Subject namespaces Talk namespaces
0 (Main/Article) Talk 1
2 User User talk 3
4 Wikipedia Wikipedia 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 Portal Portal talk 101
118 Draft Draft talk 119
710 TimedText TimedText talk 711
828 Module Module talk 829
Former namespaces
108 Book Book talk 109
442 Course Course talk 443
444 Institution Institution talk 445
446 Education Program Education Program talk 447
2300 Gadget Gadget talk 2301
2302 Gadget definition Gadget definition talk 2303
2600 Topic 2601
Virtual namespaces
-1 Special
-2 Media
Current list (API call)

A Wikipedia namespace is a set of Wikipedia pages whose names begin with a particular reserved word recognized by the MediaWiki software (followed by a colon). For example, in the user namespace all titles begin with the prefix User:. In the case of the article (or main) namespace, in which encyclopedia articles appear, the reserved word and colon are absent. (Note: main space articles can optionally include a colon at the beginning with no reserved word, so [[Article]] and [[:Article]] are equivalent. This is usually only necessary for the advanced technique of transcluding a main space article into a page in another namespace.)

Wikipedia has 26 current namespaces: 12 subject namespaces, 12 corresponding talk namespaces, and 2 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 as well as 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.

Previously, the Topic namespace was available for the Flow project but it has since been turned off on this wiki.

Subject namespaces

This page is in the Wikipedia namespace.

Namespaces allow for the organization and separation of content pages from administration pages. Namespaces separate data into core sets, those intended for public viewing, and those intended for the editing community. Wikipedia's subject namespaces and their functions are listed below. A brief description is provided, but see the link for more information.

A namespace is sometimes called a space, for short, as in "Project space". A subject page and its talk page form a pair.

Current namespaces

  • Main namespace (no prefix): contains all encyclopedia articles, lists, disambiguation pages, and encyclopedia redirects. Sometimes referred to as "mainspace" or "Article".
  • 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, policies, guidelines, essays, processes, discussion, etc. Namespace aliases: WP: or Project:
  • File namespace (prefix File:): contains description pages for media files (images, videos, and audio files). A link starting with [[File: will display the media at that position on the page instead of showing a wikilink that leads to the specified file description page, so if you want the latter effect, use a link beginning with [[:File: (the colon trick). Namespace alias: Image:
  • 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 against editing by regular users. 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. Namespace alias: TM:
  • 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 are curated lists of related pages and subcategories, along with optional additional text. A link beginning with [[Category: has the effect of adding the page the link appears on to the specified category; it will not result in a wikilink to the category page itself. If you want the latter, use the colon trick: [[:Category:.
  • Portal namespace (prefix Portal:): for reader-oriented portals that help readers find articles related to a specific topic, and may contain links to encourage contributions to relevant WikiProjects. See, for example, Portal:Cricket and Portal:Spaceflight.
  • Draft namespace (prefix Draft:): hosts drafts of new (potential) Wikipedia articles.
  • 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.

Former namespaces

The following namespaces previously existed but no longer do:

  • Flow namespace (prefix Topic:) was a proposed talk page replacement, formerly installed on English Wikipedia by Extension:StructuredDiscussions. It is no longer installed after being rejected by the community.
  • Education Program namespace (prefix Education Program:): uninstalled in 2018, and replaced with the Programs & Events Dashboard.[1][2] However, the namespace was re-added later that year to allow access to old talk pages in the Education program talk: namespace. The namespace was then uninstalled again in 2021 after the remaining talk pages were moved to subpages of Wikipedia talk:Education program archive.
  • Book namespace (prefix Book:): contained entries for Wikipedia books, collections of articles about one theme, which were used to generate downloadable files or printable documents or order books from PediaPress. In 2017, the online book rendering service was withdrawn, leading to the removal of most links leading to the namespace in 2019. The namespace and its transclusions were still retained in the hope that the WMF would come up with a solution,[3] but in 2021 the namespace was uninstalled after all remaining books were moved to subpages of Wikipedia:Books/archive.
  • Gadget namespace (prefix Gadget:):[4] was intended to store Gadgets, which are small snippets enabled in user preferences, but was never used for anything other than redirects to the video game Gadget: Invention, Travel, & Adventure, and for most of its existence could only be edited by WMF staff. Gadgets currently use the MediaWiki namespace with the MediaWiki:Gadget- page name prefix. It was a custom namespace installed by the Gadget extension.
  • Gadget definition namespace (prefix Gadget definition:): installed but never used; see above for more information. Gadget definitions currently use the MediaWiki:Gadgets-definition page.

Aliases and pseudo-namespaces

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 its 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 and the former Topic: namespace) 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 will see an orange box saying "You have new messages" on the top of every page that they view until they visit their talk page. By default, logged-in users will see a red notification square and a small orange box on the top right hand corner of the page; IP users will only see a wide orange box spanning the top of the page. (Minor edits made by bots no longer set off the new message bar. For logged-in users, the new-message bar may be disabled in Special:Preferences.)

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

In addition to subject namespaces, and their corresponding talk pages, there are two virtual namespaces (without corresponding talk pages) for specialist purposes:


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,, which returns the last ten changes in the last three days.

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.

Aliases and pseudo-namespaces

Aliases and pseudo-namespaces are not namespaces in themselves; their main role is to provide handy ways to link to actual namespaces, by providing shortened links.

The main difference between them being the way they work for this purpose; while aliases directly link to namespaces, pseudo-namespaces can only link to other namespaces by using specialist redirect pages in the main namespace called shortcuts. While aliases are also used for shortcuts, this isn't necessary if the pagename is not shortened.

