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The final frontier: speed

There are many tools available for working on Wikipedia faster and easier. This list is not intended to be comprehensive. Only the most useful and reliable tools are listed here – whether they are programs, extensions, commands, or methods.

The only criteria are whether they get the job done in the easiest and fastest way available. Tools are listed primarily by function, rather than by form or structure. The only exception to this is the multiple-purpose section.

Super fast upgrade

If you use Firefox, and you would like to upgrade your Wikipedia user account to use the same wiki-enhancements used by The Transhumanist, copy the contents of User:Optimum tool set/monobook.js into your monobook page. After saving the page, hold down Shift while clicking on Firefox's Reload icon, or press Ctrl-Shift-R – this last step clears your cache which is necessary to activate the scripts on your computer.

Doing so will add the following programs or changes to your account:

Watchlist sorter

This script sorts your watchlist by namespace, and adds spaces within each entry to make the watchlist easier to read.


The wikEd user script replaces Firefox's text edit window, and adds lots of editing features. Its search and replace features are powerful, including allowing you to select text and search/replace only within the text you've highlighed. It also has local show changes and preview features (i.e., they bypass the server and save time). There are some annoying Firefox bugs, but the script places a convenient activation/deactivation button in the top-right corner of your userpage, so you can switch back and forth between using it and the default edit window. (The default edit window is still more useful for cutting and pasting, because Firefox bugs make cutting and pasting in wikEd difficult.)

Known bugs and workarounds:

Navigation popups

This turns your mouse pointer into a crystal ball: whenever you hover the mouse over an internal link, a box will popup giving you a peek into that page (showing the topmost part of that page). And this function is recursive, in that you can do it again to a link inside the box, and inside the next box that pops from inside that box, and so on. There is also a powerful menu provided of things you can do to the page in the popup.

Lupin's live feeds

Watchdog tools for monitoring changes to Wikipedia in real-time. This script adds the following 4 items to your toolbox menu in the sidebar on the left side of your screen:

When you visit these pages, a live, scrolling feed will begin, allowing you to watch changes to articles as they happen. On the first two above, only edits matching common vandalisms are listed (you can see this list at User:Lupin/badwords). On "All recent changes" nearly every edit is listed. And on "Monitor my watchlist, all changes are displayed. If you ever wondered how some users respond almost instantly to changes made to a page, well now you know.
To check the contents of the entry, click on "show details". To hide that entry, click "hide details".
See also: Comparison of web browsers
Using two browsers at the same time

Yes, you can use two different browsers on your Wikipedia account at the same time. This is a useful strategy when you have different functionality on each browser. Some scripts, extensions, and programs work on IE and not Firefox, for instance (and vice versa). So, using 2 browsers is useful for task switching, and also for multi-tasking. For example, many scripts only work if you use Firefox, but AutoWikiBrowser (AWB) only works with IE. Having them both loaded and logged on lets you switch back and forth. As for multi-tasking, AWB does many things automatically, such as when you feed it a list of pages upon which to perform search/replace operations. It won't save a page after searching/replacing (you are required to check the page and then personally save or discard the draft), but it will skip those pages upon which it finds no matches and then bleep you to notify you that it needs you to check and save a page before it can move on. (Note: AWB has a completely automatic mode, which turns it into a full-fledged bot, but you've got to get it approved as a bot to have that feature activated – but bots need to be watched closely, so you probably shouldn't be using them to multi-task until you've had a great deal of experience with them).

You can also be logged on to two different accounts at the same time. This requires two different browsers. When you do a lot of edits with AWB, for instance, Wikipedia's bot guidelines recommend that you create a separate account for this purpose. Otherwise your repetitive edits will drown out your regular edits in your contributions list and make it harder for other editors to review your activity. (Scrolling down page after page to bypass repetitive edits is tedious).

