# Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines

Wikipedia's goal is to provide knowledge. But knowledge is only useful if you can find it and make sense of it. The main limitation of a search box is that it can only look for what you already know exists. Our mission is to show what exists and provide easy access to that knowledge. Outlines, which present structured information, provide the following benefits:

• They help the user see the overall structure and layout of the information related to a subject
• The bird's eye view provided by outlines allows users to see patterns in the information in a relatively painless way
• By the way they are organized, outlines help users find individual pages that match some criteria
• Outlines reveal gaps in the information that need to be filled in

For examples of well-developed outlines, see those on anarchism, ancient Rome, Buddhism, canoeing and kayaking, cell biology, chess, forestry, Iceland, and Japan.

## Scope

Each outline article is a list of a subject's topics arranged hierarchically to show the relationships between them: those that are the most important, general entries and those that give more specialist detail. Outlines show the structure of articles about a subject, opening a whole new way of navigating it. They could be considered Wikipedia's equivalent to Brittanica's Propædia.

Each outline is intended to help the reader become familiar with the subject it presents, and also serves as a table of contents or site map to that subject's coverage on Wikipedia. Outlines are different from portals or indexes. While a portal focuses solely on well-developed featured content, an outline's main purpose is to direct readers through a subject's related articles. Indexes are intended to be comprehensive alphabetical lists of articles related to subject, but finding something in an alphabetical index can be difficult if one does not know the article title (and if one does, one hardly needs the index). Outlines might not list every article in a subject, and often their links lead to lists or other outlines to provide further detail. For an example, compare Portal:Japan, Index of Japan-related articles, and Outline of Japan.

This project is now served by Article alerts, which can be seen at Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines/Article alerts. This will allow us to know about any AfDs or other such discussions without having to rely on manual notifications. The Alerts page is easily transcluded into userspace if desired.

No Article alerts at this time.

Related guidelines
Related projects

### What's going on with outlines

New outlines (under construction)
Outlines with prose (bad; prose, or paragraph format, is the opposite of outline format)
Outlines that are fully annotated
Outlines almost fully annotated
Outlines with empty sections
Outlines with holding bin of items needing placement in the outline body
Drafts in development
Outlines undergoing overhaul or major development
Outlines in need of attention
Articles that may be outlines
Articles that include outlines in them
• [[]]

Examples of outlines with good picture support include:

### Start a new outline

To start a new outline...

• First, decide which topic you'd like to outline. It could be as broad as Outline of mathematics, or as narrow as Outline of chocolate and start the page. The title should be in the format of Outline of ${\displaystyle x}$
• Write a little introduction before outlining to get warmed up, this will also become the introductory paragraph of the outline.
• Start listing articles on your topic. You can find them by using Special:PrefixIndex and a site allintitle Google search.
• Organize links in a way that is accessible so that people can find the articles linked to. You might use an {{Outline generator}} template, like this: {{subst:Outline generator|topic uncapitalized|topic capitalized}} or, if you're outlining a specific country, {{subst:Template:Outline country|country name}}.
• After that, you can add a few pictures to make the outline look nicer. Try using different ones than the ones on the article by searching on Wikimedia Commons.
• Once you've finished, take a look back and see if you were able to outline the subject successfully and then post your work here so that other editors are aware it exists and can review it.

### Work on an existing outline

Most outlines are incomplete, because subjects change over time, and so does Wikipedia's coverage of them.

See Portal:Contents/Outlines, and choose a subject that interests you, and start adding links.

### Work on a draft

Here are some draft starts waiting to be developed enough to move to article space.

#### Drafts approaching graduation to article space:

Outline drafts with some meat on them:

#### Outline starts:

Most of these are bare-bones, and need to be filled in with outline content.

### Start a new outline

#### Philosophy

• sub-disciplines and major philosophies

#### Unsorted

(place the following links in the sections above)

### Watch over the outlines

• Wikiproject Watchlist - WikiProject Outline of knowledge

The following links need to be placed in the appropriate outline(s):

## Templates

For talkpages
For building outlines
Userboxes

## Participants

Wikitext Userbox
`[[Category:WikiProject Outlines participants]]` no userbox
`{{User WikiProject Outlines}}`
 This user is a member of WikiProject Outlines.
`{{User WP Outlines}}`
 This user proudly participates in WikiProject Outlines
`{{Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines/Userboxes/User member}}`
 This user understands the importance of outlines, and is a member of Wikiproject Outlines.

## External watchlist

• Wikiproject Watchlist - WikiProject Outlines