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This Help article on Categories explains how wiki users can categorize pages by appending one or more category tags to the content text. Categories allow related articles to be grouped together which makes it easy to browse related articles. Together with links and templates they structure a project. Categories are an important navigation feature of this wiki, so it is strongly recommended that users add at least one category tag to every wiki article.

Determine an appropriate category

The first step to adding a category to an article is determining whether an appropriate category already exists. Check the Special:Categories page to determine if an appropriate category exists that may apply to your article. If an acceptable category does not exist, an editable link for a new category will be generated automatically when the syntax [[Category:Categoryname]] is added to an article. See more information below on activating the category.

Accidental (?) Categories

If you add an 'IM Lifecycle Notices' template to a page it ends up being associated with that category.

Viewing existing categories

Method 1: To see a list of all categories, see Special:Categories.

Method 2: Click Browse categories in the left sidebar.

Method 3: If you click on category on the bottom of any page, you will get a full listings of the categories or click here. Note: A category that has not been created as a page is not in the latter (in the former it stands out as red link).


You can also check this index of categories, organized alphabetically: <multilang> @en|



Adding a category to an article/category

Check to ensure if there already is an appropriate category (see the section above). If no appropriate category exists, simply add this syntax code to your article while in edit mode: [[Category:Category name]]. For example, [[Category:Hooved Animals]]. This code will automatically place your article under the Category:<Category Title> page. It will also create a link to the category page which lists all articles in that category. By categorizing your articles it will allow wiki usersto quickly discover which articles are available under a specific category.

When to add a new category

In general, a new category should be added if:

  • there are more than 4 articles that should be clearly be in that category
  • the category would fill an obvious organisational gap (for example, a category called "Spades" if the categories "Hearts", "Clubs" and "Diamond" already exist).
Please remember to include a description and/or purpose when creating new categories!

Conventions for naming categories

  • Be as specific, neutral, and inclusive as possible.
    • By neutral, we mean that a category should not have bias or point-of-view. For example, creating the category "Problem-plagued organizations" would probably not be considered to be acceptable. On the other hand, creating the category "Organizations audited by the Auditor General in 2009" would be acceptable, because there is no bias or subjective elements in this title.
  • Only capitalize the first word and proper nouns
  • Follow the page naming conventions
  • Articles should be placed in the most specific categories as possible.
  • Categories should be more than or equally as broad as the articles they contain.
  • Articles should be more than or equally specific as the categories they are in.
  • Avoid abbreviations.
  • Choose category names that are able to stand alone, independent of the way a category is connected to other categories. Example: If you are creating a subcategory in "Energy", use the title "Energy Policies", instead of "Policies"
  • Topical category names should be singular.
  • Avoid superfluous descriptive adjectives.
  • Try to keep to a maximum of three words.

Creating Multiple Categories

Pages can be included in more than one category by adding multiple category tags. Use as many existing categories as possible to assist with browsing and internal organization. It is recommended that categories should be listed in alphabetical order to assist with scanning and standardization.



Often, a topic will have several layers of categories to help further organize articles. Place the lowest-level category into the article. For instance, there is a category tree that begins with Country -> Canada -> Ottawa. In this case you would only apply the Ottawa category.

To create this hierarchy tag the Canada category page with [[Category:Country]] and the Ottawa category page with [[Category:Canada]].

As a general rule, categories with more than 25 articles assigned should be sub-categorized and the articles re-assigned to appropriate sub-categories. Top level categories of any tree (e.g. Countries) should primarily consist of subcategories with a few toplevel articles and images (e.g. for a country that might be the general country Intellipedia article, selected reports like the State Department Post Report, and the current country flags, seals and flag orbs).

Media Wiki displays subcategories alphabetically in conjunction with related articles. If high use categories have a high number of articles or images along with subcategories, subcategories may not be visible on the first page if they fall farther in the alphabet. So it would be difficult to determine if the actual subcategory existed without clicking through each section.

Using the "pipe" in categories

If you want an item in a list to be positioned in that order, based on an alternative name (sort key) for that item, then this can be specified in the category tag that places the item in the list:

[[Category:category name|sort key]]

For example to add an article called Albert Einstein to the category "people" and have the article sorted by "Einstein, Albert". You would type "[[Category:People|Einstein, Albert]]".

Although this is like the syntax for a piped link (and in an edit summary it is interpreted like one), there is a clear difference: the second term in the piped link is an alternative term for the first one, while the sort key is an alternative name for the page in which the tag occurs. Also, a piped link influences the rendering of the page itself, while a sort key affects the rendering of another page. The displayed name is not changed, and, unfortunately, only visible on the edit pages of the members of the category. An explanation of the sort key system used can be useful on the editable part of a category page.

The sort key system should be obvious, otherwise the order seems random and items are hard to find. The system should either be consistently applied to all members of a category, or be such that the listings of members on which it is applied fit in well within the list of members for which no sort key is used. The latter is advisable for large, growing categories with many contributors. See also below.

A common system is starting with the last name, then a comma and a space, and then the first name; note that any additions such as "Jr." should come at the end, otherwise the entry would come before the same without the addition, because a space comes before a comma.

An underscore in a page name is equivalent with, and treated as a blank space. However, an underscore in a sort key is distinct from a blank space.

As seen from the ASCII sequence above, forcing items to the beginning or end can be done with a sort key starting with a space or ~, respectively. Another common sort key for the beginning of the list is the asterisk (*).

Linking to Category pages

Including the category within an article just serves to add the article to the category list. When you wish to add a link to a category page, simply insert a colon prior to your standard linking wikitext. For example, [[:Category:People]] links to the user profile category in English (the French equivalent is [[:Category:Personnes]]).

Internal links