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The Preferences page, linked to at the top of every page and also at Special:Preferences, allows each registered user to customize some elements of their individual view and use of a Wikimedia wiki.

Changes to your preferences will apply only when you are logged in.

User profile[edit]

The User profile tab contains information and basic settings relating to your user account.

Basic information[edit]

The name of your user account. You cannot change this name yourself; see the start of § Notes below.
Member of group(s)
The names of the user group or groups you belong to. These provide you with certain "rights" (powers to carry out certain actions). See User groups for more info.
Connected apps
This link allows you to manage external applications that are permitted to access your account. See OAuth help on for more information.
Number of edits
The total number of edits you have made on the wiki; see Help:User contributions § Number of edits.
Registration time
The date and time when you created your account.
Click the "Change password" link to go to a simple page where you can change your wiki password.
Global account
On Wikimedia wikis, this section provides a link "View global account info", which you can click to view more information about the status of your account on other wikis. See Help:Unified login for more information.


Allows you to specify the language in which the site interface will be displayed when you are logged in. See Help:System messages. There are some limitations:
  • If a particular wiki's sidebar contains hard-coded custom labels, then those labels remain in effect on that wiki no matter what interface language is used; in other words, those labels will not change according to the Language setting even though others in the same sidebar will.
  • The interface's Language setting does not affect namespace names, as they are determined by the site's main language. However, in links and in page names entered in the address bar of the browser, English namespace names, being the generic namespace names, are automatically converted to the local names.
How do you prefer to be described? This setting allows you to select the gender you wish the software to use when referring to you in third-person pronouns ("he", "his", " Mr"), or to leave it unspecified. This preference is designed for languages where the grammar of user interface text changes depending on your gender. Even in English, this preference is useful for selecting the correct pronoun from he/she, his/her, etc. The gender you select is public, as anybody can apply the GENDER function to find it.


Existing signature
This shows how your current signature will appear whenever you sign with ~~~~ on a wiki page.
New signature
Text that defines your signature, when you enter ~~~ or ~~~~.
If the following "raw signature" checkbox is not checked, then your nickname is applied as a label for a link to your user page, so your signature will be [[User:Cyprian Godwill Ogba|sipcyp]], although the exact expression depends on the system message MediaWiki:Signature. If you leave nickname field empty, your username will be used instead.
Neither wiki-code nor HTML code is interpreted in non-raw signature: the server passes the wiki-code on unchanged, while it converts the HTML in such a way that the browser effectively does not interpret it; for example, "<" is replaced by "&lt;" rendered as "<".
Treat signature as wikitext (without an automatic link)
This option tells the wiki to interpret your nickname as wiki-code for your signature, instead of just a nickname. See § Raw signatures below.

Email options[edit]

Many wikis (including Wikimedia wikis) provide email functionality, whereby forgotten passwords can be returned, and users can be contacted by email without having to reveal their address. Entering your email address is entirely optional.

See Help:Email confirmation for more information about confirming your email address.

Your email address. This is completely optional. Whenever you enter a new address, you will be required to confirm the change by responding to a message that is sent to that email address.
Email confirmation
The status of your email address: not specified, need to confirm (in which case you need the click the link in the confirmation email message you were sent), or authenticated.
Enable email from other users
This allows other registered users to send you an email using "Email this user" link on the sidebar of your user page. Emails are sent using a web interface, and your email address is not revealed to a sender (that is, unless you decide to reply by email).
Send me copies of emails I send to other users
This option is helpful for keeping track of messages you have sent using "Email this user".
Prohibit these users from sending emails to me
This option allows you to specify which users will not be able to send you direct emails. They will not see the "Email this user" link on the sidebar of your user page. 
Email me when a page or file on my watchlist is changed
Email me when my user talk page is changed
Email me also for minor edits of pages
Some of these three options are disabled on some wikis. Check your wiki to see if they are available.



A skin is a style of page display. There are differences in the HTML code the system produces (but probably not in the page body), and also different style sheets are used.

