WikiPages

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This page is an extension of the Help:Editing page and gives common guidelines for writing and updating the FreeCAD wiki documentation. It summarizes several discussions and brainstorming sessions

Before starting

  • This wiki documentation is based on MediaWiki, the same software that powers Wikipedia. If you have contributed to Wikipedia, editing FreeCAD wiki pages should be easy.
  • Contrary to Wikipedia, the FreeCAD wiki is write-protected to avoid spam. You must request an account on the forum.
  • If you have never used wiki software before, please read Help:Editing to become familiar with the markup that is used.
  • For advanced use of the wiki software, see MediaWiki Help:Contents. Not all features of MediaWiki are available in this FreeCAD wiki, but many are.
  • We like to keep the documentation easy to read, so avoid using complex features. Keep it simple.
  • Use a sandbox to test your code, for example, FreeCADDocu:Sandbox or a particular page with your name Sandbox:Yourname. Sandbox pages must be placed in the Sandbox category. This is done by adding [[Category:Sandbox]] at the bottom of the wiki code.
  • Please be aware of the translations. The FreeCAD wiki uses automated translation support to provide pages in many languages. For every page multiple language versions can exist. On many pages you will see tags like <translate>...</translate> and many single tags like <!--T:8-->. The latter mark so-called translation units and are created by the translation system, you should never create them manually. They link the headings and paragraphs to their translated versions. You should not change them as that would destroy those links. It is however fine to move paragraphs or change wording as long as the tags stay with them. If you remove a heading or a paragraph you should also remove the tag belonging to it. Please be aware that changes to existing headings and paragraphs affect the current translations. Your changes should be worth it. Do not worry when adding new material because the system will add new tags automatically after your edits. For more information see Localisation and the original Mediawiki:Extension:Translate page.

General guidelines

Concise descriptions

When describing FreeCAD try to be concise and to the point and avoid repetition. Describe what FreeCAD does, not what FreeCAD does not do. Also avoid colloquial expressions such as 'a couple'. Use 'some' when dealing with an indeterminate number, or specify the correct quantity.

Bad description
PartDesign Workbench: the PartDesign Workbench is a workbench for part design that aims to provide tools for modelling complex solid parts.
Good description
PartDesign Workbench: aims to provide tools for modelling complex solid parts.

Centralized information

Avoid duplicating the same information in different places. Insert the information in a new page, and link to this page from other pages that require this information.

Do not use transclusion of pages (Help:Editing#Templates and transcluding pages), as this makes the wiki difficult to translate. Use only the templates described below in #Templates.

Styling

Templates are used to style the help pages. They give the documentation a consistent look and feel. There is a template for menu commands, File → Save, a template to style keys to be pressed, Shift, to show a Boolean value, true, etc. Please get familiar with the #Templates section before writing help pages.

Temporary flags

If you are working on a large page it is advisable to mark the page either as a work in progress or as unfinished. This assures that wiki admins don't mark your page as ready for translation while you are still changing it.

To flag a page add either {{Page in progress}} or {{UnfinishedDocu}} as the first line. With {{UnfinishedDocu}} you invite others to join you in finishing the page, while {{Page in progress}} indicates that you will do the work yourself and others should give you some time.

Once the work is done, please don't forget to remove the flags!

Examples

To quickly get familiar with the structure and style of the FreeCAD wiki look at the model page: GuiCommand model.

Structure

The User hub provides a Table of Contents. This is used as the main reference for automatically building the offline help you can reach from FreeCAD, as well as the offline PDF documentation.

The Template:Docnav is used to sequentially link pages, following the structure of the Table of Contents. See #Templates for a list of all templates.

Page names

Page names should be short and they should use title case: every word should begin with a capital letter, unless they are articles, prepositions, conjunctions, or other grammatical particles (f.e. 'of', 'on', 'in', 'a', 'an', 'and').

Bad page name
Construction of AeroCompany airplanes
Good page name
Construction of AeroCompany Airplanes

The names of top level workbench pages must have this format: XYZ Workbench, where XYZ is the name of the workbench, for example PartDesign Workbench. And the names of pages describing the commands (or tools) belonging to a workbench must have this format: XYZ Command, for example PartDesign Pad. Note that you should use the command name as it occurs in the source code.

Headings

Paragraph headings should be short and use sentence case: all words except the first one and proper names, should be in lowercase. You should not use H1 headings (= Heading =) in your wiki markup since the page title is automatically added as the main H1 heading.

Links

You should use the original link name for links whenever possible. This clarifies the referenced page in printed or offline documentation. Please avoid non-meaningful words for the link.

Bad link
For more information on drafting 2D objects click here.
Good link
For more information on drafting 2D objects refer to the Draft Workbench.

