From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kiwix logo.svg
Developer(s) Emmanuel Engelhart,
Renaud Gaudin
Preview release 0.9 / November 1, 2014; 12 months ago (2014-11-01)[1]
Development status Active
Operating system Windows, OS X, Linux
Platform IA-32, x64
Size 30.6 MB – 106 MB[1]
Available in 100 languages[1]
License GPLv3
Kiwix for Android
Stable release 1.95 / August 2, 2015; 3 months ago (2015-08-02)[1]
Operating system Android
Size 6.2 MB
Kiwix for iOS
Stable release 1.0 / August 11, 2015; 3 months ago (2015-08-11)[2]
Operating system iOS
Size 48.3 MB

Kiwix is a free and open-source offline web browser created by Emmanuel Engelhart and Renaud Gaudin in 2007.[3] It was first launched to allow offline access to Wikipedia, but has since expanded to include other projects from the Wikimedia foundation as well as public domain texts such as Project Gutenberg.


Emmanuel Engelhart's motivation to develop Kiwix goes back to 2003 when his first attempt to publish Wikipedia on a CD-ROM had failed.[citation needed] After becoming Wikipedia editor in 2004, Emmanuel became interested in developing offline versions of Wikipedia. Interviewed by email, he stated that Wikipedia is a common good everybody should have access to irrespective of whether one has access to the Internet or not. People interested in the contents of Wikipedia should be able to access them, even in places where knowledge and especially the Internet are censored.[3][4]


The software is designed for computers without Internet connection, particularly for schools[5] in developing countries, where the access to the Internet is difficult or too expensive.[4] That is why a special version for the organisation SOS-Kinderdorf was developed. Moreover, Kiwix was installed on the computers used for the One Laptop per Child.[3]

Users can choose to download content from the wiki of their choice for offline viewing with Kiwix. All files are compressed, allowing users to save disk space and bandwidth while downloading. Kiwix reads the content of the project stored in a file of the ZIM format, which contains the compressed contents of articles. The ZIM file of a Wikipedia project or any Kiwix content needs to be downloaded and saved before these files can be opened with Kiwix.

Kiwix uses the Mozilla framework localised on[6] It offers full text search, tabbed navigation and the option to export articles to PDF and HTML.[1]

Available content[edit]

Since 2014, most Wikipedia versions are available for download in various different languages.[7] The servers are updated every two to six months, depending on the size of the file. For English Wikipedia, a full version containing pictures as well as alternative version containing text only can be downloaded from the archive. This allows users to save disk space and bandwidth while downloading.

Besides Wikipedia, content from the Wikimedia foundation such as Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikivoyage, Wikibooks and Wikiversity are available for offline viewing in various different languages.[8] In November 2014 a ZIM version of all open texts forming part of Project Gutenberg was made available.[9][10]

Besides public domain content, works licensed under a Creative Commons license are available for download. For example, offline versions of the Ubuntu wiki containing user documentation for the Ubuntu operating system,[11] ZIM editions of TED conference talks[12] and videos from Crash Course are available in the Kiwix archive as ZIM file formats.[13]


As a software development project, Kiwix itself is not directly involved in deployment projects. However, Wikimedia or third part organisations use the software as a component of their own projects. For example, Wikimedia CH has deployed Kiwix in many jails in Switzerland[14] and the Fondation Orange has used kiwix-serve in its own technological knowledge product they have deployed in Africa.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Kiwix". SourceForge. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Kiwix iTunes page
  3. ^ a b c Joe Sutherland: Emmanuel Engelhart, Inventor of Kiwix: the Offline Wikipedia Browser. In: Wikimedia Blog. 12. September 2014. Accessed on 26 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Kiwix Aims to spread Wikipedia's Reach". 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  5. ^ "(fr) ASRI Education may 2013" (in French). Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  6. ^ Kiwix localisation page on Translatewiki
  7. ^ Overview of the Kiwix content catalog
  8. ^ Zim archive for Kiwix
  9. ^ Emmanuel Engelhart: 50.000 public domain books available to everybody, everywhere, offline. In: Wikisource-l-Mailinglist. 19. November 2014. Accessed on 26 November 2014.
  10. ^ #Wikimedia & Project #Gutenberg - the sum of all knowledge on Words and what not blog
  11. ^ Ubuntuusers Hilfsmittel
  12. ^ Kiwix archive for TED
  13. ^ Kiwix archive for additional content
  14. ^ Offline online, Annabelle, September 2014
  15. ^ Fondation Orange: le programme "écoles numériques"

External links[edit]