To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here.

Wikitext - Lesson One

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Missionary Training Lessons

Learn Wikitext by small steps with homework to practice what you are learning.

Lesson One > Lesson Two > Lesson Three > Lesson Four


This is the HTML code

FamilySearch Wiki
Attributes go inside Element tags

What you will learn in Wikitext - Lesson One

  • What is Wikitext
  • Computer symbols used
  • How to create Headers
  • How to create Lists
  • How to create Links
  • How to create Sandboxes
Error creating thumbnail: File missing

What is Wikitext?

It is a lightweight version of HTML or HTML light. It is a simplified alternative to HTML which is the language of the Internet.

HTML can be used to create pages in FamilySearch Wiki, but Wikitext is often easier to use and gets the same result.


Symbols in Wikitext

  • Here are the symbols you will see all the time in the Wikitext code. Please learn and use their names so we all can know what you are describing when talking about Wikitext.
  • [ ] - square brackets.
  • { } - curly brackets or braces
  • | - pipe.
  • < - less than.
  • > - greater than
  • / - forward slash
  • These other signs are used as well: colon : semi-colon ; parentheses ( ), quotation mark ", equal sign =, exclamation mark !, pound sign #, and @ at sign.
  • Please do not use the & (ampersand) sign. It causes all sorts of problems in the code. If you happen to see a & please substitute the word and for it.
  • There are other symbols but these will do for now.


If you should be talking about "curly brackets," please do not refer to them as those those little curly, wiggly things. Try to use the above names for the HTML symbols. You'll impress your friends. We are all used to using these terms.


  • First topic we'll cover is headers.
  • Click on the Edit This Page button on the top of the page.
  • Then click on Wikitext in the upper left hand corner of the Rich Editor and let's look at the Wikitext coding in this lesson.
  • Don't panic at what you see, all will be revealed in due time.

Sizes of Headers

  • First, you'll notice the equal signs on either side of the headers.
  • In this lesson, you will see three equal signs on either end of the headers. That is how you can spot the headers in Wikitext.
  • Second, the number of equal signs tells you the size of the font of the header.
  • Sizes go from h1, the largest font, to h6 the smallest font.
  • h1 headers have one equal sign on either end while h6 headers have six equal signs on either end.
  • h1 headers are reserved only for titles of articles and are computer generated. Please, don't use them in articles.
  • h2 can cause problems in formatting, so avoid them. This will be explained later in the course.
  • Please use h3 and h4 in creating articles as you see in this lesson.
  • These are created with three or four equal signs on either end of the header.
  • h5 and h6 are small and do not stand out as do the larger headers, but they do have their uses.

Here are the different header sizes:

Header One

Header Two

Header Three

Header Four

Header Five
Header Six

Editing Box Opposite Headers

  • When headers are created, a little edit box appears just to the right of the header.
  • Clicking on this allows one to edit the material under the header, but nothing else on the page.
  • To edit the entire page you have to click on the "Edit This Page" button at the top of the article.


  • Just above the first header you probably noticed the Contents [show] or Contents [hide] box.
  • By clicking on "show" a list of all the headers in the article and acts like a table of contents.
  • If the word after contents is "hide," clicking on that will hide this list of headers.
  • Clicking on the list of headers will take you to that section of the article.
  • If you don't want the table of contents to even show up on a page, type the following wikitext code: __NOTOC__. Take note: the dashes are required and are underline dashes..

Making Lists

Many times lists are placed under headings. There are two kinds of lists.

  • Unordered list - the items on the list do not have numbers by them, only a bullet point.
  • Ordered list - the items on a list that are numbered.

Unordered Lists

  • To make an unordered lists in Wikitext or a list that is not numbered, you just put an asterisk before each item on your lists like so.

