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Wikipedia:Edit summary

When editing an article on Wikipedia there is a small field labeled "Summary" under the main edit-box. It looks like this:

The text written here will appear in black italics on the Recent changes page and in the page revision history (see also below).

In this field you should write a short summary of the changes you have introduced into the article. After saving the page the summary can not be edited, an extra reason to avoid spelling errors.

In the case of a small addition to an article, such as one sentence, the full text of this addition can be copied to the summary field, giving a maximum of info with a minimum of effort (you can write up to 200 characters in the summary).

In addition to a summary of the change itself, the summary field may also contain an explanation of the change; note that if the reason of an edit is not clear, it is more likely to be reverted, especially in the case that some text is deleted. To give longer explanation, use the Talk page.

Always fill the summary is one of Wikipedia's guidelines. We've found that even a short or silly summary is better than no summary.

In addition to the distinction major/minor change, accurate summaries help people decide whether it is worthwhile for them to check a change. We've found that summaries often pique the interest of wikipedians with an expertise in the area. This may not be as necessary for "minor changes", but "fixed spelling" would be nice even then.

Efficient Wikipedians have developed a number of abbreviations for the summary field:

Abbreviation(s) What it means
typo Fixed typos (wags also use "tipo", "tyop", etc)
sp Fixed spelling mistakes
lk or links Added links
wikified Created links / converted markup, especially of new articles
formatting, fmt, fm or MoS Applied manual of style formatting
#REDIRECT [[other page]] Made the page a redirect to [[other page]]
copyedit Miscellaneous copyediting
[[name of other article]] Added the link name of other article[?] (maybe a bit of text too); this is especially useful if the link is to a new article, to draw people's attention to that, for people who keep track of pages on their watchlist, but not systematically of all new pages.
(eg) eo Added a link to the wikipedia article in (eg) Esperanto.
rv Reverted a previous edit (this short summary is sufficient only in the case of an obvious error or obvious vandalism)
see Talk An explanation/discussion of this edit is on the article's talk page.
rm or remove Additions and removals are also sometimes abbreviated as "+" and "-" (e.g. "+official website link")
disambig Disambiguating a wiki link. (e.g. changing [[PDF]] to [[Portable Document Format|PDF]])

Places where the edit summary appears

  • Recent Changes
  • Revision history (/w/wiki.phtml?title=Wikipedia:Edit_summary&action=history) (also called page history)
  • Related changes (/w/wiki.phtml?title=Special:Recentchangeslinked&target=Wikipedia:Edit_summary)
  • User contributions
  • Newly created articles (this gives the time of creation, the user who created it, and, somewhat confusingly, the edit summary of the latest change, so the summary is not necessarily written by the user mentioned)

Note: The Wikipedia search can not search edit summaries, and they are not indexed by Google.

For marking an edit as minor, see Wikipedia:How to edit a page.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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