipe and a dash, such as this:


For each cell, add a pipe. (Note, start a new line for each cell):


Then, just make sure to close your table with the pipe and squiggly line:


On TMBW's Azure skin, the "ebena" class can be applied to tables for a stylish and clean look as seen on Shows. Just add class="ebena" to the top of a table, like this:


And there you have it!

For more detailed tables, please visit, or use this HTML to Wiki table converter.

Miscellaneous Rules[edit]

  • To quote text without applying the wiki formatting rules, enclose it within a <nowiki> ... </nowiki> section. Within a nowiki section, only HTML-quoting of special characters (<>&) will occur--no other formatting rules will be applied.
  • A line which ends in a backslash character (\) will be joined with the next line before most formatting rules are applied. This can be useful for breaking up long sections of text in line-sensitive sections (like lists or indented text).
  • Most of the formatting rules are order-independent. On rare occasions the order of processing may be important. The rules are processed in the following order: HTML quoting, nowiki tags, backslash line joining, preformatted sections, paragraphs, lists and indented text, horizontal lines, italic/bold text, URLs, and finally ordinary WikiName links.
What Is A Wiki? | How To Edit | Basic Wiki Formatting | Templates | Style Guide | Help With Searching