Wikibooks:Reading room/Technical Assistance

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Welcome to the Technical Assistance reading room. Get assistance on questions related to MediaWiki markup, CSS, JavaScript, and such as they relate to Wikibooks. This is not a general-purpose technical support room.

To submit a bug notice or feature request for the MediaWiki software, visit Bugzilla.

To get more information about the MediaWiki software, or to download your own copy, visit MediaWiki

There are also two IRC channels for technical help: #mediawiki for issues about the software, and #wikimedia-tech for WMF server or configuration issues.

Teach me how to write equations[edit]

I have recently started contributing to a text here and would like to add some mathematical equations. I am not sure exactly how to do that though. Should I do the equations in microsoft word's equation software and then save it as a jpg, then upload it. Or is there a better way? Tmbirkhead (discusscontribs) 08:29, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

See wikipedia :Help:Displaying a formula. --Adam majewski (discusscontribs) 18:49, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Problem with putting the background image in html[edit]

I am failed to upload the background image in html plse give me some exmaple to this problem and some theroy and also tell the html s best books name —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vikas royal king (discusscontribs) 09:03, 26 October 2012‎

Mars Book 1[edit]

I am having problems saving PDF file. I get invalid annotation error. Using Windows 7, IE 9.0.12 64Bit.

Vandalism Warnings[edit]

I've noticed that when I warn people using the Warn link on the left tools panel it gets all messed up (User talk:‎). Is this a bug? Any way of easily fixing this?--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 02:05, 17 March 2014 (UTC)


I was wondering how to add a reference note in text on the wikibook please? I'm very confused. Kriscampbell91 (discusscontribs) 12:52, 2 April 2014 (UTC)


Hi, I'm new to wikibooks and was wondering if there is something anyone would be able to link me to that would give me an overall summary of how 'wikitext' works. I'm catching on to little bits, such as how to make a sub-heading and how to sign my username but just need a little bit of help with how the rest of it works! Thank you. Kristddd (discusscontribs) 23:11, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

I replied also on your talk page but I'll add it here too for others to see...
Regarding your post on Wikibooks:Reading room/Technical Assistance, I'd recommend reading Using Wikibooks/Wiki-Markup. In addition selecting Browse or Random book on the menu on the left of the screen and just investigating other books will help.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 00:06, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Hi, Refer to Editing Wikitext for the basics of markup.Armchair (discusscontribs) 14:20, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Images to links[edit]

Quick question, I hope. I have a gallery of images on Wikijunior:Europe. I would like it so that if somebody clicks on the image it will take them to the page for that country rather than the image itself. So if you were to click on the Eiffel Tower image you'd end up on the France page. Is this easy to do?--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 00:47, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Use |link=  before the description to link the image to a different page. --darklama 01:45, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. So it is easy. However, after applying these changes the allignment of the images changes and they are no longer in an ordered table format of 4x4x4.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 11:03, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
darklama had also added mode="packed-hover" to the gallery tag, which is what changed the format. Hopefully now linked with the old format. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:33, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
You even did it for me, thanks. The hover captions looked really nice but as they messed with the alignment the old format will be best for now. Thanks again.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 11:37, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Just noticed that none of the links in those images worked - they all pointed to books called France, etc. Only got them to work by adding the full address, i.e. Wikijunior:Europe/France.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 15:26, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn’t something like [[/France]] be enough in this case? — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 16:50, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
That is odd, I could have sworn the relative links worked when I tried them in preview. Nice catch. --darklama 17:08, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
I can't remember for sure but I thought I had also checked one or two of them after you'd made the changes.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 17:32, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Strange behaviour[edit]

