From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Categories are used in Wikipedia to link articles under a common topic and are generally found at the bottom of the article page. Clicking the category name displays a list of articles in that category, as well any sub-categories. Categories help readers to navigate, sort, find articles, find related articles, see how information is organised, etc.

Category tree[edit]

All of the categories form a hierarchy, although sub-categories may be a member of more than one category. An example of a small part of this hierarchical structure is shown below:

Category:History Category:History by location Category:History by country
Category:History of Australia Category:History of New South Wales
Category:History of the United States Category:History of California
Category:History of Zambia

The actual relationship can be a little more complex as a category may appear as a subcategory of several other categories.

Examples of categories on article pages[edit]

Each page has one or more categories. For example, this page has only one category - Category:Reader help. Categories are to be selected appropriately based on the topic of the article, its title or subject concerned. An article may have as few as one or two categories or as many as 45 categories or more categories, as shown in the examples given below:

Name of wikipedia article List of categories for the article

Main title

Film and television opening sequences.


Imperial Japanese Army & Code names.


Rabbits and hares, Herbivorous animals & Meat.


Montevideo, Capitals in South America, Populated places in Uruguay, Montevideo Department, Port cities in South America & Populated places established in 1726.

Barack Obama

1961 births, African American academics, African American lawyers, African American memoirists, African American United States presidential candidates, African American United States Senators, American Christians, American civil rights lawyers, American legal scholars, American Nobel laureates, American people of English descent, American people of Kenyan descent, American political writers, American people of German descent, American people of Irish descent, Audio book narrators, |, Columbia University alumni, Community organizers, Current national leaders, Democratic Party (United States) presidential nominees, Democratic Party Presidents of the United States, Democratic Party United States Senators, Grammy Award winners, Harvard Law School alumni, Illinois Democrats, Illinois lawyers, Illinois State Senators, Living people, Luo people, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Obama family, Occidental College alumni, People associated with renewable energy, People from Honolulu, Politicians from Chicago, Presidents of the United Nations Security Council, Presidents of the United States, Punahou School alumni, United Church of Christ members, United States presidential candidates, United States presidential candidates, United States Senators from Illinois, University of Chicago Law School faculty & Writers from Chicago

Category editing basics[edit]

For more extensive information, see Help:Category.

Category markup[edit]

To put a category in an article, place a link like the one below anywhere in the article. As with interlanguage links, placing these links at the bottom or end of the edit box is recommended.

Description What you type What will be displayed

Categorize an article.

[[Category:Character sets]]

Link to a category.

[[:Category:Character sets]]

Category:Character sets

How to find appropriate categories for a new article[edit]

Often it is difficult to categorise a new article. There is absolutely no need to search out each and every category possible for a new article, such as in the case of the examples, Montevideo and Barack Obama shown above. Many of these categories are added by people who enjoy categorisation, are refining the category tree, cleaning up categories or have special interests. However, each new article should have at least one category, if not two or three, when newly created.

It is fairly obvious to allot categories such as "Rabbits and hares", "Herbivorous animals" and "Meat" to Rabbit as it is a member of that zoological grouping, eats vegetable matter and is often eaten itself, all of which are matters of common knowledge.

However, many categories such as "Populated places established in 1726" in the case of Montevideo and "United Church of Christ members" as well as so many others in the case of Barack Obama are neither easily recognised or found in the category tree. These develop over time as the article is developed and improved, categorisation enthusiasts and people having deep knowledge of the article subject etc. further categorise the article.

A series of techniques may be used to select appropriate categories for an article.

  • One way is to use the top level categories of interest to readers. These are Category:Articles and Category:Contents, as all articles can be found from these.
  • Often the article title or the subject with which the article is concerned can help you us choose a category. Often this will be a starting point. Allot this category to the article and then click on it to search for a more appropriate category.
  • Search for a sister article and see what categories it has. Some categories are automatically added, such as when a stub template is added to a new article. Similarly, adding WikiProject banner templates to talk pages of articles adds categories to the talk pages which help the WikiProject organise articles under their jurisdiction.
  • Categories may also be found by using trial and error using the search box given below: