WikiIndex:User preferences help

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WikiIndex: User preferences help — this WikiIndex 'meta' page is one of a series of help pages, and specifically details how to manage your own user account here on this WikiIndex wiki site. It is particularly useful in describing the various 'user customisation' options as found within your own preferences area of the MediaWiki software that powers this WikiIndex wiki website.

User profile data

User data
* Real name (optional): if you choose to provide it this will be used for giving you attribution for your work.
Your nickname (for signatures):
Change password
Old password:
New password:
Retype new password:
o Remember password across sessions
* Email (optional): enables people to contact you through the website without you having to reveal your email address to them, and it can be used to send you a new password if you forget it.
Your email*:
o Disable e-mail from other users
  • Your e-mail: you may optionally register your e-mail address; however, it will not be shown publicly on this site. This will also enable you to reset your password by clicking the 'Mail me a new password' box on the log-in screen at the top right, if you forget it. Additionally, it will enable other registered users to send e-mail to you from the 'E-mail this user' link on your user page – unless you've checked the disable box (see below).
  • Disable e-mail from other users: if you check this, users will not be able to send you e-mail by way of the 'E-mail this user' feature.

Your nickname

We prefer that you use your real name as your username, the term 'nickname' is used here for a pseudonym name you may optionally specify, different from your username, for when you enter your signature with ~~~ or ~~~~.

The wiki software allows even more versatility if you check the 'Raw signatures (without automatic link)' checkbox. This prevents the software from automatically linking your signature, and allows you to specify how you'd like your signature linked instead. So, for instance, you could add a link to your talk page by typing this into the nickname box: [[User:Name|Name]] | [[User talk:Name|talk]].

You can also personalize the color of your signature using a simple html span tag: <span style="color:#xxxxxx">[[User:Name|Name]]</span> where 'xxxxxx' is any hexidecimal color code.

You can also include images and templates. Note that changes in the images and templates are retroactive, which on one hand may be confusing, but on the other hand, to rectify annoying signatures, may be convenient. To avoid retroactivity, use a new image or template name.

Note that
  • we prefer you follow the use real names policy;
  • 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 will fail;
  • excessive signatures (specifically, length, style, or color) may clutter talk pages;
  • drawing excessive attention to yourself may create the impression that you find yourself more important than other people.

If you use the edit toolbar for signing, remember that it gives two dashes before the four tildes; (use three tildes to add your name, but not the time/date stamp).


To change your password, enter your old password, the new password, and the new password a second time. (If you're merely changing the other preferences, you do not need to enter your password.)

  • Remember password across sessions: enabling this feature will place a cookie in your browsers' cache, which will allow MediaWiki to recognize you each time you visit the page. You will not have to manually log-in each time you visit.

If you want to use remember my password, you have to change your password if it was auto-generated by MediaWiki and emailed to you. This is a security feature, but very often causes trouble for new users.



O Cologne Blue
O Modern
O MonoBook
O Vector

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

Previously, the default was the Monobook skin; what was called Standard is here in the preferences called Classic (not to be confused with the even older Nostalgia, no longer available here on WikiIndex), but the system uses 'wikistandard' in the naming of CSS files. As of 2017, the current default skin here on WikiIndex is Vector.

Standard wikilinks at the edges (sidebar) of the page are in different positions. Some wikilinks are not present in every skin. In Nostalgia, some links are in a drop-down menu instead of permanently visible.

Cologne Blue has a fixed font pitch size, unless one specifies in your own browser setting 'ignore font sizes specified in the webpage'; even then, the line height is fixed; therefore this skin is hardly suitable for a large font.

In Monobook, the width of the panel on the left is dependent on the font size. Therefore, with a large font, the width of the main part of the page is smaller than with other skins.