Why is Punjabi/Vocabulary/Numbers appearing as a Speedy Delete when I can't find a delete template anywhere on the page and the oage hasn't been edited since February (and I usually check the speedy del cats a few times a week)?--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 10:26, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Doesn't matter. The speedy tag was in a template. Now removed.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 10:37, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I untagged at least one template yesterday. The requester of the deletion is the main author of the book, but if they want the template deleted they need to remove it from usage first - not just tag it then leave someone else to clean up the broken links. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 10:43, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
The template Xania was asking about, {{NavigateVocabulary}}, was created in 2008 and scarcely edited since.
The other page tagged for deletion, afaics, is not actually a template, although used as if it were one: Punjabi/Navigation panel, created in 2009.
There is also an actual template, {{Punjabi/Navigation panel}}, created yesterday. Exactly identical to the template.
I've suggested at the user's talk page we could just move the 2009 page on top of the template. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:03, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Hi. actually, I am trying to make the navigation interface look consistent and for that end has transferred all navigation functionality, except that of templates 'Navigation bottom', 'PunjabiDictionary' and 'NavigateShahmukhi' to the newally created template named 'Navigation panel'. So templates 'NavigateConversation', 'NavigateGurmukhi' and 'NavigateVocabulary' need to be deleted. The page 'Navigation panel' wrongly created as a normal page rather than a template also needs to be deleted as the functionality has been transferred to the template with same name. May I request for help for cleanup. Help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Jaspal Singh 02:45, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
And sorry for the confusion created by me. 02:48, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I think I've got the earlier pages straightened out. Haven't gotten to the latter three yet. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 04:08, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I've deleted the other two above-named retired templates. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:54, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

This is a minor edit[edit]

Is there any way to change it so that the minor edit link just above the Save Edits button will open in a new window? It is extremely frustrating to write lots of text and then accidentally click on the minor edit button by mistake and then have to go back and start all over again. This is especially frustrating on a notebook mousepad or a touch screen notebook.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 17:35, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Under Editing preferences there is an option to warn you when you leave a page with unsaved changes. Perhaps that would help? --darklama 18:12, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Already checked so it either doesn't work or it's intended for something else (not sure what). Has nobody else experienced this? It makes me want to hit the computer every time it happens (usually once a week and only after I've added lots of text rather than a little typo correction or something like that). Thanks.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 19:40, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like it isn't working for you. For me this results in a dialog box prompt, "This page is asking you to confirm that you want to leave - data you have entered may not be saved", and I have to choose between the "stay on page" or "leave page" button before I can continue. --darklama 20:29, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Here's how to make the link use a new window. Add to your common.js:
$(function($) { $('#mw-editpage-minoredit').find('a').attr( 'target', '_blank' ); });
-darklama 21:21, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Didn't seem to work. Just opens in the same window as always. However it's less of a problem now becausethe edit window opens quickly and smoothly now (as per my messages on your talk page). The slow responsiveness when entering text and scrolling was what caused most of the problems.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 11:40, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Some quick research suggests that Opera has a preference setting to ignore link targets, which causes links to open in the same window when set. In the address bar typing "opera:config" will reveal a large list of settings that can be changed, including "User Prefs" and within that there is a preference called "Ignore Target" with a checkbox which shouldn't be checked. --darklama 14:33, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks but it wasn't that. It was already unchecked. Selected links on other websites open correctly in new tabs (sometimes in new windows too). Not important now provided I continue to use the simple toolbar and avoid clicking on the minor edit link. I have also just noticed that the link which says Editing help (opens in a new window) works exactly as it should. Wouldn't it be best if all of the links in that area did the same. This must be something that pisses off a lot of people.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 15:58, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I only saw the editing help link after the cancel link with the simple toolbar. Looks like the mediawiki software is setting it to open in a new window. Maybe this should be filed as a bug or feature request? Maybe the minor link isn't opening in a new window because the javascript code is running too soon then. --darklama 16:56, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Beta Feature Bug Report[edit]

I just enabled the Compact Personal Bar site beta feature, and found out that it greatly improves the aesthetics of the user interface. However, I found a bug in the new UI. Namely, the “Help” link doesn’t work. I understand that it is supposed to point to, except that it really points to, which doesn’t actually exist. Does anyone know how this could be fixed? (Not that I’d ever use this feature, but I still thought I would bring this issue to light.)

Thanks, SupremeUmanu (discusscontribs) 00:56, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

This is a known bug, so I reported it as effecting this project too at bugzilla:65427. --darklama 01:54, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Accidentally Unfinished Edit Summary[edit]

I was summarizing this edit, and accidentally pressed Return before I had finished my edit summary (or previewed the results of the edit, for that matter). The error is that the linked diff has an incomplete edit summary. I assume that this is no problem; however, are there any steps I can take if this happens again?

