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Printed books

See About printed PhysicsWiki-Books

PDF export

Why are articles displayed differently from the way they are in the browser?

Books have no scroll bars, while a browser does, so printed content needs to be split up on several pages. To get an acceptable typesetting result, some page elements need to be displayed differently. This may result in some unexpected layouts, especially for tables and parts of wiki articles that use HTML instead of MediaWiki markup.

How can I improve the appearance?

You can edit the wiki articles themselves to make them print better. See Help for Experts for some ideas.

How do I purge (get the edited pages to appear in the rendered file)?

Some possibilities include:

  • Wait for a few hours or days.
  • Save the book (if you haven't already), and introduce/remove a chapter title or make another change that forces a new rendering of at least the modified chapter(s). Download.

OpenDocument Text export

What is OpenDocument Text?

The OpenDocument format (ODF) is an XML-based file format originally created and implemented by the office suite. It is a free and open OASIS standard aimed to replace proprietary file formats such as Microsoft Word .doc and .docx formats.

Storing books in this format is useful if one wants to modify the books. This option allows editors to generate arbitrarily styled books with additional content. Teachers may find this useful.

Which software is required to open this file?

OpenDocument files can be opened with most modern word-processing software, including: OpenOffice, LibreOffice, KOffice, Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 and later. There also is an ODF-AddIn for earlier versions of Microsoft Word.


What is a ZIM file?

A ZIM file is a file using the ZIM open format. This format was created to store Wikimedia projects content for offline reading and retrieval for use on computers, mobile devices, etc. It allows for both a high compression and a rapid retrieval of articles.

Which software is required to open a ZIM file?

Any ZIM file reader will be able to help you. Kiwix is the most used and is available to download for Windows, MacOSX. GNU/Linux or Android.

Book tool

Where can I find stored books ?

All stored books are placed in Category:PhysicsWiki books. There is also a bookshelf which allows users to explore the list of compiled and shared books.

How do the exports comply with license requirements?

PDF export

  • link to each article and its version
  • only the wiki contributors are mentioned. If some page has content adapted from other sources, their authors are not mentioned (Bug 28064).
  • images are linked to their image page on the wiki
    Warning: Authors and licenses of images are not part of the PDF. Therefore, these PDFs cannot be distributed without further manipulation if they contain images.
  • inclusion of the CC-BY-SA (English)

Printed books

  • URL of each article and its version
  • only the wiki contributors are mentioned. If some page has content adapted from other sources, their authors are not mentioned (Bug 28064).
  • URL of each image
  • all contributors of an image are mentioned
  • license name of the image is mentioned
  • inclusion of the CC-BY-SA (English)

Can I use the book tool with my MediaWiki installation?

Yes, the book tool is based on the open source project mwlib. The MediaWiki component Collection extension works out of the box with most MediaWikis and the PediaPress service.

How do I delete my book?

  • If you saved your book in your userspace (e.g. User:USERNAME/Books/My book), you can simply request deletion by placing {{db-u1}} on top of the page.
  • If you saved your book in the book namespace (e.g. Book:Foobar), several options are possible.
    • If you created the book by mistake or as a test, place {{db-test}} at the top of the page
    • If you created a book, and no one else edited the book, place {{db-author}} at the top of the page
    • If someone else (other than bots) edited the page, then you need to follow the steps listed at Miscellany for Discussion (MFD). If you think the deletion would be non-controversial, you can follow the steps at Proposed Deletion (for books) (BPROD).

Known limitations

Skin support

The tool currently only works with the Monobook, Modern and Vector skins.

Limitation of the book size

Printed books can not contain more than 500 articles, will contain 800 pages per volume (books more than 800 pages long will be split over two or more volumes). The A5 books have approximately double the number of pages than the equivalent A4 PDF.

Please keep in mind, generation of large PDFs can take a long time and results in high server load. Dividing article collections into multiple books might be a solution.

Infoboxes and large tables

Infoboxes and other large tables are printed at full page size, not "floated" to the side as on the Web. This is a result of the limited size of A5 paper: if the infobox was shrunk to fit, the text within would be illegible.


CSS and HTML used in the wiki markup are only partially evaluated when generating PDFs. Templates can be adjusted for print to avoid some of the problems, see Help for Experts for details.

TeX formulas

In PDF exports, math-tags are rendered as raster images and not in print-quality due to technical limitations.

Bugs and general feedback

Bugs, feature requests and questions are best reported at the Feedback page.