For Classic with a quickbar and a large font, a personal CSS setting to reduce the size of the quickbar text may be necessary. This depends on the wiki project, specifically on the length of the longest word in the quickbar. If that does not fit in the designated width, there are display complications, depending on the browser. In Internet Explorer, the quickbar overlaps the main text, and a vertical line which is intended to separate the two, crosses the main text. In some other browsers, the problem does not arise if the quickbar is on the right.

Since there is word wrapping – but no wrapping within a word, the longest word and not the longest full label is the criterion:

To use the full width of the screen for the main text, use Classic without quickbar, or Nostalgia. The drawback is that links are missing for the special pages and your user page, respectively.

Quickbar settings

This selection only works in the Classic and Cologne Blue skins (see above). In Monobook, there is a left panel anyway; in Nostalgia there is none.

This is the list of links to the various special pages. You may optionally have it appear at the right or left side of each page. There is no option yet to have it appear at the top or bottom of the page.

The 'fixed' quickbar will appear at the top corner of the page, while the 'floating' quickbar will appear at the top corner of the browser window instead of scrolling with the article text. Floating quickbars may not float correctly on old or mobile browsers.

The quickbar must be enabled to allow you access to some features such as moving (renaming) a page, and in the case of Classic, also to arrive at the special pages, unless you type the full URL in your browsers address box.

Date format

The following is rendered depending on preferences:

O No preference
O 15:17, January 15, 2001
O 15:17, 15 January 2001
O 15:17, 2001 January 15
O 2001-01-15T15:17:19

With your current preference setting on this project the five are rendered as follows:

  • No preference
  • 15:17, January 15, 2001
  • 15:17, 15 January 2001
  • 15:17, 2001 January 15
  • 2001-01-15T15:17:19

By default, the rendering is as usual for links. However one can specify as preference that all of the first five are rendered the same, in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th way.

Time offset

Server time: 16:34
Local time: 18:34
Time zone*: select your local time zone from the comprehensive drop-down list
*Enter number of hours your local time differs from server time (UTC).

Time diff: this is the number of hours to be added or subtracted from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to find your time zone. This time zone is used when calculating displayed page update timestamps, and may become temporarily incorrect from time to time if you observe daylight saving time (DST). Don't forget to update it to match your local time, because this wiki does not know where you are, or precisely if / when you observe DST. (Also, the server's clock may be slightly offset from reality, much as Wikipedia articles may be!) A scattering of typical (and possibly incorrect!) time diff values are below. If yours isn't listed, try this link, or add and subtract a few hours as needed.

