The Preferences page, linked from the top of every page, and also at Special:Preferences, allows each user to personalize some elements of the wiki to suit. Changes to your preferences will apply only when you are logged in.
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.
- 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).
- Number of edits
- The total number of edits you have made on the wiki.
- Registration time
- Real name
- Real name is optional. If you choose to provide it, this will be used for giving you attribution for your work.
- 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.
- Click the Change Password link to go to a simple page where you can change your wiki password.
- Remember my login on this browser (for a maximum of $1 days)
- 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.
- Allows you to specify the language in which the site interface will be displayed to you. 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.
- The interface language does not affect namespace names; 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.
- 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: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 "<" 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.
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.
- 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 e-mails 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 or file on my watchlist is changed
- E-mail me when my user talk page is changed
- E-mail me also for minor edits of pages and files
- Some of these three options are disabled on some wikis. Check your wiki to see if they are available.
- Do not send me e-mail newsletters
- 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.
- Link underlining
- 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 and . 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)
- A wikilink to an existing page will be in class 'stub' if the page is in the main namespace, it is not a redirect, and the number of bytes of the wikitext is less than the threshold.
- This allows users to immediately identify links to very short pages that probably need to be expanded, and links to short disambiguation pages. Alternately, a user may set a very high threshold to achieve any of the following:
- Identify links to very large pages. However, the criterion is the size of the wikitext; possible inclusion of templates and images can make the rendered page large, even if the amount of wikitext is small.
- Determine at a glance whether a link leads to the main namespace or not. However, this does not take into account redirects to the main namespace (even if the redirect itself is in the main namespace).
- Identify links to redirects, for clean-up work such as bypassing redirects.
- However, section linking to a "stub" does not work. Although this is normally a minor issue, this may cause problems with users who set a very high threshold.
- 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.
- Show table of contents (for pages with more than 3 headings)
- You can use this option to switch off the table of contents on all pages that you visit.
- Disable browser 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.
- Enable "jump to" accessibility links
- Provides two links "Jump to: navigation, search" at the top of each page for browsers lacking CSS support (or with CSS disabled), or read out by screen readers for low vision users.
- 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.
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:
- Page history, image history, diff, user contributions
- "This page was last modified" at the bottom of pages
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.
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.
- Columns and Rows
- "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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- This feature allows you to edit pages in an external program, rather than using the wiki editing form in your web browser. It requires a special set-up on your computer. See mw:Manual:External editors on the MediaWiki web site for information and setup instructions.
- Use external diff by default
- This is an advanced feature that requires 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.
- This is an experimental feature that speeds up the retrieval of edit previews. When you click the "Show preview" button, the browser will retrieve a preview from the wiki server and display it above the edit box, without needing to reload the page. This is only an experimental feature for the time being.
- Enable enhanced editing toolbar
- In compatible browsers, the enhanced toolbar developed as part of the Usability Initiative will be displayed.
- Enable dialogs for inserting links, tables and more
- When inserting some types of content, a dialog box will allow you to customize the content before it is inserted.
- Enable side-by-side preview
- Enable step-by-step publishing
- Enable navigable table of contents
- Assistant languages
- comma separated list of language codes. Translation of a message in these languages are shown when you are translating. The default list of languages depends on your language.
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.
- 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 91 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
The options on the Search tab let you control how searches are conducted, and how search results appear.
- Hits per page
- You may choose the number of results returned on each page of search results. The default is 20.
- MediaWiki:Contextlines You may choose the number of lines each result can occupy. The default is 5.
- MediaWiki:Contextchars You may choose the number context characters around the search word. The default is 50.
- Otherwise search in these namespaces
- Allows you to select which ones are searched by default.
This tab contains other options that don't belong anywhere else.
A diff is the difference between two versions of a page.
- 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
- only for administrators.