Tips and Tricks: Subpages

It all seemed so simple in the beginning: You had your home page, and you made a few edits. Wrote some killer intro copy, added some pictures, maybe embedded a video or a recording of a welcome message. And, for a while, that was enough.

New Page iconThen, one day, you went and hit the New Page icon. The rush! The power! The endless possibilities! With that one click, you entered a world where your every need could be met. Where every project, every document and class and project could have a page all its own. Every student (or collaborator) was suddenly custodian of his (or her) own private URL that would take her (or him) right to that one, single page where all the work was.

But, before long, those heady days gave way to sinking frustration and regret. Before you knew it, you had dozens, even hundreds, of pages in your wiki. What was a humble wiki organizer to do?

Well, to begin with, you can set up Links to create master pages and subpages. Then you can edit your nav bar to provide simple navigation. Wikispaces doesn’t currently have a rigid page hierarchy. Instead, we’ve given you a whole mess of simple tools so that you can build a wiki architecture that suits the way you and your group work.

Let’s take a look:

Bring unruly pages in line
First, take a deep breath. Then remember that you can always find a complete, alphabetical list of all the pages in your wiki at Manage Wiki > Pages. Now that you’ve had a chance to review the pages that already exist, it’s time to get them in order.
Link icon

  1. Start another New Page. This is going to be your new master page, so give it a name that tells you exactly what it is: Math Lab Group Work, or Table of Contents.
  2. Add some explanatory text, images, videos, widgets — or not. Whatever you want.
  3. Using the Link icon, create links to your existing pages.
  4. Hit Save.
  5. Repeat as needed.

Master your pages before they master you
If the story above sounds like a fairy tale to you, then there’s still time. And you can start by creating a new master page.

  1. Create a New Page. As above, give it a name that tells you exactly what it is, like 2010 Newsletters.
  2. Create subpages by adding Links — see Sarah’s intro tutorial if you need pointers.
  3. Hit Save.
  4. Follow your links and start editing your shiny new subpages.

Every time you need a new bunch of pages, just follow these same steps with a new master page. Or, if you find you want to arrange them in a different way, refer to the section above and change your links around.

Pull your navigation together
nav barJust about now you’re probably noticing that all of your brilliant subpage architecture isn’t really being reflected in your navigation bar. That’s because, by default, we populated your nav bar with a Pagelist widget that lists the first ten pages on your wiki in alphabetical order. But never fear: it’s easy to change.

  1. Click the Edit Navigation link.
  2. Your navigation bar will open as if it were a normal wiki page. Delete the blue Pagelist widget box, and add in all the links you need, in exactly the order you need them to be. You can format the text if you want, or even add horizontal rules.
  3. Hit Save.

Any time you want to change it again, just repeat these steps. And if you ever want the old Pagelist back, just Edit Navigation and replace all the contents with a Pagelist from the Widget icon menu.

Know your tools
You’ve already met some of the most valuable, versatile tools in your wiki navigation toolkit: Manage Wiki > Pages, New Page, the Link icon, and Edit Navigation. You might want to play around with some of the others:

  • Tags. You can find out more about how to use tags in our previous tips and tricks blog post.
  • Pagelist widget. This will put a list of all the pages on your wiki on any page, in alphabetical order, up to any number of pages you set, filterable by tag.
  • Pageinclude widget. This will paste the entire contents of one wiki page into another. You can use it to create useful bits, like headers and footers, that you might want to use over and over in your wiki.

You can find more specific instructions about adding links to your navigation bar on our Navigation Help page.

If you’ve discovered a great trick for subpages and wiki navigation that we didn’t cover, let everyone know about it in the comments section below. Or, if you have a question or a problem you just can’t figure out, shoot us an email at help@wikispaces.com.

 

Update: In April, 2011, we released a new navigation bar that gives you more options for organizing your wiki.

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17 Comments

  1. Posted July 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    How to you hide the pages in the navigation that you want as links?