table of UTC offsets, also known as time zones (view / edit)
DST longitudinal
(at En.Wp)
standard time ‡ locations
which also use daylight saving time (DST)
standard time locations
year-round – no
daylight saving time (DST)
time zone
official name(s)
UTC +14 150° west
UTC +13 165° west
UTC +12 DST +13 180° e/w Pago Pago and New Zealand
UTC +11 DST +12 165° east Magadan, Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia
UTC +10 DST +11 150° east Vladivostok, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania Guam, Queensland
UTC +9.5 DST +10.5 142.5° east South Australia Northern Territory
UTC +9 135° east South Korea, Japan
UTC +8 120° east People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Ulaan Bataar, Singapore, Philippines, Western Australia Brunei Darussalam
UTC +7 105° east Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta
UTC +6.5 97.5° east Myanmar
UTC +6 90° east Sri Lanka, etc
UTC +5.75 86.25° east Nepal
UTC +5.5 82.5° east India
UTC +5 75° east Pakistan
UTC +4.5 67.5° east Iraq
UTC +4 60° east Baku, Abu Dhabi
UTC +3.5 52.5° east Iran Iran Standard Time (IRST)
UTC +3 DST +4 45° east Belarus, Moscow, Turkey, Ukraine, Kuwait, Baghdad, Tehran Kenya
UTC +2 DST +3 30° east Finland, Bucharest, Kiev, Cairo, and Jerusalem South Africa
UTC +1 DST +2 15° east Europe (mo) West Central Africa Central European Time (CET/CEST)
UTC ±0 DST +1 United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Morocco Iceland, and Monrovia Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/BST)
UTC −1 DST ±0 15° west Greenland (po), Azores, and Cape Verde Islands
UTC −2 DST −1 30° west mid-Atlantic, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
UTC −2.5 37.5° west Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland Time Zone
UTC −3 DST −2 45° west Greenland (mo), Saint Pierre & Miquelon Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Falkland Islands
UTC −3.5 DST −2.5 52.5° west Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland Time Zone
UTC −4 DST −3 60° west Canada's Maritime Provinces, Labrador (mo), Greenland (po), Bermuda, Paraguay Eastern Caribbean (mo) Atlantic Time
UTC −5 DST −4 75° west Ontario, Quebec, most US eastern seaboard (Atlantic) states, inc New York, Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Turks & Caicos Islands Jamaica & Cayman Islands, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Brazil Eastern Standard Time (EST/EDT)
UTC −6 DST −5 90° west Canada: Manitoba, Nunavut (po), Ontario (po); USA most mid-east states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida (mo), Illinois, Indiana (po), Iowa, Kansas (mo), Kentucky (mo), Louisiana, Michigan (po), Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska (po), North Dakota (mo), Oklahoma (mo), South Dakota (po), Tennessee (po), Texas (mo), Wisconsin; Mexico (mo) Canada: Saskatchewan (mo); Belize; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Nicaragua; Ecuador: Galápagos Central Standard Time (CST/CDT), Central America Time Zone
UTC −7 DST −6 105° west Canada: Alberta, British Columbia (po), Northwest Territories, Nunavut (po), Saskatchewan (po); USA most mid-west states: Colorado, Idaho (po), Kansas (po), Montana, Nevada (po), New Mexico, North Dakota (po), Oklahoma (po), Oregon (po), South Dakota (po), Texas (po), Utah, Wyoming; Mexico (po) Canada: British Columbia (po), Yukon; USA: Arizona (no DST except for Navajo Nation) Mountain Standard Time (MST/MDT)
UTC −8 DST −7 120° west Canada: British Columbia (mo); USA western seaboard (Pacific) states: California, Idaho, Washington, Oregon (mo), Nevada; Mexico: Baja France: Clipperton Island; United Kingdom: Pitcairn Islands Pacific Standard Time (PST/PDT)
UTC −9 DST −8 135° west USA: Alaska (except for western Aleutian Islands) France: French Polynesia (Gambier Islands) Alaska Standard Time (AST/ADT)
UTC −9.5 142.5° west France: French Polynesia (Marquesas Islands)
UTC −10 DST −9 150° west USA: Alaska (western Aleutian Islands) France: Society Islands, Tuamotus, Gambier Islands, Austral Islands; USA: Hawaii; New Zealand: Cook Islands Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST/HADT)
UTC −11 165° west USA: American Samoa, United States Minor Outlying Islands (Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll); New Zealand: Niue Samoa Time Zone
UTC −12 180° e/w USA': United States Minor Outlying Islands (Baker Island & Howland Island) International Date Line West (IDLW)
DST longitudinal
(at En.Wp)
standard time ‡ locations
which also use daylight saving time (DST)
standard time locations
year-round – no
daylight saving time (DST)
time zone
official name(s)
Key to symbols and abbreviations
  • — number of degrees east or west of the internationally recognised prime meridian, itself derived from the earlier Greenwich prime meridian from London, England
  • — 'standard time' is the term used to describe the 'official' time of a country or state, and is usually enshrined in a law of said country or state
  • po — part of, meaning it includes a small (at least less than half) section of said location
  • mo — most of, meaning it includes a large major (significantly more than half) section of said location

The time is displayed in local time, according to the set preferences, in:

  • Recent changes
  • Related changes
  • Page history, File history
  • User contributions
  • New pages
  • 'This page was last modified' at the bottom of pages
  • Imagelist

The UTC time is applicable:

  • In the signing of Talk pages
  • In the Upload log
  • In referring to non-localized events, including things that happen on the wiki.