The preferred format for a link is:

[[Name_of_Page|Name of Page]]

Translated:

[[Name_of_Page/fr|Nom de la Page]]

Note that for the part before the | character, the actual link, case is relevant. If your page name is Name_of_page the link will fail if you type Name_of_Page (upper case P). Before the | character all spaces should be replaced by underscores (_). This is to assist translators using translation software, without the underscores the link would be translated by the software which is undesirable.

To link to a certain paragraph add a # sign and its headings to the page name. Example:

[[WikiPages#Links|WikiPages]]

Translated:

[[WikiPages/fr#Liens|WikiPages]]

Within the same page you can omit the page name. Example:

[[#Links|Links]]

To link to the top of the page you can use:

</translate>{{Top}}<translate>

This template should automatically display the correct text depending on the language of the page. A link to the top of the page is especially useful for long pages as it allows the user to quickly jump back to the table of content. You can put it at the end of each paragraph. Make sure there is an empty line before and after the template.

Image link
Optional text that is shown when you hover the image

To use an image as a link:

[[Image:Draft_Wire.svg|24px|Optional text that is shown when you hover the image|link=Draft_Wire]]

Image link + text link
Draft Wire.svg Draft Wire

If you leave out the optional text the link itself will be shown when the image is hovered, which is preferable, and you should also add a text link after the image link:

[[Image:Draft_Wire.svg|24px|link=Draft_Wire]] [[Draft_Wire|Draft Wire]]

Workbench pages

A top level workbench page should start with:

  • A description of what the workbench is used for.
  • An image to illustrate the description.

See #Screen capture for conventions on including images.

Command pages

Command pages describing workbench tools should not be too long, they should only explain what a command can do and what it can't, and how to use it. You should keep pictures and examples to a minimum. Tutorials can expand on how to use the tool and provide step-by-step details.

Please refer to the GuiCommand model page for more details.

Tutorials

A well written tutorial should teach how to achieve certain practical results quickly. It shouldn't be too long, but should include sufficient step-by-step instructions and images to guide the user. As FreeCAD evolves, tutorials may become obsolete, so it is important to mention the FreeCAD version used in, or required for, a tutorial.

For examples visit the Tutorials page.

Templates

Styling of the FreeCAD wiki pages is achieved through the use of templates (Help:Editing#Templates_and_transcluding_pages). They ensure a standardized look and feel across all pages, and also make it possible to re-style the wiki. You can see the complete list of defined templates by accessing Special:PrefixIndex/Template:. But please only use the templates listed in the tables below. Only in very special cases should you use HTML tags directly.

Click on the template link to see the usage instructions for a template, and to see its implementation. Templates are a powerful feature of the MediaWiki software. You should be an experienced wiki user if you wish to propose additions and modifications to existing templates. If implemented incorrectly, templates make it difficult to translate pages into other languages, so their use should be limited to text formatting, page transclusion should be avoided. See MediaWiki Help:Templates to learn more.

Simple templates

These templates accept a simple text parameter, and format it with a particular style.

Template Appearance Description
Top

Top

Use it to add a link to the top of the page.
Emphasis emphasis Use it to emphasize a piece of text.
KEY Alt Use it to indicate a keyboard key that needs to be pressed.
ASCII Ascii 065.svg Use it to indicate a ascii key in a image (.svg) that needs to be pressed. You must give the character desired or the number of the code ascii of the character.
Button Cancel Use it to indicate a button in the graphical user interface that needs to be pressed.
RadioButton RadioButtonFalse.svg Option Use it to indicate a radio button in the graphical user interface that needs to be RadioButtonTrue.svg Selected or RadioButtonFalse.svg Not.
CheckBox CheckBoxFalse.svg Option Use it to indicate a checkbox in the graphical user interface that needs to be CheckBoxTrue.svg Checked or CheckBoxFalse.svg Not.
SpinBox 1.50 SpinBox.svg Use it to indicate a spinbox in the graphical user interface that needs to be modified.
ComboBox Menu 1 ComboBox.svg Use it to indicate a combobox in the graphical user interface that needs to be modified.
FALSE, false false, false Use it to indicate a False Boolean value, for example, as a property in the property editor. This is a shortcut. Since it is a value, prefer Template Value false
TRUE, true true, true Use it to indicate a True Boolean value, for example, as a property in the property editor. This is a shortcut. Since it is a value, prefer Template Value true
MenuCommand File → Save Use it to indicate the location of a command inside a particular menu.
FileName File name Use it to indicate a name of a file or directory.
SystemInput Type this text Use it to indicate user typed input text.
SystemOutput Output text Use it to indicate text output from the system.
Incode import FreeCAD Use it to include in-line source code with a monospace font. It should fit in one line.
PropertyView ViewColor Use it to indicate a View property in the property editor. Examples of View properties include Line Color, Line Width, Point Color, Point Size, etc.
PropertyData DataPosition Use it to indicate a Data property in the property editor. Data properties are different for different types of objects.
Properties Title / TitleProperty Base Use it to indicate the title of a property group in the property editor. The title will not be included in the automatic table of contents.
Obsolete obsolete in version 0.19 Use it to indicate that a feature became obsolete in the specified FreeCAD version.
Version introduced in version 0.18 Use it to indicate that a feature was introduces in the specified FreeCAD version.
VersionMinus version 0.16 and below Use it to indicate that a feature is available in the specified FreeCAD version and earlier versions.
VersionPlus v0.17 and above Use it to indicate that a feature is available in the specified FreeCAD version and later versions.
ColoredText Colored Text Use this template to color the background, text, or background and text. (ColoredText page for more examples)
ColoredParagraph
Colored Paragraph
Use this template to color the background, text, or background and text of an entire paragraph. ColoredParagraph page for more examples)

