Wikipedia:Picture of the day/Guidelines

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These are the guidelines for scheduling and maintaining the English Wikipedia's picture of the day (POTD), a section on the Main Page that is automatically updated every day with one or more featured pictures, accompanied by a blurb. The general steps to schedule a POTD are as follows:

  1. Choose a date in the future from the subpages linked at Wikipedia:Picture of the day/Archive that does not yet have a featured picture scheduled.
  2. Select a featured picture to be the POTD (see #Scheduling for details). Images that have a connection to the chosen date (e.g. birthdays or event anniversaries) are often selected.
  3. Add {{Picture of the day|YYYY-MM-DD}} to the local file-description page for the featured picture. If the picture is a re-run (which should hardly ever happen, because there is a huge backlog that have not yet been scheduled), add an additional date parameter to the existing template.
  4. Create and complete the POTD subpage, including a blurb (see #Writing the blurb for details).
  5. Place a note on the talk page of the bolded article using {{subst:UpcomingPOTD|[File:]Example.png|YYYY-MM-DD|[optional comments]}}. A header is automatically added and the message will automatically be signed. There are two slightly different layouts that can be used; see the template page for further details.
  6. Notify the nominator and uploader of the featured picture using {{subst:NotifyPOTD|[optional salutation]|[File:]Example.png|YYYY-MM-DD|[optional comments]}}. A header is automatically added and the message will automatically be signed. There are two slightly different layouts that can be used; see the template page for further details.
  7. Approximately 26 hours before 00:00 UTC on the scheduled date, a bot (currently AnomieBOT) will create the protected version (if it cannot, it will place a message at Wikipedia talk:Picture of the day; in that case, it will have to be done manually – see #Protected version for details).

These steps can be automated using the POTDhelper user script.

New contributors may wish to start by simply writing blurbs for scheduled POTDs at Wikipedia:Picture of the day/Archive that do not yet have them, but please follow the guidelines at #Writing the blurb, in particular ensuring that all facts mentioned in the blurb are mentioned and cited in either the linked bolded article or the image file's description page.


POTDs are selected from the pool of featured pictures on the English Wikipedia.[a] No image that is not a featured picture is eligible for POTD. In general, they are scheduled in order of their promotion to featured status (first in, first out). This sequence is most easily found by consulting Category:Featured pictures that have not appeared on the Main Page, which is arranged in chronological order of promotion. Alternatively, the order can be inferred by going through the archives of featured picture candidates, or in reverse order on the various group pages of Wikipedia:Featured pictures thumbs). So that POTD selections can be reviewed for content and style, and be properly protected before Main Page appearance, POTD scheduling should be done at least three days in advance.

In general, try not to schedule the same "theme" in close succession (such as having two pictures of animals on consecutive days). If there are two pictures of the same subject that were promoted close together, separate their appearances by approximately a month at minimum, such as these two pictures of carbon nanotubes, which were promoted in close succession,[b] or the six individual paintings in William Hogarth's series Marriage A-la-Mode, which were promoted as a set.[c] Alternatively, multiple POTDs of the same subject may be run on the same day, with one being randomly displayed at any one time. This arrangement is typically used for a set of featured pictures, such as a single series of banknotes or coins.

Certain POTDs may be scheduled on specific days to honor anniversaries, such as this map of India, which ran on August 15, 2006, India's Independence Day. Featured pictures involving individuals are commonly scheduled for their corresponding birthdays.

Not all featured pictures will be scheduled for POTD. For example, File:Michele Merkin 1.jpg is a bit too salacious and File:Japanesesuicide.jpg is too grotesque. The standard for inclusion on editorial grounds (as opposed to technical ones) is to use an analogy: if a picture probably would not make the front page of a major newspaper like The New York Times, then it should not be on the front page of Wikipedia either. Additionally, if the article chosen to accompany the picture is not up to scratch (e.g. if there is a template message such as {{More citations needed}}), the appearance may be delayed until there is a suitable article to accompany the picture. If you skip a certain featured picture, be sure to add it to Wikipedia:Picture of the day/Unused with an explanation.

