Getting Started in World Anvil Codex | World Anvil

Getting Started

Restructuring the Codex

We are currently moving articles around and changing the general structure of the Codex. Please come back later if you get lost!

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:
Create A Player Character
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Learn how to create a player character for a campaign or any other endeavour.

  Otherwise, create the world and keep reading for an overview of the World Anvil's layout.  

Finding your workflow

If you're looking for a good worldbuilding workflow, check out our getting started guides on the blog!
  1. Set up your world's meta
  2. Organize your world with categories
  3. Create and set up your map
  4. Record your world's history with timelines
  5. Use themes to customize how your world looks

The Dashboard

Whenever you click the World Anvil logo at the top left corner you will access the Dashboard:
global dashboard.png
  The top bar has a row of buttons to navigate to different parts of the interface and search box to look up your world's content. The Discover button will let you check public content from other World Anvil users, as well as the current and past challenges, the faeture suggestion board, and more community-related pages.   The sidebar contains links to various parts and tools of World Anvil (keep reading for more information on them). Clicking your world name will open a drop-down you can use to switch between the worlds, characters, and campaign you have created. Under the world name there is a Continue working... box; click it to go to the last article you were editing.   The central section of the page has a stream of the latest blog entries. You can visit our blog at! The right sidebar shows the most recent video from our YouTube channel. At the top, there's a menu bar with several tabs to check out other news from the community and your own content.  

World dashboard

When you click the Dashboard option in the left sidebar, you will get to the dashboard specific for your active world.  
world dashboard.png
  The central part of the page has three sections. The left side has the world search, in the middle there's the list of article templates, and the right has other tools for the world.  

Search and preview

The search and preview feature lets you search, view, and make quick edits to your world's content, all from within the dashboard. Simply type in the search bar, and any results from articles, maps, notebooks, and more will appear (for Guild members, it searches the article contents too, not just the title). Alternatively, you can use the category tree and press the article you want to view.   For more information on this feature, check this guide:
Generic article | Oct 29, 2023

The dashboard is a centralized interface that allows managing and editing various different resources on World Anvil.



At the bottom of the page, Guild members have stats about the world. Journeymen and Masters see four numbers: total number of comments, likes, articles, and followers. Grandmasters and above tiers see these stats plus a graphic with the daily evolution, which includes some additional stats like views and word count.  

Creation menu

In the middle, you have the list of available article templates. In World Anvil, all articles are created using a template (for example, religion is an organisation template, a person is a character template, etc.). If you click any of the buttons, you will access the article editor.  

Statblock creation

If you click the Statblock section, you'll see buttons to create RPG statblocks:  
dashboard rpg blocks.png
  Note that you will only see this section if you have selected Dungeons & Dragons 5e as your world's RPG system. You can still create blocks with other systems, see the Guide to Blocks for more information.  

Creation of other content

In the Other tab you have links to create maps, timelines and historical entries, and secrets. Check their respective guides for more information.  

Right panels

The right side of the world dashboard has these panels, from top to bottom:
  • Continue working: The last five articles you edited will appear there so that you can get right back to work!
  • Get inspired: this displays a random worldbuilding prompt that you can answer. See the Guide to Prompts for more information.
  • To-do list: it contains all items of your to-do list. More information in the Guide to the to-do list.
  • World meta progress: this displays the completion progress of your world meta, as well as buttons to edit and view it.

RPG Campaigns

If you want to use World Anvil as a campaign manager, create your first campaign. To do it, find the Your Campaigns tab in the global dashboard (click the World Anvil logo on the top left corner) and then click the Create a new Campaign button you'll find on the right. See the Introduction to Campaigns for more details.  

Character Profiles

If you have been using Heroes (or want to start using it) to create and manage characters that live in your world, you can use the drop-down on top of the left sidebar to get a list of them and switch between them. Take a look at the Guide to character creation and Guide to character interaction for more information!

Community Pages


A big part of World Anvil is its community, which mainly lives on Discord but is also important in the site itself. The community homepage can be accessed from the Discover menu at the top. You can use it to see the latest and most popular articles, published manuscripts, random generators, and more. You can also suggest features for the site or vote on open suggestions, and participate in worldbuilding challenges. If you are in need of inspiration, this page is an amazing resource to see what your fellow worldbuilders are working on!


Lists updates for characters you follow or for a sampling of global characters.


A list of challenges from present to past for World Anvil members to participate in. The newest/active ones are listed at the top.

Followed Worlds

A list of worlds you follow. When the creators of these worlds push notifications you will find them in the notification (bell) menu.

Your Reading List

Articles that you clicked on to add to your reading list. Great for saving things to read later or just plain cool stuff!


Account & Profile Menu
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Manage the World Anvil profile, account configurations, subscriptions and more.

