This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia's Manual of Style.
|Manual of Style (MoS)|
This page gives an overview of how images are used in Wikipedia; for more information, see Image use policy and see Help:Files on how to upload and include an image.
Images must be significant and relevant in the topic's context, not primarily decorative. They are often an important illustrative aid to understanding. When possible, find better images and improve captions instead of simply removing poor or inappropriate ones, especially on pages with few visuals. However, not every article needs images, and too many can be distracting.
Images should look like what they are meant to illustrate, whether or not they are provably authentic. For example, a photograph of a trompe-l'œil painting of a cupcake may be an acceptable image for Cupcake, but a real cupcake that has been decorated to look like something else entirely is less appropriate. Similarly, an image of a generic-looking cell under a light microscope might be useful on multiple articles, as long as there are no visible differences between the cell in the image and the typical appearance of the cell being illustrated.
Strive for variety. For example, in an article with numerous images of persons (e.g. Running), seek to depict a variety of ages, genders, and ethnicities. If an article on a military officer already shows its subject in uniform, then two more formal in-uniform portraits would add little interest or information, but a map of an important battle and an image of its aftermath would be more informative. Resist the temptation to overwhelm an article with images of marginal value simply because many images are available.
Articles about ethnic groups or similarly large human populations should not be illustrated by a photomontage or gallery of images of group members; see this and this thread for the most recent consensus discussion on the topic.
Use the best quality images available. Poor-quality images—dark or blurry; showing the subject too small, hidden in clutter, or ambiguous; and so on—should not be used unless absolutely necessary. Think carefully about which images best illustrate the subject matter. For example:
Pages using seals, flags, banners, logos, or other symbols to represent governments, organizations, and institutions should use the version prescribed by that entity when available. These are preferable to amateur creations of similar quality, including photographs of physical representations of emblems.
An image sometimes includes a familiar object to communicate scale. Such fiducial markers should be as culturally universal and standardized as possible: rulers, matches, batteries, pens/pencils, CDs/DVDs, soda cans, footballs (soccer balls), people and their body parts, vehicles, and famous structures such as the Eiffel Tower are good choices, but many others are possible. Such objects as coins, banknotes, and sheets of paper are less satisfactory because they are specific to given locales, but may be better than none at all since at least the general scale is still communicated.
Quantitative data, if available, should still be given in the caption or the article.
Main page: Wikipedia:Offensive material
See also: Wikipedia:Image blacklist
Wikipedia is not censored: its mission is to present information, including information which some may find offensive. However, a potentially offensive image—one that would be considered vulgar or obscene by typical Wikipedia readers[nb 1]—should be included only if it is treated in an encyclopedic manner i.e. only if its omission would cause the article to be less informative, relevant, or accurate, and no equally suitable alternative is available. Per the Foundation, controversial images should follow the "principle of least astonishment": images should respect conventional expectations of readers for a given topic as much as is possible without sacrificing the quality of the article. Avoid images that contain irrelevant or extraneous elements that might seem offensive or harassing to readers; for example, photographs taken in a pornographic context would normally be inappropriate for articles about human anatomy.
It is common for an article's lead or infobox to carry a representative image—such as of a person or place, a book or album cover—to give readers visual confirmation that they've arrived at the right page.
For some topics, selecting the lead image can be difficult. While Wikipedia is not censored, lead images should be selected with care. The lead image is perhaps the first thing to catch the reader's eye, so avoid lead images that readers would not expect to see there. Unlike other content beyond the lead, the lead image should be chosen with these considerations in mind.
Advice on selecting a lead image includes:
Further information: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility § Images
See also: Wikipedia:Picture tutorial
Basic example (producing the image at right):
[[File:Siberian Husky pho.jpg|thumb|alt=A white dog in a harness playfully nuzzles a young boy |A [[Siberian Husky]] used as a pack animal]]
File:Siberian Husky pho.jpgThe file (image) name must be exact (including capitalization, punctuation and spacing) and must include
.pngor other extension. (
File:work the same.) If Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons both have an image with the specified name, the Wikipedia version is the one that will appear in the article.
thumbis required in most cases
alt=A white dog in a harness playfully nuzzles a young boyAlt text is meant for those who cannot see the image; unlike the caption, it summarizes the image's appearance. It should comport with Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility/Alternative text for images and should name famous events, people and things.
A Siberian Husky used as a pack animalThe caption comes last, and gives the meaning or significance of the image.
See WP:Extended image syntax for further features and options. If the image does not display after you have carefully checked the syntax, it may have been blacklisted.