  • Cologne Blue: Cologne Blue has a fixed font size unless one specifies in the browser "ignore font sizes specified in the webpage"; even then the line height is fixed; therefore this skin is not suitable for a large font.
  • Modern
  • Monobook: The "classic" look that was seen on most wikis from 2005 to 2010. In Monobook, the width of the panel on the left is dependent on the font size. Therefore, with a large font or a small screen size, the width of the main part of the page is smaller than with other skins.
  • Vector (default): A skin based on Monobook; as well as a new look, it adds a few new features to the wiki interface, particularly in the editing process.

Links at the edges of the page are in different positions. Some links are not present in every skin.

Use the "Preview" links to try out the skin. The "Custom CSS" and "Custom JavaScript" links for each skin allow you to add custom CSS or JavaScript code that will be applied alongside that skin.

As of April 2013, the Chick, Classic, MySkin, Nostalgia, and Simple skins are no longer available (see Turning off outdated skins).

Date format/Time offset[edit]

These two options are used to display your local date and time on all special pages, i.e. the pages that are generated automatically and cannot be directly edited:

On the other hand, the default time zone of the wiki (usually UTC) is always shown in signatures on Talk pages, and also used in referring to non-localized events, including things that happen on the wiki. Keep this in mind when copying an excerpt from any special page to a Talk page. Convert manually to UTC or temporarily set the preferences to a zero offset before producing the revision history, etc. to be copied. Many experienced users prefer to keep the offset set to 0 all the time.

Date format
This setting affects the appearance of timestamps on all special pages (see list above). They appear just like shown here, except in Recent Changes and your watchlist, where date and time are shown in different places. Note that the last option, although rather arcane, provides the only way to see seconds.
Time offset
"Offset" is the number of hours to be added or subtracted from UTC to find your time zone. It may become temporarily incorrect from time to time if you observe Daylight Saving Time – don't forget to update it to match your local time, because the wiki doesn't know where you are or precisely when you observe DST. Try this link if you are not sure what your time zone is.


Image size limit (for file description pages)
One can specify a limit on the size of images on file description pages. With a slow connection it is not practical to have to load a large image just to read image info. On the other hand, it may be practical if a large image at first is made to fit on the screen. The default is normally 800×600px, although this can vary from wiki to wiki.
Thumbnail size
The width of thumbnails shown in articles and pages on the wiki. This will be used unless a specific image provides its own thumbnail size. The default is normally 220px, although this can vary from wiki to wiki.
Use Media Viewer
On Wikimedia wikis, this setting (on by default) determines whether the Media Viewer should be used to provide a smoother image viewing experience.


See Help:Diff for general information on diffs (what a diff is, etc).

Do not show page content below diffs
Normally, when viewing a diff, the page content as of the second revision is presented. You can turn off this display using this option, to allow for faster loading of diff pages.
Omit diff after performing a rollback
When rolling back edits (available on some wikis to some users only), a confirmation page containing a diff will be shown. This option will prevent the display of that page.

Advanced options[edit]

Link underlining
Here, you can choose whether links will be underlined. The "Skin or browser default" option means the site will honor your browser's setting.
Having underlining on means you can differentiate between two links side-by-side, like p q and p q. However, underlining means underscores (_) may get lost in the underline, which can pose problems particularly with URL links.
Show hidden categories
Shows categories which are normally hidden, at the bottom of the page.
Enable font embedding (Web fonts)
On some wikis, "downloadable fonts" are used to provide a better appearance for text in the project language. If you don't want this, you can turn off this setting.
Show a confirmation prompt when clicking on a rollback link
Documentation needed.


Threshold for stub link formatting (bytes)
See Help:Link § Stub feature.
Auto-number headings
This added hierarchical outline-style numbering to headers in articles. This option was removed in October 2021, see (the numbering remains in the TOC only). A wiki can decide to provide a gadget with similar functionality, see mw:Snippets/Auto-number headings.


