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Wikipedia namespaces
Basic namespaces Talk namespaces
0 (Main/Article) Talk 1
2 User User talk 3
4 GC-Forever Wiki GC-Forever Wiki talk 5
6 File File talk 7
8 MediaWiki MediaWiki talk 9
10 Template Template talk 11
12 Help Help talk 13
14 Category Category talk 15
100 [[Wikipedia:Portal|]] [[Help:Using talk pages|]] 101
108 [[Wikipedia:Books|]] [[Help:Using talk pages|]] 109
446 [[Wikipedia:Course pages|]] [[Help:Using talk pages|]] 447
710 [[mw:Extension:TimedMediaHandler|]] [[Help:Using talk pages|]] 711
828 [[Wikipedia:Lua|]] [[Help:Using talk pages|]] 829
Virtual namespaces
-1 Special
-2 Media
v · d · e

A Wikipedia namespace is a set of Wikipedia pages whose names begin with a reserved word recognized by the MediaWiki software (followed by a colon). In the case of the article (or main) namespace, the namespace name is nameless. The namespace is part of the title of a page name. For example, in the user namespace all titles begin with "User:". Encyclopedia articles appear in the main namespace, where the

Wikipedia has 28 current namespaces: 13 basic namespaces, each with a corresponding talk namespace; and two virtual namespaces. These are all listed in the box to the right. While surfing Wikipedia, a list of namespaces is available in two clicks: do an empty search, then click Advanced under the search box. The list also makes itself available where needed in the dropdown menus of, for example, Special:Prefixindex, Special:Allpages, Special:Recentchanges, and Special:Contributions.

The aliases WP for Wikipedia, and WT for Wikipedia talk, work for page names in the search box, and making links, and making inclusions. See Aliases below for other aliases. (The pseudo-namespaces such as H for Help, and Cat for Category, are extremely limited. See Pseudo-namespaces below.)

The table on the right shows what number to use when you want to hide pages that are on your watchlist. See: Wikipedia:Hide Pages in Watchlist for details.

Basic namespaces

Wikipedia's basic namespaces and their functions are listed below. A brief description is provided, but see the link for more information.

  • Main namespace (no prefix): contains all encyclopedia articles, lists, disambiguation pages, and encyclopedia redirects. Sometimes referred to as "mainspace".
  • User namespace (prefix User:): contains user pages and other pages created by individual users for their own personal use. Pages under this namespace can still be viewed and modified by others, so do not keep any of your sensitive data here.
  • Wikipedia namespace or Project namespace (prefix Wikipedia:): contains many types of pages connected with the Wikipedia project itself: information, policy, essays, processes, discussion, etc. The prefix can be shortened to WP:.
  • File namespace or Image namespace (prefix File:): contains file description pages for image, videos or audio files. These in turn have a link to their actual data file.
  • MediaWiki namespace (prefix MediaWiki:): a namespace containing interface texts, such as the links and messages that appear on automatically generated pages. Pages in this namespace are permanently protected. For a list of these messages, see Special:AllMessages. (The prefix cannot be shortened to "MW" because mw is an interwiki prefix. See Interwiki links below.)
  • Template namespace (prefix Template:): contains templates – pages that are intended primarily to be transcluded or substituted onto other pages to insert standard text or boxes such as infoboxes and navigation boxes.
  • Help namespace (prefix Help:): contains pages which provide help in using Wikipedia and its software, both for users of the encyclopedia and for editors.
  • Category namespace (prefix Category:): contains category pages, which display a list of pages and subcategories that have been added to a particular category, and optional additional text.
  • Portal namespace (prefix Portal:): for reader-oriented portals that help readers find articles related to a specific subject, and may contain links to encourage contributions to relevant WikiProjects. See, for example, Portal:Cricket and Portal:Spaceflight.
  • Book namespace (prefix Book:): contains entries for Wikipedia books, collections of articles about one theme, that can be used to generate downloadable files or printable documents
  • Education Program (prefix Education Program:): a namespace with structured course pages intended to coordinate and monitor the editing activity of classes of students.
  • TimedText namespace (prefix TimedText:): synchronized subtitles for media files.
  • Module namespace (prefix Module:): contains Scribunto modules – Lua scripts implementing special-purpose parser functions for use in templates, beyond the basic set included with MediaWiki and its extensions.

A namespace is sometimes called a space, for short, as in "Project space"; and this term can be even further generalized. This entire list of namespaces could be called a subject space, and discussions are held in its talk space, and the subject space of the File talk space is the File space."

An alias of a namespace is its namespace. For example, WP: is Wikipedia:, and so [[Wikipedia:Page name]] can be abbreviated [[WP:Page name]]. See Aliases below, for a list of aliases, such as WT: for Wikipedia talk:. A pseudo-namespace is an agreement to create redirect pages named that way, each of which is a shortcut from mainspace to a single page in its namespace. So an alias refers to any page in its namespace, but a pseudo-namespace has far fewer pages than it's real namespace. There are a few pseudo-namespace names like H: for Help:, and Cat: for Category:, and these can be discovered below in the section Pseudo-namespaces.

Talk namespaces

Each of the above namespaces (but not the virtual namespaces) has an associated talk namespace—these are also known as discussion pages. The talk namespaces are designated by appending the word talk to the namespace name. For example the talk namespace associated with the user namespace has the prefix 'User talk:'. The talk namespace associated with the article namespace is 'Talk:'.

Most of the pages in the talk namespaces are used to discuss changes to the corresponding page in the associated namespace. Pages in the user talk namespace are used to leave messages for a particular user. The user talk namespace is special in that, whenever a user's talk page is edited, that user (if logged-in) will see a box saying "You have new messages" on the top every page that they view until they visit their talk page. (Minor edits made by bots no longer set off the new message bar.)

Note that the prefix WT: expands to Wikipedia talk:, just as WP: expands to Wikipedia: (see Aliases below). For example, [[WT:Verifiability]] links to Wikipedia talk:Verifiability.

Virtual namespaces

There are two virtual namespaces that do not relate to pages stored in the database:


The Special: namespace consists of pages (called special pages) that are created by the software on demand, such as Special:RecentChanges. These pages can be linked as usual, as with [[Special:RecentChanges]], except when they have parameters. To use parameters, the full URL must be given as an external link. For example, http://www.gc-forever.com/wiki/index.php?title=Special:Recentchanges&days=3&limit=10, which returns the last ten changes.

You can create a redirect to a Special page, but the redirect will not be followed automatically.

For a list of special pages, see Special:SpecialPages.


The Media: namespace can be used to link directly to a file, rather than to the file description page. See information above on the File: namespace.


There are six aliases defined for namespaces, all of which are case-insensitive:

Alias Namespace
WP Wikipedia
WT Wikipedia talk
Image File
Image talk File talk
Project Wikipedia
Project talk Wikipedia talk

If a link is made to a page title beginning with one of these strings, or if such a title is entered in the search box or used in a URL, the alias is automatically replaced by the true namespace prefix. Hence entering WP:Linking or Project:Linking is equivalent to entering Wikipedia:Linking, and WT:Linking is equivalent to Wikipedia talk:Linking.

An alias cannot be used as the actual namespace in a page title. For example, you cannot create page WP:123. It is, however, possible to change the displayed title on page Wikipedia:123 to make it WP:123 or Project:123.

Interwiki links

Inter-language or interwiki prefixes do not define namespaces, but point to pages in other Wikimedia projects, outside the en.wikipedia.org website. They are mentioned here because they use a namespace-like prefix technique for linking. By default, that is unless combined with another in-project namespace prefix, they link to the main namespace of the related project. Examples of such prefixes include m: (or meta:) for Meta, mw: for MediaWiki, wikt: for Wiktionary, fr: for French Wikipedia, de: for German Wikipedia, etc.

For example, m:Meta:Babel and meta:meta:Babel both link to the "Babel" page in the project namespace (second prefix) of the Meta-Wiki project (first prefix). Another example: wikt:fr:Discuter:pied/fusion daf links to the "pied/fusion daf" page in the talk namespace (3rd prefix) of French (2nd prefix) Wiktionary (1st prefix). When making links to other language Wikipedias, remember to add an initial colon if the link is intended to appear inline.

As with aliases, it is not possible to create a page with a title beginning with an interwiki or interlanguage prefix. This includes the prefixes w: and en:, which are used in other projects to refer to English Wikipedia.

It is also not possible to create redirects to interwiki pages.



A list of all the namespaces is easy to find. (In two clicks: do an empty search, then click on Advanced under the search results box.) There are about twenty-six listed, representing every page in the database; but the list of the five or six pseudo-namespaces that represent hundreds of some of the most referenced, edited, and discussed administrative imperatives are shown in the list below, and also at Wikipedia:Shortcut#List of prefixes:

These save a considerable amount of typing when there are many references that will be made to the resulting page or section. An alias saves typing by shortening just the namespace, while pseudo-namespaces are involving the whole title plus often times a section heading. There is no more efficient way to shorten the necessary writing of the wikilinks to your area of interest, and they are case-insensitive.

To learn some shortcuts built from a particular pseudo-namespace, first follow the pseudo-namespace link above, then follow one of the shortcuts listed on that page. It will take you to the target, where you then notice any {{shortcut}} boxes to the right of the page, listing all the other shortcuts to that area. By observing these steps repeatedly, you can discover ways to shorten your typing. You will use pseudo-namespace names more often if you are an advancing editor and highly active in many namespaces, or if you are an editor who makes many links to a portal.