*Item One
*Item Two
*Item Three

On the page, the list with its bullet points will look like this:

  • Item One
  • Item Two
  • Item Three
  • Etc
  • Notice that each of the items are on a separate line.
  • Notice that each item has a square shaped "bullet" in front of it. The square shaped bullet is the default bullet.
  • Be sure that the asterisk is right up against the left edge of the edit box. Otherwise the bullet will not be on a separate line and will look like a faded asterisk instead of a square bullet like so:*Item one

To create list within a list or sub topics, add another asterisk like so:

*Item One
**Item One-a
**Item One-b
*Item Two
*Item Three

The list with its sub list will appear as:

  • Item One
    • Item One-a
    • Item One-b
  • Item Two
  • Item Three
  • Etc

The process can continue for sub lists of sub lists, just continue to add asterisks like so:

*Item One
**Item One-a
***Item One-a-i
***Item One-a-ii
**Item One-b
*Item Two
*Item Three

The list with its sub list of the sub list will appear as:

  • Item One
    • Item One-a
      • Item One-a-i
      • Item One-a-ii
    • Item One-b
  • Item Two
  • Item Three
  • Etc

Ordered Lists

  • To make an ordered lists in Wikitext or a list that is numbered, you just put a pound sign before each item on your lists like so.

#Item One
#Item Two
#Item Three

  • On the page, it will look like this:
  1. Item One
  2. Item Two
  3. Item Three
  4. Etc
  • Notice that each of the items are on a separate line.

To add sub list or sub topics to a ordered lists, just add another pound sign like so: ##

Links - External and Internal


  • External links lead to articles outside of the FamilySearch Wiki, whether on the Internet or in the other language FamilySearch Wikis.
  • The link is enclosed with opening and closing brackets like so:

[URL_Name_of_Link(space)Name of Link]

  • Notice there is a space between the URL and the "Name of the Link.
  • The link will not work if there is no space.


  • Links to articles within the FamilySearch wiki.
  • To create an internal link just place double square brackets before and after the title of the article like so:

[[Missouri Genealogy]]

  • If you want a different name for the link rather than the title of the article type a | after the title and then whatever title you want the link to be for example:

[[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri Main page]]

  • So here are the two ways to create an internal link to an article:

[[Missouri Genealogy]] or
[[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri Main page]]

Create a sandbox page

To practice Wikitext coding and do the homework assignments, you need to create a sandbox page if you have not already done so. Your sandbox page will allow you to experiment with the Wikitext code without it appearing anywhere in FamilySearch Wiki. Nothing you type in your sandbox will appear in the Wiki itself. To create your very own sandbox, complete the following steps.

  • One - In the search box at the top right hand corner of the main page, type your user name followed by a colon followed by the word sandbox followed by a forward slash / (which under the ? key) followed by the word wikitext.
  • Your entry in the search box should look something like this:


  • Two - Then hit the enter key and you should be taken to a edit box.
  • Three - You will probably to taken to the Rich Editor box. In the upper left hand corner you will see the word Wikitext.
  • Four - Click on that and you will be taken to the Wikitext editor box.
  • Five - In the edit box, type in the name of your My Home Town and then click Save page button which is just below the edit box.
  • Be aware that you can create as many sandbox pages as you like. You are not limited to just one.

You now should have a sandbox page which you can play in and experiment creating pages. Now for your first problem:

What has been covered in Wikitext - Lesson One

  • What is Wikitext
  • Computer symbols used
  • How to create Headers
  • How to create Lists
  • How to create Links
  • How to create Sandboxes


Assignment One

These are exercises to give you practice in creating articles using wikitext. Your first problem will be to create an article about your hometown in your sandbox. Since adding material to the wiki is one of the duties of a Wiki missionary, let's get started working with wikitext to do this.

  • Around the name of your hometown place one equal signs on either end. (We'll use the h1 header only in our homework.)
  • Type in the following headers with two equal signs on either end.
    • History
    • Church Records
    • Cemeteries
    • Newspapers
    • Libraries and Museums
    • Societies
    • City Directories
    • References

Click here to check your coding.

Assignment Two

  • For each of the headers above find some material to put under each heading.
  • Under History, maybe a 50 words or so. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Under Chuches, Cemeteries, Newspapers, Libraries and Museums, Societies list a couple of items each. Search the internet for these items.
  • Put an asterick before each of the two items listed under the headings.
  • Using the internet see if you can locate where the cities directories can be found and who has them.
  • Leave References alone, we talk about them in a later lesson.

Here is a sample page of what a page might look like when the headings have material under them.

Assignment Three

Assignment Four

Create a list for your family as follows:

  1. List grandparents with asterisks.
  2. Under the grandparents create a ordered sub list their children in order of birth.
  3. Under the children create a ordered sub list of their children in order of birth.

Assignment Four Answer


On to Lesson Two