There are several reasons why you might wish to rename a page (one that you have found or created):
- The title has been misspelled.
- The title does not follow the wiki's naming conventions (such as Wikipedia's naming conventions or Wikibooks naming policy).
- The scope of the article has been reduced, extended or otherwise changed.
The terms "rename" and "move" mean the same in this context. They just refer to different models for picturing the operation:
- rename: keep the page but give it another name; the page history is now attached to the new name; the renaming with the specified reason is recorded as an entry in the page history; a new page with the old name is created which redirects to the new name; the edit summary of the page creation records the renaming with the specified reason.
- move: move the contents and the page history to a new page, adding an entry for the move; change the old page into a redirect; change the page history into one that only records the renaming.
The system applies the first of the two models. The entry in the page table connects a new page name to the page ID. The revision table just gets an entry about the move, nothing else, because the relation between page ID and revision IDs remains the same. The text table does not change at all, it relates a revision ID to the wikitext. This model avoids "changing the history".
A page can not be moved if it is in the image or category namespace. To change the name of an image, one needs to upload it again, and copy the image description. To change the name of a category, one needs to change all category tags, and copy the editable part.
- there is no button for this in the nostalgia skin;
- the button is in the quickbar, so this must be on.
With the correct page displayed, click on the "Move" tab near the top of the page. You'll be asked for a new name for the page, and given the option to also move the page's talk page. NOTE: Unless you know what you're doing, it's safest to say yes.
From MediaWiki 1.5 the reason for the move can be given, like an edit summary.
Click the "move page" button and the page will be renamed to the new title. The old title will become a redirect page, so any links to the old title will still go to the new page. However, note that double redirects (pages that redirect to the original page), will not automatically follow to the new page, so you will have to refer them manually (as explained at How to fix a double redirect and Checking for double redirects.)
The "move page" function keeps the entire edit history of the page, before and after the move, in one place, as if the page were always named that way. So, you should never just move a page by cutting all the text out of one page, and pasting it into a new one; old revisions, notes, and attributions are much harder to keep track of if you do that. (But you may have to if, for instance, you're splitting a page into multiple topics. If you do, be sure to include a note in the new page's edit summary and talk page stating where you took the text from.)
The move itself is recorded in the page history with an entry showing the Template:Msg.
Moving redirect pages
A page that is a redirect can be moved like any other page. This is however not advised while it has the same detrimental effect on page history as copy-pasting content to a new page, and making the old page a redirect: when moving a redirect page to a new page name, the redirect on the old page (now directing to the new redirect page) will have to be changed in order to avoid double redirects. So the content of the old page will no longer redirect to the page containing the history of that old page. The only effect is that the whereabouts of the page history of the old page (now seemingly a "recently created page") are a bit trickier to find, while on the other hand the new page has a history attached to it not clarifying why it would need to be a redirect page.
If a redirect page does not redirect to the page it would need to be redirecting to, the only viable strategy that respects page histories is to adapt the redirect on that page, without moving the page.
Moving over a redirect
If the new title already exists but is just a redirect to the old title, with just one line in the page history, the creation of the redirect, then you can rename the page. The most common case in which this applies is that of re-renaming a page back to its original name. As mentioned, this works only if the redirect that was automatically created in the first renaming, has not been edited.
The result is that the history of the page is preserved (note that you may have to refresh the history page on your browser), but without any sign of the two moves. The edit history of the page with the intermediate title shows the latest move only. The information about the first move (including user name, date and time) is lost: it is no longer in any page history or on any watchlist or Related Changes page, and not even in User contributions; only if the first move has been recent enough, then it is still available in the Recent Changes; how long depends on the edit activity on the site; e.g. one may be able to retrieve the edit lines of the last 2000 edits, which may cover months or just a few hours. To avoid loss of information, copy the edit line concerned to one of the talk pages. This has to be done before the second move, using the page history of the page with the original name; if the second move is soon enough after the first move, it can also be done afterwards, using Recent Changes.
The information about the second move is more complete in the Recent Changes than in the edit history of the page with the intermediate title: it mentions "B moved to A over redirect".
More moves back and forth are possible, and always the page history of the current title does not show any moves, and that of the other title only contains the edit line of the latest move. There is no record at all of a "move war" (except again, on Recent Changes) unless documented on the talk pages.
Until ca. 2004 there was a bug, which has been fixed but not retroactively, as follows:
- If a moved page is moved back, the edit history of the page with the intermediate title shows the latest move only, with the corresponding user name, but with the date and time of the first move(!). Accordingly, the name of the user who moved the page the first time and the date and time of the second move are lost (except that they appear in the Recent Changes).
