Tips and Tricks: Starting a new wiki

A wiki is an organic creation: it grows and changes over time as you and your community work on it. But, like with any organic process, you’ll get the best results in the long run if you start out with a solid foundation.

This month, we’re going to walk you through a few of the most important things to do as you start a new wiki. If you’re new to Wikispaces, this will give you a head start. But even if you’re an old hand at wikis, you might find some new and valuable tips.

Step 1: Master the basics
It all starts with the Edit button. Type in some text. Take a look at the editor toolbar, and experiment with all the buttons on it. Play around — you won’t break anything. And don’t be afraid to use the Preview and Save buttons as much as you want.

Once you’ve figured out what you can with random poking, use the link at the top of the actions menu to create a New Page and run through this checklist of things to try:

Step 2: Whip your wiki into shape
You can do a lot of great things with a wiki page, but that’s just the beginning. Now that you’ve mastered the pages themselves, it’s time to take a look at the whole wiki. Go to Manage Wiki and explore.

Our users tell us that they get the most immediate satisfaction (and long-term results) from two things:

  1. Adjusting the wiki’s look and feel.
    • From Manage Wiki, go to Look and Feel under Settings.
    • Click Themes and Colors to apply one of our premade themes, set your custom wiki colors, or (if you’re comfortable with HTML and CSS) set up your custom wiki theme.
    • If you have a Plus, Super, or Education plan wiki, and you’re comfortable with CSS, you can customize your Wiki Stylesheet.
    • If you have an image file ready and formatted to size (we recommend 140X48 pixels), you can upload a custom Logo.
  2. Setting up your wiki navigation.

Step 3: Manage your members
A “member” is any Wikispaces user (or site user, if your organization uses Wikispaces Private Label) who is a listed participant in your wiki. While you could work on your wiki all by yourself, getting other members involved will help you get a lot more out of it.

Add users to an Education wiki:

  1. Go to Manage Wiki.
  2. Under People, click User Creator.
  3. Follow the prompts in the tool to create accounts (with or without email addresses) or add existing users to your wiki.

Add users to other wikis:

  1. Go to Manage Wiki.
  2. Under People, click Invite People.
  3. Enter up to 100 usernames or email addresses, separated by commas or line breaks.
  4. Customize the invitation message for your new members.
  5. Click Send.

Promote another organizer so you can go on vacation:

  1. Navigate to your wiki.
  2. Go to Manage Wiki.
  3. Under People, select Members.
  4. Find the person (or people) you want to promote and check the box next to their name(s).
  5. Click Make Organizer.

Additional resources
That was just a quick rundown of some of your first steps. If you’re looking for additional help, we have a lot of resources for you:

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  1. Posted August 9, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    I am 55 I need a lot more help in setting this site up.

  2. Posted August 9, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Mary,

    If you need more help, check out our video tours and help wiki, or send us an email at

  3. Mario
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I’d add: whatever else, keep tight control over the navigation panel and don’t be afraid to go into other people’s pages to make sure everything links up properly. It’s the only way you’re going to be sure things are, and stay, organized, with the navigation panel visible on one screen. The alternative is a sprawling mass of uncoordinated pages with many that can only be found through the search function — assuming you remember the right key words to search on. A bit of pre-planning in this regard does no harm.

  4. Kyle
    Posted August 25, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    A ‘floating’ edit button would be SO helpful – does this feature exist by chance? My group has all voiced the frustration with scrolling down a page (often long pages), finding something that needs to be edited, but then having to scroll all the way back up to click Edit… which inevitably causes one to lose their place.

  5. Posted August 25, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Kyle — we don’t have a floating edit button yet, but it’s a great suggestion and one that we’re considering for the future. Thanks!

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