Help:Category Creation and Removal

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Categories: Styles and Standards | Categorization Help | Categorization Project

This page is mainly for the use of Categorization Project members and other advanced WikiTreers. See Help:Categorization for the basics. If you would like to use a category that doesn't yet exist, use the Request a New Category form.


How to Create a Category

First, make sure it should be created

Technically speaking, creating a category is easy. The hard parts are knowing:

Do not create a category unless it fits neatly within an existing hierarchy and uses an agreed-upon category naming scheme. If you are not confident about these, use the Request a New Category form to start a conversation with the Categorization Project rather than trying to do things alone.

Second, add the category tag to a profile

If you are confident about the above, start creating the category by simply adding the category tag for it to a profile page, e.g. [[Category:Whatever Category]]

You will see a red "Category 'Whatever It Is' does not exist" warning when you save the profile. If you are intentionally creating the new category click the "SAVE ANYWAY" button.

After saving the profile, the new category will appear in red on the profile, like this: Categories: Whatever Category. The red indicates that the category page does not exist.

Third, create the category page

Click on the red link to open the new category page, for example Category:Whatever Category.

It will say "This page does not exist."

Click on the "[edit]" link. Once you add text and save it, the page will exist.

Always categorize the category page

All category pages should have a category tag (also known as the parent category) that places them in the category hierarchy. For example, Category:Whatever could have this: [[Category:Whatever, Wherever]].

Briefly describe the purpose of the category

Category pages should include one or two sentences about the category itself, especially if there is any confusion about when this category should be used and when it should not.

The text should describe the purpose of the category. It should not contain unique content. Instead, you can link to a free-space profile or Wikipedia page for more information.

Example text

Here is an example from the Fulbright Program edit page:

[[Category: United States of America, Education]]
[[Category: Education]]
The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946.

See [[Wikipedia: Fulbright Program]] and the [ official Fulbright Program website].

Optional additions

"Disambiguation" and links to other categories

A short sentence explaining any disambiguation is also helpful, if applicable. For an example, see the Cairo, Allen County, Ohio category.

The category page can also include links to other categories which cover related material. When a colon is inserted after the brackets, e.g. [[:Category:English Authors]], the category is linked to rather than being placed in a higher category. For example, the Trinity College category page is linked to Duke University.

Links to more information

Categories are used to group other pages together. The only content that should be on the category page is a brief description (no more than a short paragraph or two) on the intent and purpose of the category.

For example, if a category groups people buried in a particular cemetery, you would add a brief description of the cemetery, such as where it is located, to the category page. If you want to add any other information, such as its history or notable interments, create a free-space profile and link to it. See Page Types for more information.

A linked free-space profile might include lists of resources (and links to them) helpful to those researching the category, such as the genealogical or historical society for a place, passenger lists for a ship voyage, or the website for a church or company.

If the category's topic is matched by a Wikipedia page, a link to Wikipedia can be made by entering [[Wikipedia:Wikipedia Page Title]]. See Help:Adding Links.

Project categories

If the category is associated with a project it should also have the template tag for the project, if there is one. Use the ProjectCategory template like this:


This will display:

This category is managed by the 1776 Project in association with the Categorization Project. For assistance with this or related categories ask in G2G making sure to tag your question with both categorization and 1776.

Any official project name can be used with this template. See Template: ProjectCategory for more information.


It is possible to add an image to a category page.

  1. Upload the picture to a profile on WikiTree, e.g. to a Free-Space Profile. Note that you will need to leave the image connected to this profile. All images on WikiTree need to be associated with a profile. If you remove it from the profile it will be removed from WikiTree.
  2. Find the name of the image. This can be found by clicking on the image to get to its details page, and then looking in the changes section. For example, the edit page for the Canadian flag is here. In the changes section, you can see that the name of the file is Flags-1.png.
  3. Once you have that file name, you just need to use the Image template in the format {{Image|file=Flags-1.png}} to display the image anywhere.
  4. To change the size of the image (the originals are often huge), use the size parameter of the Image template, for example, {{Image|file=Flags-1.png|size=50}}. Size=50 makes a little thumbnail, as used in the project boxes. The bigger the number, the bigger the photo, but there is a point at which it won't look good. You'll probably need to play around to figure out what works best for the pictures you are adding. For example, you could paste this into your category:

See Template:Image for the other parameters you can use with images, including changing the image's alignment, adding a caption, or a label that displays when the mouse is over the image.

Changing the sort order

Items in a category are automatically sorted alphabetically, but sometimes that isn't ideal. For example, all items that start with "New" will be sorted under N. In a category for New York or New South Wales, there could be many entries that start with this word.

To change the sort order for subcategories, you just need to add a "sort key" to the category tag on the page you're categorizing.

For example, let's say you want Category: USS Ajax (AR-6), United States Navy to be listed in Category: United States Navy Ships but under A, not U. Instead of putting the usual [[Category: United States Navy Ships]] on the [[Category: USS Ajax (AR-6), United States Navy]] category page, use [[Category: USS Ajax (AR-6), United States Navy|Ajax]]. The part after the pipe (|) is the sort key that specifies what the category should be sorted as in that category.

How to Delete, Rename, or Merge a Category

To remove a page or profile from a category, simply remove the category tag in the same way that you added it.

If you would like to delete the category itself, put {{Delete Category}} at the top of the category page. Write a reason for deletion on the next line, followed by four tildes ~~~~ to leave a timestamp. This will help Categorization Project members determine what to do if further action is needed. For example:

{{Delete Category}}
Deleting due to misspelled word. ~~~~

If no pages or profiles are in the category, and no other page links to it, the category will be deleted.

If the category is not empty, use {{Rename Category|FinalCategoryName}} or {{Merge Category|FinalCategoryName}} and all profiles will be moved to a final destination category before deletion of the category. The difference between the two is that the Merge Category function also merges the content of the category page. As with deletion, you should write a reason for the renaming or merging on the next line, along with the four tildes. For example:

{{Rename Category|FinalCategory Name}}
Renaming because the name is incorrect. ~~~~


{{Merge Category|FinalCategory Name}}
Merging categories because the name is misspelled. ~~~~

If you rename a category, the destination category must be set up with parent categories. You may do this either in advance of the process, or after the rename is done. A merge carries the content to the destination category with it.

After the merge is completed, the page content must be reviewed and edited. The categories that need cleanup are collected in Category: Merged Categories. This merge cleanup is performed by members of the Categorization Project.

See Category:EditBOT for more information.

Because you are not the only user of these categories, deleting and renaming categories other than any just created in error, need to be coordinated with the Categorization Project, and the topical project associated with the category, if there is one.

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This page was last modified 14:05, 22 February 2021. This page has been accessed 5,502 times.