General set-up

This tool set was optimized for a computer with the following system elements:

Running Windows XP, relying primarily on Firefox to browse the Web (and Wikipedia). Other browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera) being used for auxiliary and support purposes (all explained below).
Internet Explorer (IE) is essential for using AutoWikiBrowser, a powerful editor designed for performing repetitive tasks on Wikipedia (and as a page queuer/autoloader).
Otherwise, IE, Opera, and Safari are used primarily for checking graphical layouts, to make sure there are no glitches that make the pages look funny for people using those browsers. If you work on the graphical elements of pages (setting borders, colors, fonts, margins, padding, columns, tables, etc.), you should check to see what your results look like on each of these browsers.

Multipurpose tools

Hotkeys and shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) and Wikipedia shortcuts (pagename aliases) cut down the number of keystrokes and mouse movements you need to make to get things done on your computer. They can really speed up your activities on Wikipedia.

Macro programs

Macro programs let you create your own customized keyboard shortcuts. They can be as sophisticated as scripts or computer programs, with their own conditional programming, and can be nested (called by each other) for even greater flexibility and power. Any sequence of keystrokes and/or mouse operations can be stored in a macro, and macros can be made to autorepeat as many times as you want them to. Two especially useful macro programs are:


Main article: Wikipedia:Bots


Scripting languages

JavaScript (a scripting language, not to be confused with the Java programming language).



Communications nav bar:

HelpDeskAdmin attentionANBotCBBClassIndexNewsroomRequestsRfCRfFThird

RefDesk (HumSciMathCompLangMisc)VPPolPropTechMisc)

Common decisionsand arguments Deletion (XfD) Arguments to avoid Common outcomes (AfD) Common outcomes (RfD) Common outcomes (TfD) Overcategorisation Perennial deletion review Adminship (RfA) andBureaucratship (RfB) Arguments to avoid Arbitration (Arbcom) Guide to arbitration Principles Proposals and policy Perennial proposals .mw-parser-output .navbar{display:inline;font-size:88%;font-weight:normal}.mw-parser-output .navbar-collapse{float:left;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .navbar-boxtext{word-spacing:0}.mw-parser-output .navbar ul{display:inline-block;white-space:nowrap;line-height:inherit}.mw-parser-output .navbar-brackets::before{margin-right:-0.125em;content:"[ "}.mw-parser-output .navbar-brackets::after{margin-left:-0.125em;content:" ]"}.mw-parser-output .navbar li{word-spacing:-0.125em}.mw-parser-output .navbar a>span,.mw-parser-output .navbar a>abbr{text-decoration:inherit}.mw-parser-output .navbar-mini abbr{font-variant:small-caps;border-bottom:none;text-decoration:none;cursor:inherit}.mw-parser-output .navbar-ct-full{font-size:114%;margin:0 7em}.mw-parser-output .navbar-ct-mini{font-size:114%;margin:0 4em}vte

WikiProject task boxes

(e.g., see Template:PhilosophyTasksBox)

Newsletters (subscriptions)


Wikipedia Weekly:

Notice boards


Notifying users


See custom signatures below.

Archiving talk pages


Editorial nav bar:

ArticlesCBBDirCleanFixFCDelHelpDeskInfoboxesMagic wdsMoSNav temps

PeerRvwPicsReqPolicies & GuidelinesRefDeskRfCSPostToolsVPWikiProjects

Wikipedia guidelines Guidelines list Policies list Behavioral Assume good faith Conflict of interest Courtesy vanishing Disruptive editing Don't bite the newcomers Don't edit to make a point Etiquette Don't game the system User pages Other behavioral guidelines WMF friendly space policy Discussions Talk page guidelines Signatures Content Biographies of Living Persons Citing sources External links Reliable sources medicine Fringe theories Non-free content Offensive material Don't copy long texts Don't create hoaxes Patent nonsense Other content guidelines Editing Article size Be bold Edit summary Understandability Other editing guidelines Organization Categories, lists, templates Categorization Disambiguation Style Manual of Style contents lists tables Deletion Deletion process Speedy keep Deletion guidelines for administrators Project content Project pages WikiProjects Templates User pages User boxes Shortcuts Subpages Other Naming conventions Notability vte


Editing links


Cascading style sheet elements (class=, id= , etc. )

Main article: Cascading style sheet


The main template for citing references is ((Citation)).