Complex templates

These templates require more input parameters, or produce a block of text with a particular format.

Template Appearance Description
Prettytable This table Use it to format tables such as this one. Additional table properties can be added.
Caption

Some caption for an image

Use it to add an explanation below an image. It can be left aligned or center aligned.
Clear Use it to clear columns. Follow the definition of the template for a detailed explanation. It is often used to stop text from flowing next to unrelated images.
Code
import FreeCAD
Use it to include multi-line code examples with a monospace font. The default language is Python, but other languages can be specified.

Python code should adhere to the general recommendations established by PEP8: Style Guide for Python Code. In particular, parentheses should immediately follow the function name, and a space should follow a comma. This makes the code more readable

Fake heading
Heading
Use it to create a heading that will not be automatically included in the table of contents.
GuiCommand See GuiCommand model Use it to create a box with useful information to document workbench commands (tools).
TutorialInfo See for example Basic modeling tutorial Use it to create a box with useful information to document tutorials.
Macro See for example Macro FlattenWire Use it to create a box with useful information to document macros.
Docnav Use it to create a bar with the words 'next', 'previous', and 'index', and the appropriate links, which is useful for putting pages in a particular sequence.
VeryImportantMessage
Important Message
Use it to create a highlighted box with a very important message. Use sparingly, only to indicate major problems in the functionality of the software, discontinuation of tools, and similar.
Page in progress
Under construction icon-blue.svg
This documentation is a work in progress. Please don't mark it as translatable since it will change in the next hours and days.
Use this for pages that are still in progress or that are currently being reworked. Don't forget to remove this when the page is ready.
UnfinishedDocu

This documentation is not finished. Please help and contribute documentation.

GuiCommand model explains how commands should be documented. Browse Category:UnfinishedDocu to see more incomplete pages like this one. See Category:Command Reference for all commands.

See WikiPages to learn about editing the wiki pages, and go to Help FreeCAD to learn about other ways in which you can contribute.

Use it to create a highlighted box indicating an unfinished documentation page.
Softredirect Use it instead of the normal redirect, when you are redirecting to a special page (such as Media: or Category:), in which cases the normal redirect is disabled.
Quote

Cry "Havoc" and let slip the dogs of war.

—William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act III, scene I
Use it to create a box of text with a literal quote and reference.
Userdocnavi, Powerdocnavi Use them to create navigation boxes for the user documentation, the power user documentation, and the developer documentation. This allows quickly jumping between different sections of the documentation. They also place the corresponding page in the proper category.

Graphics

Images and screenshots are necessary to produce a complete documentation of FreeCAD. They are particularly useful to illustrate examples and tutorials. Images should be shown in their original size, so they present sufficient detail and are readable if they include text. Bitmap images should not be resized.

Avoid animated pictures (GIF) in the general help pages. Animations and videos should be reserved for tutorials not intended to be used as offline PDF documentation.

Images can be uploaded through the Special:Upload page.

Name

Give meaningful names to your images. If you have an image that showcases the characteristics of a particular command, you should use the name of that command with _example at the end. For example for the command Draft Offset the image should be called Draft_Offset_example.jpg.

Screen capture

Recommended sizes for screen captures are:

  • Native 400x200 (or width=400 and height<=200), for command reference pages, to allow the picture to fit in the left part of the page, and for other standard snapshots.
  • Native 600x400 (or width=600 and height<=400), for command reference pages, when you really need a bigger picture, and still allow the picture to fit in the left part of the page, and for other standard snapshots.
  • Native 1024x768 (or width=1024 and height<=768), only for full screen images.
  • Smaller sizes are possible when showing details.
  • Avoid images with larger resolutions, as they won't be very portable to other kinds of displays or the printed PDF documentation.