Pseudo-namespaces all actually reside in main namespace; but a pseudo-namespace called Transwiki: exists as a pseudo-namespace before being moved to another namespace.


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

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

These aliases are automatically translated by the Wikipedia servers to the proper namespace prefix. So if a link is made to a page title beginning with one of these aliases, or else entered in the search box or used in a URL in a browser address bar, the alias links to the page with the corresponding true namespace prefix. Hence entering WP:External links or Project:External links is equivalent to entering Wikipedia:External links; and entering WT:External links or Project talk:External links is equivalent to entering Wikipedia talk:External links.

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

This is very handy for the creation of shortcuts. For example, the shortcut for this section is WP:ALIAS, as shown in the right-side box. When the link is clicked, it is automatically translated to Wikipedia:ALIAS. At this page is a redirect to Wikipedia:Namespace § Aliases. This means that the shortcut goes directly to this section from anywhere on Wikipedia. It can also be entered as a URL in the browser address bar as .


Apart from Wikipedia's 24 regular namespaces and their aliases, and 2 virtual ones, there are several title prefixes appearing in shortcut redirects pointing to frequently-referred-to Wikipedia pages. These prefixes are referred to as pseudo-namespaces and include the following:

A more complete list is available at Wikipedia:Shortcut § List of prefixes.

Pseudo-namespaces are not in any way recognised by the wiki software; they are purely a community custom. Titles in pseudo-namespaces actually belong technically in the main (article) namespace and are treated as such by the software: they are case-sensitive and appear in search results restricted to the main namespace. An alias is treated like 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, searching for "H:S" will not search Help.

To learn some of these shortcuts, first follow the pseudo-namespace link above, then follow one of the redirects listed on that page. It will take you to the target, where you then notice any {{shortcut}} boxes to the right of the page, which may also list some additional shortcuts to that same 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 advanced editor, highly active in many namespaces, or constantly linking to pages that have a pseudo-namespace shortcut.

To understand the appropriateness of redirects of this type, see Wikipedia:Cross-namespace redirects. All shortcuts are discoverable by searching for redirects. There is also the category Wikipedia redirects.

As a final example, every Wikimedia Foundation project has a "Transwiki:" pseudo-namespace (sometimes a real 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 page title is moved to "Transwiki:namespace:pagename", and that content is then copied and pasted into a new page name of that temporary title on the target wiki. When it is accepted, the title is then moved out of the Transwiki pseudo-namespace there and becomes a real page name in its respective namespace.

Interwiki and interlanguage prefixes do not define namespaces, but point to pages in other Wikimedia projects, outside the website. They are mentioned here because they use a namespace-like prefix technique for linking. Examples of interwiki prefixes include w: for Wikipedia; m: (or meta:) for Meta-Wiki, mw: for MediaWiki, and wikt: for Wiktionary. Examples of interlanguage prefixes include en: for English language, fr: for French language, and de: for German language.

Important points to note:

  • In the presence of an interwiki prefix and the absence of an interlanguage prefix, the link will be to a specified project in the current language. So [[w:Internet]] links to "Internet" on the English Wikipedia, if the link is on any English-language Wikimedia project.
  • In the presence of an interlanguage prefix and the absence of an interwiki prefix, the link will be to a specified language in the current project. So [[:en:Internet]] will link to "Internet" on the English Wikipedia, if the link is on a Wikipedia project in any language.

When making links to other language Wikipedias, add an initial colon if you want the link to appear inline rather than in the skin's sidebar under "Languages"; see Help:Colon trick for an explanation. So [[:de:Internet]] is an inline link to "Internet" in the German Wikipedia; but if using an interwiki prefix this is unnecessary, for example [[w:de:Internet]] is the same inline link.

Further examples:

  • m:Meta:Babel and meta:Meta:Babel both link to the "Babel" page in the project namespace (Meta:, the 2nd prefix) of Meta-Wiki (m: or meta:, the 1st prefix).
  • wikt:fr:Discuter:pied/fusion daf links to the "pied/fusion daf" page in the talk namespace (Discuter:, the 3rd prefix) of French (fr:, the 2nd prefix) Wiktionary (wikt:, the 1st prefix).

Interwiki prefixes are not just for Wikimedia projects. For example, Dictionary: is the interwiki link for (the DICT Development Group). For a complete list of interwiki prefixes, see the interwiki map and interwiki table.

As with aliases, it is not possible to create a page with a title beginning with an interwiki or interlanguage prefix. It is also not possible to create redirects to interwiki pages, unless it is a soft redirect.

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 namespace 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 mainspace ([[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 edit notices to a particular namespace's edit page, informing an editor of certain aspects about the content of that namespace.
  • Allow templates to behave differently on pages of different namespaces.

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

Namespace variable Result (namespace name) Namespace variable Result (talk 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}} Wikipedia {{ns:5}} Wikipedia 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}} Portal {{ns:101}} Portal talk
{{ns:118}} Draft {{ns:119}} Draft talk
{{ns:710}} TimedText {{ns:711}} TimedText talk
{{ns:828}} Module {{ns:829}} Module talk

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 namespace is numbered in the 100-plus range, as are all MediaWiki nonstandard namespaces. It is also possible to use {{Namespace name}} for this, i.e. "{{Namespace name|711}}" produces "TimedText talk".

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 section of Identifying namespaces on the MediaWiki help page.

See also