A useful tool for searching for references is Google Scholar. Even more useful is Google Scholar enhanced with the Wikipedia ((citation)) assistant. What this does is adds a "Wikify" button to the results generated by Google Scholar. When you click on the "Wikify" button, the results are automatically formatted as ((Citation)) wikicode which you can then copy and paste into a Wikipedia article! (Thanks to Verisimilus for this tip).

For more information on how to implement citations in articles, see Wikipedia:Citing sources.



Main article: Wikipedia:Typo#Checking spelling
Watching for spelling errors (and swearwords) as they occur

There is a live spellchecker in the program Anti-vandal tool that spellchecks Recent changes. To start viewing the live feed of spelling errors that are being made on Wikipedia right now, go to User:Lupin/Filter recent changes.

Where to find article components


Contents nav bar:

Help pages nav bar:

Wikipedia community nav bar:

Administrative nav bar:

Admin (DirHowRead)ABAIVAN (I3RR)BLBlock (IPsLogOPRFU)Del ((A C I M R T) fDCSDDRVListLogProcPRD)


Navigation bars

Wikipedia's main navigation bars (without border and background formatting) follow. To use them, copy and paste in the desired code (between and including the curly brackets) exactly as it appears below:

See also: Userpage design: Navigation bars

Navigation boxes

For a more complete set of navigation boxes, see Wikipedia:User Page Design Center/Navigation aids#News and navigation boxes

In addition to the navboxes strewn about this page, here are a few more:

Active Wiki Fixup Projects Must be active, systematic, have lists, & need help. Writing Articles that need to be wikified Massive backlog. Ongoing (category) Dead-end pages These pages are not wikified. Ongoing (category) Missing articles Wikipedia is not as complete as you might think. Ongoing Most wanted articles Updated February 2015 Oldest requested articles Updated November 2012 Other Articles needing geo-coordinates Help locate places. See WP:GEO. Ongoing (category) Articles written by a single editor Reviewing articles written by a newer editor. Updated February 2013 Bluelink patrol Directing wayward links to the intended articles. Ongoing Check Wikipedia Fix the syntax of Wikipedia. Updated every 15 minutes Disambiguation pages with links Directing ambiguous links to the intended articles. Ongoing Fix Common Mistakes Fix common mistakes in English grammar (e.g. "the the", "and and"). Ongoing moss Currently doing a collaborative spell-check of the entire encyclopedia. Moving free images to Wikimedia Commons Moving free images to the Commons so they are easier to find. Ongoing (categories) Orphaned articles Help link to these orphaned articles. Ongoing (category) Red Link Recovery Turn red links blue. Ongoing Stubsensor Help remove stub tags from articles they don't belong on. Updated August 2011 Uncategorised articles Help categorise articles. Ongoing (category) Unreferenced articles Ensuring articles include at least one reference or source. Ongoing (category) Main Inactive Mini vte


See Wikipedia:Tools/Navigation popups.

Bookmarking and using bookmarks

Definition: Bookmarks are saved links.


Searching Wikipedia from within Wikipedia

Searching Wikipedia from the Internet

The main Internet search engines are far more powerful than Wikipedia's search feature. They have special commands and settings which can be used to search Wikipedia specifically. Note that it takes a few days for new material to be included in search engine databanks, so searching for a page you just created won't return the desired result. (But the same thing applies to Wikipedia's search feature, only the "go" button will find a new article, and only if you type in the precise page name).