You shouldn't depend on a custom configuration of your desktop or operating system when you create screenshots and you should use the visual defaults of the FreeCAD interface whenever possible.

To create a screenshots you can use the options provided by your operating system, or one of these macros: Snip.png Macro Snip and Macro Screen Wiki.png Macro Screen Wiki.

Text

To ease documentation translations, try to avoid screenshots that contain texts. If you cannot avoid this, consider taking separate screenshots of the interface and the 3D view. The image of the 3D view can be reused in every translation, while a translator can take a screenshot of the localized interface if necessary.

Icons and graphics

Refer to the Artwork page for all artwork and icons that have been created for FreeCAD, and which can also be used in documentation pages. If you would like to contribute icons, please read the Artwork Guidelines.

Translations

As per general consensus, the reference page in the wiki is the English page, which should be created first. If you want to change or add content to a page, you should do it to the English page first, and only once the update is completed, port the modification to the translated page.

The FreeCAD wiki supports a translation extension that allows managing translations between pages easier; for details, see Localisation Translating the wiki.

Other useful resources are:

Some tips for translators

Translate GuiCommand

{{GuiCommand
|Name=FEM EquationFluxsolver
|MenuLocation=Solve → Equation fluxsolver
|Workbenches=[[Fem_Workbench|FEM]]
|Shortcut={{KEY|F}} {{KEY|S}}
|Version=0.17
|SeeAlso=[[FEM_tutorial|FEM tutorial]]
}}

Translated:

{{GuiCommand/fr
|Name=FEM EquationFluxsolver
|Name/fr=FEM EquationFluxsolver
|MenuLocation=Solveur → Equation fluxsolver
|Workbenches=[[Fem_Workbench/fr|Atelier FEM]]
|Shortcut={{KEY|F}} {{KEY|S}}
|Version=0.17
|SeeAlso=[[FEM_tutorial/fr|FEM tutoriel]]
}}

Translate navi

{{FEM_Tools_navi}}

Translated:

{{FEM_Tools_navi/fr}}

Translate link

[[Part_Module|Part Module]]

Translated:

[[Part_Module/fr|Atelier Pièces]]

Translate Docnav

{{Docnav
|[[About_FreeCAD|About FreeCAD]]
|[[Installing_on_Windows|Installing on Windows]]
}}

Translated:

{{Docnav/fr
|[[About_FreeCAD/fr|À propos de FreeCAD]]
|[[Installing_on_Windows/fr|Installation sous Windows]]
}}

Example with icons:

{{Docnav
|[[Std_Save|Save]]
|[[Std_SaveCopy|SaveCopy]]
|[[Std_File_Menu|Std File Menu]]
|IconL=Std_Save.svg
|IconR=Std_SaveCopy.svg
|IconC=Freecad.svg
}}

Translated:

{{Docnav/fr
|[[Std_Save/fr|Enregistrer]]
|[[Std_SaveCopy/fr|Enregistrer une copie]]
|[[Std_File_Menu/fr|Menu fichier]]
|IconL=Std_Save.svg
|IconR=Std_SaveCopy.svg
|IconC=Freecad.svg
}}

Create, rename and delete pages

Create pages

Before creating a new page you should first check if a similar page already exists. If that is the case it is usually better to edit that existing page instead. When in doubt please open a topic in the Wiki forum first.

To create a new page do one of the following:

  • Visit the URL with the desired page name, for example: https://wiki.freecadweb.org/My_new_page, and click on 'create this page'.
  • Do a wiki search for the page name, and click on the red text in 'Create the page "My new page" on this wiki!'.

Rename pages

Since FreeCAD is a project under permanent development, it is sometimes necessary to revise the content of the wiki. If the names of commands are changed in the source code, the wiki pages documenting them have to be renamed as well. This can only be done by wiki administrators. To inform them, open a topic in the Wiki forum and list the necessary renaming operation in this form:

old name         new name
Old_page_name_1  New_page_name_1
Old_page_name_2  New_page_name_2
...

Delete files and pages

In case you need to delete a file, go to its page (https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/File:***.***) and edit it. No matter if the page is blank or not, add this as the first element: {{Delete}} and directly below it describe why the page should be deleted. Additionally, open a topic in the Wiki forum.

For pages the procedure is the same.

Discussion

The Development/Wiki subforum in the FreeCAD forum provides a dedicated space for discussing wiki topics, the wiki appearance and anything else related to the wiki. Direct your questions and suggestions there.

Terminology - naming policy

English

See Glossary.

Other languages