Help:How to Edit a Profile

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How-To #2
How to Make the Most of a Profile

As you can see from the profile of Abraham Lincoln and other example profiles, they aren't just names, dates, and relationships. WikiTree profiles can have rich biographies with footnotes, photos and much more.

In this tutorial we will explain how to edit the different elements of a profile.

To get started, please open the page for Jane Example here and keep it open in a separate window.


Edit Data ... according to Agreed-Upon Standards

To go into edit mode on Jane's profile, click the Edit tab.

At the top left are the various fields for editing names, dates, and locations. These are fairly self-explanatory. Here's what to do when one isn't: click the little question-mark icon help.gif to the right of the field.

These icons lead to what we call style pages. Agreed-upon styles and standards are important in a collaborative environment like ours. We can't work together on the same profiles if we don't agree on how profiles should look.

For example, for a birth location, do you put the name of the place as it was called when the person was born, or as it's called now? (The short answer: as it was called when the person was born; see Location Fields for the long answer.)

Edit Family

At the top right you can see how to add, remove, or change parents, siblings, spouses, and children. Editing family can be done from other views as well — for example, on most family tree views you can click to add a missing ancestor — but the edit screen is the best place to do changes. If you are unsure how to enter a relationship, there are help pages on multiple marriages, unmarried parents, non-traditional families, adoptions and multiple parents, etc.

You'll notice that the parents have what we call "status indicators" beneath them, such as Non-Biological or Uncertain. Most data fields on WikiTree have a button for indicating the certainty or confidence we have in the information. For relationship status, the Holy Grail is to make them DNA-confirmed DNA-confirmed.gif but don't worry about doing that yet unless you're already very familiar with genetic genealogy.

You might be wondering what the icons next to the family members' names mean. Colored dots such as bullet20.gif indicate the privacy level of the family member's profile. For example, red is Private and green is Public.

This edit.gif is a direct link to open the family member's edit page. This pedigree.gif takes you to their family tree, while family-group.gif is for their family group page, and descendant-link.gif is for their descendants list.

Edit Photo Settings ... or Don't

Beneath the family section is an area for setting the primary photo and background image.

The primary photo is the one that appears as a thumbnail at the top of the profile and on family trees and various other views. You don't need to worry about setting it. If you have an image for the person, just click the Images tab on the profile and upload it. The first one you upload will be the primary photo by default.

The background image isn't something that all profiles need. They add some color and character, but we generally avoid them on widely-shared ancestor profiles. The same goes for inline images, i.e. inserting images into the text. Profile aesthetics can be hard to agree on.

When it comes to working with images, note that every image has its own image details page. You'll see it after you upload one. That's where you edit its title, who's in it, the date and location, etc. See Photos FAQ if you have questions.

Edit Text: The Meat and Potatoes

Now we get to the main course: the free-form text editing section.

We sometimes call this the biography or narrative section, but it's also where we put sources and it can be used for other elements such as research notes and timelines. See Biographies for more information about the sections.

Format like it's 1999

It's fairly easy to enter text. And you can add some basic formatting with the row of buttons above the text-editing box. Experiment with them.

For example, try entering "John was a bold man" and then selecting "bold" with your cursor. Then click the "B" button to make the selected text bold.

You'll notice that it doesn't appear bold. It appears like this: '''bold''', i.e. with three sets of apostrophes. What?!

The apostrophes are what are called "wiki markup" tags.

Markup tags might seem old-fashioned. Most text editing on computers these days is "WYSIWYG" instead.

We use markup here because it enables us to collaborate and add some basic formatting without making the original text too complicated. We want our text to be useful long after is gone. You could that say we format like it's 1999 so that our bios will be readable in 2099.

Play around and preview

The best way to learn how the tags work is to experiment. Feel free to experiment with the different editing options using Jane's profile.

Click the buttons. Add and remove stuff.

Because you are working on an example profile, don't click "Save Changes". Click the "Preview" button at the bottom of the text-editing box. This will show you how the bio will look on the profile if your changes are saved.

Keep experimenting and previewing and you'll figure things out.

[[Categories]] and {{templates}} and <references /> oh my!

Here are three things that might seem complicated and you probably wouldn't figure out on your own.

1.) Category tags, such as [[Category:Hodgenville, Kentucky]] or [[Category:US Presidents]]

Category tags always have two sets of [[square brackets]]. Adding these statements to a profile put the profiles on category pages, for example::

Categories are a way to group profiles that share something in common. Don't worry about them for now, unless you want to. In that case, see Help:Categorization. We'll talk about them a little more in How-To #4.

2.) Template tags, such as {{Unsourced}} and {{US President}}

If something has two sets of {{curly brackets}} around it, it's a template tag. These are used for inserting special feature boxes that are used to draw attention to something such as:

You don't need to worry about these now either, with the notable exception of needing to know to remove {{Unsourced}} if you add a source to a previously-unsourced profile.

3.) Reference tags, such as <ref>Big Sample Book, page 5.</ref> and <references />.

These probably look intimidating, and we'd like to say that you don't need to understand them, but ...

Seriously, you do need to know about references

As explained on Sources the easiest way to add a source to a profile is with a bulleted item like this:

  • Samples, Samuel. The Big Sample Book, Chicago, IL: Sample Publishers, 2011.

However, once you get beyond your close family members' profiles, you'll encounter inline references, i.e. footnotes.

If you've spent any time working in the genealogy world, you may have encountered cases where a mistake has been copied from one website to another and then back again. Well, the proverbial buck stops here at WikiTree!

We are determined to be accurate, and the way we do that is to cite a source for every fact we state. This means using inline references.

References have two parts:

  1. The <ref> and </ref> tags that surround the content of the footnote.
  2. The <references /> tag that you put at the bottom where the footnotes should be displayed.

See Sources for the full explanation.

We know this can all be confusing at first. We all had to learn it when we were new. Come ask the group a question in G2G when you get stuck or you're feeling overwhelmed.

Previous: #1 How to Start Climbing Our Tree Next: #3 Manage Your Watchlist

This page was last modified 13:42, 30 March 2022. This page has been accessed 37,283 times.