Site-specific searches of Wikipedia

To do a site-specific search of Wikipedia from Google, do any one of the following:


Advanced searching



Boolean searches
Proximity searches

Proximity analysis is built-in to most search algorithms and affects results ranking

Proximity can be specified explicitly on Google and Yahoo:

Wildcard searches
(a search "wildcard" is a symbol used for specifying "any" in a search)

Searching the Internet from Wikipedia

Searching the Internet in support of Wikipedia

Firefox (tab controls)
Attention: Opera users

Opera has Linky-like functionality built-in. It is not immediately evident in a default install – you have to right-click on a toolbar and go to Customise->Panels->Links to enable it.

All notes on tabs above also apply to Opera. Additionally, for viewing multiple pages simultaneously (for comparison) Opera can tile tabs automatically within the browser window. Tabs can also be dragged into our out of multiple windows to allow you to easily rearrange Wikipedia pages or reference articles you are viewing.

Related changes watchlists

You can have more than one watchlist. Pages can be used as watchlists, using the related changes command in the toolbox menu of the sidebar. It works just like recent changes, but only upon the links on the page of Wikipedia currently being displayed.

"My watchlist" can be cumbersome to manage, as items have to be entered one-by-one. In contrast, a page can be filled with links via cut and paste in seconds.

You can use related changes on existing pages without any set up at all, but since many pages have nav bars, navigation templates, and message templates on them with links to pages you may not want to monitor, making a new page with those stripped out can be very useful.

Red-link watchlists

A red-link watchlist is a list of links to pages that don't exist yet. This makes the links display in red. Such a list is useful for monitoring for the creation of certain kinds of pages, like Articles for deletion discussions (which follow the standard form Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Page name example – when a link on the list turns blue, that's your alert that an article has been nominated for deletion!

Tabs and tabbing

Firefox's tab feature (especially when combined with the use of the Linky extension and macros) is one of the most powerful tools you can use to work on Wikipedia. It beats AWB in many operations (though AWB beats it in many others).

Translation-integrated viewing

Page layout and graphical design


Sectioning / Tables


View checking

Pages with graphical elements must be checked to see if they look right on all the major browsers. If you do a lot of page layout, in addition to Firefox you should also have the latest version of:

Edit counters and statistical tools for Wikipedia

User account configuration

Custom signatures

Main articles: Wikipedia:Signatures and Signature formatting tutorial

To create a custom signature, click on my preferences (at the top of the page unless you've changed Wikipedia's skin), click the box that says Raw signature, and then put the wikicode for your signature in the signature box provided (and remember to click save!). Once it's set up, whenever you place 4 tildes in a message, it is automatically replaced with their custom signature.

You can see how any signature ("sig") is created by clicking on "edit this page" at the top of the screen and looking at the wikicode for a particular signature.

Unfortunately the sig box is buggy, and not all signatures work in it. The version of my sig which requires the least amount of wikicode doesn't work in the sig box. So I have my signature programmed as a macro, and to insert it wherever the text cursor is I simply press a certain function key on my keyboard. Voila! I use Macro Express, but a popular free open source macro program that probably works just as well is AutoHotkey.

Watchdogging and vandalism fighting

an in-depth discussion and Q&A session on vandalism hunting can be found at User:The Rambling Man/The Rambling Man, on vandalism
Vandalism Dealing with vandalism Obvious vandalism Sockpuppet investigations Long-term abuse reports WikiProject on open proxies Resources and assistance Counter-Vandalism Unit Counter Vandalism Academy Cleaning up vandalism Counter-vandalism tools Further information Blocking IP addresses Do not insult the vandals CVU Vandalism studies vte


VandalProof is useful for patrolling these pages:

Lupin's live feeds

User:Lupin/Anti-vandal tool – after you have installed this tool in your monobook.js page, you can use it to patrol the following pages:

Your watchlist

How to use pages as watchlists

Tracking RfA

A simple way to watch WP:RfA and check it for new nominees is include on your talk page the same tool Wikipedia's bureaucrats use:

RfA tracker:
Requests for adminship and bureaucratshipupdate
No current discussions. Recent RfAs: (successful, unsuccessful) Recent RfBs: (successful, unsuccessful)


Research tools and resources

Main article: Wikipedia:Research resources

See also

and what good are tools without rules...