# Help:Preferences

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{{H:h {{#if: Help|Help|Help}}|Reader toc|enname=}} The preferences page, linked from the top of every page, and also at Special:Preferences, allows each user to personalize some elements of a Wikimedia wiki to suit.

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

## User profile

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

The name of your user account. You cannot change this name yourself; see Changing username below.
User ID
Your internal account ID number on the wiki. A small number indicates that you were one of the first to create an account on that wiki.
Member of groups
The names of the user groups you belong to. These provide you with certain "rights" (powers to carry out certain actions). See Help:Group rights.
Number of edits
The total number of edits you have made on the wiki; see Help:User contributions#Number of edits.
Global account status
This section provides a summary of the status of your global account. The phrase "All in order!" appears when your global account is fully connected and working properly. See Help:Unified login for more information.
Gender
This option allows you to select a gender (male or female), or unspecified. This option is designed for languages where, unlike English, the grammar of user interface text can change depending on your gender. As such, this option is not meaningful for English users at present. The gender you select is public, but not readily viewable.
Remember my login on this computer
This option is equivalent to the "Remember my login" or "Remember me" option on the login page. You can use this option to create (if selected) or delete (if de-selected) a cookie that will remember your login details, so you do not need to log in every time you visit the wiki. The cookie expires automatically after 30 days, for security reasons. See Help:Logging in.

### Internationalisation

Language
Allows you to specify the language in which the site interface will be displayed to you. See Help:System messages. There are some limitations:
• If the wiki's sidebar contains hard-coded custom labels, these are in effect for all interface languages, and will not change according to this setting.
• Note that using a left-to-right as interface language in right-to-left wikis, such as Arabic, shows all checkboxes and form elements reversed.
• The interface language does not affect namespace names; they are determinated 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.

### Signature

Preview of existing signature
This shows how your current signature will appear whenever you sign with ~~~~ on a wiki page.
Nickname/Signature text
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:username|nickname]], 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 "<".
Wikitext signature
This option tells the wiki to interpret your nickname as wiki-code for your signature, instead of just a nickname. See the Raw signatures section below.

### E-mail options

Wikimedia wikis provide e-mail functionality, whereby forgotten passwords can be returned, and users can contact other users by e-mail without anyone having to reveal their address. Entering your e-mail address is entirely optional.

E-mail
Your e-mail 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 e-mail address.
E-mail confirmation
The status of your e-mail address: not specified, need to confirm (in which case you need the click the link in the confirmation e-mail message you were sent), or authenticated.
Enable e-mail from other users
This allows other registered users to send you an e-mail using "E-mail this user" link on the sidebar of your user page. Emails are sent using a web interface, and your e-mail 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 "E-mail this user".
E-mail me when a page on my watchlist is changed
E-mail me when my user talk page is changed
E-mail 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.

## Appearance

### Skin

• Chick
• Classic
• 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 default skin.
• 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.
• MySkin
• Not normally useful on Wikimedia wikis.
• Nostalgia
• Simple
• Vector
• In beta. Resembles Monobook.

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 are used. The default is the Monobook skin.

Links at the edges of the page are in different positions. Some links are not present in every skin. In Nostalgia some links are in a drop-down menu instead of directly visible.

Use the "Preview" links to try out the skin.

### Files

Image size limit
One can specify a limit on the size of images on image description pages. With a slow connection it is not practical to have to load a large image just to read image info. Also, it may be practical if a large image at first is made to fit on the screen. The large limit, 10000x10000, means that one gets the full image.
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.

### Math

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

Always render PNG
Always display formulas as an image.
HTML if very simple or else PNG
If the formula is very simple, like ${\displaystyle x=3}$, display it as normal text (HTML). For more complex code, display the formula as an image.
HTML if possible or else PNG
This option tries really hard to use normal webpage text (HTML), but if it's too complicated, then an image is displayed.
Leave it as TeX
Don't convert the formula, just show the mathematical TeX code. This is primarily for text-based browsers like Lynx.
Recommended for modern browsers
If you use a web browser that was released recently, use this option.
MathML if possible (experimental)
This option attempts to use MathML code, which offers a good-looking display of mathematical data. But only some browsers can display it.