Community Worlds as Examples

This is a small collection of worlds that serve as an example just how diverse the worlds on World Anvil can be. The list is curated by Graylion.  
What is your World?
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Don't worry, we've got a dark theme! Go to your interface settings (click on your profile picture at the top right corner for the link) and choose Villains as a theme. Guides are made with the light theme (called Heroes) because it's default one, but the layout is the same, only colors are different.
Is a world really a world?
Your "worlds" in World Anvil can contain multiple planets and solar systems (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. 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?
This feature is for Master of the Guild and above ranks.
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.
Can I export my work?
You will find an "Export article" box in every article's edit page (bottom of the sidebar). This will export the article to PDF format in a printer-friendly version.
Can I make an entire article or world private?
This feature is for Journeymen of the Guild and above ranks.
How do I add a subscriber or a co-author to my world?
This feature is for Journeymen of the Guild and above ranks.
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". Your World Anvil login details will NOT automatically work, and you'll need to create a new account with the third-party 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


Author's Notes


Updated graphics and text to match the new menu and create page layouts. (shyredfox)

Please Login in order to comment!
Jul 16, 2019 07:10 by Donald Sims

What are the two or three square icons on the bottom right of a page? I do not get an <alt name> when I hover over them.

Jul 16, 2019 15:55

Those are some very useful shortcut buttons! The green one ("power hammer") is a quick-access menu with links to each article template plus different world interfaces, as well as a world switch (useful if you have multiple worlds).   The purple one (the inkwell) lets you create articles on the fly. Of course, it's not designed to be used as a full editor, so there's only text boxes for the title, vignette, privacy status, article template and category. However, it's very handy for when you are editing an article an need to quickly jot down something into a new article. When you click the save button of the pop-up editor, you will be able to copy a bbcode link to the newly-created article in case you need to insert it to your current main editor. It will also add the article to the to-do list.   Finally, the blue button (potion vial) appears only in the world edit interfaces and lets you quickly upload images (multiple at once) using a drag-and-drop system. When you click the upload button, you will be able to copy their BBCode ID blocks from the pop-up window. It's very useful to upload art while you're working on an article without interrupting your workflow!   Hope this helps! Feel free to ask if you've got any other questions.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Jul 21, 2019 16:21 by Donald Sims

Thank you for your assistance.

May 18, 2020 03:30 by SirCobalt

This Getting Started Guide has two FAQ questions that look to be missing their closing square bracket on the IMG tag. Both are listed below. How can I make an entire article or world private?

[tooltip:This feature is for Journeymen of the Guild and above ranks][img:386947
How do I add a subscriber of a co-author to my world?
[tooltip:This feature is for Journeymen of the Guild and above ranks][img:386947

May 18, 2020 03:35 by Ademal

Thanks for the catch!

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

May 18, 2020 04:05 by SirCobalt

No problem. The FAQ for This is too basic, I want more information about something! should also include a link to the Help Page for the Discord invite (or a direct link to the Discord invite, depends on how many locations you want to manage the invite link).

Jun 17, 2020 08:32

Is there a way to copy an article or secret for a secondary world on the same account? Like for example if I write up a whole article with secrets in one world, is there any way to copy, not just move entirely, to another world so that both worlds have said articles and/or secrets?

Jun 17, 2020 17:15 by Ademal

Not at this time, no.

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Jul 13, 2020 20:28

How do I export my world? I can't find the button in World Configuration. Thank you!

Jul 16, 2020 19:23 by Ademal

Exporting is a member feature, for a full list of features check here.

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Jul 25, 2020 07:10

Hello, what happend to the sections that used to be a part of article editing i.e. culture, ecology, structure etc? Also, what happened to the save button?   Thanks,   Ryan

Jul 25, 2020 18:25 by Ademal

The site autosaves all changes now! :) To see the other fields, check under the vignette for the "Show Template Specific Prompts and Connections"

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Jul 25, 2020 18:25 by Ademal

The site autosaves all changes now! :) To see the other fields, check under the vignette for the "Show Template Specific Prompts and Connections"

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Jul 25, 2020 19:28

Wonderful, thank you!

Jan 11, 2021 17:42

i would like to make another world for my other books. how would i do that?

Jan 24, 2021 08:01 by Ademal

Right here! Sorry for the delay.

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Jan 29, 2021 17:54

thank you

Sep 3, 2021 02:09 by CelestialSwords Games

I exported my world but am not sure how I am supposed to edit the content. Do I need any other program to open each article to edit it?

Sep 14, 2023 18:44

when you view the world, are you supposed to be able to see the articles that you have written? I have the world codex, which i assume will show all of the categories, but what about articles that aren't in a category? And even then, when i do open a category, shouldn't i be able to see links to the articles within that category?

Sep 15, 2023 17:57 by Ademal

Are the articles in a published state? Drafts don't show in public.   Under your world config (gear icon, left sidebar at the bottom), under the Homepage tab, you can set uncategorized articles to show or not, as well.

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!