Some wikis provide the functionality to include mathematical (TeX) formulas in wiki pages. These options let you control how you see those formulas.

PNG images
Display formulas as images embedded in the page. This is the default option.
TeX source (for text browsers)
Don't convert the formula, just show the mathematical TeX code. This is primarily for text-based browsers like Lynx.
MathML with SVG or PNG fallback
This is the recommended option for modern browsers and accessibility tools. MathML will be displayed on Firefox; other browsers will show mathematical formulas as images in the best available quality.


The options on the Editing tab can fine-tune the process of editing.


Enable section editing by right-clicking on section titles
In compatible browsers, if this option is checked, a right-click on the section title will bring up the edit box for that section only, just as if you had clicked the small [edit] link beside the heading.
Edit pages on double click
In compatible browsers, if this option is checked, a double click anywhere on the page will bring up the edit box for the entire contents of the page, just like what happens when you click on the "edit" tab at the top of the page.

Additional preferences may appear here, depending on the configuration of your wiki. For example, the FlaggedRevs and ProofreadPage extensions add some extra options.


Edit area font style
You can change the font family of text in the edit area. The browser will determine exactly which font to use, depending on which fonts are available on your computer. "Browser default" will normally provide a monospaced font.
Here you can set up your preferred dimensions for the textbox used for editing page text. "Rows" refers to lines of text (height), and "Columns" means the number of characters that will fit across the box (width). The exact size will vary depending on your browser's font size, screen resolution, and other factors. The default is 80 cols x 25 rows.
Note that, by default, the "columns" setting is ignored, and the edit box will scale to fill the whole available width. If you want your setting to be honored, use the Cologne Blue skin.
Mark all edits minor by default
This option automatically selects the "This is a minor edit" checkbox when you edit pages. This option is not available on certain wikis, including the English Wikipedia [1].
Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary
If selected, the editor will display a warning message when no edit summary is provided. This can help you remember to provide edit summaries, as they are of great use to other editors.
Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes
This option will give you the chance to go back and save your work if you accidentally close or leave an editing page.
Show edit toolbar
In compatible browsers, a toolbar with editing buttons can be displayed. The exact contents of this toolbar will vary, depending on the wiki. See Help:Edit toolbar for detailed help.
Enable enhanced editing toolbar
In compatible browsers, the enhanced toolbar developed as part of the Usability Initiative will be displayed.
Enable wizards for inserting links, tables as well as the search and replace function
When inserting some types of content, a dialog box will allow you to customize the content before it is inserted. This option also enables a find-and-replace tool in the Advanced options section of the enhanced editing toolbar.


Show preview on first edit
When pressing the edit button or otherwise following a link to an edit page, a preview will appear, just like after pressing "Show preview".
Show preview before edit box
Edit previews are normally displayed above the edit box. If you turn off this option, the edit preview will be displayed below the edit box when you click the "Show preview" button while editing a page.
Show preview without reloading the page
When you manually reload the edit page, you get the "live" version in the "preview" area. Show Changes/Preview work as before but now those actions preserve pages forward in the browser history. Saves network bandwidth per MW:Live preview.

Translation options[edit]

On wikis with the Translate extension installed, you can change these options to allow you to translate more efficiently.

Recent changes[edit]

On the Recent changes tab, you can choose what appears on your Recent Changes page (linked in the sidebar, and available at Special:RecentChanges). Some of these options also affect Related Changes, at Special:RecentChangesLinked.

Display options[edit]

Days to show in recent changes
The number of days' worth of changes to show in the Recent Changes list. The default is 7 days; the maximum is 30 days. On busy wikis (like English Wikipedia), you will usually only see changes from the last few hours or minutes, regardless of this setting.
Number of edits to show by default
You may select the number of changes which will be shown by default on the Recent Changes page, all page "history" tabs, and on some log pages at Special:Log. Links are provided for other options on those pages. The default is 50.

