Welcome to World Anvil!
Greetings and Salutations! And welcome to World Anvil, the worldbuilding platform where you can create world settings for D&D Campaigns, novels or anything else you can imagine! We – that is, Dimitris and Janet – founded World Anvil to help all kinds of worldbuilders to build, organize and showcase your amazing world settings. In this super quick World Anvil tutorial, we’ll go through the first steps of using World Anvil. You’ll be building your own world in no time!
Psssst! This is the blog transcript of our “Get Started Guide for World Anvil” video! It’s a quick World Anvil tutorial that takes you through some of the basic features! If you’d rather watch a video, you can find that right here!
What is World Anvil?
World Anvil is the most complete worldbuilding software of its kind. It comprises a collection of tools that all worldbuilders need to create and document their world settings. It’s free to use the extensive basic version, and the paid version offers extra features and permissions.
- Write articles about your world and connect everything together
- Make timelines to track your history
- Upload maps and images and make them interactive
- Create stat blocks and character sheets for your tabletop roleplaying game
- Build family trees for your characters
- Manage your tabletop campaign in the campaign manager!
- Showcase your world your own way, or keep everything private!
Where to start
Get started by making the World Anvil interface your own! First, click the hammer and anvil icon at the top right of the screen to see a menu of options. In Account Details, you can activate or deactivate different feature sets, like the RPG features or the worldbuilding features. Check out the Interface and Accessibility settings to select which kind of text editor you like – for beginners, we recommend the simple text editor. For those night owls, you can toggle light and dark mode here too.
Get Started Worldbuilding!
Start worldbuilding by creating your first article! In the Create interface (which you can find in the left menu bar), mouse over the template buttons to learn more. Once you’ve chosen, click the button to start writing! Check out our Templates video for more information on what each template can be used for! Each World Anvil template has prompts to help you flesh out your world. Just fill in what you want to, and you can leave the rest blank!
Once you’re done writing, uncheck the “draft” box on the top right, and save your article by clicking the button! If you’re writing for a long time, make sure you save every five minutes or more! Now you can view your article by clicking the View Article!
Linking articles together
One of the great things about World Anvil is the ability to link articles together quickly and easily! Link to another article you’ve published by using the @ sign and the first three letters of the article’s title. This only works with PUBLISHED articles, not draft articles. You can also use the purple button at the bottom right of the interface to create new articles as you write and link them in! Guild members will find that the open square bracket [ and then three letters will allow them to quickly add their Maps, Timelines, Secrets, Images, and Stat Blocks to their articles as well!
For more on this, check out our full World Anvil tutorial on linking articles together!
Organize your worldbuilding!
Now you’ve written a few articles, World Anvil’s Categories system will help you organize them! Go to the Articles interface on the left menu bar, and select the World Tree. Here you can click the green button to create categories, and then drag and drop your articles into them! You can also nest articles beneath other articles! Your category structure also forms the table of contents, which displays on your world’s homepage.
Add pictures to your articles
The Images and Files interface (pictured beneath) is on the left hand menu bar. Here you can upload images to your World Anvil account by dragging and dropping the file onto the upload box. Once uploaded, you can edit details and add tags to your images in the form on the right hand side. Then drag and drop your images to organize them into your worlds, listed on the left. To add an image to an article, just click the green clipboard icon and paste the code into your article’s text. In the simple text editor, the image will appear straight away. In the Source code text editor, the image will appear as a Code that will be visible in the article’s view mode. Guild members also have the blue button at the bottom right, where you can upload and add images as you write your articles! You can learn more about that here and it’s very easy to use!
Get started with interactive maps!
In the Maps interface (left hand menu bar) you’ll be able to upload a map image and write details about it. Once you’ve done that, the fun begins! Select “Presentation Mode” in the bottom right of your newly uploaded map image, then right click on the map. Then a form will pop up where you can select a pin type, name it, and link in articles. When you click on the pin, the details of the article you’ve linked will pop up in a sidebar! This is an awesome way to help people explore your worldbuilding! You can also edit the pin for more options, like changing how the article opens, or even linking it to another map!
Linking maps to other maps is a really awesome way to show how your worldbuilding is connected! After all, going from a world map, to a continent, to a town, and down into a dungeon can help your players and readers understand how your world fits together. You can link maps in the map edit interface, or by editing the map pin. Some Guild members can also upload their own map pins, and use map layers, draw lines and create shapes on the map!
Just a note: World Anvil IS NOT a mapping software, but check out this blog article for our top tips on where to find and make great maps for your world!
Record the history of your world with Timelines and Calendars
If your world has custom names for its days, 4 day weeks or three moons, then the calendar will seriously help you! You can also use it to track annual holidays, celestial bodies and more. Timelines can be used to track the history of your world, the important events of a country, or even the life of a character. Once you’ve created timelines, populate your timelines with historical events. Each historical event can be added to one or more timelines, and you can detail what happens and when.
I won’t go into lots of details about how to use Timelines and Calendars here, as I want to keep this tutorial short! You can find a great World Anvil tutorials for Calendars here, and for Timelines here!
Navigating World Anvil
World Anvil is a full and extensive worldbuilding toolset, and you can do a lot with it! The left hand menu bar contains most of the features you’ll need for worldbuilding. Additionally, you can use the Green Hammer button in the bottom left to quickly create something new when inspiration hits! But the ultimate navigation tool is the Artemis navigation system! Click the red bow and arrow icon on the top right, or use keyboard commands Control Enter – or Command Enter on a Mac – to open it up. Anyone who’s used the Mac spotlight system will recognize this! There are full instructions for how to use it when you open it up, so take a minute to read those. You’ll be viewing timelines and editing articles in seconds!
Want more World Anvil tutorials?
For more help, check out the World Anvil Codex, the full documentation for World Anvil. You can find it linked at the top of every page, or at www.worldanvil.com/codex.
You can also ask questions on our Discord help channel! Discord is a text chat app which is easy to use. Our Discord server is also the heart of our community, where we make announcements, tease new features and get your feedback!
Or if Reddit is more your speed, you can hop on our subreddit to ask your questions.
And of course, check out the World Anvil Tutorial Videos. There are (or will be soon!) short World Anvil tutorial videos on each interface of the platform, helping you find your way. Please do bear with us, though – World Anvil is a tiny team and the worldbuilding software is often upgraded to make it even better! That means that sometimes tutorial videos can become outdated! You can find everything on our Youtube Channel too, as well as worldbuilding content and interviews with professional worldbuilders, authors and tabletop RPG experts to get you inspired for your world worldbuilding!
Thank you so much for joining us on this epic adventure, and I wish you the happiest of Worldbuilding.
Now grab your hammer, and go worldbuild!