The easiest way to schedule a POTD is by finding a future date in the monthly archive pages (linked to at Wikipedia:Picture of the day/Archive) that does not yet have an image scheduled and clicking on the "create" link for the date. This brings up some pre-filled wikitext in the editing interface, with the template syntax used to contain POTD data. The parameters displayed are the compulsory ones for each POTD scheduled; other parameters may be occasionally required for more complex selections (see § Template parameters). To schedule a new POTD, click the "create" link on the month's archive page. This will create a new page preloaded with a template call as detailed below.

If a page for a month's archive does not yet exist, you will have to create it. Each day's entry consists of a template call: {{POTD/Day|YYYY-MM-DD}}. Add one template for each day in the month, along with a header and the month's POTD category. It is easiest just to copy the source from the same month in a previous year and simply change the dates accordingly.

Writing the blurb[edit]

Each POTD must specify an article in which the image appears. This article forms the basis for the blurb that accompanies the POTD. If a featured picture appears in multiple articles, prefer the one that is most relevant to the image (typically the one mentioned below each entry in the directory of featured pictures). The article selected should not already be scheduled as the boldfaced article in another Main Page section, such as "Today's featured article".

A blurb is liable to be amended or even rejected if it does not meet the following criteria:

  • The article should preferably not be a stub.
  • The image must appear in the article.
  • All facts mentioned in the blurb must be found in the target article, or in the description linked to the image itself, if it's a specific detail not relevant to the article topic.
  • All facts in the blurb must have a citation to a reliable source.

Template parameters[edit]

All the preloaded parameters below should be filled in as instructed; there will rarely be any need for additional parameters to be added. Note that a

Parameter Example Purpose
image Example.png The image name, without any "Image:" or "File:" prefix. Occasionally, for images that do not fit into the template well, you may have to create a modified version (e.g. rotate or crop a portion) for use in the template. Keep in mind that the Main Page version (the "protected" version) is substituted, so the layout can be tinkered with. Use Blank300.png when parameter |caption= has a gallery.
Example.png Use instead of "image" when two images are meant to appear at once.
thumb Example.png (Optional) A thumbnail image, to be used in the Main Page version in place of the actual image. This is used for animated GIFs, such as this one, so that only a single frame (you may have to create it) will appear on the Main Page (for bandwidth considerations).
imagelink Example.png (Optional) A destination page that people will get when they click on the thumbnail. This is useful for animated GIFs, or for when the Main Page file is a cropped version of the actual Featured Picture. If you set this, but don't set "thumb", it will be ignored.
thumbtime 5 (Optional) For video files, the default thumbnail generated may not be suitable for appearance on the Main Page. In those cases, you can select an alternate frame to use as the thumbnail by using this parameter (the value is in seconds, so "5" means "use the frame 5 seconds after the video starts").
size 300 (Optional) The image's size, without "px". Standard sizing:
  • Landscape orientation: 300 (the default, so this line may be omitted in these cases)
  • Portrait orientation: 250
  • Square (1:1 aspect ratio) or close enough: 275
  • Panorama: 500 or 550, depending on how tall it is (see also the "wide" parameter, below)
  • Really tall image: Use your best judgment. You may even have to crop the image to make it look good, such as in Template:POTD/2009-12-10 (see also the "tall" parameter, below)

These are the usual sizes, but you can always put something different if looks better.

rowsize 350 (Optional) The image's size in the "row" version (this appears on the Main Page). Standard sizing:
  • Landscape orientation: 350 (the default, so this line may be omitted in these cases)
  • Portrait orientation: 250
  • Square (1:1 aspect ratio) or close enough: 180
  • Panorama: 500 or 550, depending on how tall it is
  • Really tall image: As above, use your best judgment.

If this parameter is omitted, "rowsize" will be set to the same value as "size".

colsize 300 (Optional) The image's size in the "column" version (this appears on some of the Main Page alternatives and some user pages). Standard sizing:
  • Landscape orientation: 300 (the default, so this line may be omitted)
  • Portrait orientation: 250
  • Square (1:1 aspect ratio) or close enough: 275
  • Panorama: 400 – any wider than this, and layouts of those pages using this version will likely break (see also the "wide" parameter, below).
  • Really tall image: As above.

