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.
   

The Dashboard

When you enter World Anvil, you will access your Dashboard.   If you have just created your account, the central part of the page will most likely be empty. Otherwise, it displays your worlds (red box) and your characters if you are playing in a campaign (blue box).   The sidebar (highlighted in green) displays community information: current challenges, the theme of the month, announcements and an invitation to join the Discord. At the bottom of the page (highlighted in purple) there are four articles that have been recently liked by the community. You can visit them and give them some more love!   At the left side of your screen, there's always a menu (highlighted in yellow in the screenshot). This menu is a quick access point to different parts of your world. At the bottom right corner of any page, including in the presentation view, sit the two (or three, if you are a guild member) "power buttons". The green power hammer is a quick-access menu to different parts of the world, while the purple power quill is a quick article creator. Click them to experiment!   Finally, at the top of your screen, you have two menu bars. The blue one is a general menu, while the options in the black menu change depending on which part of World Anvil you are.   If you have not yet created a world, go ahead and click the pink "Create a new world" button to create it. If you have, click on the "Access world" blue button to access the world summary.

dashboard.png
(click for full-size screenshot)

 

World edition

The world summary page has a similar structure to the Dashboard.   The central part of the page has three sections. Highlighted in green, you have a template menu. In World Anvil, all articles are creates using a template (for example, religion is an organization template, a person is a character template, etc.). If you create 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")
  • 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).  

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 Using the Article list
Generic article | Mar 26, 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 | Apr 4, 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 RPG statblocks
Generic article | Apr 1, 2019

 

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.  

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!

Common terms

Menus

World Anvil Menu (Blue) This Menu, usually found along the top of any page on the site, provides the main way of traversing through World Anvil. World Menu (Black) Located directly below the WA Menu, this navigation tool helps you get around the various parts of your World Editor. As such, it is not accessible when in the Presentation View.  

Views

Editor When building, this view will be the most common sight you see. Presentarion Usually seen by your readers, this is the pretty, code-free side of the site.  

FAQ

I don't see a "Create a new world" button in my Dashboard! Go to your account details (clicking your profile picture, at the top right corner) and make sure that worldbuilding features are enabled. After enabling them, go back to the Dashboard. The button will be there.   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". Important: Make sure that the bug or feature hasn't been already requested by checking the Trello board.   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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