Keep this in mind when copying an excerpt from Recent changes, a revision history listing (aka a 'diff'), etc., 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.

Advanced options

o Link underlining:
o Threshold for [[:Category:Stubs|stub link]] formatting:
  • Link underlining: a trio of options for displaying wikilinks and external links;
  • Threshold for stub link formatting: see Stub feature.


Rendering mathematical equations

o Always render PNG
o Leave it as TeX (for text browsers)
o MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (experimental)

MediaWiki allows you to enter mathematical equations as well. These options let you control how that code is rendered into PNG images.

  • Always render PNG: always make a PNG image from the TeX code;
  • Leave it as TeX: don't convert the TeX code, just show it. This is primarily for text-based browsers like Lynx;
  • MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (experimental).

Here on WikiIndex, it is highly likely there is very little need to worry about this section.


General options

□ Enable section editing by right clicking on section titles
□ Edit pages on double click

Hopefully, both are fairly self-explanatory.


□ Mark all edits minor by default
□ Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary
□ Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes
□ Show edit toolbar
□ Enable enhanced editing toolbar
□ Enable wizards for inserting links, tables as well as the search and replace function
□ Edit box has full width
  • Columns, Rows – here you can set up your preferred physical dimensions for the textbox used for editing page text;
  • Mark all edits minor by default – this option automatically selects the 'This is a minor edit' checkbox when you edit pages; use with caution!;
  • Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary – when selected, this option reminds you to add an edit summary when you try to save a page without;
  • Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes – reminds you to save your edit before navigating away from current unsaved edit;
  • Show edit toolbar – in compatible browsers, a toolbar with editing buttons can be displayed;
  • Enable enhanced editing toolbar – gives an enhanced editing toolbar which includes special characters (similar to Windows Character Map), wiki markup, etc;
  • Enable wizards for inserting links, tables as well as the search and replace function – try it and see!
  • Edit box has full width – if this box is checked, the edit box (when you click 'Edit this page') will be the width of the browser window, minus any quickbar width.


□ Show preview on first edit
□ Show preview before edit box
□ Add pages you edit to your watchlist
  • Show preview on first edit – when selected, a full page preview will appear together with the edit box immediately after clicking on the edit tab; uncheck this box to show just the edit box on first click of edit tab;
  • Show preview before edit box – if you select this option, the preview will be displayed above the exit box and not after it when you click the 'Show preview' button while editing a page;
  • Add pages you edit to your watchlist – if this option is selected, any articles that you create or modify will be automatically added to your watchlist.

Labs features

□ Enable side-by-side preview
□ Enable step-by-step publishing

Recent changes

Display options

Days to show in recent changes:
Number of edits to show by default:

Hopefully self explanatory.

Advanced options

□ Group changes by page in recent changes and watchlist
□ Hide minor edits from recent changes
□ Hide patrolled edits from recent changes
□ Hide patrolled pages from new page list
□ Enhanced recent changes (not for all browsers)
  • Group changes by page in recent changes and watchlist:  ???
  • Hide minor edits from recent changes: registered users may choose to mark edits as being minor (meaning fixes too trivial for trusting users to check up on). It applies to Recent changes and Enhanced Recent Changes, but not to the Watchlist. It also affects Related changes, but currently in an odd way: if the last edit of a page linking to the current page was minor, then neither that nor the last major change is shown.
  • Hide patrolled edits from recent changes:
  • Hide patrolled pages from new page list:
  • Enhanced recent changes (not for all browsers): group recent changes per day by article, 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.


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Please help by adding to it.

Semantic MediaWiki

This section requires expansion.
Please help by adding to it.


This section requires expansion.
Please help by adding to it.