    I will be having 11 different pages (cohort #s) I want to list them on a Master page, but when I click on that link, it will go to that page. I don’t want those 11 pages actually to show in the navigation. I guess I want them as orphan pages.

  2. Debbie
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy,

    See the “Pull your navigation together” section above for information about stopping your pages appearing automatically on the navigation bar.

    Cheers,
    Debbie

  3. Ty K
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    The link to the previous blog post on Tags has a typo in it.
    It should be:
    http://tangient.wpengine.com/2010/06/tips-and-tricks-tags.html

  4. Graham Wideman
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    hi, Your link to tips and tricks for Tags is broken

  5. Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Ty K, Graham — thanks! I’ve fixed that link.

  6. Graham Wideman
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I like lots about wikispaces, but the features mentioned here for structured navigation seem weak. This idea of manually editing the sidebar is painful, and doesn’t work well. Even in the example shown here — how do you achieve the indentation? I tried bullets, but they don’t work in the sidebar. And the text wraps badly– in the example, “Label Site” is not a separate item, it’s a wrap from the previous line.
    I notice that wikispaces is very similar to Confluence, where there’s facility to actually organize pages in a tree, which can then be shown in a widget. On the very dissimilar google sites, pages have parents, so are naturally in a tree, and this is reflected (not super well) in navigation.
    In short… nav doesn’t seem up to par with the rest of the wikispaces feature set. Is there any chance for improvement soon?

  7. Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Graham – we hear you. We’ve been hard at work on improved navigation. We’ll shout from the rooftops when it’s ready.

  8. Graham Wideman
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi James — intriguing answer.
    What sort of timeframe is being considered? Are we thinking in the range of weeks, months or years? Ie: I’d appreciate some idea whether it’s something that might arrive in time to help current or impending projects.
    Oh — and the features being worked on — these are real structure and navigation features, independent of tags, right? Because tags, while they have their own uses, are not a substitute for structure.

  9. Graham Wideman
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I now see from wikispaces docs that there’s a Breadcrumb tag, which I’ve tried… but of course that’s only useful if there’s a hierarchy of pages. So, if this tag is provided, does that mean there’s also a facility to nest pages? Rereading the blog post here, the term “subpages” suggests that there is, but I’m not seeing pages created via the Link feature becoming subsidiary in any way. Could someone explain how this works?
    — Graham

  10. Karen
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    So how did you do that indentation?

  11. eric
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Graham – I’m just a user myself, but re your comment re indentation, bullets (or wikitext “* “) seem to work fine for me – though the indentation is not as dramatic as you see elsewhere. And since you can display whatever you like for the link text, I tend to abbreviate or shorten to avoid the wrap.

  12. Heather
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Oh yes, I can not wait until some kind of indentation is allowed on the nav and in the pages. Our whole wiki is an organization of links and files and it’s frustrating to not be able to, for example, indent “Beowulf” and “Arthurian” under British legends.

  13. Posted July 31, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Ditto for Graham’s comments. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one grappling with the navigation bar. Please make it simpler and easier to use!

  14. Posted August 12, 2010 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Graham et al – the system we’re envisioning is a simple tree structure that organizers can easily curate. It will use tags but won’t mandate that all tags are used for navigation. We’ll take care of editing and indentation such that you won’t need to edit the sidebar in the traditional wikitext editor.

    This system is still in-progress so it may change a bit as we get further. Hopefully the broad strokes above give you an idea of where we’re headed.

  15. Jeff
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to see how this was looking James? We love wikispaces, but a simple tree structure/hierarchy seems in order. What is your timeline for implementing such features.

  16. Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    @James, thank you for the info. Is there an update on how this is progressing?

    This is a very important feature I feel is missing in an otherwise great Wiki service. Please let us know the status as soon as possible and keep up the great work!

  17. Debbie
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jeff and Alberto,

    There are no updates or timelines available yet. However, if you would like to be notified via e-mail when the updates James mentioned are available please send us an e-mail at help@wikispaces.com

    Cheers,
    Debbie

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