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Wiki Help Gotoarrow.png Help:Watching a Page Gotoarrow.png Diff

Help-content.png This help article will guide you as you edit in the Wiki. See Contributor Help for more help articles.

A diff is a page or panel showing the difference between two versions of the Wikitext of an editable page.

Links to the diffs corresponding to specific edits appear in various lists, including page histories, user contributions, Recent changes, Related changes (located under the Tool Box in the Navigation bar), and Watchlists. There may also be links to the diffs between the specified version and the current (last) version. On page histories it is possible to generate a diff between any two versions – select the left Radio button[1] for the older version, the right Radio button for the newer version, and click "Compare selected versions".

Diffs can also be displayed while editing a page, through the "Show changes" button, to see clearly what changes you are about to make. The diff is also shown during an edit conflict, so you can see what you need to reintegrate.

How it looks[edit | edit source]

This example shows the top of the diff page (some of the links are dummies). The older version is shown on the left, the newer version on the right.

Revision as of 22:32, Aug 03, 2008 (edit)

Tim Starling (Talk | contribs)
(Edit summaries in diffs are great)
Previous edit

Revision as of 00:10, Aug 18, 2008 (edit) ([Help:Reverting Content to Previous Version|undo]])

Angela (Talk | contribs) [rollback]
m (correction, + MediaWiki User's Guide)
Next edit

Line 8: Line 8:
For sysops, a [[en:Wikipedia:revert|rollback]] button is shown allowing them to revert from the new version to the old one. For sysops, a [[en:Wikipedia:revert|rollback]] button is shown allowing them to revert from the new version to the old one.
- This is only shown when viewing the diff between the current version and the one immediately preceding it. + This is only shown when viewing the diff between the recent version of a page and the last version by an author other than the one of the most current version.
This example shows the top of the diff page, with links the described above. This example shows the top of the diff page, with links the described above.
Line 25: Line 25:
</table> </table>
+ [[MediaWiki User's Guide]]

Explanation of colours[edit | edit source]

Unchanged text is black on grey (only parts before and after changed text are shown). Paragraphs which have changed are highlighted in yellow on the old version side, and green on the new version side. Where whole paragraphs have been removed or inserted, the other side is blank (white). Removed text is shown in red on the old version. New text is shown in red on the new version.

Colour key
Old version New version
unchanged unchanged
paragraph changed paragraph changed
paragraph removed
paragraph added
removed text added text

Controls and links[edit | edit source]

The links "Revision as of date" link to each version. If the newer version is the latest one, the link will be to the usual page and the wording will be "Latest revision (of date)" instead.

The "(edit)" link will take you to the page for editing that version. You may be warned that you are editing an out-of-date revision; if you ignore this and continue, you will revert all the edits made since after that revision.

The "(undo)" link on the newer revision's side will revert that specific edit. When you click the link you can check the diff page of the edit you are going to make, and the edit summary will be automatically filled in with the phrase of MediaWiki:Undo-summary (Undo revision $1 by $2 (talk)). This summary can be edited before you submit your edit. When you are undoing several edits at once, the auto-summary may not work. Though the link exists on all diff pages, it does not function when the revisions conflict. Often versions older than the current one cannot be undone in this way. If it does not work, you will be told that the edit could not be undone and end up in the regular editing page of the current version.

Below there are links to the user page and talk page of the each user who edited the older or the newer versions. Links to the users' contribution lists are also shown. For administrators, a "[rollback]" button also appears where applicable, allowing them to revert all of the edits made by that contributor or user.

Then the edit summaries are shown in a parenthesis. If the user has used links in their edit summary, these act as links on the diff page as well. If the editor marked the edit as an minor edit, m appears before the summary.

The "Older edit" and "Newer edit" links lead to earlier or later diffs. When you are viewing the diff between two non-consecutive versions of a page, you will also see the message "(x intermediate revisions not shown.)".

After the table of differences, the latest of the two compared versions is shown fully, unless you have specified in your preferences that this is not to be done.

Linking to a diff[edit | edit source]

If you need to create a link to a specific diff (for use on a talk page or noticeboard, for example), then locate the diff from the page history, go to the diff page, and copy the URL[2] from your browser's address bar. Then paste this URL (all of it, including http://) into the text of the page where you want the link to appear, putting single square brackets [...] around it.

The URL for a diff is based on the oldid value of the old revision. If a revision has oldid value 12345678, so its URL is:


then URLs for issats diffs may take the forms:

  • diff with the current version:
  • diff with the previous version:
  • diff with version 10000001:

Deleted revisions[edit | edit source]

An administrator can see deleted revisions and diffs but those diffs can only be shared with other administrators. In order to allow all users to view the diff, the revisions in question need to be restored temporarily.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

When moving or copying a piece of text within a page or from another page, or when making other edits, it is useful to separate these edits. This way the diff function can be usefully applied for checking these other edits.

The diff shows differences per line. Some editors find that adding manual line breaks improves the diff function.

If you trying to find the point in a page's history where a particular change was made, and searching the edit summaries does not help, try taking the diff between points roughly 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through the history. From this diff, you can work out in which of the three parts of the history the change occurred. Repeat this process, narrowing the "search space" by a factor of three each time, until the precise edit where the change was made is identified. You can also use the external WikiBlame tool, which automates this searching process.

In the case of the Classic skin with quickbar, the diff page does not have the quickbar, to provide more space. Therefore the diff page is also useful for viewing the page on full screen width, without changing the preferences.

On a diff page sometimes the display may be wider than the screen, because there are two columns, but also because URLs (especially long ones) are not hidden. In such cases, you must then use the horizontal scrollbar of the browser to see all the display.

External links[edit | edit source]

Contributor Badge Template

Help-content.png Questions?
Visit the Get Help to receive help with contributing to the Wiki.

  1. Radio buttons are arranged in groups of two or more and displayed on screen as, for example, a list of circular holes that can contain white space (deselected) or a dot (selected). When the user selects a radio button, any previously selected radio button in the same group becomes deselected. Selecting a radio button is done by clicking the mouse on the button.
  2. The Uniform Resource Locater is the address of a specific website on the internet.