Thanks — SupremeUmanu (discusscontribs) 21:33, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing that could be done with incomplete or otherwise defective edit summaries. The only thing an administrator may do to such a summary is to hide it, but that should probably be reserved to the cases where it’s strictly necessary. — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 21:37, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
It can't be "fixed", and it is nothing to worry about. An administrator will not hide the edit summary unless it discloses personal details, is libellous or grossly offensive. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 12:57, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Read-only back-ups of Wiki books?[edit]

I have pretty much by myself created the Wikibook "International Postage Meter Stamp Catalog". Several changes have been made to it by others. Some were useful as they corrected errors or added new information. A few others may have been done with good intentions but ended up deleting links, destroying the formatting, or otherwise causing more problems than they solved. In an effort to recover from such mistakes I was wondering if there is a way I can store a read-only copy of the catalog somewhere online as a backup. This could be used as a starting point if the Wiki version goes FUBAR (screwed up beyond all repair). At some point I will be too old, senile, or deceased to continue monitoring the catalog, so a back-up would be valuable. I don't know how to do this. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. Rickstambaugh (discusscontribs) 02:44, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

You can use the PDF creator to create a saved version. Alternatively you can ensure that all the pages have been reviewed. If you review every page to the highest level (Good) then this enables that version to be retrieved at any time in the future. Or you could just save a permanent link to the current version of each page (click the "Permanent link" link on the left hand sidebar) somewhere like your userpage. Of if you really want to go to town do the following:
  • Go to Special:Export.
  • In "Add Pages from Category" enter the name of your book (it should have every page in the book in the category of the same name as the book).
  • Click "Add". You will see a list of all the pages.
  • I suggest you tick all three checkboxes (Include only the current revision; Include templates; Save as file
  • Click export
  • You will be prompted to save the file (about 3.1Mb in size)
This file contains all the pages and templates for the book and can be imported into any other wiki (assuming you have access), even your own wiki. For example, you could import it into a Wikia site. As a backup, this is the most complete and secure way to do it. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 08:15, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Many thanks for your help. It is a big relief.

--Rickstambaugh (discusscontribs) 21:01, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Random book becomes random page?[edit]

Is it just me or did the Random book button on the sidebar use to point to a random book? Now it just seems to load a page. I actually prefer this because a problem with random book was that 70% of the time you ended up with a Cookbook recipe (as it thinks each recipe is a separate book). Was something changed recently? Could we maybe have both on the sidebar?--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 23:55, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

The default is a random page (because MediaWiki is built for Wikipedia) but here it is overridden to use Randomrootpage. A Bugzilla was filed on 11 June 2014 for this function. Not sure if it is related but I will track the bug. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 08:27, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Either Wikibooks is using an older version of the extension now or something else is going on because Randomrootpage_body.php has been the same for 2 years and from what I can tell is acting like the "NOT" was removed as I only ever get subpages with it now. --darklama 13:20, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Whatever happened, happened in the last 4-6 weeks. I remember using it for reviewing random books fairly recently and it only showed root pages (annoyingly, mostly Cookbook recipes). Now, just subpages. --ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 13:25, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
I used it June 12th to make sure a Gadget was working by checking random books. I think I've used it since then and it was working fine. My guess is a change happened in the last week, as I only noticed a change after you mentioned it here. --darklama 13:44, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
MediaWiki 1.24/Roadmap suggests MediaWiki 1.24/wmf9 was deployed to Wikibooks June 17th, and wmf10 is due to be deployed to Wikibooks June 24th. Based on that the problem probably surfaced June 17th. --darklama 13:52, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
A passing thought: If one were to generate a random page in content space, without attempting to limit it to root pages, and then simply take the root page of it, that ought to greatly reduce the probability of turning up a cookbook page. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:54, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
I meant to write this last time. I never got Cookbook pages before and I believe the random root page extension is supposed to only return pages from the main space (ns = 0). This is really odd as Xania implies he has always got a ~ 70% hit on Cookbook pages. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 14:02, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
I had the same problem of it turning up cookbook pages a majority of the time, I had been getting around that by using Special:RandomRootpage/: rather than relying on the sidebar link. Bugzilla:46420, which you previously linked to, is about it returning random root pages from any namespace rather than just the main namespace. --darklama 14:12, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

