MediaWiki extensions manual
OOjs UI icon advanced.svg
Release status: stable
Implementation Tag , Page action , MyWiki
Description Allows to create JavaScript character insert boxes.
Author(s) Brion Vibber (Brion VIBBERtalk)
Latest version continuous updates
Compatibility policy release branches
MediaWiki 1.25+
PHP 5.4+
Database changes No
License GNU General Public License 2.0 or later
Translate the CharInsert extension if it is available at translatewiki.net
Check usage and version matrix.
Issues Open tasks · Report a bug

The CharInsert extension allows to create JavaScript links that when clicked, insert predefined text into the text box.

These links are usually used in MediaWiki:Edittools (example on this wiki) system message.


Use <charinsert> tags with a space-separated list of characters or tags for which you wish to allow insertion.

You can use + sign inside a tag to define a place to:

  • insert selected text or
  • place cursor if no text was selected.

You have to enclose templates and spaces inside <nowiki>:

<charinsert><nowiki>== + ==</nowiki> <nowiki>{{stub}}</nowiki></charinsert>

Usage and sample outputEdit

Individual charactersEdit

Individual characters are just listed between the "charinsert" tags.

<charinsert>Á á Ć ć É é Í í Ĺ ĺ Ń ń Ó ó Ŕ ŕ Ś ś Ú ú Ý ý Ź ź</charinsert>

results in

Á á Ć ć É é Í í Ĺ ĺ Ń ń Ó ó Ŕ ŕ Ś ś Ú ú Ý ý Ź ź

  Note: Clicking the links will have no effect since there is no input or edit field.

Combined charactersEdit

Combined characters are listed between the "charinsert" tags and connected by the "+" sign.

<charinsert>“+” ‘+’ «+» ‹+› „+“ ‚+‘ [[+]] {{+}}</charinsert>

results in

“” ‘’ «» ‹› „“ ‚‘ [[]] {{}}

  Note: Clicking the links will have no effect since there is no input or edit field.


  • Generated JavaScript links also work in other areas around edit window, e.g. in MediaWiki:Copyrightwarning or MediaWiki:Newarticletext, on the page preloaded with Inputbox, and even from the text preview.
  • They can also be used in MediaWiki:Uploadtext to insert image description templates.
  • Unlike toolbar buttons on top, this extension doesn't provide a way to specify inserted "sample text".
  • Use &#10; to add new lines (\n).
  • Enclose white spaces in nowiki tags when needed.
  • Add <charinsert></charinsert> tags into MediaWiki:Edittools.


Due to bug T88922 the tool bar provided by CharInsert does not work on special page "Upload" when used on MediaWiki 1.27.x. Use the version provided for MediaWiki 1.28+ but note that some Gadgets may not work as expected without further update.
  • Download and place the file(s) in a directory called CharInsert in your extensions/ folder.

To users running MediaWiki 1.24 or earlier:

The instructions above describe the new way of installing this extension using wfLoadExtension(). If you need to install this extension on these earlier versions (MediaWiki 1.24 and earlier), instead of wfLoadExtension( 'CharInsert' );, you need to use:

require_once "$IP/extensions/CharInsert/CharInsert.php";

Advanced InstallationEdit

Important: You must have Extension:Gadgets for this to work.


To give the charinsert lists additional styling, wrap the contents of your Edittools between <div class="mw-charinsert-buttons"> and </div> and add styling for them to your MediaWiki:Common.css. This site (www.mediawiki.org) does that to make the links appear like buttons (as shown in the screenshot to the side). The below stylesheet was used for that, copy it to your MediaWiki:Common.css to apply the same styling.

 * Styling for links generated by [[MediaWiki:Edittools]]
 * @source https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:CharInsert#Styling
 * @updated 2012-02-29
.mw-charinsert-buttons {
	margin-top: 10px;
	border: 1px solid #aaaaaa;
	padding: 1px;
	text-align: center;
	font-size: 110%;
.mw-charinsert-buttons a {
	color: black;
	background-color: #cde !important;
	font-weight: bold;
	font-size: .9em;
	text-decoration: none;
	border: thin #069 outset;
	padding: 0 .1em .1em;
.mw-charinsert-buttons a:hover,
.mw-charinsert-buttons a:active {
	background-color: #bcd;
	border-style: inset;
.client-js .mw-edittools-section {
	display: inline;
.client-js .mw-edittools-section input[type="button"] {
	font-size: 0.9em;
	padding-left: 1px;
	padding-right: 1px;
	margin-left: 1px;


If you have many CharInsert links, one could use JavaScript to put them in separate groups and allow dynamic switching with a dropdown menu. For example to separate diacritical characters from wikisyntax etc. Several sites (such as mediawiki.org, de.wikipedia.org and en.wikipedia.org) have done this. They all implemented it in different ways though. Documented below is the way it is done on mediawiki.org:

1. Wrap all the charinsert tags on MediaWiki:Edittools into a <div> container and give it a descriptive, unique, ID (for example "mw-edittools-charinsert"):

<div id="mw-edittools-charinsert" class="mw-charinsert-buttons" title="Click on the wanted special character.">
2. Wrap each individual block of charinserts into p tags like this:
<p class="mw-edittools-section" data-section-title="Wiki-Syntax" style="display: none;">
  • Don't change the word 'mw-edittools-section'
  • The text behind "data-section-title=" will identify this group in the dropdown menu.
  • Make sure there is one group without the 'style="display: none;"' directive: That will be the default choice in the dropdown menu. On this site, it is called 'Standard' while the other groups are named by the language for which the characters are significant.
3. Copy the contents of MediaWiki:Gadget-Edittools.js to an equally named page on your own wiki
4. Add the following code to your Mediawiki:Gadgets-definition:
* Edittools[ResourceLoader|default]|Edittools.js

English Wikipedia CharInsert menuEdit

For implementing CharInsert menu like the one used on the English Wikipedia, either export gadgets: Charinsert-core, Charinsert-styles, and Charinsert and then import them on your own wiki through Special:Import or if you want to do it manually, copy the following four interface pages to your wiki:

* charinsert[ResourceLoader|default|peers=charinsert-styles]|charinsert.js
* charinsert-core[ResourceLoader|hidden|dependencies=jquery.textSelection,user,mediawiki.storage]|charinsert-core.js
* charinsert-styles[ResourceLoader|hidden|type=styles]|charinsert-styles.css
  • MediaWiki:Edittools (Wikipedia) - Only for users with JavaScript turned off or unsupported (which disables the WikiEditor extension too), therefore not really necessary or useful either. It only shows symbols/characters as simple text below the editor window, which can then be copy-pasted and thus be of some help to editors. Apparently, it does not get activated in English Wikipedia for disabled JavaScript.

Note: This particular English Wikipedia character set also contains templates, which will need to be defined separately, if they are to be used on your Wiki.

English Wikipedia Solution checked on: November 6, 2018

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