This page is an overview of user preferences. For more details see Meta:Help:Preferences.
Preferences are the user options for browsing, editing, searching, notifications, and more. Along with Preferences, services such as list of your Contributions are available at the top of every page when you have an account. Preferences offers an extraordinary number of feature settings.
The default settings are aimed at beginning readers and editors of articles. Intermediate editors tend to make more rules for themselves, such as "warn me if I forgot an edit summary", and advanced editors and administrators use the special gadgets and editors for their tasks.
If you have chosen to have accounts automatically created on all MediaWiki wikis (See "global" accounts on your User profile), then each account's preferences are independent from any other of your accounts. This is because each wiki has its own software, so the options may differ from account to account, just as they can with Wikipedia software versions. For similar reasons the word "Preferences" on the top of any page may be different. At Simple Wikipedia it says "My settings".
- Preferences → User profile → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#User profile
- Change your password.
- Stay logged in for 30 days at a time.
- Change your signature.
- Change the language of user-interface messages. Many messages have been customized at the English Wikipedia but usually only for the default "en - English". It is therefore not recommended to select "en-GB - British English" or "en-CA - Canadian English".
- Preferences → Appearance → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Appearance
Change the web browser experience, including:
- Change your skin.
- Show hidden categories
- Bail out of features and experiments, such as banners and other page behaviors.
- Change the default "thumbnail" size.
- Make paragraphs justified.
- Number section headings.
- Choose PNG, TeX, or MathJax for displaying mathematical formulas
Date and time
- Preferences → Date and time → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Date and time
Change the date format and time zone in automatically generated pages like logs. It does not affect times saved in editable pages such as timestamps in signatures. For that, see Wikipedia:Comments in Local Time.
- Preferences → Editing → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Editing
Concerning the edit page, its initiation, look and feel, Wikipedia offers a remarkable number of options. Some of them are:
- The size of the edit box, in rows and columns.
- "Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary" into the database. (Habit forming.)
- "Enable VisualEditor". Get a word processor interface. No markup language at all.
- "Use live preview". Get a dynamic web page. Reloading the browser page now shows the "live" online version in the "preview" area. Preview displays as before, and so does Show Changes, but now they preserve any pages forward in the browser history, and save on network bandwidth and browser cache.
Two editing toolbars are offered that will span the top of the edit box. (Wikipedia:Reftoolbar shows versions.)
- "Show edit toolbar" is the legacy 1.0 version that gives a row of buttons. (See m:help:Edit toolbar for details.)
- "Enable enhanced editing toolbar" gives a frame with icons. It is a default feature that can be turned off.
- is a search and replace dialog that can accept regular expressions as a search target for replacement text. (See a list of regular expression symbols)
To use more of your favorite text editor instead of just the edit box and toolbars, see Wikipedia:Text editor support. Also see the Gadgets tab.
- Preferences → Recent changes → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Recent changes
Recent changes refer to pages in the database. Every time a wiki page is edited, and changes were actually made, a record is kept of the difference. For example, a page history shows the revisions for that particular page. But recent changes can report on more than just the revisions of a page, or an entire wiki, they can also report on the recent changes of an editor (their contributions). The user preferences for recent changes are the style in which these lists of revisions will appear:
- Length of the list
- Time window of the list
- Grouping methods of the list
The watchlist has even more finely tuned preferences, because like the edit window, it is often a core tool for editors.
- Preferences → Watchlist → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Watchlist
The watchlist preferences are both recent change preferences and offer controls on types of edits, users, and pages, and the time window of "recent" changes that show up.
- Preferences → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Search options
- Choose the namespaces to search.
- Choose how the search box buttons and frame appear.
- Change whether the drop-down-list appears suggesting existing page names.
- Preferences → Misc → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Misc
- Change whether "diffs" are accompanied by an actual page view of the earlier version or not.
- Make WikiLove messages easy to send. These will post a pleasant picture and provide an edit summary for your message on a user's talk page.
- Make course pages more or less prominent while you surf Wikipedia.
- Preferences → Gadgets → Details = Wikipedia:Gadget#Currently_installed_gadgets
- Language translating
- Media files, search results, and diffs
- Twinkle admin tools for the advancing editor
- Teahouse for the new editor question
- Mouseing-over on an inline citation to read it
- Citation modifying/expediting/proving
- Colorizing wikitext; Character toolsets
- Categorizing; Reviewing new articles; Filing disputes
- The Wiki Editor, WikEd, and WikEdDiff
- Editing the introductory section.
- Admin tools; Changing and adding to page layouts and controls
- Displaying diffs, or animations, or your very own local time on all timestamps
- Enabling an external search engine for searching Wikipedia
- Show the assessed class of an article, Featured, A, B, C, etc.
- Regular expression tools
- Tracking software bugs
- Patrolling recent changes
These settings alter the new-messages bar, Special:Notifications, and the "(thank)" buttons:
- [x] Display a floating alert when I have new talk page messages (to show new-messages bar )
- [x] Exclude me from feature experiments (to remove "thank" buttons)
- Section: Notify me about these events
Web Talk page post [_] [_] (click one or both) Thanks [_] [_] Mention [_] [_] Page link [_] [_] Page review [_] [_] Edit revert [_] [_]
The options for Notifications were first added in May 2013. See Wikipedia Signpost topic "English-language Wikipedia to be first to receive Echo deployment" for a brief overview.
- Preferences → Pending changes → Details = meta:Help:Preferences#Pending changes
These settings are for advanced editors who have a detailed understanding of the five pillars and of the templates used to mark judgments on the page. Pending changes refers to the style of the presentation of
- new page "curation" tools: curation toolbar and new pages feed, and
- how recent changes appear on the page history of certain pages that have been configured for protection by reviewing any changes before they are applied to the public version of the page.
For an example of a page history showing the pending changes feature, click on the history of a page listed at Special:PendingChanges.
The MediaWiki preferences page offers a set of options for the generic user. If you discover a special role on Wikipedia, there is probably a powerful tool for it at WP:Tools#Browsing and editing.
- Wikipedia:Database reports/User preferences