Getting started guide

At its core, World Anvil is a tool to help you organize your creative process. As such, this is not a definitive guide on how you should use World Anvil, but rather what you can do.
 

First steps

After creating your account, you will be given the choice of either creating a new world or a new character. If you have created an account specifically to play in a campaign, you should choose the character option. Otherwise, choose Create my world (choose this option if you are game master too). This will take you to the world creation and the character creation pages, respectively.   For more information on how to create a character, please see the following guide:
Guide to character creation
Generic article | Jun 6, 2019
  Otherwise, create the world and keep reading for an overview of the World Anvil's layout.  

The Dashboard

Whenever you click the World Anvil logo at the top left corner you will access the Dashboard:
screenshot (4).png
  The sidebar (highlighted in dark green) contains links to various parts and tools of World Anvil (keep reading for more information on them). The Switch to... drop-down menu lets you quickly switch between worlds and characters you have created, while the world drop-down menu (Einya in the screenshot) has quick links to various interfaces you can use to edit your world —see the next section for more details!   Using the three central buttons highlighted in orange you can view a list of all your worlds, characters and campaigns. The box under the buttons, highlighted in red, contains all your notifications. Notifications include likes to your articles or character posts (called "renown" in the later case), replies to your articles or character posts, and updates to articles from worlds you follow. You can dismiss them with the red X button or the Delete all notifications button at the bottom of the list. Additionally, if you have an active world, you'll have buttons for all article templates so that you can start writing right from this page.   The right sidebar, highlighted in cyan, contains your latest edited articles (if you have a world selected), upcoming sessions (if you are part of any RPG campaign) and development updates.  

World edition

To go to your world's edit interface, click the My worlds button and then Access world for the world you want to edit. Additionally, every time you access worldanvil.com you will be redirected to your world's edit interface if you have it selected.   The central part of the page has three sections. Highlighted in green, you have a template menu. In World Anvil, all articles are created using a template (for example, religion is an organization template, a person is a character template, etc.). If you click any of the buttons, you will access the article editor. Highlighted in red, there is a similar box to create dnd 5e-specific content (note that you will only see the box if you have selected the "Dungeons and Dragons 5e" RPG system when you created the world). Highlighted in yellow, you have the last articles that have been created and edited in your world.   The sidebar of this page (highlighted in cyan) has different content. From top to bottom:

  • "View your world" button: click it to view the world from the presentation view.
  • Campaigns: if you have a campaign running in your world, it will appear after the "View" button (in the example screenshot, "Tests and dragons"). Otherwise, there will be a button to create it (see Guide to campaign creation for more information).
  • Getting started checklist: some suggestions for things you can do to get your world started!
  • To-do list: it will be generated automatically every time you create a link to an article that doesn't exist.
  • World word count: it's 10,000 by default, but you can change it in the world configuration. It's great to see your progress!
  Finally, at the bottom of your page, you can see community information: announcements, the featured articles, links to the store and blog, and the theme of the month. As always, the power buttons and the left menu are in their respective places.   You might have noticed that the top black menu has changed... let's take a closer look!

world summary.png
(click for full-size screenshot)

 

World menu(s)

world menu.png
  The world menu is displayed whenever you are browsing your world from the edit view. Let's break it down:  
  • Your world's name is displayed in pink. If you click on it, you can switch the world you are working in (if you have more than one) or create a new one.
  • The World summary button will take you to the interface explained above.
  • The "Go to world..." menu is a quick access point to different interfaces of your world (list of articles, maps, categories, images, etc.). The left always-on-top menu has exactly the same items.
  • The "Create..." dropdown is a quick creation menu for the different types of content your world can have. The green power button has similar functionality.
  • The "View" button will take you to your world's main page in the presentation view.
  • The "Configuration" button will let you change your world's settings.
  • The Search field lets you search for articles in your world from the edit view.
 

World lists: a quick walk-through

This section contains brief explanations for the pages you can access from the "Go to world..." menu (or the left menu, or the green power hammer). If you are in the new Heroes interface, you can access those by clicking on your world's name in the sidebar.  

Articles

This is a full list of all articles in your world. You can order the list alphabetically or in "tree view" to have a better understanding of their organization if you have sorted them into different categories.
Guide to the Article list
Generic article | Jun 16, 2019

While adding glorious articles to your world you populate the article list.

Categories

Categories are a way to organize your world's articles. For example, you can have a category called "Birds" and fill it with articles about birds in your world, and then put the Birds category in a wider "Animals" category. This page lets you see all your world's category, both in the tree and alphabetical view.
Guide to Creating and Using Categories
Generic article | Jan 25, 2019

Categories will help you organize your world!

