From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

What is VisualEditor?[edit | edit source]


Visual Editor is an editing software which was part of the March 2016 upgrade of the FamilySearch Research Wiki. This editor replaces the Rich Text Editor used in the previous version of the Wiki. VisualEditor allows all users to edit pages without having to learn wikitext. In addition, VisualEditor works in most commonly-used browsers, such as, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 or higher, and Safari.

When to Use VisualEditor[edit | edit source]

Use VisualEditor when you want to do the following:

  • Edit text on a page
  • Edit text in a table
  • Create tables
  • Add rows and columns to tables
  • Add or fix a URL
  • Add references, templates, and images
  • Indent bullet and numbered lists
  • Add special characters, such as accented non-English words such as, ö.

Visual Editor cannot:

  • Create or edit templates
  • Edit Help pages
  • Edit User pages
  • Edit any "Protected" pages
  • NOTE: [Edit source] must be used to accomplish all the tasks the VisualEditor cannot do. You can find instructions and lessons on how to edit in wikitext, here.

How to Edit in VisualEditor[edit | edit source]

  • Note: You must be logged into the FamilySearch website to edit in the Wiki and to see all options for editing.

"Edit" tab[edit | edit source]

To edit a page using Visual Editor, click on the "Edit" tab located in the top right hand corner of the screen. This will open a edit page with a tool bar with icons to help with additional editing features.

Page Talk   Read Edit Edit source View history


Icons on the tool bar - left to right[edit | edit source]

VE Switch icon.png
Save changes...

NOTE: some icons on the VisualEditor tool bar have shortcuts to completing an action. Hover over the icon to learn the shortcut available.

UndoVE.jpg Undo: (button on the left) If you decided that you did not like your last edit, you can delete it with one click of the undo arrow rather than using the delete key. If there is more than one edit to delete, you can undo more than once. However, you cannot undo after you have saved your edits.


Redo: (button on the right) If you decided that you really did like your last edit (or edits) after all, you can restore it by clicking the Redo arrow. You can redo more than once. However, you can not redo after you have saved your edit.
Format heading: By clicking on the Paragraph tab, you will see the following drop down menu:
  • This menu allows you to change the size of the headers.
  • Highlight the header text you want to change and select the size from the dropped down menu. (Notice you can also change the size by holding down the Control key and then pressing the number that equals the size of the header wanted, such as Ctrl 3.)

Here are the sizes of the headers as shown in the menu:

  • Heading - header which is 2 equal signs (==) in Wikitext coding.
  • Sub-heading 1 - equals (===) in Wikitext coding.
  • Sub-heading 2 - equals (====) in Wikitext coding.
  • Sub-heading 3 - equals (=====) in Wikitext coding.
  • Sub-heading 4 - equals (======) in Wikitext coding.
  • Preformatted - Removes the default font and replaces it with a font that looks like old typewriter font.
  • Block quote - Turns a paragraph or sentence into a block of text that is indented.
  • Page title - equals (=) in Wikitext coding. However, this size header is RESERVED ONLY FOR ARTICLE TITLES! DO NOT use this size of header in your articles. If you were to make a header with one equal sign, it will remove the actual title at the top of the page, leaving a blank space. In addition, the browser will think your header is now the title of the article.
Style text: You can make changes to the style or appearance of text. Highlight the text you want to alter and select from the drop down menu.

(Notice: You can also change style by using the Control key with another key such as a "i" to change text to italics.)
  • Bold - makes the text bold.
  • Italic - makes the text italic.
  • Superscript - turns text into a superscript.
  • Subscript - turns the text into a subscript.
  • Strikethrough - puts a line through the text.
  • Computer code[1] - inserts HTML tags <code> and </code> around text you highlighted, which changes the default setting of the font.
  • Underline - draws a line under text.
  • Language[2] - changes language using ISO[3] coding such as "en" for English.
  • Clear formatting - removes any styling attached to the text other than default.
Link: Click "Edit source" and highlight text you want to make either an internal or external link. The following drop down menu appears. (Note: this menu might list possible links you may want to use depending on what you highlighted.)

Internal links

  • "Search pages" tab is for selecting links to articles within the Wiki. Suggested articles might be shown. Otherwise, enter name of article you want to link to. (No double square brackets required as with Wikitext coding.)

Section of a page with Internal links

  • If you want to link to a particular place on a page rather than the whole page, place a pound sign (#) after the title of the article and the exact name of the header as entered on the page after the pound sign. For example: McDonald County, Missouri Genealogy#County Courthouse. Again, no double square brackets are required as in wikitext.