To display VR photographs (aka 360-degree panoramas or photospheres), use ((PanoViewer)).
|framelessimages; for unregistered users (the vast majority of readers) this is always 220 pixels; for registered (logged-in) users, the base width is 220px when the user's account is created, but can be changed via Preferences.[nb 2] The Siberian Husky image above is displayed at whatever your base width is.
|upright=scaling factor, which expands or contracts the image by a factor relative to the user's base width.
upright=1.3might be used for an image with fine detail (e.g. a map or diagram) to render it "30% larger than this user generally wants". (For a reader with the usual base width setting of 220px, this is 285px.)
upright=0.6might be used for an image with little detail (e.g. a simple drawing or flag) which can be adequately displayed "40% smaller than this user generally wants". (For a reader with the usual base width setting of 220px, this is 130px.)
uprightof 1 or greater; tall, narrow images may look best with
uprightof 1 or less.
upright=values greater than 1, take care to balance the need to reveal detail against the danger of overwhelming surrounding article text.
upright=1.8should usually be the largest value for images floated beside text.
uprightis completely absent, that's equivalent to
uprightalone, with no
[[File:Dog.jpg|thumb|upright|A big dog]]) is equivalent to
upright=0.75; this usage is confusing and therefore deprecated.
|thumb|none, so that the image stands alone; or use ((wide image)) or ((tall image)) to present a very large image in a scrollable box.
17px) should not be specified. This ignores the user's base width setting, so
upright=scaling factoris preferred whenever possible.[nb 3] As a general rule, images should not be set to a larger fixed width than 220px (the initial base width), and if an exception to this general rule is warranted, the resulting image should usually be no more than 400px wide (300px for lead images) and 500px tall, for comfortable display on the smallest devices "in common use" (though this may still cause viewing difficulties on some unusual displays).
upright, divide it by 220 and round the result as desired. For example,
|150pxis roughly equivalent to
|upright=0.7because 150 / 220 ≃ 0.682 .
Further information: Wikipedia:Image use policy § Placement
Most images should be on the right side of the page, which is the default placement. Left-aligned images may disturb the layout of bulleted lists and similar structures that depend on visual uniformity, e.g. by pushing some items on such lists further inward. Hence, avoid left-aligned images near such structures. If an exception to the general rule is warranted, specify
|left in the image link:
[[File:Siberian Husky pho.jpg|thumb|left|alt=A white dog in a harness playfully nuzzles a young boy |A [[Siberian Husky]] used as a pack animal]].
An image should generally be placed in the most relevant article section; if this is not possible, try not to place an image "too early" i.e. far ahead of the text discussing what the image illustrates, if this could puzzle the reader. The first image of a section should be placed below the "Main article" link usually displayed by using
((See also)) templates. Do not place an image at the end of the previous section as this will not be visible in the appropriate section on mobile devices. An image causes a paragraph break (i.e. the current paragraph ends and a new one begins) so it is not possible to place an image within a paragraph. This applies to
thumb images; small inline images are an exception .
Multiple images can be staggered right and left. However, avoid sandwiching text between two images that face each other; or between an image and infobox, navigation template, or similar. As an alternative, consider using the ((multiple image)) template, which places two images together on the right (but which, however, ignores logged-in users' selected image sizes) See WP:GALLERY for information on the use of multiple images.
It is often preferable to place a portrait (image or representation of a person) so that they "look" toward the text, but do not achieve this by reversing the image, which creates a false presentation. (Faces are never truly symmetric even in the absence of scars or other features.)
Don't refer to image orientation such as left, right, above, or below. Image placement varies with platform and screen size, especially mobile platforms, and is meaningless to screen readers. Instead, use captions to identify images.
See also: Help:Visual file markup § Border
thumbproduces an "inline" image. For example,
This [[File:Flag of Japan.svg|frameless|x20px]] is an inline image.
|border. For example,
This [[File:Flag of Japan.svg|frameless|x20px|border]] is an inline image with a border.
20pxspecifies a 20-pixel width,
x20pxspecifies a 20-pixel height. Heights between
x22pxwill usually match surrounding text well. (
uprightis not usually used with inline images.)
All images used on Wikipedia must be uploaded to Wikipedia itself or Wikimedia Commons. That is, hotlinking is not supported.
Images uploaded to Wikipedia are automatically placed into the File namespace (formerly known as the Image namespace), i.e., the names of image pages start with the prefix
All images must comply with Wikipedia's image use policy: in general, they must be free for reuse, including commercial use and use after alteration, though some "fair use" of non-free content is allowed in limited circumstances—see Wikipedia:Non-free content.
Search for existing files through:
You may upload photographs, drawings, or other graphics created with a camera, scanner, graphics software, and so on. When photographing or scanning potentially copyrighted works, or creating depictions of persons other than yourself, be sure to respect copyright and privacy restrictions.[further explanation needed]
In order to maximize images' usefulness in all languages, avoid including text within them. Instead, add text, links, references, etc., to images using Template:Annotated image or Template:Annotated image 4, which can also be used to expand the area around an image or crop and enlarge part of an image—all without the need for uploading a new, modified image.
