This page will collect various techniques for achieving common tasks needed in writing user scripts. Discussion about limitations, relative portability, and speed of the various alternatives is strongly encouraged. There is a lot of duplication and non-optimal efforts out there, and this will hopefully encourage us to write tighter, more correct code, both easier and faster.

An advanced API for interacting with Wikipedia content is being developed, large parts of which are already operational. The various possibilities are described at mw:API. The idea is to send an AJAX request (see below) to the API containing a query. The result of this query can be returned in several formats, of which JSON is perhaps the most useful, see below.

Identifying the type of page

This refers to techniques for identifying the current namespace of the current page, whether or not it is an edit page, a preview page, a Special page, etc.

Preview pages


Edit pages


This will be null when not editing a page.

History pages

mw.config.get('wgAction') === 'history'

Special pages

mw.config.get('wgCanonicalNamespace') === 'Special'

Pages with history


Editable pages


Be advised that this also returns the edit tab if you're currently editing the page.

Getting various parts of a page

Getting the page title and namespace

Getting the various toolbars (personal, tabs, sidebar)

var tabs = document.getElementById(BAR NAME).getElementsByTagName('ul')[0];

TODO: Someone please test the search and toolbox ones, and see if they work the same. Thanks!

The search box is 'p-search' but there's no <ul> element in it. [ælfəks] 10:38, 24 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]
The search box can be retrieved by simply replacing the 'ul' in getElementsByTagName('ul') with 'div', as all the toolboxes' ids are in div tags. Extremecircuitz (Talk | Userboxes page) 20:17, 21 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Inserting content

document.getElementById("content").insertBefore(document.createTextNode("abcdef"), document.getElementsByTagName("h1")[0])
  • No, but does it help if you delay execution until the page has loaded? Lupin|talk|popups 12:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Pressing buttons

Altering existing interface links

To change the url, name, or any other aspect of existing tab buttons, personal bar links, or other links, use the following: (where id is the id of the link to be changed, e.g. "pt-preferences", "ca-edit", "n-portal" or "t-whatlinkshere"; url is the new URL, and name is the new displayed name for the link, e.g. "my preferences", "edit this page", "Community Portal", or "What links here")

q=document.getElementById(id).firstChild; q.removeChild(q.firstChild); q.appendChild(document.createTextNode(name)) 

Onload Structure

jQuery can attach functions to the onLoad event:

$( myFunction );

Functions can also be written inline as

$( function() {
    // Code here
} );

Do not assign window.onload to a function directly, as this overwrites any other onLoad functions that may have been previously set.

Include an external js-file on wikipedia

mw.loader.load is a loader method to load external javascript or css:

mw.loader.load( '', 'text/javascript' );
mw.loader.load( '', 'text/css' );
mw.loader.load( '', 'text/javascript' );


See Wikipedia:WikiProject User scripts/Guide#Ajax
$.getScript('', function () {
 // Foo.js is loaded!
} )

Automatic edits

On classic edit pages you can find the textbox with the wikitext like this:

var t = document.editform.wpTextbox1;

Then use the methods of the textSelection plugin to interact with the textarea or edit summary. This module makes sure that your modification works in combination with other modules that want to manipulate the value of the textarea, like syntax highlighting modules.


Parsing JSON text, as delivered by e.g. the MediaWiki API is done automatically when using jQuery utilities:

  mw.util.wikiScript( 'api' ), {
    'format': 'json',
    'action': 'query',
    'meta': 'userinfo'
  }, function ( data ) {
    // data.query.userinfo

Update a script

Scripts on a user's computer are updated to the most recent version by bypassing (clearing) the browser cache - the user has to push Shift-Reload (Mozilla) or Shift-F5 (MS-IE). A JavaScript can do the same by calling:


This forced reload ("forceGet") immediately reloads the current page including all images, scripts, and stylesheets. This should not be done from edit or preview pages as the edits might get lost.

For users that have a lot of scripts installed, reloading them all may take up a lot of time. See Gerbrant.mng.decache and its talk page for example code on how you can let JavaScript remove arbitrary files from your browser cache using an external application.

Edit a page on another Wikimedia wiki

Although not commonly used, CORS is enabled between all Wikimedia wikis. For an example of cross-wiki editing, see here.

Timezone formatting

The selected timezone of a user is available via mw.user.options.get('timecorrection'), which will return something like "ZoneInfo|180|Africa/Addis_Ababa", where 180 is the number of minutes to add to UTC to obtain a time in the user's preferred time zone. The number might be negative.