External links

  • "External link" tab is for entering the URL of the external link. (No single square brackets required as with Wikitext coding).

To save links

  • Click "Done" when finished
  • Click "Save page" in the VisualEditor tool bar.
  • Fill in "Summary" on panel that appears and then "Save page."
References Allows you to place references or footnotes anywhere in the article. When you click on "Cite," the first panel appears.


  • You have two choices: Basic and Re-use.
  • Clicking Basic brings up the second panel.
    • The cursor will be blinking where you are to enter your reference or footnote.
    • The tool bar just above in the drop down menu allows you to change your entry into a link or change the font.
    • At the bottom of this panel you will notice you can use an existing reference.


  • Clicking Re-use will bring up the third panel.
  • This will allow you to select an existing reference without having to retype an existing reference.
List structure: If you click on bullet list this panel appears.

Create lists

  • The first icon creates a bullet list.
  • The second icon creates a numbered list.

Remove bullets or numbers

  • To remove bullets or numbers from a list, highlight the existing list and click the appropriate icon again. The list will revert to sentences without bullet or numbers.

Sub lists

  • To create a sub list or nested list, highlight the items you want to be a sub list and then click on "Increase indentation," the bottom icon. (The bottom two icons only appear after you have highlighted the item or items for which you want to either remove or add indentation.) The items will indent one space.
  • If you want to eliminate a sub or nested list, highlight items in question and click on "Decrease indentation" and the items will move one space to the left.
Insert items: Here is an explanation of the items on this menu:
  • Media - add a reference to media such as a video. This option does not seem to be functional at this time (9/19/2016).
  • Template - allows you to insert a template in an article.
  • Table - allows creation of a table.
  • Comment - allows insertion of a comment on the page that only is seen in the coding and does not appear on the saved page.
  • Gallery - allows you to insert an image on a page.
  • Reference list - allows you to place where on the page your references or footnotes will appear.
Special characters: This procedure allows you to enter letters with accent marks or other letters from non-English languages such as French and Spanish without having to look for the ASCII[4] coding for these letters or symbols on the internet.
  1. Click on "Edit" in the tool bar at the top of page. The Visual Editor tool bar will appear.
  2. Place the cursor where you want the non-English letter or symbol to appear and click. The cursor will remain in that position.
  3. Click the Greek Omega character on the Visual Editor tool bar.
  4. Click the letter or symbol you need. (To speed up the process of finding the letter or symbol you need, scroll down on the list of languages on the left side of this panel.)
  5. Click on "Save page" on the Visual Editor tool bar.
  6. Enter a brief description of what you did in the "Summary" box.
  7. Click "Save page" in panel.
Help: *The Help button has nothing in it as of 9/23/2016
  • Keyboard shortcuts - lists some keyboard strokes you can use instead of clicking on a link, etc.
  • Submit feedback - here you can send messages to point out mistakes or offer suggestions to FamilySearch Wiki.
Page options: *Options - There are four options under this button
    • Page settings
      • Redirect patron to another page. (Usually this will take the viewer to another page with a different name but the same material.) Redirects are created with the "Move" from the "More" tab on the Wiki tool bar.
      • Show the Table of Contents - Determines whether the table of contents is displayed.
      • Removes the edit links next to each heading on this page - Allows prevention of the [edit source] from showing up beside each heading.
    • Advanced settings
      • Allow this page be indexed by search engines
      • Show a tab on this page to add a new section
      • Change the title displayed if you want it different from the present title.
    • Categories
      • Categories - List of categories under which this page is listed; allows addition of another category if needed.
      • Options - Choose to sort article by another word rather than the title under categories.
      • Options - Name this page is sorted by or the name of the page.
    • Languages - Pages in other language Wikis with links to this page, or the translation of this page in another language Wiki (appears to be inoperable as of 9/23/2016).
[[ ]]
Change to Wikitext: By clicking on this icon, you will be moved to Wikitext coding.
Save page
Save page: #When you click "Save page" in Visual Editor tool bar, the panel to the right appears.
  1. Enter description of entries made in "Summary" box.
  2. Click "Save page" in panel.

Pages that cannot be edited with VisualEditor[edit | edit source]

Some articles in specific namespaces do not have the option to edit in VisualEditor:

  • Help:Templates pages/namespace
  • Help pages/namespace
  • Talk pages/namespace
  • FamilySearch Wiki pages/namespace

For more help on VisualEditor[edit | edit source]

For additional help on VisualEditor, go to the MediaWiki article. Please note that some icons in the user guide are different from our version of VisualEditor.

  1. You will have little or no use for this procedure
  2. You will have little or no use for this procedure
  3. ISO - International Organization for Standardization