Help:Page history

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If you want to view a page's history, go to the page (e.g., Cat) and click the "View history" tab in the upper-right section of the screen.

File:Using the view history tab on Wikipedia.webm

A page history shows the order in which edits were made to any editable AARoads Wiki page, the difference between any two revisions, and a menu of special external tools. A page history is sometimes called revision history or edit history.

You can view a page's history by clicking the "View history" tab at the top of the associated page (pictured right). See § Mobile version for the mobile version of the site which works differently.

The page history contains a list of the page's previous revisions, including the date and time—in UTC by default—of each edit, the username of the user who made the change, and an optional edit summary that briefly describes or explains the change. For example, the page history for this help page shows it was first created on September 20, 2004, and that it has been changed more than 500 times since then.

Using a history page


On a history page:

  • All past changes to the page in question are listed in reverse-chronological order.
  • To view a specific revision, click a date.
  • To compare an old revision with the current revision, go to the old revision, click cur.
  • To compare a revision with its predecessor, click prev.
  • To compare two specific revisions, click the left-column radio button of the older revision and the right-column radio button of the newer revision, and then click the "Compare selected revisions" button.
  • To undo (revert) your own or someone else's edit, click the "undo" link. See Help:Undo for more information.

Below is a detailed example of a page history using the default skin:

MediaWiki 1.21wmf3 page history screenshot.svg

The edits are listed in chronological order from newest to oldest, and are displayed with each edit being their own row in the list, with each row taking up one line of text. Each entry in the edit history will show the time and date that the edit was applied, the username of the contributor who saved the edit, the total size of the resulting page text (in bytes), the net size difference (in bytes) that the changes made from the edit resulted on the page [note 1], the edit summary that was added by the contributor, as well as other technical and diagnostic information. Let's look at some of the functions of this page:

  1. The "View history" tab is highlighted and "Revision history" is appended to the page name. Notice that you can't make wikilinks to this extended page name – to make a link to the history page, copy the URL from the browser address bar when viewing the history page, and paste it between single square brackets (external link format) to make the link. {{History}} can also be used.
  2. The year and month fields allow a quick jump when the page has many revisions. After entering a year and/or selecting a month, click the "Go" button to the right.
  3. The "Tag filter" restricts the display to show only those edits that have been tagged by an edit filter. For example, "references removed" may be entered here. After entering a tag name, click the "Go" button to the right.
  4. The "Deleted only" checkbox is only shown to administrators and others with the deletedhistory user right. It displays RevisionDeleted edits.
  5. A line of links to external tools. The available tools vary between wikis. The line is made by MediaWiki:Histlegend which can be edited by administrators.
  6. These links take you to the most recent edits (latest), oldest edits (earliest) or the next or previous page of edits (newer n / older n). Note that the black text in brackets will become links, when applicable.
  7. The blue numbers list the number of edits displayed on a page - 20, 50, 100, 250 or 500. A higher number increases the length of a page, but reduces the number of pages. The number you select replaces n in the links to the previous or next pages e.g. (newer 100 / older 100). Manipulating the limit term in the URL lets you set this number as high as 5000.
  8. (cur) takes you to a diff page, showing the difference between that edit and the current revision. The current revision appears below the changes, so you can see how the page is now rendered.
  9. (prev) takes you to a diff page showing the changes between that edit and the previous revision. The most recent revision (the one on the same line as the "prev" you clicked on) appears below the changes, so you can see how the page was rendered.
  10. The two columns of radio buttons can be used to select any two revisions on the page. The current selection is marked by a special background. The two most recent revisions are selected by default when you first view the history (that is why they appear framed and have a different background, see horizontal area below 4). Let's say you want to compare the revisions corresponding to numbers 10 & 11 on the image. First, click the left radio button next to number 11. The right column of buttons will then fill as far as number 11. Then click the right button next to number 10. Finally, click Compare selected revisions. This takes you to a diff page showing the changes between the two revisions. The most recent revision (in this case number 10) appears below the changes, so you can see how the page was rendered.
  11. This gives the time and date of the edit. The time is the Eastern Time Zone by default on the AARoads Wiki, though some tools may use UTC. Registered users can choose date format and time zone at Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-rendering. One format also displays seconds. The date and time contains a link to that revision of the page. Thus the first line links to the revision that was current at the time of loading this revision history, and therefore the result may differ from that of following the link on the page margin to the current revision. Even if the page has not changed in the meantime, the message with id 'Revision-info' (talk) appears.
  12. The username or IP of the contributor appears here.
  13. m stands for minor edit.
  14. The size of the page in bytes (roughly corresponding to characters)
  15. The difference in size between this revision and the previous revision. A green number with a plus sign (+1,864) indicates that the edit added this number of bytes (roughly corresponding to characters) to the page, while a red number with a minus sign (−29) indicates removal. See more at Help:Added or removed characters.
  16. This is the edit summary. It is the text the user wrote in the edit summary box (below the edit box).
  17. This edit summary begins with an arrow link and grey text. This means the user has only edited a section of the page (named in the grey text). This text is automatically added when you edit a section. The arrow links to that section of the current revision of the page, and not the revision where the arrow was clicked. A standard edit summary can be added by the user. This appears in black text.