Search result settings

Hits to show per page:
Lines to show per hit:
Characters of context per line:
Search in these namespaces by default: (Main) Talk User User talk WikiIndex
WikiIndex talk File File talk MediaWiki MediaWiki talk Template Template
talk Help Help talk Category Category talk
  • Hits to show per page: you may choose the number of results returned on each page of search results.
  • Lines to show per hit: is somewhat cryptic; specifying a number n means: 'do not show any context if the search term occurs beyond line n in the page'; here a paragraph, as well as the blank line between two paragraphs, each count as one 'line'; line breaks in the source, even when not affecting the lay-out of the page (and even when not directly visible in the edit box of the article), affect the line count. Setting the parameter to 5000 or more gives context for every occurrence.
  • Characters of context per line: the number of characters of context per occurrence; however, the context is anyway restricted to the 'line' (see above) it occurs in. To get the whole line, put a large number like 5000.
  • Search in these namespaces by default: shows a list of all namespaces (not the same in all projects; also a useful indicator what MediaWiki version is used), allowing one to select which ones are searched by default; see also Namespaces searched.

Misc settings

Show hoverbox over wiki links
Underline links
Format broken links like this (alternative: like this?).
Justify paragraphs
Auto-number headings
Edit pages on double click (JavaScript)
Enable section editing via [edit] links
Enable section editing by right clicking
on section titles (JavaScript)
Show table of contents
(for pages with more than 3 headings)
Disable page caching
  • Show hoverbox over wiki links: this option determines whether a link title is put in the HTML code. The result depends on the browser: putting the mouse pointer over a link often displays this title in a 'hover' box. However, some browsers show the URL anyway, so a link title may be superfluous. If enabled, the link title is the page name in the case of an internal link, the page name with prefix in the case of an interwiki link, and the URL in the case of an external link.
  • Underline links: normally, link text will be underlined. Optionally, you may request that links not be underlined, although your browser may not respect this setting. Normally links that are not underlined can still be recognized by color. However, one can then not distinguish between two consecutive words being a single link or two links, without pointing at the words with the cursor.
  • Format broken links like this: an internal link to a non-existing pages is automatically a link to the edit page. By default the link label of [[b]] and [[a|b]] is 'b', just like for links to existing pages. Alternatively the link label is a question mark inserted after 'b', like this: The weather in Paris?. The appearance of the link is further determined by the style specified for css selectors '' and '' (the example on the preferences page wrongly uses class="internal" for the question mark). Internal links to pages which do not yet exist currently appear on your browser like this: the weather in Paris. Normally, this is underlined and in red. With the trailing question mark link one can then not distinguish between a single word being linked or a phrase of more than one word, without pointing at the question mark with the cursor. Also, remember that the question mark does not mean that the information is uncertain.
  • Justify paragraphs: if set, article paragraphs will be formatted to avoid jagged line endings; if unset, the paragraphs will be formatted as-is.
  • Auto-number headings: this adds hierarchical outline-style numbering to headers in articles.
  • Edit pages on double click: if this box is checked, you can double-click on a page to edit it. This option requires Javascript to be enabled in your browser.
  • Enable section editing via [edit] links
  • Enable section editing by right clicking on section titles (JavaScript)
  • Show table of contents (for articles with more than 3 headings)
  • Disable page caching: this turns off page caching; this is useful if you're experiencing problems of seeing outdated versions of pages, but this comes at a cost of longer loading times.


If you want to change your username (if, say, you did not know about the use real names policy when you created your account, or your name changed when you got married), 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, though a Bureaucrat may be able 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.)

Browser preferences

Browsers usually also allow you to specify preferences, e.g. font size and font type. The standard skin is compatible with your browser setting of font size and font type. The Cologne Blue skin has most text in a fixed font size, ignoring your browser setting. Some browsers, e.g. Internet Explorer, allow you to specify that font size specified in the web page is ignored. In that case, the font size in Cologne Blue is as specified in the browser, but with the line height not adjusted accordingly. Therefore a large font gives a messy result.

Providing your own CSS

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

External links