Advanced options[edit]

Group changes by page in recent changes and watchlist
Group together each recent change to a single article per day, and display the titles of the changed articles in order from new to old latest change, or in the case of hiding minor edits, latest major change. This feature applies also to Related Changes, and, in the case that "Expand watchlist to show all applicable changes" has been selected, to the watchlist. It requires a browser with JavaScript enabled.
Hide minor edits in recent changes
Hide patrolled edits in recent changes
Use these options to filter out unwanted changes from the recent changes and related changes pages.
Hide patrolled pages from new page list
This option affects Special:NewPages on some wikis. When it is set, all patrolled pages are hidden by default. You can easily show or hide patrolled pages (highlighted in yellow) from the New Pages page.
Show Wikidata edits in recent changes
On selected Wikimedia projects where data from Wikidata is available, this option allows you to see changes to the Wikidata items connected to pages on your wiki, as well as changes to the wiki pages themselves. This can help catch vandalism on Wikidata that could be seen on your wiki.


The options on the Watchlist tab control what appears on your watchlist (accessible by visiting the page Special:Watchlist, or clicking "my watchlist" in the top-right of the page).

Note: to enable the "enhanced watchlist", select "Expand watchlist..." on this tab, and then turn on "Group changes by page" on the Recent Changes tab.

Display options[edit]

Days to show in watchlist
The number of days' worth of changes to show in your watchlist. Default is 3; maximum 30 days (depending on the wiki).
Maximum number of changes to show in expanded watchlist
This controls how many recent changes to show for each watched article when "Expand watchlist" is switched on under "Advanced options". Default is 250; maximum 1000 changes.

Advanced options[edit]

Expand watchlist to show all changes, not just the most recent
This option will expand the watchlist to include all changes made to an article within the time-frame of your watchlist, up to a maximum number (as set in "Display options"). Normally, only the most recent modification is shown.
Hide minor edits from the watchlist
Hide bot edits from the watchlist
Hide my edits from the watchlist
Hide edits by anonymous users from the watchlist
Hide edits by logged in users from the watchlist
Use these options to filter out unwanted revisions from the watchlist.
Hide patrolled edits from the watchlist
Use this option to filter out patrolled edits (edits made by administrators and so forth). This is particularly useful when monitoring vandalism, as patrolled edits can only be made by trusted users.
Add pages and files I edit to my watchlist
Add pages and files I move to my watchlist
Add pages I create and files I upload to my watchlist
Add pages and files I delete to my watchlist
Automatically select the check box to "Watch this page" when performing any of these actions. You can de-select the check box on a page if you do not wish to watch that particular page. The final option is only available to users that have the ability to delete pages, such as administrators.
Show Wikidata edits in your watchlist
On selected Wikimedia projects where data from Wikidata is available, this option allows you to see changes to the Wikidata items connected to pages on your wiki, as well as changes to the wiki pages themselves. This can help catch vandalism on Wikidata that could be seen on your wiki.


Watchlist token
This token is used to generate an RSS feed from your watchlist. Anyone who knows this token can use it to access your watchlist. If the token is discovered by someone else, you can use the "Click here if you need to reset it" link to create a new token. Once you have done this, you will need to edit the URL of your feed subscription in your feed reader to account for the new token.


The Search tab is no longer present. The options that were on this tab can now be controlled directly from the search page.


The Notifications tab relates to the Echo notifications system.

E-mail options[edit]

Send me
This setting lets you switch Email notifications off or bundle them into daily or weekly summaries.
Send to
The e-mail address shown here is simply your regular wiki e-mail address.
E-mail format
Whether to send e-mail as formatted HTML or as plain text. Most users will want to leave this set to HTML.
Prohibit these users from emailing me
Specify usernames which you do not want to be able to send you emails. Emails triggered by watchlist and notifications are not affected by this preference.

Notify me about these events[edit]

You can select which events you would like to receive Echo notifications for. Hover over the "?" next to each option to see an explanation.

The following table shows the default Echo notification settings. (Some options may not be available on your wiki.)