If this parameter is omitted, "colsize" will be set to the same value as "size".

wide (Optional) y This indicates that the image is very wide and should be displayed using {{wide image|border=no}}. This is best when the aspect ratio of the image is such that at 550px wide, the image ends up being too short (example). Omit if not needed.
dir (Optional) rtl rtl indicates that a wide image should scroll right-to-left (example). Only used in combination with "wide". Omit if not needed.
tall (Optional) y This indicates that the image is very tall and should be displayed using {{tall image}}. Omit if not needed.
title [[Article name]] This serves as the wikilinked title for the "condensed" (no text) version. The article should be the one that is best represented by the image, but in some cases it may be too difficult. The link may be piped, and formatting such as italics may be used. See this and this for examples of the latter.
alttext (Optional) Alternate text This serves as the alt attribute of the image. If this omitted, the "texttitle" parameter will be used.
texttitle Short description This is shown in the "row" version as the titles of the recently featured pictures. Formatting such as italics may be used. The title in this parameter is not linked. Often, this will be the same as the title parameter, but can also be a very short caption (try to limit as few words as possible) that is more descriptive of the image than the article title would be.
caption (see any existing POTDs) The caption should be as specific as possible about the image itself. If there is not enough to fill the entire space, then you may take some text from the article. If there is not much to say about the image, try to get a part of the article that is illustrated by the image. The name of article (the same one you chose for the title parameter) should be in bold and wikilinked. Do not link to articles that do not exist (i.e., no red links on the Main Page).

How much should you write? The total amount of text, including the image credits, should stay within the top and bottom borders of the image. This means there will be a lot more room for portrait-oriented pictures than landscape-oriented ones. For panoramas, there is no set limit, but try not to be too wordy.


Examples of bad POTD captions:

  • Euro symbol – this caption doesn't describe the image at all, but talks about euros and the euro symbol in general.
  • Child labor – this caption just talks about child labor in general. Contrast this with its second appearance as POTD.

Caption can also hold fancier wikitext for display of images, such as <gallery>...</gallery> in Template:POTD/2021-12-04.

You should also familiarize yourself with the existing Featured Pictures. If there is another image that covers the same topic/article, try to make the caption different than what was written for the previous FP.

credit Photograph credit: Jimmy Wales; restored by Example The credit for the image. If the image was a collaboration, add the name of everyone who worked on it. If it's a Wikipedian and they don't have a user page, link to their talk page or their user page at Wikimedia Commons instead. Use actual names instead of usernames, if known. We usually do not have off-site links to photographers' web pages (on Flickr, for example). Even if the author is unknown, say so. Restoration credit should also be given when appropriate.

Multiple pictures[edit]

In some cases, such as 2017-07-01, a set of related pictures are selected as the "pictures of the day". In that situation, subtemplates (such as Template:POTD/2017-07-01/1, Template:POTD/2017-07-01/2, and so on) are created for the individual pictures as described above and the main template uses Module:Random to choose one to display.

Protected version[edit]

The protected version is the one that will actually be transcluded onto the Main Page. Having two versions allows non-admins to make updates to the POTD caption while it's protected, but prevents vandalism from appearing on the Main Page. The protected version should be created about 48 hours before the POTD date. Its transclusion in Wikipedia:Main Page/Tomorrow means it will automatically be cascade-protected. It is created by replacing the first line of the template with {{subst:POTD row (note no closing braces), and copying (without the See Also section) to the protected version.

In case of multiple pictures, the protected versions of the subtemplates should be created from the unprotected versions as described above, and the protected version of the main template should be created by simply changing the random-selection wikicode to refer to the protected subtemplates.


  1. ^ A small number of featured pictures are videos or animated GIFs; these are also eligible – the POTD does not have to be a picture, strictly speaking.
  2. ^ May 30 and June 28, 2006
  3. ^ April 22, May 22, June 22, July 22, August 22 and September 20, 2020. (September 22 was commemorated by the autumnal equinox.)