How to edit


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Before you start

In order to edit the wiki, you will need to log in. Before you can log in, you must first create an account. This is a simple process – just go to the Login page and enter the relevant details. Having created an account and logged in, you can then make whatever changes you please throughout most of the wiki. (There are a few sections where only trusted users with greater privileges can make changes.)

Be warned that after a certain amount of inactivity, you will automatically be logged out again. The cutoff is approximately an hour. If you are making anything more than trivial changes, it is better to write them in an external text editor, then cut-and-paste them into place. This reduces the risk that you will lose your work.

How to edit a Wiki

NB: This is meant as a getting started guide to wiki editing. For a complete list of commands, visit

  • Every page will have at least one blue Edit link in a tab at the top of the page (with the exception of certain locked pages).
  • Clicking this button when logged in takes you to the editing page

Once at the Editing page, you'll need to know about the format of Wikis.

Generally, everything is designed to be straightforward. uses the same MediaWiki software as Wikipedia, so more information can be found reading the MediaWiki Handbook.


Normal text only needs to be typed.

A single new line doesn't create a break.

An empty line starts a new paragraph.

  • Lines starting with * create lists. Multiple *s nest the list
  • Lines starting with # create a numbered list. Using ## and ### will add numbered subsections split with periods.
  • Apostrophes can be used to add emphasis. Use the same number of apostrophes to turn the emphasis off again at the end of the section.
    • Two apostrophes will put text in italics: ''some text'' – some text
    • Three apostrophes will put text in bold: '''some more text''' – some more text
    • Five apostrophes will put text in bold italics: '''''and some more''''' – and some more
  • Sections can be marked by putting the = symbol around the heading. The more = signs are used, the lower-level the heading produced:
    • ==Main Heading==
    • ===Sub-heading===
    • ====Smaller sub-heading====
  • Some standard HTML codes can also be used: <b>bold</b> <font color="red">red</font> Please use these sparingly. However, if you want some text to be in single quotes and italics, <i>'quotes and italics'</i> produces 'quotes and italics' while three quotes would produce '''bold instead''' – bold instead.
  • HTML glyphs – &pound; £, &OElig; Œ, &deg; °, &pi; π etc. may also be used. (The <nowiki> and </nowiki> tags do not affect these.)
    • The ampersand (&) must be written with the &amp; glyph.
  • To override the automatic wiki reformating, surround the text that you do not want formatted with the <nowiki> and </nowiki> tags.
  • A line across the page can be produced with four - signs on a blank line:


  • Entries may be signed and dated (recommended for comments on talk pages) with four tildes: ~~~~ Simon Smith 02:05, 25 May 2007 (BST)

Linking and adding pictures

To link to another article within the wiki, eg: RISC OS, type double brackets around the page you want to link to, as follows: [[Page name here]]. If the page you refer to already exists, [[Page name here]] will appear as a blue clickable link. Otherwise, it will appear as a red 'non-existent link', and following it will allow you to create the associated page.

To add a picture, use a link of the form [[Image:image name here|alternative text here]]. For example, [[Image:zap34x41.png|Zap icon]] gives the Zap application icon: Zap icon

There is a summary list of uploaded files available, and a gallery of new image files.

To link to an external URL, type the URL directly, including the leading 'http://', as follows: To change how a link to an external URL appears, type single brackets around the URL, and separate the URL from the alternative text with a space. For example, [ Text to appear] gives Text to appear. As an anti-spamming measure, you will have to enter a CAPTCHA code whenever you add a new link to an external page. The following link gives further information on CAPTCHAs.

When providing a link, try to make the clickable part self-descriptive. For example, 'The following link gives further information on CAPTCHAs' is preferable to 'For further information on CAPTCHAs, click here'. A link that says 'click here' is only understandable in context, and users may not be able to tell where the link will send them until they click on it.

If you link to a page that doesn't exist, following the link will send you to a blank page template, allowing you to edit and thus create the new page: A page that doesn't exist.

If you wanted to link to another Wiki article X, but display text Y, use a 'piped link'. Type the name of the page first, then a pipe symbol, then the alternative text. For example, [[RISC OS|Front page]] gives Front page.

General Advice

The front page has several categories listed on it. While this list can grow, if your article can fit in one of these categories, then go to the category page in question and add a link to it.

When creating a new page, make use of the Preview button to avoid filling up the change log with lots of revisions to your new article and always include some information in the 'Summary' box to help others see what's happened in the change log.

If you think a page should exist, but you don't have time to create it, link to it anyway. People are far more likely to fill in blanks if they can just follow a link than if they have to edit links all over the place.

Above all, keep it factual, professional and clean. If you don't, you are liable to be banned from further contribution, and someone will fix your errors anyway! As the disclaimer says: 'If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't submit it here.' Wikipedia is proof that the idea works, and works well.

