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See Meta-Wiki HelpIntro for basic MediaWiki usage!

Categories provide automatic indexes, that are useful as table of contents. Together with links and templates they structure a project.


How to include a page in a category

Just link to the category name, in the namespace "Category", anywhere on the page. Ex:

[[Category:Category Name]]

and it is done.

Linking to a category

If you want to link to a category without adding your page to it you should use the following link form:

[[:Category:Category name]]

Note the extra ":" before "Category"!


Categories themselves can also belong to a category. Such "sub categories" are listed on top of regular articles in the parent category page.

For example you could edit [[Category:Soccer]] and add the link [[Category:Sports]]. The Soccer category would then be a subcategory of the Sports category. It would then appear in the sub-categories list on [[Category:Sports]].

Categories to which a page belongs

Pages, including categories, can belong to more than one category. The categories to which a page belongs are displayed in a fixed location (the bottom of the page for the 'Wowpedia' skin), regardless of where in the wikitext they are written.

Creating a new category

Creating a new category works just like creating a new article. Just add a page to a category normally, click on the red link (blank page) created at the bottom of the page and add a description of the category. Then you can start adding pages to it.

When a category has no descriptive text, links to it become Edit (red) links, which makes the category somewhat hard to use. Avoid this by at least having some statement in the category page. A one-liner about what kinds of pages go in it should suffice.

Setting sort keys

Normally, articles are sorted alphabetically in a category page. If you want the article to be positioned by something else, you should use the following link form: [[Category:My category|sort key]], where sort key is the value to sort by.

For example to add an article called Albert Einstein to the category "People" and have the article sorted by "Einstein, Albert" ("Einstein" is the first sort key and "Albert" the second), you would type [[Category:People|Einstein, Albert]].

The sort keys are case sensitive, so [[Category:My category|Foobar]] is sorted before [[Category:My category|foobar]].

  • To make pages inside namespaces (i.e. "Help:", "Wowpedia:") sort by the page name rather than "H" and "W", you can use [[Category:My category|{{PAGENAME}}]]. This will keep working even when the page is renamed.
  • To make a page appear at the very top of the listing, prefix a space, i.e. [[Category:My category| {{PAGENAME}}]]. The more spaces you prefix, the higher it will be sorted. We recommend no more than two spaces for this functionality.

Additional information

Case Sensitivity

For category names the usual rules for case-sensitivity of page names apply: they are case-sensitive beyond the first character. So be aware that you create a new category if the capitalization beyond the first character is not the same.

A category tag in a template; caching problem

A template can contain category tags (often within <includonly> tags; see Help:Templates). If you use such a template, your page automatically ends up in the category that the template specifies.

However, adding or deleting a category tag in the template does not automatically add or delete pages using the template to the new category pages, until some edit is made in the page that uses the template. In other words, category page listings are based on the situation just after the most recent page edit.

Since adding or removing a category or template tag is obviously an edit, this is only a complication when a page is indirectly added to or deleted from a category, usually through a change in a template the page uses.

In order to update a page in such cases, use "action=purge", in a URL like where

Relation with "What links here"

A category is somewhat like a "What links here" page with regard to the special category links.

However, "What links here" tends to be a by-product of links that are useful anyway (although links may be put with this use in mind), while category links are put specially to produce a category page.

Linking from a test page, user page, etc. to a category is considered to pollute the category, while regular links from such pages showing up in "what links here" is considered harmless.

Category listings are alphabetical, for "What links here" this typically applies for the first part only, for the pages already linking to the given page at the time of the last rebuilding of the link tables in the database.

Applying "What links here" and "Related changes" to a category

For the "What links here" and "Related changes" features, only the links in the editable part of the page count, not the links to the pages in the category.

Conventions and project-specific settings

Each page should be in at least one category. It may be in more, but it may be wise not to put a page in a category and also in a parent of that category. If a category has subcategories, it is to make it more navigable. Having everything from its subcategories clobber the main category makes the subcategories somewhat pointless.

Check the conventions in a project and make yourself familiar with the categories in use before assigning pages and subcategories to categories and before creating new categories.

See also