In the search box, an alias is a real namespace, resulting in a search for the pagename in its namespace, but the "pseudo-namespace:pagename" search is in mainspace, not its pseudo-namespace. For example, the search "H:S" will not search Help.

A pseudo-namespace with its attendant pseudo-pagename is a combination of a redirect and a shortcut. To understand the appropriateness of redirects of this type, see Wikipedia:Cross-namespace redirects. Shortcuts are to a namespace what a redirect is to mainspace, so shortcuts are discoverable by looking for redirects. Try the Special:Search engine Advanced interface, with the "redirects" check-box selected, and there is also the category Wikipedia redirects.

Every Wikimedia project has a "Transwiki:" pseudo-namespace for importing articles manually. A wiki project that would manually move many pages between sister projects uses this tag. Redirects/shortcuts are not directly involved here, as described above. Instead the article title is moved to "Transwiki:Pagename ", and that content is then copied and pasted into a new page name of that same title on the target wiki. When it is accepted the title is then moved out of the Transwiki space there and becomes a real pagename in an article space.

Case insensitivity

Standard namespace names, aliases and interwiki prefixes are case insensitive. The same applies to the first character after the colon. Hence the following all link to the same page:

Namespace-dependent functionality

The namespace name is a useful variable for searching in and reporting on sets of pages. It is also used to apply features that configure the sets of pages in one namespaces differently from another namespace. Using the namespace name MediaWiki can:

  • Search for pages in a particular namespace only.
  • Report on content or changes in content of a namespace.
  • Enable or disable the subpage feature, per namespace.
  • Offer a random article for the main page ([[Special:Random]]), or for a namespace [[Special:Random/Namespace]].
  • Change the functionality of [[wikilink]] if it targets the Category namespace or File namespace. Normally wikilinks are activated by the mouse, but [[Category:Pagename]] activates software functionality when the page is saved, and [[File:Page name]] activates software functionality when the page is rendered.
  • Change the functionality of {{pagename}} so that it defaults to the set of pagenames in Template.
  • Tailor messages to a particular namespace's edit page, informing an editor of certain aspects about the content of that namespace. Such a message is different from the template message on a particular page of a namespace. Messages and are triggered by variables that can use a namespace name.

The namespace functionality is often visible in the URL, where you will see a namespace number. These are given in the table below.

Subpages are configured for all namespaces except Main, File, MediaWiki and Category namespaces. Subpages are configured in the software by enabling or disabling the subpage feature per namespace. This further extends the function of a namespace by extending the types of pages or topics of pages a namespace can home. For example, talk page /archives are subpages, and they are both namespace searchable and page name searchable from the search box, unlike history pages, which are in no namespace. Another example is in the Template namespace where it is routine to put the documentation in a subpage called /doc.

Random pages are enabled, in the default software configuration, only for the mainspace.

Searching and reporting can operate over the entire database, or they can be limited to a namespace, and so they will offer a list of all the namespaces currently configured. Special:WhatLinksHere also offers a list of namespaces.


The 26 namespaces in Wikipedia are numbered for programming purposes. The prefix for each namespace is generated by a variable in the form {{ns:xx}}, as shown in the table below.

Namespace variable Result (namespace name) Namespace variable Result (namespace name)
{{ns:-2}} Media {{ns:-1}} Special
{{ns:0}} (main namespace, returns empty string) {{ns:1}} Talk
{{ns:2}} User {{ns:3}} User talk
{{ns:4}} GC-Forever Wiki {{ns:5}} GC-Forever Wiki talk
{{ns:6}} File {{ns:7}} File talk
{{ns:8}} MediaWiki {{ns:9}} MediaWiki talk
{{ns:10}} Template {{ns:11}} Template talk
{{ns:12}} Help {{ns:13}} Help talk
{{ns:14}} Category {{ns:15}} Category talk
{{ns:100}} {{ns:101}}
{{ns:108}} {{ns:109}}
{{ns:446}} {{ns:447}}
{{ns:710}} {{ns:711}}
{{ns:828}} {{ns:829}}

Alternative variables are available for most namespaces, for example {{ns:talk}}, {{ns:user}}, and {{ns:user_talk}} for {{ns:1}}, {{ns:2}} and {{ns:3}}. The portal and book namespaces are numbered in the 100-plus range as are all MediaWiki nonstandard namespaces.

All namespaces with a positive number or zero in this list are searchable. Specifically, the Media and Special namespaces are not searchable.

The magic word {{NAMESPACE}} returns the namespace prefix of the current page. This can be used in combination with other magic words and parser functions to change the appearance of templates depending on the namespace in which they are transcluded.

Meta-templates have been created to simplify this process. These include the simple template {{main other}}, and the more complex and versatile {{namespace detect}}.

For information on changing the appearance of a page or template by namespace based on CSS, see CSS-based namespace detection on the Meta help page.

See also