Manual:Skin configuration

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This page contains comprehensive information for administrators on how to configure skins on a wiki. Please refer to Help:Skins for general skin information and Manual:Skinning for developer information on creating new skins.

Installing skins[edit | edit source]

The MediaWiki tarball download comes with four skins: Vector (the default skin), MonoBook, Modern and Cologne Blue. If you have installed MediaWiki using it, you have the skins already!

If you've downloaded MediaWiki from Git or a nightly version, or if you want to install additional skins, you need to

  1. place the skin's files into a subdirectory under skins/ of your MediaWiki installation (you may also place the git repository there)
  2. add a require_once line to your LocalSettings.php file corresponding to the skin:
require_once "$IP/skins/Vector/Vector.php";
(This is identical to extension installation, only in a different directory.)

Detailed installation instructions are available on each skin's page here on, for example see Skin:Vector#Installation. Instructions for all other skins are analogous.

Setting the default skin for a wiki[edit | edit source]

A default skin should be set for new users of a wiki by setting the variable [[<tvar|defaultskin>Special:MyLanguage/Manual:$wgDefaultSkin|$wgDefaultSkin]]</> in LocalSettings.php to the lowercase skin name specified in the skin file. Users can still change their skin by going to their preferences page, unless you uninstall or suppress all other skins, or disable the preference altogether (see below). For example:

$wgDefaultSkin = 'vector';

Changing these value on an existing wiki will automatically change the setting of all users who have been using the previous default skin. There is a maintenance script to change users' preferences (userOptions.php), but you will most likely not need to use it.

If you do not change this value, Vector will be the default skin.

Uninstalling skins[edit | edit source]

To uninstall a skin, remove the require_once line from your LocalSettings.php file. You may remove the skin files from the skins/ directory afterwards.

If any users have been using the skin you just uninstalled, MediaWiki will automatically switch them to the default skin of the wiki.

Suppressing skins without uninstalling[edit | edit source]

The administrator can limit the skin choices that are offered site-wide in user's preferences by listing skin(s) to suppress in the $wgSkipSkins array. This might be useful if you want to test a new skin without letting users see it. To do this, put something like this in LocalSettings.php:

// To remove various skins from the User Preferences choices
$wgSkipSkins = array( "cologneblue", "monobook" );

You will be able to preview the skin using the useskin URL parameter.

Site-wide CSS modifications[edit | edit source]

MediaWiki allows administrators to specify site-wide CSS rules to be added to every page rendered. These rules can be added by editing the page Common.css on your wiki, if $wgUseSiteCss is set to true. In addition to a global stylesheet, one can also specify CSS rules to be used only in certain skins (see Manual:Interface/Stylesheets).

User CSS modifications[edit | edit source]

Users can also specify their own CSS rules by creating the page "User:Username/common.css". The CSS on this page is then applied to whatever skin the user is using. If the website is changed to a different default skin, the user's custom CSS will continue to work just as before. This feature can be enabled by setting $wgAllowUserCss to true in LocalSettings.php. A user can also apply CSS to a specific skin by creating the page "User:Username/skinname.css". If a user uses the MonoBook skin for example, they would edit the page Special:MyPage/monobook.css.

Disable site users' ability to choose skins in user preferences[edit | edit source]

MediaWiki version: 1.16

The system administrator can completely remove the "Skin" option so that it does not show up at all in User Preferences. This makes sense if your site will use a customized skin and would not look right in any other skin.

To do it, add a new line containing the following code to LocalSettings.php. It will remove the "Skin" option from preferences and the possibility to use the useskin parameter in the URL.

$wgHiddenPrefs[] = 'skin';