Help:File description page

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When a file such as an image, video or sound clip is uploaded to Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons, an associated file description page is created (also known as an image description page or file page ). The purpose of these pages is to provide information about the file: for example the author, date of creation, who uploaded the file, any modifications that may have been made, an extended description of the file's subject or context, where the file is used, and license or copyright information. In the case of an image, the file description page shows a higher resolution version of the image, if available.

To view the file description page for an image or video, click on the image itself. For a sound file, click on the information icon, Crystal Project Documentinfo.png, near the sound clip link.

A file description page consists of five parts:

  • The contents of the file itself.
  • The editable section: This should include a description of the file, plus source and copyright information. When editing, this section allows Wikipedia:Wiki Markup Language (also known as Wikitext) and should include some or all the parameters of Template:Information.
  • File history: If a new version of a file is uploaded with the same name, the existing file is replaced and becomes available via file history. See Help:Page history.
  • File usage: A list of pages that embed the file (including pages where the file appears as part of a template). If a file is stored on Commons and used on other Wikimedia wikis, a "Global file usage" section will be included as well.
  • Metadata (images only): Technical information about the file and the equipment used to create it (camera model, etc.).

The following are examples of different types of files:

Useful things to include in the editable section

The editable section of the page is used to describe the file and provide additional information. Initially this section automatically contains the upload summary supplied when the file was first uploaded. The following are useful things to put on a file page:

File description

E.g.: "Image of a goldfish in a small tank". This should not be an alternative text (see alternative text for images), but rather a description. This is useful for users who do not have direct access to the image, and is a temporary substitute for a proper longdesc tag.

If you downloaded the file from somewhere else, you should give details of source, author, etc. See Wikipedia:Cite your sources.

File summary

This is where you write the additional information about the file and how it was created, where, when, how, and by whom, as well as what the image is and what it is about. Example: "A picture I took underwater with a ___ camera, of a ____ fish." or "An original illustration of cars from the future and their bent wheels."

Image summary

Most articles that use images will have a caption, but this will probably be shorter than the image's full description, and more closely related to the text of the article.

Keep in mind that everyone who sees this image in an article and clicks on it for more information (or to enlarge it) arrives at the file description page.

If you made the image yourself, there are certain questions which only you can answer. Because you may not be around to answer those questions later, you should include this information in the description page when you upload the image. This will help other editors to make better use of the image, and it will be more informative for readers.

For photographs:

  • Where was the photograph taken?
  • When was the photograph taken?
  • What are the names of all the people and notable objects visible in the photograph?
  • What is happening in the photograph?
  • Who was the photographer?

For synthetic pictures:

  • Diagrams and markings should be explained as completely as possible.
  • If necessary, a legend or key should be provided.

Technical information for photographs:

  • If a film camera was used, provide the model number, lens information and exposure settings.
  • What post-production modifications were made? (adjustments to color, contrast etc.)

Technical information for synthetic images:

  • What software was used to create or edit the image?
  • What pre-existing sources (free images, photos, etc.) were used as inputs?

Copyright information

All files must be provided with copyright information. This includes the author, the file's source and the file's license. All files must either be freely licensed or suitable for "fair use" (a low resolution image or only part of a song for example). You should choose the most appropriate tag from Wikipedia:File copyright tags. Please be aware that the copyright holder (the original creator of the file, their employer, or an official designee), not the uploader, decides on the licensing for the image, and that "fair use" of non-free files has a specific definition. Please read Wikipedia:Copyrights, Wikipedia:Image use policy, Wikipedia:Fair use guideline, and Wikipedia:Non-free content for information about what images are acceptable to upload. If you have a question about a specific image, you can ask at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions.

Relevant links (internal)


Other versions

If other versions (especially a larger version) of the same file exists, link to them.

  • [[Media:Goldfish-in-tank2.jpg|different camera angle]] ([[:Image:Goldfish-in-tank2.jpg|info]])
  • [[Media:Goldfish-in-tank-textfree.jpg|textfree version]] ([[:Image:Goldfish-in-tank-textfree.jpg|info]])

Textfree versions are useful for using across language versions.

Other points

Wikimedia Commons

Files available on Wikipedia can be stored on Wikipedia or on Wikimedia Commons. If a file is stored on Commons the following message will be shown on the file's description page:

Any edits to the file's description page should be made on Commons, except in special circumstances, such as indicating the file has reached featured status on Wikipedia. To edit the Commons description page click on the "description page there" link. Like Wikipedia, anyone can edit the Commons. An account is not required.


When editing, the Show preview function only shows the editable part of a file page. The file itself, the file history and the file links are not displayed.

Editing a file

Files cannot be edited on Wikipedia or Commons. To edit a file it will need to be downloaded. Use a suitable software program (such as the GIMP or Photoshop for images) to perform the modifications. Once the changes are completed upload the file to Wikipedia or Commons. The same filename may be used. This will overwrite the existing file.

What happens when you upload

The description text you supply during the upload process becomes the initial text of the image description page. (It also becomes the edit summary for the initial version of the file.)

Inter-language coordination

On Wikipedia, please avoid adding a description in a language other than English. Instead, use interlanguage links to link to the image description page on the appropriate-language wiki, where you should upload a second copy of the image for local use.

On Commons, a translation may be added to the description page.

Uploading original images

If you have created an image yourself, and you have a higher-quality source file in a format such as .XCF, .PSD, or .AI, you may want to consider uploading that source file so that other users can more easily modify it if the need arises. Link the source file from the image description page. If the source file is too large to upload, try compressing it with a utility such as WinZip or gzip.

Wikipedia supports displaying SVG images, so it's generally best to upload SVG copies of images in place of raster renderings of them.

Categorizing files

Files can be in the same category as other pages, but are treated separately: on the category page they are not included in the count of articles in the category, and they are displayed in a separate section, with for each a thumbnail and the name, see category page. A file category is typically a subcategory of the general category about the same subject, and a subcategory of a wider file category. On Wikimedia Commons there are essentially only files.

For categorizing a new file, the file page does not even have to be edited: the category tag can simply be put in the upload summary. Many images can be categorized in one of the subcategories of Category:Wikipedia images by subject. You might need to poke around the category hierarchy a bit to find the right place.

File page location

In English Wikipedia, the file page for a media file named F is at <>, and it can be accessed using the Wiki markup [[:File:F]]. A media file's name can be determined from its URL: it is always the URL's last or second-from-last component. For example, a flag image might have the following URL:


This URL's second-from-last component is "Flag_of_France.svg", so the corresponding file page is File:Flag_of_France.svg.

The URL of an image can often be determined by asking a browser to display the image's properties, and similarly for other media files. Sometimes, however, you may need to view the HTML of the page containing a media file to determine the file's URL. For example, in standard browsers the default English Wikipedia skin displays at upper left a puzzle-globe image, which takes you to the Main Page if you click on it; to find this image's file page, look in this page's HTML for the following:

<a style="background-image: url(;" href="/wiki/Main_Page" title="Visit the main page"></a>

This HTML contains a URL whose last component is "Wiki.png", and the corresponding file page is therefore File:Wiki.png.

See also