Wikipedia finally gets a WYSIWYG visual editor

By on

VisualEditor_-_2013-04_Metrics_deck.pdf

Editing Wikipedia will be made easier today as the popular encyclopedia will be rolling out a new WYSIWYG visual editor across most of its language services – including English – this month. It now means that new contributors will no longer have to learn Wikimarkup, which has been used as the main way to edit pages for more than a decade.

“Editing Wikipedia at the moment requires people to learn wikimarkup, a markup language, even to make tiny corrections to an article. In 2001, this was acceptable; in 2013, it’s driving contributors away,” the project page states.

“The VisualEditor allows people to edit without having to learn wikimarkup, and will, we hope, help encourage people to contribute to Wikipedia.”

One of the main benefits of the Visual Editor is that now you can format the page without the preview. You can simply add links, and and change information in the “infobox” on the right, add images to articles, and format text and headings without remembering how many quotation marks and equals are needed to make that particular text a heading or italicised.

According to its timetable, it will be made as a default editor for all logged-users this week before being the default for all users on English Wikipedia next week. More languages are set to be added within the coming weeks in July – except for those that have had problems adjusting to the new editor. However, users more accustomed to the old ways will still be able to use that option – you will need to change it in preferences.

You can find more information about the visual editor on its Wikipedia page.

Join the Conversation

  • Wikipedian 4

    Using the “old” editor it’s not difficult to fix typos or make text bold/italic. There are bold and italic buttons at the top – it’s just easier once you’re used to it to type the quote marks.

    My concern is that if potential editors find very basic markup intimidating (it’s a lot more intuitive than HTML), they won’t bother learning how to cite sources etc either.