Therefore, if the oldest entries in the user contributions list are moves, they most likely do not represent any activity of the user on the stated dates.
Moving over an existing page
Administrators can move a page, deleting an existing page with a name equal to the new name of the moved page, in one step.
If the new title already exists and isn't just a redirect to the old title, with no history, and you are not an administrator, the wiki will tell you that you can't rename the page. You'll either have to manually merge the two pages, or if there's no real content in the page ask an Administrator to have it deleted or list it on your project's "votes for deletion" page in order to make room for moving the page.
Administrators can protect pages from moves. If a page is protected from moves only, the "Move this page" link will not be available. In this case, you can ask that an administrator move it for you, or you can manually move the page, by copying the contents to the new page and redirecting the old page to the new page. However, this is generally not recommended, and users are asked to request the moves instead.
Pages that are protected from editing are automatically protected from moves.
Redirects to redirects aren't automatically followed (this prevents infinite loops and spaghetti linking). Always check the What links here for your page, and if there are multiple levels of redirects, (indented and also labelled "(redirect page)"), go fix the links to point to the new location directly. But this can be troublesome because your new moving might be reverted soon. Take some time to make sure there is no objection to your moving; always check the talk page first.
Avoid moving a page while the edit box of the corresponding Talk page is open: when you hit "Save page" you overwrite the redirect to the new talk page (you do not get the usual warning that the page has been edited while your edit box was open) and get a duplication of the contents of the talk page, with your latest addition added to the old instead of the new one.
It is useful to copy the message "Page ... moved to ..." to the new talk page, especially if there has been discussion about the name of the page.
Moving a page shows up in Recent Changes under "Move log", which links to a log of all moves. However, moving a watched page does not show up on the watchlist; after the move both the old and the new name are watched.
Subpages, such as the archives of a talk page, and the documentation page of a template, are not automatically moved along with a page move.
Undoing a move
Normally, to undo a move from page A to page B, simply:
- move page B back to page A
- list page B (now a history-free redirect) on your project's "votes for deletion" (or "speedy deletion") page, or (Admins only) just delete it.
The software requires that, however, the redirect be pointing to the page you're moving it from. Therefore, if a vandal moved Page A to Page B to Page C, you would have to:
- move page C to page B
- move page B to page A
This doesn't work: move page C to page A.
If page A has subsequently been edited, or the move software is behaving weirdly, only an admin can sort things out:
- delete page A (make sure it has no useful history - you may wish to add an explicit author credit on a talk page to compensate)
- move page B to page A.
- delete page B (should be a history-free redirect to page A)
Some large projects have a separate page (called "Requested Moves", or something like that) specifically for requesting help with these (and also for discussing potentially contentious) moves.
"Move wars" are highly unproductive, and leave vast numbers of pointless redirects littering the place, which some poor soul will have to fix.
Swapping two pages
To swap pages A and B, including history:
- Move page A to page C (previously non-existing)
- list A on the appropriate deletion page, or (Admins only) just delete it.
- Move page B to page A (allowed because A is deleted)
- delete B as above
- Move page C to page B (allowed because B is deleted)
- delete C as above
Again, some large projects have a separate page (called "Requested Moves", or something like that) specifically for requesting help with these (and also for discussing potentially contentious) moves.
Fixing cut and paste moves
- Some more complex cases are explained at Wikipedia:How to fix cut and paste moves
Many past renamings took place before the move page function was created by our hard-working developers, and others are done by people not aware of this function. Such manual moves were done using cut and paste. As a result, the page history of an article or talk page can be split among two or more different pages.
In some circumstances, Administrators are able to fix this by merging page histories.
Warning: this procedure may only be undone by spending quite silly amounts of time: to undo a merge, every single version has to be manually reassigned to the correct source page. Do not do this if you're not sure what you're doing.
Follow this procedure to merge page histories:
- Suppose we wish to merge edit history from Alabama/History (old title) into History of Alabama (new title):
- Delete History of Alabama, with comment deleting to merge page histories - back soon.
- Move Alabama/History to History of Alabama, using the move tool.
- undelete the History of Alabama article.
- Edit History of Alabama to restore the most recent version.
This page is a copy of the master help page at Meta (for general help information all Wikimedia projects can use), with two Wikipedia-specific templates inserted. To update the main text, edit the master help page for all projects at m:Help:Moving. For Wikipedia-specific issues, use Template:Ph:Moving (the extra text at the bottom of this page) or Template:Phh:Moving for a Wikipedia-specific lead (text appears at the top of this page). You are welcome to copy the exact wikitext from the master page at Meta and paste it into this page at any time. To view this page in other languages see the master page at Meta.