When editing an article, there is a small field labeled "Summary" under the main edit-box. It is highly recommended that one fill in the edit summary field, as it makes it easier for you and your fellow contributors to understand what has changed, and is helpful when going through the history of the page.
Writing edit summaries
Try to always fill in the summary field. The edit summary is helpful for several reasons. Summaries help people decide whether it is worthwhile for them to check a change. They also may pique the interest of other contributors with expertise in the area. Finally, they are helpful when viewing page histories.
Size constraints. The edit summary box can only hold one line of 200 characters.
Copy and paste. In the case of a small addition to an article, you may want to simply copy and paste the entire new addition. Just preface it with ft (for full text). But be careful, the copy and paste won't work for more than one line from the edit box.
In some cases, the summary field will already include some content. For example, if you edit a section, it will be filled with the name of the section. You can add other comments after the section name.
Places where the edit summary appears
The edit summary appears in black italics in the following places:
- Page history - list of changes to the page you edited
- User contributions - list of all your edits
- Watchlist - list of recent changes to watched pages (logged-in users only)
- diff page - shows the difference between two edits
- Recent changes - list of all recent edits
The Wiki search function can not search edit summaries, and they are not indexed by external search engines.
File upload summary
When uploading an image one can supply an upload summary. This serves multiple purposes:
- as the second part of the automatically created edit summary of the upload log (the first part giving the file name)
- as text in the entry of the image history
- in the case that the file name of the image is new:
- as edit summary for the creation of the image page
- as wikitext for the editable part of the image page.
The capacity of the upload summary is one line of 250 characters.
Note that there is no preview function to check the code for the links, template calls and category tags, but of course, if needed one can edit the image page after uploading, to correct errors and also to extend the text.
See also Help:Image page.
When creating a redirect, an edit summary is automatically provided, but only if no edit summary is supplied (as opposed to the automatic edit summary in section editing, which can be supplemented by the user).
Rendering of wikitext
Text in edit summaries renders internal links, including piped links, even when enclosed within <nowiki> and </nowiki>.
Other wikitext coding is not interpreted.