Wikipedia:Skin

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Skins, in Wikipedia terminology, are different layouts of Wikipedia. Wikipedia, as a website powered by MediaWiki, is a skinnable website, which means the presentational style of the pages can be changed, provided you have a Wikipedia account (see below to change skin without logging in). If you are not logged in, you can only use the default skin, Vector. However, this page features screenshots of all the different skins along with links allowing to load the Wikipedia's Main Page using them. Including Vector, there were a total of nine alternative skins, mostly kept for historical reasons. Some of these lacked many features as they were not actively developed. As a result, on April 15, 2013, the available skins were reduced to four: Vector; Monobook; Cologne Blue; and Modern, after a survey revealed that these were by far the most common skins used by Wikipedia editors.

Screenshots[edit]


Cologne Blue (Preview)

Modern (Preview)

MonoBook (Preview)

Vector (default) (Preview)

How to change the skin[edit]

Once you have an account, go to your preferences and go to the "Skin" section of the Appearance tab. With the default skin, this page can be accessed at any time from the "my preferences" link placed on the top right corner. Choose your skin and then click Save. Then, all pages will be loaded with the new selected skin.

However, any user may change the skin of a page for them only, but only one each time, by typing ?useskin=skinname to the end of the URL (i.e.: ?useskin=vector).

Customisation (advanced users)[edit]

Users can customise the way default skins[1] appear using specific subpages of their user page. These subpages are viewable by anybody but can only be edited by the user that the subpage belongs to and by administrators. Modifying these wiki pages only affects his or her owner.

Customisation may involve one or both of

  1. Cascading Style Sheets or "CSS" (found in the user's ".css" files)
  2. JavaScript (found in the user's ".js" files)

There are two ways to apply customisation:

  1. Using Special:MyPage/common.css and Special:MyPage/common.js links, which point to a location which applies to all of a user's skins.
  2. Using Special:MyPage/skin.css and Special:MyPage/skin.js links which to point to a location which applies only to a user's current skin. For example, if you're using the default Vector skin, Special:MyPage/skin.css takes you to Special:MyPage/vector.css, and if you switch skins to Monobook, its contents will no longer apply.

You can use both the common and the skin-specific files; if you do this, the common file is loaded before the skin-specific one.

Note: these links are redirects to your own customisation subpages; Special:MyPage is an alias for your userpage (try it and see). For example, when your user name is example, Special:MyPage/common.css will direct you to User:Example/common.css.

If you have edited your personal skin files then you need to wait at least 30 seconds for the servers to update, then bypass your browser cache to see the change.

See also How to import Monobook settings into Vector. For the list of all CSS and JavaScript files involved in the rendering process, see Wikipedia:Catalogue of CSS classes.

CSS[edit]

The CSS files can be used for all manner of customisation for those fluent in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). A common use which is relatively straightforward is hiding a system message or template you don't wish to see; see Wikipedia:Customisation#Hiding_specific_messages.

JavaScript[edit]

On Wikipedia, JavaScript can be used to add new features such as add find/replace textboxes or give advanced rollback options. There are scripts to customise everything, from default font style to custom buttons.

Many script pages can be imported and used. Different scripts can also be used in conjunction with each other to accomplish several tasks at once. Some scripts are available as "Gadgets", which means they can be installed by simply ticking a box in the "Gadgets" tab of Special:Preferences.

In order to add pre-existing scripts to your JavaScript page, add {{subst:js|name of script}} to the file. More detailed instructions can be found at the Wikipedia:WikiProject User scripts/Tutorial.

Raw skin usage data[edit]

Skin usage stats 2013 (power users)
Skin usage stats 2013 (all users)
Skin Users
0 4824
1 169
2 317
amethyst 29
chick 2926
cologneblue 8158
modern 16571
monobook 34049
myskin 1789
nostalgia 1910
on 1
simple 1580
standard 4473
vector 220406
Total 269787

Current data here.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Default Wikipedia skins are defined in several CSS and JavaScript files. Some of them are only editable by people having write access to the Wikimedia Foundation servers and some are simple wiki pages belonging to the MediaWiki namespace. These wiki pages can be seen directly on Wikipedia, but to prevent vandals from breaking the whole website appearance, they are fully protected, hence making them only editable by administrators (however, any changes can be suggested on their talk page). See Wikipedia:Catalogue of CSS classes

See also[edit]