So you've decided to contribute to our wiki? Wonderful! Here's a step-by-step tutorial for editing your first page.

Creating an AccountEdit

If you aren't logged in or don't have an account, in the upper right of every page is a link that says "Create an account or log in". Go ahead and click on this. Probably best to do it in a new window so that you can continue to follow this tutorial. If you have already registered on the wiki, go ahead and type in your username and password and click on "Log In".

If you haven't registered here, you'll need to create an account. Just fill out the fields listed:

  • Username - Be sure it's easy for us to figure out your real name from your username so we can assign grades to the right person.
  • Password - You can use whichever password you'd like, but it's probably a good idea not to use your ASDL password
  • Email - Type in your e-mail address here
  • Real Name - Really use your real name.

After all that, click on "Create new Account" You'll see a confirmation page pop up and you'll receive a confirmation e-mail shortly thereafter.

Editing a pageEdit

If you are creating a new page, all you need to do is click on a broken link to that page. A broken link appears in red text to let you know that no page exists currently as shown earlier in this sentence. If you are editing an existing page, just click on the "edit" tab at the top of whichever page you're on. From here on, we'll assume you're starting a new page, just for simplicity. Be sure to click on the "View Wikitext" button in the upper right corner of the edit window for the tips here to be applicable.

From there, you'll be presented with an empty box, just waiting to be filled with text. Coincidentally, that's the best way to start. Begin with a short paragraph as an introduction to whatever topic the page is about. Just a few lines is plenty. After that, go ahead and dig into the meat of your text.

Organize your TextEdit

Every document needs paragraphs. To create paragraphs in wikitype, just leave a blank line in between two blocks of text. If you don't, it will just render both blocks of text as a single paragraph.

Headings and subheadings are the key to helping people find information on an article. It also helps to create a really handy table of contents for a page at the top. You should use larger headings for main sections by enclosing something in double equals signs like this:

==Main Subject Heading==

Beneath that, use more equals signs on each side to get lower level headings.

===Lower Level Heading=======Still Lower Level Heading=========Even Still Lower Level Heading=====

As you can see, the tutorial itself has been organized into main subject headings and lower level headings. Figure out what the best mix of them is for your particular needs. Too much text under one heading gets difficult to read. Too little and the page feels empty.

Formatting TextEdit

Headings aren't the only way to format text. You can also use apostrophes (single quote marks) to format text with bold or italics. Three on each side such as '''this example''' give bold as in this example. Two on each side as in ''this text'' gives italics. Heck, you can even '''''combine them''''' to get bold and italics!

Since Aerospace Engineers love their subscripts and superscripts, you might need some of those too. Use <sub>sub tags</sub> to get subscripts. Similarly, superscripts use <sup>sup tags</sup> to superscript things.


Most information is best conveyed in full prose format. However, sometimes you just need a list. You could do things the old fashioned way of doing it by hand, or you can let the wiki do the work. To create a bulleted list, just start each new line with an asterisk (such as *). To create a numbered list and let the wiki do the counting for you, just start each new line with a number sign (also known as a pound or #). To get to the second level, just use two of them, or combine them to get things like these. The best thing to do is experiment here a little to figure out what works best for you.

Notation Bulleted Numbered Combined

*Item 1
*Item 2
**Sub Item
*Item 3

  • Item 1
  • Item 2
    • Sub Item
  • Item 3
  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
    1. Sub Item 2a
  3. Item 3
  1. Item
    • Sub Item
    • Sub Item
  2. Item

Add linksEdit

Links are perhaps one of the most important parts of the internet and, by extension, this wiki. The policy of ASDL wiki is that broken links are better than no links. What that means is that, if you write a sentence and notice that certain words of it ought to have more information on its own page, we'd rather you go ahead and create a link, even if that other page doesn't exist yet. Of course, we'd rather have working links than broken links.

To link to other pages within the wiki, enclose the word in [[double square brackets]] to create a link. As a better example, let's try linking to something that we know exists, like Fixed Wing Design.

Sometimes the title of the page you want doesn't really fit into the way you use it. The way to deal with that is to use the typical link format, but add in a vertical bar and the text you want to display before the closing brackets. So something like [[Fixed Wing Design |FWD]] appears as FWD but links to Fixed Wing Design.

