authors (basic, advanced)

WikiStyle basics

WikiStyles allow authors to modify the color and other styling attributes of the contents of a page.
A WikiStyle is written using percent-signs, as in %red% or %bgcolor=lightblue%.

WikiStyle attributes

The style attributes recognized within a WikiStyle specification are:

------------ CSS ------------- --HTML--
 Special: define, apply

The attributes in the first two columns correspond to the cascading style sheet (CSS) properties of the same name. The attributes in the last column apply only to specific items:

  • class= and id= assign a CSS class or identifier to an HTML element
  • target=name opens links that follow in a browser window called "name"
  • rel=name in a link identifies the relationship of a target page
  • accesskey=x uses 'x' as a shortcut key for the link that follows
  • value=9 sets the number of the current ordered list item
    • The width and height attributes have asterisks because they are handled specially for <img .../> tags. If used by themselves (i.e., without anything providing an "apply=" parameter to the WikiStyle), then they set the 'width=' and 'height=' attributes of any <img ... /> tags that follow. Otherwise, they set the 'width:' and 'height:' properties of the element being styled.
    1. margin, padding, and border can be suffixed by -left, -right, -top, and -bottom

WikiStyles versus CSS styles

WikiStyles, as written in the wiki page, are not exactly CSS styles or CSS classes. WikiStyles allow authors to use both pre-defined by the administrator CSS classes, and to define new combinations of styles, without any need to edit/update local CSS files on the server.

Note that PmWiki allows advanced authors to use of class= and style= in tables and division blocks, but these are raw HTML attributes, and not WikiStyles, knowledge of CSS is required to use them.

Text color and font

The most basic use of WikiStyles is to change text attributes such as color, background color, and font.
PmWiki defines several WikiStyles for changing the text color to %black%, %white%, %red%, %yellow%, %blue%, %gray% (%grey%), %silver%, %maroon%, %green%, %navy%, %fuchsia%, %olive%, %lime%, %teal%, %aqua%, %orange% and %purple%.

The basket contains apples, blueberries, eggplant, limes, and more.

For colors other than the predefined colors, use the %color=...% WikiStyle. (Note: RGB colors (#rrggbb) should always be specified with lowercase letters to avoid WikiWord conflicts.)

I'd like to have some tangerines, too!

To change the background color, use %bgcolor=...% as a WikiStyle:

This sentence contains yellow text on a green background.

See WikiStyle Colors for more color help.

Text justification

WikiStyles are used to control the text justification

This text is centered.

Right justified.

and to create floating text:

This text floats to the right

floats to the right with a frame

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer sadipscing elitr


WikiStyles can also specify a scope; with no scope, the style is applied to any text that follows up to the next WikiStyle specification or the end of the paragraph, whichever comes first. The apply= attribute and its shortcuts allow to change the scope as follows:

apply attributeshortcutstyle applies to...
%apply=img ...%-all images that follow until another style applied
%apply=p ...%%p ...%the current paragraph
%apply=pre ...%-the current preformatted text
%apply=list ...%%list ...%the current list
%apply=item ...%%item ...%the current list item
%apply=div ...%-the current div
%apply=block ...%%block ...%to the current block, whether it's a paragraph, list, list item, heading, or division.

Thus, %p color=blue% is the same as %apply=p color=blue%, and %list ROMAN% is the same as %apply=list list-style=upper-roman%.

Some predefined style shortcuts also make use of apply, thus %right% is a shortcut for %text-align=right apply=block%.

Example: Apply a style to a paragraph:

The WikiStyle specification at the beginning of this line applies to the entire paragraph, even if there are other WikiStyle specifications in the middle of the paragraph.

Caveat: An applied WikiStyle will only take effect if it's on the
line that starts the thing it's supposed to modify. In other
words, a WikiStyle in the third markup line of a paragraph
can't change the attributes of the paragraph:

after the first line of the paragraph,
we try to change color.
This does't work because the style comes after the first line of the paragraph.

