Wikipedia:Manual of Style

The Manual of Style (MoS or MOS) is the style manual for all Wikipedia articles. This primary page is supported by further detail pages, which are cross-referenced here and listed at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Contents. If any contradiction arises, this page always has precedence.[1]

The MoS presents Wikipedia's house style, to help editors write articles with consistent and precise language, layout, and formatting, making Wikipedia easier and more intuitive for users. Plain English works best. Avoid ambiguity, jargon, and vague or unnecessarily complex wording.

Style and formatting should be consistent within an article. Where more than one style is acceptable under MoS, editors should not change an article from one of those styles to another without a good reason. Edit warring over optional styles is unacceptable.[2] If a style or similar debate becomes intractable, see if a rewrite can make the issue moot.

Any new content added to the body of this page should directly address a style issue that has recurred in a significant number of instances. Discuss style issues on the MoS talk page.

Article titles, headings, and sections

Article titles

A title should be a recognizable name or description of the topic that is natural, sufficiently precise, concise, and consistent with those of related articles. If these criteria are in conflict, they should be balanced against one another.

For formatting guidance see the WP:Article titles § Article title format section, noting the following:

Subject both to the above and to WP:Article titles, the rest of the MoS, particularly § Punctuation, applies also to the title.

See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Titles, for cases where a Wikipedia article about a published work has a title that coincides with the work's title.

Section organization

An article should begin with an introductory lead section – a concise summary of the article – which is never divided into sections (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section). The remainder of the article is typically divided into sections.

Infoboxes, images, and related content in the lead section must be right-aligned.

If an article has at least four section headings, a navigable table of contents appears automatically, just after the lead.

If the topic of a section is covered in more detail in a dedicated article (see Wikipedia:Summary style), insert immediately under the section heading.

As explained in detail in WP:Manual of Style/Layout § Standard appendices and footers, optional appendix and footer sections may appear after the body of the article, in the following order:

  • books or other works created by the subject of the article (under a section heading "Works", "Publications", "Discography", etc. as appropriate);
  • internal links to related English Wikipedia articles (section heading "See also");
  • notes and references (section heading "Notes" or "References", or a separate section for each; see Citing sources);
  • relevant books, articles, or other publications that have not been used as sources (section heading "Further reading");
  • relevant websites that have not been used as sources and do not appear in the earlier appendices (added as part of "Further reading" or in a separate section headed "External links");
  • internal links organized into navigational boxes (sometimes placed at the top in the form of sidebars);
  • categories.

Other article elements include disambiguation hatnotes (normally placed at the very top of the article) and infoboxes (usually placed before the lead section).

Section headings

Section headings should follow all of the guidance for article titles (above), and should be presented in sentence case (Funding of UNESCO projects), not title case (Funding of UNESCO Projects).[a]

Use equals signs around a section heading: ==Title== for a primary section, ===Title=== for a subsection, and so on to =====Title=====, with each nesting level having only one more "=" on each side than the prior level so no levels are skipped. (=Title= is never used.[d]) Spaces around the title (e.g. == Title ==) are optional and ignored.

Section headings should:

  • Be unique within a page (otherwise section links may lead to the wrong place, and edit summaries may be ambiguous).
  • Not contain links, especially where only part of a heading is linked.
  • Not contain images or icons.
  • Not contain <math> markup.
  • Not contain citations or footnotes.
  • Not misuse ";" (description list) markup to create pseudo-headings.

These restrictions are necessary to avoid technical complications, and are not subject to override by local consensus or WP:IAR.

In addition, as a matter of consistent style section headings should:

  • Not redundantly refer back to the subject of the article (Early life, not Smith's early life or His early life), or to a higher-level heading, unless doing so is shorter or clearer.
  • Not be numbered or lettered as an outline.
  • Not be phrased as a question.
  • Avoid use of color or unusual fonts that might cause accessibility problems.
  • Do not wrap headings in markup, which may break their display and also cause additional accessibility issues.

These are broadly accepted community preferences.

An invisible comment on the same line must be inside the == == markup:[e]

==Implications<!--This comment works fine-->==

==<!--This comment works fine-->Implications==
==Implications==<!--This comment causes problems-->

<!--This comment breaks the heading completely-->==Implications==

It is more usual practice to put such comments below the heading.

Before changing a heading, consider whether you might be breaking existing links to it. If there are many links to the old title, create an anchor with that title to ensure that these still work. Similarly, when linking to a section, leave an invisible comment at the heading of the target section, naming the linking articles, so that if the heading is later altered these can be fixed. Combined example:

== Implications ==
<!--Section linked from [[Richard Dawkins]], [[Daniel Dennett]].)-->

which will be saved in the article as:

== <span id="Consequences"></span>Implications ==
<!--Section linked from [[Richard Dawkins]], [[Daniel Dennett]].)-->

Heading-like material

The above guidance about sentence case, redundancy, images, and questions also applies to headers of tables (and of table columns and rows). However, table headings can incorporate citations and may begin with, or be, numbers. Unlike page headings, table headers do not automatically generate link anchors. Aside from sentence case in glossaries, the heading advice also applies to the term entries in description lists. If using template-structured glossaries, terms will automatically have link anchors, but will not otherwise. Citations for description-list content go in the term or definition element, as needed.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Wikipedia:Styl
Bahasa Banjar: Wikipidia:Pedoman gaya
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Вікіпэдыя:Правілы афармленьня
български: Уикипедия:Стил
hrvatski: Wikipedija:Stil
Bahasa Indonesia: Wikipedia:Pedoman gaya
Lëtzebuergesch: Wikipedia:Stil
norsk nynorsk: Wikipedia:Stilmanual
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Wikipedia:Stil
українська: Вікіпедія:Стиль