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- NB This page summarizes the built-in search function. A wiki may have more detailed information about available options and features enabled on it, for example the Search help page on English Wikipedia.
The quickest way to find information in MediaWiki is to look it up directly. In the Vector skin (the default MediaWiki skin since MW 1.16), near the top right of every page there is a search box with a magnifying glass icon
Enter your search terms and press Enter or click the magnifying glass icon. If a page has the same title as what you entered, you jump straight to that page. Otherwise, it searches all pages on the wiki (with some restrictions, see below), and presents a list of articles that matched your search terms, or a message that no matches were found.
In other skins, (and in Vector if your wiki sets the $wgVectorUseSimpleSearch configuration variable to false) the search box has two buttons on its right labeled
- clicking this (or pressing Enter) will take you to the page, if it exists.
- clicking this searches articles on the wiki
How it works
- It searches all pages on the wiki with some restrictions.
- The article content is searched in its raw (wikitext) form - i.e., it searches the text that appears in the edit box when you click “edit”, not the rendered page. This means that content coming from an included template will not be picked up, but the target of piped links will be.
- Even if you enclose a phrase in quotes, the search looks for each word individually. e.g., if you enter "world war 2" it will return pages that contain "world" and "war" and "2". (not true?)
- The search is not case-sensitive, so "MediaWiki", "mediawiki" and "MEDIAWIKI" all give the same result.
Restricting the search
If you click the “Search” button without filling in anything, you will be taken to “Special:Search” which gives you extra searching options (also available from any search results list)
You may find it useful to restrict a search to pages within a particular namespace e.g., only search within the User pages. Check the namespaces you require for this search.
By default only the namespaces specified in your preferences will be searched. Logged-in users can change their preferences to specify the namespaces they want to search by default. This can be done by selecting and deselecting boxes in the ”search” section of user preferences.
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