However, this paragraph
will be in red because its block style does
occur in the first line of its text.

  • Here's a list item
  • Oops, too late to affect the list!

If you want to break a list in two, you need to have a line not part of the list between, that is a line that has any content other than space and newlines, otherwise PmWiki considers the vertical space part of the previous list item. You can have an non-breaking space, or the escaped null character:

  • first item
  • second item


  • second list - first item
  • second list - second item

  • third list - first item
  • third list - second item

Larger blocks

The >>WikiStyle<< block can be used to apply a WikiStyle to a large block of items.
The style is applied until the next >><< is encountered.

Everything after the above line is styled with blue italic text,

This includes

    preformatted text
  • lists
indented items

Note, the (:div style="..." class="...":) directive does not work the same way as >>WikiStyle<<, it can only contain the regular HTML style and class attributes.

HTML "class" and "style" attributes for tables and divisions

WikiStyles are only the commands between %...% percent signs.

Tables, table directives and (:div:) division blocks allow advanced authors to incorporate the HTML/CSS attributes class= and style=. Note that these attributes are not WikiStyles, knowledge of CSS is required to use them.

Everything after the above line is styled with green italic text,

This includes

    preformatted text
  • lists
indented items

Note, the (:div style="..." class="...":) directive does not work the same way as >>style<<, as mentioned above, it can only contain the HTML style and class attributes.

Custom style shortcuts

The define= attribute can be used to assign a shorthand name to any WikiStyle specification.
This shorthand name can then be reused in later WikiStyle specifications.

some sort of text

some sort of text

Tip: It's often a good idea to put common style definitions into Group Header pages so that they can be shared among multiple pages in a group. Or, the wiki administrator can predefine styles site-wide as a local customization (see Custom WikiStyles).
Tip: Use custom style definitions to associate meanings with text instead of just colors. For example, if warnings are to be displayed as green text, set %define=warn green% and then use %warn% instead of %green% in the document. Then, if you later decide that warnings should be styled differently, it's much easier to change the (one) definition than many occurrences of %green% in the text.
Tip: Any undefined WikiStyle is automatically treated as a request for a class, thus %pre% is the same as saying %class=pre%.

Predefined style shortcuts

PmWiki defines a number of style shortcuts.

  • Text colors: black, white, red, yellow, blue, gray (grey), silver, maroon, green, navy, purple, fuchsia, olive, lime, teal, aqua, orange (shortcut for %color=...%)
  • Justification: %center% and %right%
  • Images and boxes
    • Floating left or right: %rfloat% and %lfloat%
    • Framed items: %frame%, %rframe%, and %lframe%
    • Thumbnail sizing: %thumb%
  • Open link in new window: %newwin% (shortcut for %target=_blank%)
  • Comments: %comment% (shortcut for %display=none%)
  • Ordered lists: %decimal%, %roman%, %ROMAN%, %alpha%, %ALPHA% (see also Cookbook:OutlineLists)

Enabling Styles

Styles not listed above can be enabled by a PmWiki Administrator by modifying the local/config.php file.
For instance to enable the "line-height" style attribute add the following line to the local/config.php file:

$WikiStyleCSS[] = 'line-height';

Defining scope for other HTML elements

You can add additional HTML elements to $WikiStyleApply to apply WikiStyles to other HTML elements. For example to allow styling on anchor tags:

  $WikiStyleApply['link'] = 'a';


WikiStyle Examples contains a number of examples of ways to use WikiStyles in pages.

Known Issues

  • Percents in style definitions (like: %block width=50% %) require the use of "pct" instead of "%". PmWiki will convert the "pct" into "%" so that it becomes valid CSS.
  • If you specify multiple values for an attribute, like border="2px solid blue" make sure you place the values in quotes.
  • Be sure to use lowercase letters for red-green-blue hex colors, %color=#aa3333% will work, %color=#AA3333% may not.

See Also

This page may have a more recent version on PmWiki:WikiStyles, and a talk page: PmWiki:WikiStyles-Talk.