Help:Collections/Frequently Asked Questions

Printed books

See About collections printed as books

PDF export

Why are pages displayed differently than 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 pages that use HTML instead of MediaWiki markup.

How can I improve the appearance?

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

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 the proprietary Microsoft Word file format.

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?

OpenOffice, KOffice or others. There also is an ODF-AddIn for Microsoft Word. Moreover, Microsoft Office 2007 with the latest service pack now supports the OpenDocument format.

Collection tool

Where can I find stored collections?

All stored collections are placed in Category:Collections and can be browsed at Wikibooks:Collections.

How do the exports comply with license requirements?

PDF export

  • link to each page and its version
  • all contributors are mentioned
  • images are linked to their image page on the wiki
  • inclusion of the CC-BY-SA (English)

Printed books

  • URL of each page and its version
  • all contributors are mentioned
  • 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 collection 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 collection?

  • If you saved your collection in your userspace (e.g. User:USERNAME/Collections/My book), you can simply request deletion by placing {{speedy|user request}} on top of the page.
  • If you saved your book in the Wikibooks namespace (e.g. Wikibooks:Collections), several options are possible.
    • If you created the book by mistake or as a test, place {{speedy|test page}} at the top of the page
    • If you created a book, and no one else edited the book, place {{speedy|author request}} at the top of the page
    • If someone else (other than bots) edited the page, then you need to follow the steps listed at Requests for Deletion (RFD).

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 pages, 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 that generation of large PDFs can take a long time and results in high server load. Dividing 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.