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A space probe image of Saturn’s moon Titan uploaded in the highest available quality as well as the recommended image description (click image in order to see the image page)

Generally speaking, the quality of files should be as high as possible, so e.g. images can be used in high-quality printouts. With JPEG-format—which is recommended for photos but not diagrams—or PNG-format, use a high resolution. As of October 19th, 2005 the MediaWiki software can’t handle PNGs larger than 12.5 megapixels—about 3500x3500 pixels—but otherwise images in such high resolutions are fine. The software is also unable to scale animated GIF-images, so you’ll have to supply these in the desired size.

Only certain file types are allowed in Wikimedia Commons. If you try to upload a different file type, you’ll receive an error message.

For photographs, use JPEG. While TIFF offers higher quality, the files tend to be rather large and the software can’t convert them on the fly (that's why this file format is currently not allowed at Commons). PNG uses a lossless compression as well and is thus theoretically better for images, but it unfortunately doesn’t work very well with photographs. GIF-Format is allowed but discouraged at Wikimedia Commons. It’s the best choice for animated images though. For diagrams SVG is the preferred type, as it’s easy to scale and edit. If you modify an image of others, please upload it under a different filename and add a link from the original.

Supported sound types are MIDI (.mid) and Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) and for video files Ogg Theora only (also .ogg). Other widely used sound file formats like MP3 and video formats like MPEG are not allowed at Wikimedia Commons due to patent issues. Like the images quality of sound and video files should not be too low. The upper limit for file sizes is about 20 MB, so choose quality depending on the duration of your media file.

Good file descriptionsEdit

A good file description provides complete information about the file, including legally required information such as its copyright status and source, as well as descriptive information about what it shows and how it was made. To assist you in creating such a description, there is a standardized template for images. As a side effect, this template is also rendered in a typographically sound way. It is therefore highly recommended to use the template. Just copy the code below, paste it into the “Summary”-field during upload and fill in the blanks:

|Description = 
|Source = 
|Date = 
|Author = 
|Permission = 
|other_versions = 
Photo of the Orion Nebula with the recommended description describing how the image was made and a quoted grant from the copyright owner (click image in order to see the image page)
The fields are used the following way

If you can’t fill in everything, use a ‘-’-sign instead (without the quotation marks). Please don’t leave blank variables, as the template won’t work as advertised otherwise.

Description of the content. What do you see, hear, or otherwise perceive? If it’s an artwork, please provide brief historical background. In case of scientific data, a brief scientific abstract of the file. Descriptions can be in any language, but it is always a good idea to include an English description as well. If you can speak multiple languages, consider adding the description in all of them.

You should use templates to declare language(s) of the description. It can look like:

{{cs|Nějaký český popisek.}}
{{en|Some description in English.}}
Use a statement such as “Own work.” or similar, if you created that file yourself. Otherwise please supply a
  • Link to a website, with a direct link to the page embedding the file and a direct link to the file
  • Catalog number
  • Name of institution
  • Book source
  • etc.
Date of creation (or date of release), preferably in ISO 8601 format, such as “2006-01-15” for 15 January 2006.
Author(s) of the file. If you don’t know any individual, use the name of the institution(s) which released it. In case of self-made work, put your real name and your linked username in parentheses, such as “John Q. Public ([[User:JQPublic|JQPublic]])”. This’ll read as “John Q. Public (JQPublic)”. You might as well directly link your real name to the username such as “[[User:JQPublic|John Q. Public]]”.
Supply a short quote of the permission the copyright owner of the file gave you. In case of a general permission (e. g. US Public Domain or free content licenses) supply a short link to that legal disclaimer or an according hint. If you are the copyright owner, give a short notice as “Dual-licensed under the GFDL and CC-By-SA-2.5, 2.0, and 1.0”, but you could also write “See below” to point to license tags after the file information.
Note: You still need to tag the image in any case with the appropriate license template!
Other versions of this file
If there are other version of this file within Wikimedia Commons (for example a black and white version of a color image) use this field to link to these versions with a wiki link.

Note: Please read as well First steps/Sorting.

Upload summaryEdit

When you are uploading a file, the upload form gives you a place for a summary. The first 255 characters of your summary will appear permanently on the image description page, in the "File history" section.

If you are uploading the first version of a file (there is not already a file with the title you selected), then your upload summary will also be copied to the image description page. It is common in this case to provide complete information in the summary, as detailed under #Good file descriptions above.

If you are uploading a new version of a file, it is important to specify in as much detail as possible how you changed the file. This information is important because it can be difficult for others to tell the difference between two files. For example, for an image, you could say

Cropped 25 pixels off the top, brightened with Photoshop, saved at 95% quality

Further readingEdit