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There are three main ways users explore the content of a wiki:

There are other ways to find content, though they are less often used, and depend on being implemented by editors. For example:

  • Browsing from a {{Navbox}}, usually in one of a set of related articles.
  • Browsing from the link tree in What links here, e.g. WhatLinksHere/Spectral decomposition
  • Clicking links in dynamically generated content, such as a Dynamic Page Listing or Semantic MediaWiki query.


The Search box tries to find content as soon as you start typing. Click on Containing... link to do a literal search.

Search tips from Wikipedia

The following features can be used to refine searches. Many of these links are a {{search link}}. (Search link is not guaranteed to exactly emulate the search box.)

  • Phrases in double quotes — A phrase can be found by enclosing it in double quotes, "like this". Double quotes can define a single search term that contains spaces. For example, "holly dolly" where the space is a character, differs much from holly dolly where the space is interpreted as a logical AND.
  • Boolean search — All major search engines support the "-" character for "logical not", the AND, the OR, and the grouping parenthesis. Logical OR can be specified by spelling it out (in capital letters); the AND operator is assumed for all terms (separated by spaces), but spelling out AND is equivalent. Parentheses are a necessary feature because (blue OR red) AND green differs from blue OR (red AND green).
  • Exclusion — Terms can be excluded by prefixing a dash (-), which is "logical not". For example while -refining -unwanted search results. For example payment card -"credit card" finds all articles with payment and card, but not "credit card".
  • Wildcard search — A wildcard character *, standing for any length of character-string can prefix or suffix a word or string: *like will return "childlike" and "dream-like"; this*, returns results like "thistle". For example, the query *stan lists articles like Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
  • Search fuzzily — Spelling relaxation occurs by suffixing a tilde (~) like this~, with results like "thus" and "thins". For example, searching for james~ watt~ would return James Watt, James Wyatt, and James Watts. A mnemonic: <search>-ish.
  • Search results! — Prefixing a tilde ~like this query always gives search results, never jumping to a single title. It functions as the keyboard shortcut to clicking on the "containing" option. For example, ~similiar finds pages with the misspelling, instead of being redirected to Similarity. Making tilde the first character disables a redirect. There will be no disambiguation page, no article, no single page as a result. A mnemonic: "wave of <search results>"


There are a few tricks to know with links (and there's more in Wikipedia:Help:Wiki_markup#Links_and_URLs Wikipedia:

  • A regular link to an article is easy. When an article links to itself, it appears in bold: Bitnami MediaWiki:Training/Navigating.
  • You rarely need to style a link, but if you do, put the styling outside the link: article.
  • You can also link to articles, articled, etc. This is why article names should be singular.
  • You can rename a link, but avoid is if possible because it can be confusing for the reader. Changing seismic analysis to analyze seismic is a good use of renaming.
  • Adding a pipe to the end of a link simplifies it automatically, for example removing the namespace and/or disambiguation. Try linking to an article.
  • External links get made automatically from a URL:
  • You can tidy them up and give them link text. Avoid language like click here, just use natural language.
  • Sometimes you want to avoid the little link icon (avoid doing this)
  • You can link to certain other wikis easily, and this is especially handy for linking to Wikipedia. Note that these look like internal links.
  • Take care linking to categories — you need a colon to avoid simply adding the page to the category, like so Geophysics
  • Some things are linked automatically, e.g. ISBN 978-0987959409
  • Link an image: 32px or stop it linking to itself with link=. Or link to the file's page: file:example.jpg.

Links are the reason we avoid underlining or coloring text in the wiki.


  • To improve findability, all articles should be in a category.
  • Avoid deep nesting of categories — a category should probably not have fewer than about 20 members. Don't make them speculatively ('we will want it one day').
  • Adding category is easy: add [[Category:Geophysics]] at the very bottom of the page (because that's where the categories render).
  • Add as many categories to a page as you think you need.
  • Sometimes we'd like to hide a category, e.g. if it's really just for administrators; just add __HIDDENCAT__ to the category page.
  • Categories can be members of categories, if it makes logical sense.
  • If you create a new category, add a short description of what should be in the category to the category page.
  • It's often convenient to make a template categorize pages on which it appears. Simply add the category to the template inside <includeonly> tags (otherwise the template itself will be added to the category too.
  • You can categorize templates, but add the category tag to the /doc page, not the template page. It will add the category when it is transcluded.

Read more about categorization in Wikipedia:Categorization.