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Customisation allows you, as an editor, to tailor Wikipedia pages to better suit your reading and editing style. Your customisation affects only how pages look in your web browser, not the reading or editing experience of other editors. Only registered editors can customise Wikipedia, and the customisation is visible only when an editor is logged in.

In addition, you can customise the way that your signature appears when you post a comment on a discussion page.

User name and signatures


Your username is displayed in the edit histories of all the articles you contribute to and is linked to your user and talk pages. You choose your name when you first register on Wikipedia and it is usual to stay with the same name throughout your time on the project, though it is possible to request a change of username.

You should always sign your posts on talk pages. Signatures are the text that appears before the timestamp when you put ~~~~ on a page. Signatures are customised using "my preferences" under "User profile", consider these guidelines when customising your signature.

You can use any wikitext as your signature (simply check the "Treat the above as wiki markup" box). If "Treat the above as wiki markup" is unchecked, the software treats this as your nickname and makes your signature "[[User:Name|Nickname]] ([[User talk:Name|talk]])" which is rendered as:

Nickname (talk)

If something goes wrong and your signature stops working, see Wikipedia:How to fix your signature.

The preferences link, visible to logged-in editors, allows you to change a large number of options. There are 11 tabs (User profile, Math, Editing, etc.), of which two merit further discussion - the "Skin" tab and the "Gadgets" tab.

A MediaWiki 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 (CSS) are used.

The default is the Vector skin. There are a variety of user-made skins available for you to browse through.

The special page My Preferences offers a preview of the various skins for the Main page. This is not exactly interesting for typical articles, therefore here's a list of previews for this page:

monobook cologneblue myskin chick
standard (classic) nostalgia simple modern vector

To test other pages replace title=Wikipedia:Customisation in the URL. For legacy Web browsers not supporting CSS classic is apparently a good choice. For modern browsers the default vector offers a wide range of user customisations.

The dummy cell replaces the years ago deleted useskin=amethyst by action=render.

Here's a table linking the raw CSS for various skins, see also Help:Mediawiki_CSS for the Common.css. As expected Myskin.css is empty, roll your own:

talk monobook talk cologneblue talk myskin talk chick talk common
talk standard talk nostalgia talk simple talk modern talk vector

Skin Default CSS Default JS Personal CSS Personal JS
Redirects to user's current skin User:<username>/skin.css User:<username>/skin.js
Common (all skins) MediaWiki:Common.css MediaWiki:Common.js User:<username>/common.css User:<username>/common.js
Chick MediaWiki:Chick.css MediaWiki:Chick.js User:<username>/chick.css User:<username>/chick.js
Classic MediaWiki:Standard.css MediaWiki:Standard.js User:<username>/standard.css User:<username>/standard.js
Cologne Blue MediaWiki:Cologneblue.css MediaWiki:Cologneblue.js User:<username>/cologneblue.css User:<username>/cologneblue.js
Modern MediaWiki:Modern.css MediaWiki:Modern.js User:<username>/modern.css User:<username>/modern.js
MonoBook (old default) MediaWiki:Monobook.css MediaWiki:Common.js User:<username>/monobook.css User:<username>/monobook.js
MySkin MediaWiki:Myskin.css MediaWiki:Myskin.js User:<username>/myskin.css User:<username>/myskin.js
Nostalgia MediaWiki:Nostalgia.css MediaWiki:Nostalgia.js User:<username>/nostalgia.css User:<username>/nostalgia.js
Simple MediaWiki:Simple.css MediaWiki:Simple.js User:<username>/simple.css User:<username>/simple.js
Vector (current default) MediaWiki:Vector.css MediaWiki:Vector.js User:<username>/vector.css User:<username>/vector.js

These pages are named after the skins. The personal skin file names must be written in all lower-case and without any spaces to work properly. (While the default skin files have the first letter in upper-case.)


Placing {{selectskin}} on a page, adds links to switch between different skins easily. This is meant for test pages, but not for articles (or other pages in article namespace). Below the links created by the template:

[Chick] [Classic] [Cologne Blue] [Modern] [MonoBook] [MySkin] [Nostalgia] [Simple] [Vector]

The special page My Preferences has a "Gadgets" tab with a list of custom features you may enable for your account. These gadgets require JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. These tools are not part of the core MediaWiki software, and are generally developed and maintained by users on Wikipedia. Additional gadgets can be added by admins. The page Special:Gadgets shows the underlying user script(s) and/or CSS code used for each gadget.

There are many user-made tweaks that allow for easier and quicker editing. These often only work on specific skins. Almost all work on Monobook (the old default) and many have been tested on the new default (Vector), but exercise caution. If you're using a different skin, you should be aware that some user scripts may not work with that other skin.

Many user scripts can be implemented simply by checking a box in the Gadgets tab of "my preferences" (see above). For the remaining ones, you implement them by adding them to the appropriate personal JavaScript page. For example, for editor XYZ, using the default Vector skin, the page to be edited (and created, if necessary) would be User:XYZ/vector.js. Such pages can only be edited by the owner of that userspace (in this case, XYZ, regardless of who created the page) and by admins.

Incomplete list of pre-made customisations:

Name Version Description Skins Author
wikEd A full-featured in-browser text editor for Wikipedia edit pages. Provides wikicode syntax highlighting, regular expression search and replace, MS Word and HTML to wikicode conversion, server-independent Show preview and Show changes, fullscreen editing mode, and single-click fixing of common mistakes. Any Cacycle
Edit Top 1.1.1 Allows you to edit just the first section of an article. MonoBook pile0nades
[[ବ୍ୟବହାରକାରୀ:Lupin/navpopups|Navigation popups]] When you hover over links, popups appear which let you quickly access many editing features and preview articles and images. Any Lupin

In addition to a personal JavaScript page, you can also have a personal page that uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to modify the appearance of Wikipedia pages. As with JavaScript, the name of the page that the MediaWiki software will use depends on the skin you're using; the default is vector.css. So, for example, editor XYZ could add personal CSS code to the page User:XYZ/vector.css.

As with user scripts, the Gadgets tab of "my preferences" (see above) may include a personal CSS modification that you're interested in; if so, you can simply check a box rather than editing your personal .css page.

Hiding specific messages


A common use of a user's css file, requiring direct editing, is hiding certain template messages. For example, you can hide Template:Editnotices/Namespace/Category (which appears when editing a category page) by adding

#category-namespace-editnotice { display: none !important; }

into Special:Mypage/skin.css, which identifies your current skin's CSS file (open in new tab/window to see). See Wikipedia:Skin.

Note: you need to track down the specific id the relevant message uses; in this example, the id is "category-namespace-editnotice". You may need to look at the wikitext of the message (eg the {{fmbox}} template, used to build many template messages, has two possible parameters you might see used, id and class). If you don't see it, try asking at the Helpdesk.