External links are slightly different. The proper format for those is to open with a single bracket, type out the URL and then leave a space before typing whatever it is you want to appear for the address. You might type something like [ ASDL Webpage] to get ASDL Webpage.

Two notes of caution for internal links: Capitalization matters for everything but the very first letter. A link to This Page will go somewhere different than This page. Check to make sure how the page you're linking to is capitalized. Other pages may have different names than you might expect, so look around a little bit if you think the page may exist. Creating a link to Fixed Wing or Fixed Wing Design I will break because the proper name of the page is Fixed Wing Design.

Add imagesEdit

Just like in books, magazines and presentations, images help to break up the text into manageable sections as well as offer additional insight into the material.


This is an example caption on an example photo

To add an image into your text, just add in the image tag along with the filename of the photo you're about to upload. Name it something descriptive and try to avoid spaces,just in case. You don't have to use the name of the actual file because the wiki is smart enough to rename it here. The simplest image tag would be something like [[Image:Nophoto.png]]. Of course, we're going to be slightly fancier and use some of the additional flags. When you create a new image, start with a default tag like this: [[Image:Nophoto.png|frame|right|This is an example caption on an example photo]] This tag says to use the image Nophoto.png, enclose it in a frame, align it on the right side of the page and give it a caption. The end result is the picture you see on the right.

At present the image resize mechanism that creates the fancy thumbnails on Wikipedia is broken for us. We're working on getting it fixed, but for now, resize your pictures outside of the wiki before you upload them. Once it's corrected, there will be additional flags to use for creating thumbnails of the appropriate size.

NOTE: Give your images meaningful, specific names that explain exactly what the image shows. Do not use meaningless names like "Equation 1.12.jpg" or overly simple names like "wing.jpg". Do not be afraid of using long file names.

Supported image formats are .png, .jpg, and .gif. You can download for free and use it to resize images and save them in these formats. Adobe Photoshop is also available in the Mac area of the library.

You should also use images whenever you need to insert an equation. Simply take a screenshot of it once you've made it look beautiful in LaTeX or Microsoft Equation Editor and upload that file as before.

Finishing your pageEdit

There are a few finishing steps that improve the overall quality of the page.

Previewing and SavingEdit

Chances are, if you've been trying out some of the examples above, you've already figured out the "Save page" and "Show preview" buttons at the bottom of the edit box. You should use preview if you're making many small changes and want to see the effects. Obviously you should save at the end, but if you're making significant progress, save the page as you write to make sure you don't lose anything if your browser crashes or you accidentally navigate away from the page.


Categories offer another way for you to incorporate your page into the rest of the wiki. With some pages, there are standard categories that should be used. For example, you own personal page should have the people category as well as either students, research engineers, or whichever your group is. To add a category use the tag like this: [[Category:Examples]]. Almost all categories are given in a plural form. That means that you should use the category [[Category:People]] and not [[Category:Person]]. No matter where you put the category link in the page, it is always displayed at the bottom of the page It's usually best to put it at the bottom for consistency.


Since we value the ability to attribute our sources to the proper locations, good citation is important. For the time being, the best way to do this is to use a standard inline reference such as (Ref 1) or (Engler 2017) and include a references section at the bottom of the page that includes all of your references in a standard bibliographic format using the lists demonstrated above. Since books are big, if you cite a book, please include a page number in your citation.

Note: For the Things You Should Know assignment you MUST USE INLINE CITATIONS. Do not simply list references at the end of your page; you must show in the body of the article where each is cited. This is standard practice for all assignments in all classes, and all research work. Listing references in the bibliography that are not cited in the body of the work may be interpreted as bibliography padding. If you wish to suggest additional references to the reader that did not directly influence the content of your page, list them in a section called "Further Reading."

If you add an image that has no academic relevance (i.e. no one would want to track down its source to find more information) you don't need to include it in your references, though you might want to put the source URL in the "description" field when you upload the image.

Suggestions for Good Wiki EditingEdit

  • Discuss your topic with colleagues with similar topics to determine how your pages can interrelate and interconnect.
    *Really, add links.
    *Be bold in your edits, but be professional.
    *Add facts whenever you see a chance to do so.
    *Add opinion when you think it will help others.  But don't assert your opinion as fact.


There's still more to learn, (such as tables and templates) but you've got enough to get you started.