Brief Style Guide

This subsection gives a brief summary of the style conventions suggested for use throughout the wiki.

  • Terms which are particularly important to an entry should have links provided. Terms of only minor relevance should not be linked. It is only necessary to provide a link the first time a related term is used, not every time it appears. Additional links may still be added in longer entries and in any other cases where readers are likely to find it helpful.
  • Write out unusual abbreviations in full the first time they are used within each article, and then give the abbreviation within parentheses. (For example: 'Programmer's Reference Manual (PRM)'.) Thereafter, use the abbreviation without further comment. In 'general' articles, the threshold for what is considered an unusual abbreviation will be lower than in 'technical' articles.
  • When linking to a compound term include the full term inside the link (rather than part of the term inside the link, part outside) and if necessary use the pipe ('|') symbol to provide more suitable alternative text. For example, use "Martin Wuerthner's applications include …" rather than "Martin Wuerthner's applications include …"
  • Try to ensure that every link (briefly) describes its contents. Avoid sentences that say, 'To find out about XYZ, click here'; instead use sentences of the form, 'Follow this link to find out about XYZ'.
  • As far as possible use the Wiki codes for bold, italic, lists, etc. rather than inserting HTML markup.
  • Use single quotes in preference to double quotes except when quoting a person's actual words.
  • Write single-digit numbers in words, numbers of 13 or more as numbers. The numbers 10-12 represent a grey area where either convention may be used as seems appropriate. The best guide it to stay consistent within a particular section of a document. Number ranges and numbers with decimal fractions should always be written as numbers.
  • Use HTML glyphs for specialist symbols. Do not forget the trailing semicolon – while most browsers will still display the glyph even if the semicolon is missing, this is not guaranteed to work reliably. Of the sample glyphs given, the ampersand, quotes, and the less than and greater than symbols are the least critical, because the Wiki software will usually automatically alter them to the correct forms. A Google search for HTML glyphs gives several useful summaries. Some commonly-used glyphs are given below:
    • ampersand : & : &amp;
    • dashes : — – : &mdash; &ndash;
    • double quotes : " : &quot;
    • ellipsis : … : &hellip;
    • hard space :   : &nbsp;
    • less than, greater than : < > : &lt; &gt;
    • pound : £ : &pound;
    • superscripts : ² ³ : &sup2; &sup3;
  • Avoid contractions (it's, doesn't) and exclamations.
  • When giving a list of items, provide the entries in ascending alphabetical order unless there is some other more compelling sequence.
  • When leaving comments on discussion pages, sign them with four tildes – ~~~~. This adds your user name and the time and date.
  • In general, the desired tone for the RISC OS wiki is similar to that of a RISC OS magazine. However, highly technical articles should be written to have the same tone and style as the entries in the RISC OS Programmer's Reference Manuals.


Templates allow information to be displayed in the same format on different, related, pages (such as the info box on this Wikipedia page), or to link together related articles (such as the box on this page).

See this Getting Started HOWTO, or try editing a Wikipedia template to see the source for an existing example.

The main templates in use within the Wiki are the Application and Applicationbox templates. Instructions on how to use them are given on their associated talk pages. A couple of Infobox templates have also been set up, but these do not require per-use customisation.

Talk Pages

Every wiki page has a Talk page associated with it. It can be reached through the discussion tab at the the top of the page.

The Talk page is useful for remarks, questions or discussions about the main page. By keeping these on the Talk page, the main page can focus on factual information.

Please observe the following conventions when writing on the Talk page (for a full description see the MediaWiki page on Talk pages):

  • Always sign your name after your comments using four tildes '~~~~'. This will expand to your name and a date stamp. Preferably preceed this signature with two dashes and a space: '-- ~~~~'.
  • Start a new subject with a == Level 2 Heading == at the bottom of the page.
  • Indent replies with a colon (':') at the beginning of the line. Use multiple colons for deeper indents. Keep your text on one line in the source for this to work. If you really must have more than one paragraph, start that paragraph with a blank line and a new set of colons.
  • Unlike in the normal wiki pages, normally you should not edit text written by others.

Moderating Others' Work

If you spot a mistake in someone else's work, correct it, but make a note in the 'Summary' box stating the reason for the change, eg: Fixed speeling mistooks.

If you feel you can add useful information to an existing page, then add it. If you feel something should be removed, remove it, but state why in the 'Summary' box. If it's a point of contention, use the article talk page to start a talk about it.

Before removing or making significant changes to someone else's contribution, consider the guidance on "reverting" from wikimedia.

Reverting spam

Administrators can make use of a fast rollback facility. Bring up the article, then click on the History tab. Select the version you wish to rollback to in the first column, and the current version in the second. Click 'compare selected versions'. In the second column will be a 'Rollback' link: click this to rollback. It will also place a comment in the log denoting the rollback.

Reverting when not an administrator is slightly more complicated - see instructions how to revert.

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