Not shown in this example: some edits may be automatically tagged by the abuse filter (example: (Tag: references removed)); any tags applied appear after the edit summary. Tags cannot be added or removed manually, and are intended to help editors identify potential problem edits for examination; they do not prove that an edit is problematic.

It is possible to restore an old revision of a page by following the link to that revision, clicking "edit" and then saving. This should be done with caution, as it means that all changes made to the page since the time of that revision will be undone.

In rare cases, all or part of a page history entry may be shown in grey, struck out by a horizontal line. This indicates that information has been hidden from public view by an administrator. See Revision deletion and Oversight for more on this.

Searching and exporting histories

Another useful tool is the Special:Export page, which is used to produce an XML file with the wikitext of the current and (optionally) all old revisions of one or more specified pages, with date, time, username, and edit summary. How the XML file is displayed depends on the browser (it can also be saved locally for later searching and analysis). For more information on this feature, see Help:Export.

The following may also be useful:

Some page histories (such as AARoads:The Interchange) are very long, so that paging back even 500 results at a time cannot practically reach a date from several years ago. It is possible to simply change the date (YYYYMMDD) in the URL in these cases (, for example) to get a listing of results going back from that date.

Web feeds

A link to an Atom web feed for the history of a page is available from the lefthand Toolbox. This gives the diffs of the last 10 edits, each with a link to the ordinary, full diff page. Depending on the browser there may be possibilities such as sorting by author.

An RSS version of the feed can be obtained by assigning to feed (one of the parameters to index.php available for a history page the value rss, i.e., by replacing &feed=atom with &feed=rss in the Atom feed link.

Mobile version

In the mobile version, click "Last edited" near the bottom of a page to see the page history. Registered users may also have a "History" link or icon OOjs UI icon history.svg at the top of mobile pages.

Other parts of this page describe the desktop version of the site. It looks different from the mobile version and has more interface features. Mobile users can switch to the desktop version by clicking "Desktop" at the bottom of any page.

Related issues

Moved and deleted pages

When a page is moved (renamed), the entire edit history of the article, before and after the move, is shown. The old title becomes a redirect and loses its edit history.

To view a history of only moves and no other edits, go to Special:Log/move and input the name of the article in the "target" field.

If instead of a move, the entire content was cut, copied, and pasted into a new substitute article, the page history gets spread across two articles. The histories can be merged in this case.

When two pages are merged, typically one becomes a redirect. In this case, the revision history of the redirect is kept.

When a page is deleted, its revision history remains in the database and can be retrieved by an administrator, who can also undelete the page (see Help:Viewing and restoring deleted pages).

Administrators can also remove selected revisions from a page history, for example if they contain defamatory text. For details, see selective deletion.

Image histories

An "image" (in the broad sense of an uploaded file) can be edited, or, more generally, be replaced by a different image, by uploading a new image file with the same name. Again, all revisions are kept. The image history listing forms part of the image description page, which appears when clicking on the image. The image history consists of this and the old revisions themselves.

Images which have been deleted from their source are only available to administrators (not to be confused with images removed from an article but not from their source), so the only record available is the upload log, deletion log and possibly the "votes for deletion" archive. Only administrators can restore a deleted image without uploading it again.

Linking to a specific revision of a page

It is sometimes useful to link to a specific revision of an article—this is called a "permanent link". For example, one might have done a review of an AARoads Wiki article and want to indicate which particular revision was reviewed.

Getting a link to an older revision of a page

A permanent link to the current revision of an article is normally available from the sidebar, under Tools ⇒ Permanent link. For other namespaces, or if the revision to be linked to is not the current revision, use the page's History tab to navigate to the specific revision required. The URL here will be suitable for use to permanently reference this revision, and can usually be obtained from the browser's location bar. To make a permalink for use within the AARoads Wiki, use Template:Oldid2.

A permalink does not necessarily reproduce the historical revision of the page as it originally appeared. This is because images, templates (transcluded text and images), and time-based variables (such as CURRENTTIME) may have changed in the interim; they appear in their current state, not their historical state. Only the on-page text of the article (the wikitext that one sees when clicking 'Edit') is preserved perfectly.

Copyright status of old page revisions

Those wishing to make use of historical revisions of articles should be aware that some of the history may be problematic.

As noted at the end of each history revision, in the text at MediaWiki:history copyright, the page histories may contain material that is incompatible with our license. Although all contributions are supposed to be compatible with CC BY-SA (except limited, clearly marked fair use material in accordance with our non-free content policy), it is possible that a user has inserted something to which they did not have rights to license or which exceeds fair use. The AARoads volunteer community has a general policy of removing such copyright problems from publication when they are discovered, but does not have a general policy of always deleting all such material from the history, particularly if the edit is made to an existing article rather than a new one. In the event of a DMCA takedown notice, administrators may remove violating revisions from the page history. In other cases, the revision may be kept to allow proper tracking of authors and demonstrate compliance with all legal requirements. As the Wikimedia Foundation is a not-for-profit company, the volunteer community believes this to be fair use. However, not all revisions in a page history are necessarily available under the CC BY-SA.

See also


  1. ^ This will either be a positive number colored in green if the net difference added more text to the page than removed, a negative number colored in red if the net difference removed more text to the page than added, or zero and colored grey if the net changes did not modify the total size of the page at all)