I notice sometimes random root pages are also returned when I tested it at Wikisource, which suggests the condition set by the RandomRootPage extension is simply being ignored. I notice in the bug fixes for wmf9 that CirrusSearch overrides Special:Random, which the RandomRootPage extension depends on to do most of the work. Maybe CirrusSearch is why it isn't working any more. --darklama 14:34, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

… There’s a Russian saying, which I’d translate as: “we never knew no woe, then came updates, though.” — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 14:50, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Looks like this will be fixed July 1st according to Bugzilla:66879. --darklama 14:59, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Edit Summary Autocompletion[edit]

Quick question: How do I (and can I at all, for that matter) disable the autocompletion popup on the Edit Summary text field? This behavior simply annoys me no end. Thanks — SupremeUmanu (discusscontribs) 01:12, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Could that be a feature of your web browser, rather than of the wiki software? (Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you're asking about.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 01:43, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
I’m certain that it is a feature of the wiki software. This behavior happens only when editing an Edit Summary, not while typing into any other text field in this or any other site.

Page Popups needed - is there something in place already[edit]

I'm looking for a template 'capability' similar to the Wikipedia footer navbar templates that instead of expanding a template, will allow examples in sub-pages of the work to be shown or not by user control. See one possible case: uses now and subpages like Trainz/Versions/TS10-Ver Table).

  • Since the magic is in the called page, I guess I meant a template family footer, header and call templates.
  • This will give the advantage of visually grouping the exposition and explanations and yet allow the example to be opened under or over the text.
  • Like the linked page, many will be screenfuls in length, so incorporating them directly in the page is contra-indicated, while the prose will certainly include snippets of closer discussion points in pre & /pre tags.
  • Ideally, the 'calling template' would allow some boilerplate default message incorporating a direct page link and pipetrick. Hmmmmm, something like:
"Click open to view {{{pre|an}}} {{{text|example}}}{{{post|}}},
or see the full page at {{{1}}}. 

should do it.

If this theoretical ideal template just manifested as a line continuation with ([show])

or the flipside when opened ([hide]) each displayed in the same 'anchor point' in the text, that would work well as a general flexible implementation, and allow users to nest it inside any box template of their choice, such as {{example}}.

  • It can of course be ghosted in a HTML container, preferentially a table element so it behaves well with images and a possible series of right margin navbox templates in certain topic groups our 'divisions' (Think of a large TAB organized 3-ring binder, that's the way the Trainz Wikibook new organization is like, with sub-TOC pages like these two...) Kinds and containers pages would benefit from such cross-linking.
  • It also strikes me as a good feature to show the ([hide]) under the expanded text page as well; allowing as it does the reader to just keep going from the bottom.

I don't know enough about the Common.css and Common.js differences between here and the en.wikipedia to write something from scratch using code snippets from those navbar templates, but hope you all have something in place or someone is willing to work with me that has a stronger java script and css knowledge than mine (a VERY low bar! <BSEG>).

So HELP! Best regards, FrankB 16:32, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Secondary issue[edit]

That table page linked above is NOT clearing properly for references shown in {{reflist}}. I'm seeing the first ref tagged manifest off to the table right when viewing the page on the subpage. Further, the refs aren't following the section AND displaying where I expected. Anybody help me figure out what's happening there? Note the transcluding page (1st link) will have multiple pages based on that prototype. That will ease editing chores and allow for a better presentation, but this direct viewed behavior troubles me.

(Be merciful Masters, my HTML is challenged, and this is one case when I wish I'd the time to add a better CS base knowledge to my skills. TIME, is there ever enough of it?) Thanks // Frank and FrankB 16:32, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Moving larger sections of content[edit]

In our wikibook Sensory_Systems one of the sections,, is getting too large. So we would like to move content on insects, spiders, etc. to the new page Sensory_Systems/Insects.

My question: while there does exists a mechanism to move whole pages, is there any way to move sections (i.e. larger parts of a page) onto a new page? Or do I have to copy/paste? The problem with copy/pasting is the accompanying loss of the edit-history, which I would like to avoid if possible. Any help would be appreciated!

Copy/paste moves This is not necessarily a problem, as you can provide attribution in the edit summary and talk page. As long as you note "[X] is ported from [Y]--check the history there", then you're good. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:47, 6 September 2014 (UTC)