Message type Web Email
Talk page message On On
Thanks On Off
Flow On Off
Gather On Off
Translations On Off
Mention On Off
Page link Off Off
Page review On Off
User rights change On On
Edit revert On Off
Email from other user Off Off
Education Program On Off

Web means that new notifications will be announced by a number appearing inside a red or blue box at the "Alert badge" or "Notice badge" icons on the top right of any Wiki page — unless you use the following setting to switch off these "New message indicators" entirely.

New message indicator[edit]

Show talk page message indicator in my toolbar
Documentation needed.


The Gadgets tab allows you to enable small add-in features written by users on a particular wiki, which enhance your wiki browsing experience in some way. (This tab requires that the "Gadgets" extension be installed, which is the case on Wikimedia wikis. For technical information about the Gadgets extension, see mw:Extension:Gadgets.)

Each wiki has its own selection of gadgets, and there will often be a page on each wiki containing information about the range of gadgets available.

Threaded discussion[edit]

The Threaded discussion tab appears only on wikis with the LiquidThreads discussion system installed.

Maximum reply depth to show
Documentation needed.
Maximum number of replies to show
Documentation needed.


The uploads tab relates to the UploadWizard.

Documentation needed.

Beta features[edit]

On Wikimedia wikis, selecting the Beta features tab of the Preferences page (or the direct link: Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures) allows you to enable experimental features before they are made available to everyone. If you choose to turn on any of these features, you should be prepared to encounter bugs and problems, and you may see sudden changes in the way the feature looks or works as development continues.

Each feature has next to it an Information link so you can learn more about the feature, as well as a Discussion link so you can offer your suggestions or report any problems.

See mw:About Beta Features for more information about this tab and its features.

Automatically enable all new beta features
If you turn on this option, new beta features will become active for you as soon as they are added to the Beta Features system.

Pending changes/Edit review[edit]

This tab goes by several different names, like Pending changes and Edit review. It appears only on wikis with the Flagged Revisions or similar system enabled.

Basic interface[edit]

Use detailed boxes to show review status of pages
This option displays the review status of pages (accepted, pending, etc.) in a wide banner across the top of the page. Unmissable, but distracting.
Use small icons and minimal text to show review status of pages
This option displays the review status of pages in a small box in the top-right of the page content area. More information can be seen by moving the mouse over the box. This is the default.

When to show the stable version of content pages by default[edit]

Use the default settings for each page
Always show the stable version (if there is one)
Always show the latest version
You can choose which revision to see upon visiting a page with Flagged Revisions/Pending Changes turned on.
Show the pending changes diff when viewing the latest pending revision
Appears on some wikis only.
Documentation needed.


If you want to change your username, it is recommended that you do this retroactively in the sense that your previous user contributions are recorded under the new name. Users and sysops cannot do this, but one can ask a bureaucrat to do so. Signatures are not changed and therefore will no longer match page histories of the talk pages concerned. However, you can edit signatures manually. Also other occurrences of your name on talk pages are not retroactively changed. The deletion log and the upload log are not altered.

Account deletion is not possible.

You cannot indicate personal information (such as your real name) here, but you may do so on a page named after your username in the User: namespace. (That's available as a link on the line which says "You are logged in as user WhatsYourName" above the preferences panel. Feel free to start your own page with anything you want to say about yourself on it.)

Raw signatures[edit]

If "Raw signature" is checked, then:

  • Nothing is added to the text that you specify. What you specify is what is used between the two dashes and the timestamp.
  • Wiki markup and HTML markup (as far as allowed in general in wikitext) can be used: the wiki-code is processed, and the HTML is passed on, allowing the browser to interpret it. However, templates and parser functions are not expanded, and images are not allowed. The maximum length is 255 characters.

In the case of a common signature on several projects, as in Wikia, note that links may lead to a different page, depending on the project in which you put the signature, even if you use interwiki link style. For example, India:User talk:John leads to the page User talk:John on India, except from the India project, where it leads to India:User talk:John in the India namespace. Therefore you may want to make a redirect such that the final target of the link is always the same.