Here, you can choose whether links will be underlined. the "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 a problem, particularly with URL links.
Threshold for stub link formatting (bytes)
See Stub feature.
Format broken links like this (alternative like this?)
A link to a page that doesn't exist will normally be coloured red. You can turn this option off to have the link displayed as a question mark after the linked text. Note that with the trailing question mark link, one cannot distinguish between a single word being linked, or a phrase of more than one word.
Disable page caching
This turns off page caching. Use this option only if you know what you are doing - it puts unnecessary strain on the Wikimedia servers.
Show hidden categories
Shows categories which are normally hidden at the bottom of the page.
Provides two links "Jump to: navigation, search" at the top of each page. These links are normally hidden, except under the Myskin, Chick or Classic skins; they are displayed in browsers lacking CSS support (or with CSS disabled), or read out by screen readers for low vision users. The navigation ("portlet") panel, at the left of the page in Monobook, is at the bottom of the page in these "flat-format" browsers.
Justify paragraphs
If set, article paragraphs will be formatted to avoid jagged line endings. If unset, the paragraphs will be formatted as-is.

## Date and time

On this tab, you can control the appearance of some dates and times, and you can select your time zone.

Date format
This setting affects the appearance of timestamps on all special pages, including page histories (as listed below). 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.
This setting also affects the appearance of links produced by wikitext for which the date formatting feature applies.
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.

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, UTC is always shown in the timestamps on all 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 offset as 0 all the time.

## Editing

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

Size of editing window
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. This behavior can be disabled by turning off the " Widen the edit box to fill the entire screen" check box lower down on the page.

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.
Show preview before edit box
If you select this option, the edit preview will be displayed above the edit box when you click the "Show preview" button while editing a page.
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".
Enable section editing via  links
An edit link will appear beside each sub-heading on a page to allow editing of that subsection only.
Enable section editing by right-clicking on section titles (requires JavaScript)
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  link beside the heading.
Edit pages on double click (requires JavaScript)
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.
Widen the edit box to fill the entire screen
See Size of editing window above.
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.
Mark all edits minor by default
This option automatically selects the "This is a minor edit" checkbox when you edit pages.
Use external editor by default
Use external diff by default
These are advanced features that require a special set-up on your computer. See mw:Manual:External editors for information and instructions.
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 help other editors greatly.
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.

### Experimental features

The meta:Usability Initiative is currently testing some new features that are primarily designed for the new Vector skin and its refreshed user interface. These options are not documented here, as they may change from time to time.

## Recent changes

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

Days to show in recent changes
The number of days' worth of changes to show in the Recent Changes list. The default is 5 days; the maximum is 7 days.
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.

Use enhanced recent changes (requires JavaScript)
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. 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.

## Watchlist

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).

### Display options

Days to show in watchlist
The number of days' worth of changes to show in your watchlist. Maximum 7 days.
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". Maximum 1000 changes.

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.
Watchlist token
If you want an RSS feed to be generated from your watchlist, you can input a secret token here. Anyone who knows this token can use it to access your watchlist. You don't actually need to store this value; when you subscribe to the RSS feed, the browser will store it for you. A randomly-generated token is provided under the field if you need inspiration.
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 I create to my watchlist
Add pages I edit to my watchlist
Add pages I move to my watchlist
Add pages 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.

## Search options

The options on the Search options tab let you control how searches are conducted, and how search results appear. The default values of these options may differ on some wikis.

### Display options

Hits per page
You may choose the number of results returned on each page of search results. The default is 20.
Lines per hit
Documentation needed. The default is 5.
Context per line
the number of characters of context per occurrence; however, the context is anyway restricted to the paragraph it occurs in. To get the whole line, put a large number like 5000. The default is 50.
Disable AJAX suggestions
The small search box in the left sidebar, or in the top-right of the page, will provide a pop-up menu of search suggestions whenever something is entered into the box. The process of retrieving these suggestions can slow down the system on older machines, and it may waste Internet bandwidth. If you don't need this service, you can turn it off.

Search in all namespaces
Search in these namespaces by default
Shows a list of all namespaces (not the same in all projects), allowing one to select which ones are searched by default; see also Namespaces searched.

## Stability

The Stability tab appears only on wikis with the Flagged Revisions or similar system enabled.

### Flagged Revisions

Stable version interface
Documentation needed
Always show the stable version of content pages by default (if there is one)
Documentation needed

## Misc

This tab contains other options that don't belong anywhere else.

### Diffs

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 diff will be shown. This option will prevent the display of that diff page.

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

Show custom user signatures
Documentation needed
Documentation needed
Maximum number of replies to show
Documentation needed

## Notes

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, 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

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

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

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

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