An article with a table of contents block and an image near the start, then several sections

Sample article layout (click on image for larger view).

This page is a guide to laying out a typical basic article. Complicated articles may be best modeled on the layout of an existing article of appropriate structure. This guide is not about how to use wiki markup (see Wikipedia:How to edit a page for that); nor is it about writing style (see Manual of Style for that).

Lead sectionEdit

As explained in detail at Elements of the lead section, the lead section may contain optional elements presented in the following order:

  1. disambiguation links (dablinks)
  2. maintenance tags
  3. infoboxes
  4. images
  5. navigational boxes (navigational templates)
  6. introductory text
  7. table of contents moving to the heading of the first section.

Body sectionsEdit

The same article, with the central left highlighted: it contains just text in sections.

Body sections appear after the lead and table of contents (click on image for larger view).

Headings and sectionsEdit

Sections and subsections are introduced by headings. Very short or very long sections and subsections in an article look cluttered and inhibit the flow of the prose. These headings clarify articles by breaking up text, organizing content, and populating the table of contents that users can choose to view by the default, to collapse by clicking hide, or not to view by changing their Preferences.

Headings follow a six-level hierarchy, starting at 1 and ending at 6. The level of the heading is defined by the number of equal signs on either side of the title. Heading 1 (=Heading 1=) is automatically generated as the title of the article, and is never appropriate within the body of articles. Sections start at the second level (==Heading 2==), with subsections at the third level (===Heading 3===), and additional levels of subsections at the fourth level (====Heading 4====), fifth level, and sixth level. Sections should be consecutive, such that they do not skip levels from sections to sub-subsections; the exact methodology is part of the Accessibility guideline.[1] Between sections, there should be a single blank line; multiple blank lines in the edit window create too much white space in the article.

Section templates and summary styleEdit

When a section is a summary of another article that provides a full exposition of the section, a link to that article should appear immediately under the section heading. You can use the {{Main}} template to generate a Main article; link.[2]

If one or more articles provide further information or additional details (rather than a full exposition—see above), references to such articles may be placed immediately after the section heading for that section, provided this does not duplicate a wikilink in the text. These additional references should be grouped along with the {{Main}} template (if there is one), for easy selection by the reader, rather than being scattered throughout the text of a section. You can use one of the following templates to generate these links:

  • {{Details}} – this generates For more details on this topic, see:
  • {{Further}} – this generates Further information:
  • {{Related}} – this generates Related terms:
  • {{also}} – this generates See also:
For example, to generate a "See also" link to the article on Wikipedia:How to edit a page, type {{also|Wikipedia:How to edit a page}}, which will generate:


Sections usually consist of paragraphs of running prose. Bullet points should be minimized in the body of the article, if they are used at all; however, a bulleted list may be useful to break up what would otherwise be a large, grey mass of text, particularly if the topic requires significant effort on the part of readers. Bulleted lists are typical in the reference and reading sections at the bottom. Between paragraphs—as between sections—there should be only a single blank line; bullet points are usually not separated by a blank line.

The number of single-sentence paragraphs should be minimized, since they can inhibit the flow of the text; by the same token, paragraphs that exceed a certain length become hard to read. Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading; in such circumstances, it may be preferable to use bullet points. See also Wikipedia:Writing better articles#Paragraphs.

Standard appendices and footersEdit


When certain optional standard appendix sections are used, they should appear at the bottom of an article, with ==level 2 headings==,[3] followed by the various footers. In the rare cases when it is useful to sub-divide these sections (for example, to separate a list of magazine articles from a list of books), most editors prefer to use either definition list headings (;Books) or bold-faced text ("Books") instead of level 3 headings (===Books===).

Order of sectionsEdit


When present, appendix and footer sections are presented in this order.[4]

  1. Works or Publications
  2. See also
  3. Notes and/or References
  4. Further reading
  5. External links[5]
  6. Navigation templates (footer navboxes)[6]
  7. Persondata template
  8. Defaultsort
  9. Categories[7]
  10. Stub templates
  11. Interlanguage links

Works or PublicationsEdit

Contents: A bulleted list, usually ordered chronologically, of the works created by the subject of the article.

Title: Many different titles are used, depending on the subject matter. "Works" is preferred when the list includes items that are not written publications (e.g., music, films, paintings, choreography, or architectural designs), or if multiple types of works are included. "Bibliography", "Discography", or "Filmography" are occasionally used where appropriate; however, "Bibliography" is discouraged because it is not clear whether it is limited to the works of the subject of the article.[8] "Works"/"Publications" should be plural, even if it lists only a single item.[9]

See also sectionEdit

For "other uses" templates, see Wikipedia:Hatnote.