Maps

The map functionality of World Anvil lets you display the geography of your world (or parts of it) in a very interactive way. This page is just a list of all maps, with a link to view and edit them.
Guide to Maps
Generic article | Jan 25, 2019

A guide on how to use the different map features!

Timelines

Timelines let you display the history of your world, a country or a person in a very visual way. From this page, you can access your world's timelines, historical entries, and calendars.
Guide to Timelines
Generic article | Jan 25, 2019

Understanding the Time-Space Continuum in World Anvil

Images

This page displays all the images you have uploaded to your world, as well as the images galleries you have created. It's also the page you use to upload images. Keep in mind that you can't use external images; you need to upload them if you want to use them in articles.
Guide to Images
Generic article | Jun 17, 2019

A quick and easy guide that explains how to add and use images in your world.

Blocks

If you have selected an RPG system for your world, this page will display all RPG blocks you have created for your world. It also lets you create new blocks for the system(s) you have selected for your world. If you are a Grandmaster of the Guild, you can create your own custom block templates (note: advanced feature):
Guide to block templates
Generic article | Jun 15, 2019

To-Do List

This will take you to a page that is fully dedicated to the world's to-do list (the same one that appears in the world dashboard sidebar).  

The Notebook

You can access the Notebook from the top blue menu bar, and you can use it to quickly jot down ideas that you have but that you don't know how to make them fit in your world. You can attach an image to them, and select a related article (in which case, they will appear at the bottom of the article, only visible to you). Only you can see your notes, so using it is also a great way to develop ideas that are not mature enough for public display.  

Heroes

Heroes is the campaign manager and social media network for your characters in World Anvil. To access the campaign manager, just click on the Create a campaign button you will find in your world's dashboard. As for the social media, click the Stream link that you will find in the sidebar. See the Introduction to Heroes for more details.  

The community page

A big part of World Anvil is its community, which mainly lives on Discord but is also important in the site itself. This page is pretty straightforward, and displays the following elements:
  • Featured article: it appears at the top. It's an article selected every day by the Enchanter team.
  • Most liked articles in the last 3 days.
  • Most viewed articles in the last 3 days.
  • Newest articles created in any (public) world.
If you are in need of inspiration, this page is an amazing resource to see what your fellow worldbuilders are working on!

FAQ

Why is the Dashboard interface so different from the world editing one? The Dashboard interface was implemented as part of the 0.95 version of World Anvil, codenamed Heroes. Eventually, all pages will be migrated to this new interface.   How do I switch from one interface to the other? From the Heroes interface, you can access the world edit pages from the My Worlds option. From the old interface, you can access the Heroes interface through some of the links in the top menu bar, such as Dashboard, Campaigns and Characters.   What's the deal with Heroes? Heroes is a new system for managing RPG campaigns that incorporates a social experience for your characters. It was released during May 2019 and it will define how World Anvil will look and behave in the future. See more information in Introduction to Heroes   Is a world really a world? Your "worlds" in World Anvil can contain multiple actual worlds (which is pretty common for SciFi settings, for example).   How do I delete X? Delete buttons are generally found in the configuration page (in the case of world and campaigns) or the edit page (articles, images, maps, etc.).   Where is the template for X? Sometimes, you want to create something that doesn't exactly fit one of the predefined templates. you have to keep in mind that templates are guidelines, not rules. Take a look at different templates and think which is the template with text fields that fit the article you want to create better.   Why did all my content disappear or go wonky? Sometimes, after you save an article and view it from the presentation view, everything looks weird. If that has happened to you, check for unclosed tags. For example, if you have a [row], make sure that you close it with [/row] at the end of the row!   Is there a way to see what articles link to a specific article? Not at the moment!   If I change the title of an Article, do links to that Article need to be fixed? The links will still work, but the old title will be displayed in the links instead of the new one.   How can I make an entire article or world private? This is a Guild-only feature. If you are a Guild member, go to your article's Access tab (or to your World's configuration) and make sure that the Privacy setting is set to Private.   How do I add a subscriber of a co-author to my world? This is also a guild-only feature. Check the following guides: Guide to Subscribers and Guide to Authors.   I found a bug or I miss a feature and I think it should be added! Great! Go to the general Help page of World Anvil (accessible from the footer of any page) and click the "Report a bug" or "Suggest a feature". You will probably need to create a new account to the bug-tracking system, since it uses an external platform (Jira)   This is too basic, I want more information about something! Check out the following list of guides in this Codex! You can also join our Discord server, where we have a dedicated help channel  

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