For further information, see: Finding images tutorial
An extensive list of free image resources by topic can be found at: Public domain image resources. In addition to Wikimedia Commons, the Wikimedia Toolserver has a Free Image Search Tool (FIST), which automatically culls free images from the Wikimedia sister projects, Flickr and a few other sites. Several other useful, general purpose image search engines include: Google Image Search, Picsearch and Pixsta. Creative Commons licensed images with Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike as their license may be used on Wikipedia. Images with any license restricting commercial use or the creation of derivative works may not be used on Wikipedia.
The Creative Commons site has a search page that can be used as a starting point to find suitably licensed images; make sure you check both the checkboxes "use for commercial purposes" and "modify, adapt, or build upon".
If you find an image on the Internet that is not available freely, you can email the copyright owner and ask for their permission to release it under a suitable license, adapting the boilerplate request for permission. If you cannot find a suitable image, you may also list your request at Wikipedia:Requested pictures, so that another contributor may find or create a suitable image.
An image's utility or quality may be improved by cropping (to focus on the relevant portion), cleaning up scanning artifacts, correcting color balance, removing red-eye effect, or other adjustments.
The caption of an image should mention such edits (e.g. introduction of false color or pseudocolor) if a reader needs to know about them to properly interpret the image.
Edits that improve the presentation without materially altering the content need not be mentioned in the caption e.g. rotation to correct a slightly crooked image, improvement to the contrast of a scan, or blurring a background to make the main subject more prominent. (However, all changes to images taken from outside sources should be noted on the image's description page. For images created by editors themselves, changes which could have been part of the image's original composition—such as rotation or minor cropping—need not be mentioned on the description page.)
Images should not be changed in ways that materially mislead the viewer. For example, images showing artworks, faces, identifiable places or buildings, or text should not be reversed (although those showing soap bubbles or bacteria might be). Do not change color integral to the subject, such as in images of animals. It is usually appropriate to de-speckle or remove scratches from images, though that might be inappropriate for historical photographs.
For assistance in editing images, try WP:Graphics Lab.
Logged in users with autoconfirmed accounts (meaning at least four days old and at least ten edits at the English Wikipedia) can upload media to the English Wikipedia. Only free licensed media, not fair use media, may be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Media on Wikimedia Commons can be linked to in the same way as media of the same name on Wikipedia. To upload media to the English Wikipedia, go to special:upload and for Wikimedia Commons, go to commons:special:upload. For preferred file formats, see: Preparing images for upload.
Further information: Wikipedia:Categorization § Files/images
Each image has a corresponding description page, which documents the image's source, author and copyright status; descriptive (who, what, when, where, why) information; and technical (equipment, software, etc.) data useful to readers and later editors.
To maximize the utility and educational value of an image, please describe its contents as fully as possible on the image's description page. For example, photographs of artwork benefit from documentation of the artist, title, location, dates, museum identification numbers, and so on. Images that are described only in vague terms (for example, "a cuneiform tablet" or "a medieval manuscript") are often less useful for Wikipedia and less informative to our readers.
Reliable sources, if any, may be listed on the image's description page. Generally, Wikipedia assumes in good faith that image creators are correctly identifying the contents of photographs they have taken. If such sources are available, it is helpful to provide them. This is particularly important for technical drawings, as someone may want to verify that the image is accurate.
Description pages for images are rediscovered by editors using the search engine and the categories. To help editors find precise images, please remember to document the image description page accordingly. Well-categorized and well-described images are more likely to be used.
Images can greatly increase the bandwidth cost of viewing an article – a consideration for readers on slow or expensive connections. Articles carry reduced-size thumbnails instead of full images (which the user can view by "clicking through" the thumbnail) but in some file types a thumbnail's reduced dimensions doesn't translate into a concomitant reduction in file size. (In most browsers you can see a thumbnail's size by right-clicking for its "Properties".)
If one image's file size is disproportionate to those of others in the same article, you may want to reduce it by selecting a different file format:
pxworks the same as
uprightfor users with the usual base width setting of 220px, but works counterintuitively for readers whose base width is set to a different value (see Help:Preferences#Files). For example, an image coded
275px—presumably to make it wider than most images on a particular page—is actually rendered smaller than most images if the user has changed his base width to 300px. In contrast,
uprightresponds gracefully to changes in the user's base width, maintaining the relative size of images in any given article by enlarging or reducing all of them proportionately.
However, a thumbnail cannot be displayed larger than the original uploaded image. For example, if an image is coded
|thumb|upright=1.5 (for a reader with the usual base width of 220px), but the original uploaded file was only 200px wide, then the article thumbnail will still be displayed at only 200px.