Invalid raw signatures[edit]

You may find the following message displayed in your user preferences:

Invalid raw signature; check HTML tags.

This means you are using invalid HTML markup on your signature. Some possible causes with their corresponding solutions:

Unclosed tags
If you are opening a tag without the corresponding closing tag (for instance: [[User:Example|<font color="white">Example]]), you should close the tag (for instance: [[User:Example|<font color="white">Example</font>]]). It's also a good idea to put the tags outside the link if possible (for instance: <font color="white">[[User:Example|Example]]</font>).
Mismatched or incorrectly nested tags
If the tags are mismatched (for instance: ;<s><u>hi</s></u>), fix them (for instance: <s><u>hi</u></s>).
Unquoted attributes
It's also recommended to use quotes on all attributes (for instance, use <font color="white"></font> instead of <font color=white></font>).
Unclosed entities
If you have a HTML entity which is lacking the final ;, you need to add it; if you have a bare &, it must be replaced by &amp; (a bare & is always a mistake in either HTML or wikicode).
Unescaped special characters
If you are using one of &, <, or >, and want it shown as text, it must be escaped as &amp;, &lt;, or &gt;, respectively.

Former use of images and templates in signatures[edit]

In the past images and templates were allowed. Thus they can still be present. Changes in them are retroactive, which on one hand may be confusing, but on the other hand, to rectify annoying signatures, may be convenient.

Signature content[edit]

Check the rules of your project (for example, for the English Wikipedia see w:Wikipedia:Signatures) and note that:

  • using another nickname than your username is confusing (the page history shows your username, not your nickname)
  • if you show your username as an image, or with letters replaced by special characters, even if the name is still readable, searching a talk page for your username with the search feature of the browser will fail
  • excessive signatures may clutter talk pages and their wikitext
  • drawing excessive attention to yourself may create the impression that you find yourself more important than other people

A wiki can designate a CSS class like "excess-sig" for non-essential parts of the signatures and request users to specify this class in their signatures where applicable, and/or each user can use a user-specific class, such as "excesssigAbc" for user Abc. Thus the signature is e.g. <span class="excesssig excesssigAbc">[[Image:...]]</span>[[User:Abc|Abc]]. This allows a user to hide for themself non-essential parts of the signatures of all or specific users, and/or to highlight for oneself one's own signature.

Providing your own CSS[edit]

Cascading Style Sheets are used to configure MediaWiki's visual appearance. You can specify your own CSS definitions and overwrite the default settings. See Help:User style.

See also[edit]

Links to other help pages

Help contents
Meta · Wikinews · Wikipedia · Wikiquote · Wiktionary · Commons: · Wikidata · MediaWiki · Wikibooks · Wikisource · MediaWiki: Manual · Google
Versions of this help page (for other languages see further)
What links here on Meta or from Meta · Wikipedia · MediaWiki
Go · Search · Stop words · Namespace · Page name · Section · Backlinks · Redirect · Category · Image page · Special pages · Printable version
Tracking changes
Recent changes (enhanced) | Related changes · Watching pages · Diff · Page history · Edit summary · User contributions · Minor edit · Patrolled edit
Logging in and preferences
Logging in · Preferences · User style
Starting a new page · Advanced editing · Editing FAQ · Edit toolbar · Export · Import · Shortcuts · Edit conflict · Page size
Links · URL · Piped links · Interwiki linking · Footnotes
Style and formatting
Wikitext examples · CSS · Reference card · HTML in wikitext · Formula · List · Table · Sorting · Colors · Images and file uploads
Fixing mistakes
Show preview · Testing · Reverting edits
Advanced functioning
Expansion · Template · Advanced templates · Parser function · Parameter default · Variable · System message · Substitution · Array · Calculation · Transclusion
Special characters · Renaming (moving) a page · Preparing a page for translation · Talk page · Signatures · Sandbox · Legal issues for editors