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See also Help:Namespace, Wikimedia:Help:Namespace

Like all wikis using the MediaWiki software, Wikipedia has 18 built-in namespaces: the main namespace, where page names have no prefix, and 17 auxiliary types, each with its own prefix. In addition, there are 2 custom namespaces, with their own prefixes.

The concept of namespaces is similar to programming language namespaces and general namespaces.

Basic namespaces

The main namespace or article namespace is the encyclopedia proper (see Special:Allpages). It is the default namespace and does not use a prefix.

The project namespace (prefix Wikipedia:, also called the Wikipedia namespace) is a namespace that provides information about Wikipedia and how to use it. The page you are now reading is located in the project namespace.

The portal namespace (prefix Portal:) is for reader-oriented portals that help readers find and browse through articles related to a specific subject. It also may contain links to encourage readers to contribute to relevant WikiProjects (see, for example, Portal:Cricket or Portal:Association football).

The user namespace (prefix User:) is a namespace that provides pages for Wikipedia users' personal presentations and auxiliary pages for personal use, for example containing bookmarks to favorite pages. If you see in the RecentChanges list that the user named "Jimbo" has updated some pages, this user name is a link not to Jimbo but to user:Jimbo. (See Special:Listusers).

The image namespace (prefix Image:, also called image description pages) is a namespace that provides info about images and sound clips, one page for each, with a link to the image or sound clip itself. See Special:Imagelist. There are three versions of links to images and sound files:

  1. [[Image:Foobar.jpg]] will insert the image directly into the page (not for sound files)
  2. [[Media:Foobar.jpg]] will make a text link to the image or sound clip
  3. [[:Image:Foobar.jpg]] will make a text link to the image description page

The MediaWiki namespace (prefix MediaWiki:) is a namespace containing interface texts such as link labels and messages. They are used for adjusting the localisation (i.e. local version) of interface messages without waiting for a new LanguageXx.php file to get installed. Each label and message has a separate page. Pages in this namespace are protected by default. An automatically generated list of all interface messages is at Special:Allmessages.

The Template namespace (formerly part of the MediaWiki namespace) is used to define a standard text which can then be conveniently added within pages, either the text itself at the time of adding, or a reference to the text at the time of viewing the page. The latter way effectively changes all such occurrences of the standard text automatically by just editing the page where the text is defined. These are listed at Wikipedia:Template messages and Wikipedia:Navigational templates. The majority of this type is not protected.

The Category namespace contains categories of pages, with each displaying a list of pages in that category and optional additional text.

A new addition is the Help namespace. Help pages previously in the Wikipedia namespace, and at Meta, may be moved here at some point in the future, but the namespace has not yet been implemented on all Wikimedia projects.

Talk namespaces

Except for special pages, each namespace has an associated talk namespace. The talk namespaces are designated by adding talk: to the normal prefix. For example, the talk namespace associated with the main article namespace has the prefix Talk:, while the talk namespace associated with the user namespace has the prefix User 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 a box saying "You have new messages" on every page that they view until they visit their talk page.

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, like [[Special:Recentchanges]], except when they have parameters; then, the full URL must be given, like an external link. For example,, which returns the last 10 changes.

A redirect to a Special page is not recommended because of its complications.

The Media: namespace can be used to link directly to an image or sound clip, rather than to the image description page. See information above on the image: namespace.


The WP pseudo-namespace (also called WP shortcuts) appears to be a namespace with the prefix WP:. In reality, there is no such namespace.

The WP: pages are actually pages in the article namespace with the 'WP:' prefix. However, they all redirect to the project namespace, thus they effectively create a namespace. For example, WP:WINAD redirects to Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The pseudo-namespace provides easily remembered shortcuts for frequently-visited pages in the project namespace.

The transwiki namespace is a cross-project pseudo-namespace used for temporarily storing articles which need to be moved from one Wikimedia project to another. See transwiki in the Meta-Wiki for a full explanation.

Non-standard namespaces

[[Talk:Wikipedia:Namespace]] is an example of a non-standard (and not recommended) talk page name, which is discussed further at m:Talk:En:Talk:Wikipedia:Namespace; a page which is special itself, in that the link that is supposed to be to the corresponding article on meta is an interwiki link to the non-standard talk page on Wikipedia.

The Image:Image: namespace was never standard, and is no longer functional as of MediaWiki 1.3.


The 16+2+2 namespaces in Wikipedia are shown here along with the variables which refer to them.

{{ns:-2}} Media
{{ns:-1}} Special
{{ns:0}} (main namespace, for regular Wikipedia articles)
{{ns:1}} Talk (discussion pages for regular Wikipedia articles)
{{ns:2}} User
{{ns:3}} User talk
{{ns:4}} ConRunner
{{ns:5}} ConRunner 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

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