Government Digital Service
Create and update pages
Before you create or edit content, you need to read the style guide and understand:
Create a new document
Select the New document tab in Whitehall publisher.
Click on the document type you want to create.
If the document has a number of sub-types (for example, publications, news articles, guidance and speeches), select the relevant one from the dropdown menu at the top of the page.
Complete the Title field using a maximum of 65 characters. Titles must be unique and cannot be changed once published. Titles do not need a full stop. When you save your document this will become its slug, which users will see as the last section of the page URL.
Complete the Summary field using a maximum of 140 characters. This must be written as a complete sentence with a full stop.
Complete the Body section using Markdown to format things like headings, bullets and links. Common Markdown commands are also listed on the right-hand side of the page.
Below the Body section, indicate if your document has never been published before or has previously been published on another website. If its been published before, you will need to add the date it was originally published.
Tag your document to relevant organisations, ministers and locations by adding associations.
Save your document by clicking Save (which returns you to the main document list) or Save and continue editing (which returns you to your document so you can keep working on it).
Once a document has been saved, you can add:
If you do not want to save your document, click the cancel link at the bottom of the page. This will delete your draft and there will be no record of your document in Whitehall publisher.
You can limit access to documents so that they can only be edited and published by editors in the department its tagged to. Once published it can be accessed by all editors.
Only limit access if the information is confidential.
You cannot sync limited access documents between the Production and Integration environments.
You can preview the body copy of your document in several ways.
For quick checks, like seeing if your Markdown is correct, you can use the preview toggle.
Click preview at the top of your Body text box. This will show you how your text will look when published.
Review your content and formatting.
Click continue editing to return to your work.
The toggle button just shows you how text has been formatted. It does not save your work.
Preview entire document
You also can check how a document will appear when published on GOV.UK.
Save your document by clicking the Save button at the bottom of the page (not Save and continue editing). This will save and close your document.
On the new page, click the blue Preview on website button.
Previews for stakeholders or policy teams
You can use fact check to share documents with people who do not have access to Whitehall publisher.
Edit an existing (published) document
Select the Documents tab and search for the document you want to edit. Click on a document title to view it.
Click Create new edition to start a new draft version of your document for editing.
If a draft has already been created youll see a button saying Go to latest edition from which youll be able to click Edit and edit the document.
When a document is being edited, therell be 2 versions of it in Whitehall publisher - the live page and the new draft version.
The new draft version will overwrite the live page when its published.
When you edit or change a page, you can tell users the page has changed by adding a change note. The note is viewable on the page (by selecting see all updates or full page history) and its emailed to people subscribed to email updates for your content. Do not do this for minor changes like typos, broken links or style corrections.
Find out more about writing change notes.
Add a note so other editors can see who requested the change and why.
Under the Notes tab, click on Add new remark.
Complete the Remark field and click Submit remark.
These notes will only be seen internally (by anyone with access to Whitehall publisher).
You need to save your page before adding any attachments. You can then add them individually or bulk-upload a zip file containing multiple files.
You must upload any attachments in an open standards format. For example:
- .odt (OpenDocument Text) for text documents
- .ods (OpenDocument Spreadsheet) for spreadsheets
- .odp (OpenDocument Presentation) for presentation slides
- .csv (Comma-separated values) for datasets designed to be machine-readable
- .pdf (Portable document format) saved as PDF/A for fixed layout documents
Most publishing software will allow you to select an open format from the Save As or Download menu.
Do not use closed formats like .docx or .xlsx.
Its possible to upload these file types:
Attachment file names
Give all files you upload a meaningful file name. Do not use vague file names, for example, v62.pdf or application-form.pdf.
A good file name will make sense to the user if they find it in their download folder. It also makes it easier to analyse data in Google Analytics.
The file name must:
- be written entirely in lowercase
- use hyphens or underscores instead of spaces
- make sense out of context, for example, v62-application-vehicle-registration-certificate.pdf
The file name must not include:
- a version number, draft, clean or final, unless those words are part of the document title
- a date, unless the date is part of the document title, for example, a business plan for 2016 to 2017
Upload a single attachment
On a saved document, click on Edit draft.
Select the Attachments tab.
Click on Upload new attachment.
Fill in the title. If youre adding a document or publication, use its official title.
Fill in the rest of the fields, if relevant. These metadata fields are searchable and may help users find your document (for example, reference numbers for Freedom of Information requests).
Click the Choose file button to find and select your attachment.
If your attachment is fully accessible, tick the button indicating this. If its not, users will see a box with information about requesting the document in an alternative format.
Upload additional d