Contents: A bulleted list, preferably alphabetized, of internal links (wikilinks) to related Wikipedia articles. Editors should provide a brief annotation when a link's relevance is not immediately apparent, when the meaning of the term may not be generally known, or when the term is ambiguous. For example:

A reasonable number of relevant links that would be in the body of a hypothetical perfect article are suitable to add to the "See also" appendix of a less developed one. Links already integrated into the body of the text are generally not repeated in a "See also" section, and navigation boxes at the bottom of articles may substitute for many links (see the bottom of Pathology for example). However, whether a link belongs in the "See also" section is ultimately a matter of editorial judgment and common sense. Indeed, a good article might not require a "See also" section at all. Thus, although some links may not naturally fit into the body of text they may be excluded from the "See also" section due to article size constraints. Links that would be included in the article were it not kept relatively short for other reasons may thus be appropriate, though should be used in moderation, as always. Links included in the "See also" section may be useful for readers seeking to read as much about a topic as possible, including subjects only peripherally related to the one in question. The "See also" section should not link to pages that do not exist (red links) or disambiguation pages. {{Portal}} and {{Wikipedia-Books}} links are usually placed in this section.

Title: The most common title for this section is "See also".

Notes and References <span id="Notes" /><span id="References" /><span id="Notes or references" />Edit

Wikipedia layout sample Notes References

Notes and References appear after See also (click on image for larger view).

Contents: This section, or series of sections, may contain (1) explanatory footnotes that give information which is too detailed or awkward to be in the body of the article, (2) citation footnotes that serve to verify specific information in the article, (3) general references (bibliography items) that are not explicitly related to any specific parts of the text.

In a given article, some or all of these three sets may be present. If there are both citation footnotes and explanatory footnotes, then they may be combined in a single section, or separated using the grouped footnotes function. There may therefore be one, two or three sections in all. A general references section should come after any footnotes section(s), and the explanatory footnotes section should precede the citation footnotes (if they are separate).

Title: The title(s) of these sections depend on which of the three types of item are present, and whether the two types of footnote are combined or separated. Possibilities include:

  • for a list of explanatory footnotes only: "Notes", "Footnotes"
  • for a list of citation footnotes only: "References", "Notes" ("Citations" may be used but is problematic because it may be confused with official awards)
  • for a list containing both types of footnote: "Notes", "Footnotes" ("References" may be used but is less appropriate)
  • for a list of general references: "References", "Works cited" ("Sources" may be used but may be confused with source code in computer-related articles; "Bibliography" may be used but may be confused with a list of printed works by the subject of a biography).

With the exception of "Bibliography," the heading should be plural even if it lists only a single item.[9]

Further readingEdit

A guideline on further reading sections is proposed at Wikipedia:Further reading.

Contents: An optional bulleted list, usually alphabetized, of a reasonable number of editor-recommended publications that would help interested readers learn more about the article subject. Editors may include brief annotations. Publications listed in Further reading are cited in the same citation style used by the rest of the article. The Further reading section should not duplicate the content of the External links section, and should normally not duplicate the content of the References section, unless the References section is too long for a reader to use as part of a general reading list. This section is not intended as a repository for general references that were used to create the article content.

External linksEdit

The same article, with a near-bottom section highlighted

External links section usually appears last (click on image for larger view).

Main article: Wikipedia:External links

Contents: A bulleted list of recommended relevant websites, each accompanied by a short description. These hyperlinks should not appear in the article's body text, nor should links used as references normally be duplicated in this section. "External links" should be plural, even if it lists only a single item.[9] This section may be substituted by a "Further reading" section.

InterWikimedia links to other projects (except Wiktionary and Wikisource) should only appear in this section. When using the large, graphical templates such as {{Commons}}, put interwiki links at the beginning of the section (so the box will appear next to, rather than below, the links). If placing such links in the External links section results in a long sequence of right-aligned boxes hanging off the bottom of the article, consider using normal URL links or inline templates, such as {{Commons category-inline|Some category}}. For further information, see Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects.

Wiktionary and Wikisource links may appear in this section, but they may also be linked inline (e.g., to the text of a document being discussed or to a word that might not be familiar to all readers).

Navigation templatesEdit

Main article: Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates#Navigation templates

Contents: Navigation templates (footer navboxes), including succession boxes and geography boxes such as {{Geographic location}}. Most navboxes do not appear in printed versions of Wikipedia articles.[10]



Main article: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Images

Images should ideally be spread evenly within the article, and relevant to the sections they are located in. All images should also have an explicative caption. An image that would otherwise overwhelm the available text space on a 800×600 window should be shrunk or formatted as a panorama. It is a good idea to try to maintain visual coherence by aligning the sizes of images and templates on a given page.

When placing images, be careful not to stack too many of them within the lead, or within a single section to avoid bunching up several section edit links in some browsers. Generally, if there are so many images in a section that they strip down into the next section at 1024×768 screen resolution, that probably means either that the section is too short, or that there are too many images. If an article has many images—so many, in fact, that they lengthen the page beyond the length of the text itself —you can use a gallery. Another solution might be to create a page or category combining all of them at Wikimedia Commons and use a relevant template ({{Commons}}, {{Commons category}}, {{Commons-inline}} or {{Commons category-inline}}) to link to it instead, so that further images are readily found and available when the article is expanded. Please see WP:IG for further information on the use of galleries.

As a general rule, images should not be set to a larger fixed size than the 220px default. If an exception to the general rule is warranted, forcing an image size to be either larger or smaller than the 220px default is done by placing a parameter in the image coding in the form |XXXpx.Lead images should usually be no wider than "300px" ("upright=1.35"). Larger images should generally be a maximum of 500 pixels tall and 400 pixels wide, so that they can comfortably be displayed on the smallest displays in common use.

Avoid referring to images as being on the left or right. Image placement is different for viewers of the mobile version of Wikipedia, and is meaningless to people having pages read to them by assistive software. Instead, use captions to identify images.


As part of Wikifying articles,[11] you should link words in this article to other relevant articles. To create an interwiki hyperlink, place two square brackets around important words or phrases, like this: [[Lion]]. Normally, the first occurrence of a word is the one chosen for a link. Do not link to the same article more than once in a section. Avoid creating adjacent links to separate articles, because the reader cannot tell whether the link is to one or two articles without pointing to the link.

If the phrase or word in the article you are editing does not match the name of the article you want to link, use a piped link. Type the exact name of the target article followed by a pipe "|" (vertical bar, shift backward slash on some keyboards) followed by the phrase you wish to see in the context of the article you are editing. Place two square brackets around this code. This creates a hyperlink that will allow the reader to click through to other Wikipedia articles:

Lennie and George came to a ranch near [[Soledad, California|Soledad]] southeast of [[Salinas, California]], to "work up a stake".

When saved, this produces:

Lennie and George came to a ranch near Soledad southeast of Salinas, California, to "work up a stake".

Horizontal ruleEdit


Horizontal rules—a series of hyphens (----) resulting in a straight line—are deprecated; that is, they are no longer used in articles. Rules were once employed to separate multiple meanings of a single article's name, but this task is now accomplished through disambiguation pages.

Rules can be used to provide separation inside certain templates (for example, {{politbox}} derivatives), within discussions, or when needed in some other formats.

See alsoEdit

Specialized layoutEdit

Other project pagesEdit


  1. For example, skipping heading levels, such as jumping from ==Heading 2== to ====Heading 4==== without ===Heading 3=== in the middle, violates Wikipedia:Accessibility as it reduces usability for readers on screen readers who use heading levels to navigate pages.
  2. Syntax:
    {{main|Circumcision and law}}
    This produces:
    Main article: Circumcision and law
  3. Syntax:
    == See also==
    * [[Wikipedia:How to edit a page]]
    * [[Wikipedia:Manual of Style]]
    Which produces:

    See also

  4. This sequence has been in place since at least 2003 (when "See also" was called "Related topics"). See, e.g., See also Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Changes to standard appendices. The original rationale for this ordering is that, with the exception of Works, sections which contain material outside Wikipedia (including Further reading and External links) should come after sections that contain Wikipedia material (including See also) to help keep the distinction clear. The sections containing notes and references often contain both kinds of material and, consequently, appear after the See also section (if any) and before the Further reading section (if any). Whatever the validity of the original rationale, there is now the additional factor that readers have come to expect the appendices to appear in this order.
  5. There are several reasons why this section should appear as the last appendix section. So many articles have the External links section at the end that many people expect that. Some External links and references sections are very long, and when the name of the section is not visible on the screen, it could cause problems if someone meant to delete an external link, and deleted a reference instead. Keeping the External links last is also helpful to editors who patrol external links.
  6. Rationale for placing navboxes at the end of the article.
  7. While categories are entered on the editing page ahead of stub templates, they appear on the visual page after the stub templates.
  8. Rationale for discouraging the use of "Bibliography."
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 See, e.g., Wikipedia:External links#External links section.
  10. The rationale for not printing navigation boxes is that these templates contain wikilinks that are of no use to print readers.[1] There are two problems with this rationale: First, other wikilink content does print, for example See also and succession boxes. Second, some navigation boxes contain useful information regarding the relationship of the article to the subjects of related articles.
  11. Wikipedia:What is an article states that the definition of an article used by the software that generates reports on article statistics, is that it contains at least one wiki link.

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