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Wikipedia holds a vast wealth of knowledge 6 Ways To Learn Something New Online Everyday 6 Ways To Learn Something New Online Everyday The Internet is a double-edged sword - it can be used to procrastinate the day away, or it can be used to learn something new everyday. Here at MakeUseOf, we're particularly focused on the latter.... Read More , but it’s not exactly the most gorgeous website out there. That’s where Wikiwand comes in. Wikiwand is a browser extension that allows you to effortlessly browse Wikipedia in a beautiful and highly functional modern interface.

Now that you can run Android apps in the Chrome browser How To Run Android Apps in Chrome on Mac / Linux / Windows How To Run Android Apps in Chrome on Mac / Linux / Windows It's now possible to run Android apps in the Chrome browser -- it just takes a little bit of work. Read More , it’s an even better alternative to running the already-great Wikipedia for Android app Android Finally Gets The Wikipedia It Deserves: Meet The New Wikipedia Beta Android Finally Gets The Wikipedia It Deserves: Meet The New Wikipedia Beta It's surprising that despite there being so many great Android apps out there, there has not been a decent Wikipedia app so far. Well, all that changes with the new Wikipedia Beta! Read More in Chrome. Plus, this works for both Chrome and Firefox, and they’re even giving out invites to those who want to try out their Android and iOS apps.

Interested? Let’s dive in.

Download And Setup

wikiwand-chrome

The first step is to download the Chrome Extension or the Firefox Add-on depending on which is your preferred browser Browser Wars: Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera, The Definitive Benchmark Browser Wars: Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera, The Definitive Benchmark If you could only choose one browser, which one would it be? Which is best: Firefox, Chrome or Opera? We'll show you. Read More . There’s not much setup involved other than accepting the single permission Why Do Chrome Plugins Need Access To 'All My Data' and 'Browsing Activity'? Why Do Chrome Plugins Need Access To 'All My Data' and 'Browsing Activity'? If you’ve installed Chrome plugins, you’ve probably seen a warning that they can access your data on all websites, your tabs and browsing activity, or even all the data on your computer. This warning can... Read More , as shown below.

If you want to try before you download, you can simply head over to wikiwand.com and search for any topic. The Google Glass article on Wikiwand is a good example. All the extension does is basically redirect all Wikipedia articles to Wikiwand, making the switch effortless.

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install-wikiwand

After it’s installed, clicking on any Wikipedia link will automatically redirect you to the article on the Wikiwand website, which means that you can continue browsing the Web as normal, and all Wikipedia articles will be automagically much nicer to browse.

wikiwand-read-on-wikipedia

If you ever want to see an article in its original Wikipedia form, though, you can always switch back using the Wikiwand menu in the upper-left corner. But I can’t imagine why you would ever want to do that; browsing Wikipedia on Wikiwand is like upgrading from an early 2000s PDA to a brand new Nexus 5 Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Approximately a year after Google released the Nexus 4, the company behind Android has come out with its successor -- the Nexus 5. Read More or iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6 Plus Review and Giveaway iPhone 6 Plus Review and Giveaway The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is Apple's latest and perhaps strangest addition to its range of tablets and smartphones. Read More .

Browsing Wikipedia

Wikiwand utilizes large pictures from the Wikipedia entry to create a stunning background/header that slowly folds away as you scroll down. The semi-transparent Wikiwand bar along the top will also disappear as you scroll down, but it pops back up by simply hovering your mouse over it.

Any article, even the the geekiest of them Time Is Short: 20 Geeky TL;DR Wikipedia Entries You Need To Read [Weird & Wonderful Web] Time Is Short: 20 Geeky TL;DR Wikipedia Entries You Need To Read [Weird & Wonderful Web] Wikipedia can be a little wordy. So, what we need is an alternative version of Wikipedia which condenses the information down to its bare essentials. Read More , appears much cleaner and well-put-together on Wikiwand. It’s the redesign Wikipedia so desperately needs.

wikiwand-default-layout

The grey bar along the left side is my favorite part of the app because it scrolls with you as you scroll through the article, allowing you to see which section you’re in, and allowing for easy switching between sections. It makes for a much more fluid reading experience.

However, you can collapse the grey sidebar if you prefer to have a full-screen article simply by clicking the three bars in the top left.

wikiwand-sidebar

On top of all of that, Wikiwand is hugely customizable. Switch between a Serif and a Sans Serif font, switch from a white to a black background, adjust text size, and adjust the column width. Your reading experience is truly yours on Wikiwand.

wikiwand-adjust-layout

You can even switch between languages with the button to the right of the settings button and share articles in an instant with the button to the left of the settings. Plus, the search bar along the top means no more scrolling all the way back up to the top of a Wikipedia article just to search for something else.

Learning Something New

As gorgeous as Wikiwand is, how does it actually help you learn something new everyday 6 Ways To Learn Something New Online Everyday 6 Ways To Learn Something New Online Everyday The Internet is a double-edged sword - it can be used to procrastinate the day away, or it can be used to learn something new everyday. Here at MakeUseOf, we're particularly focused on the latter.... Read More ? Well, the best method I’ve found is to create a taskbar shortcut on Windows (or a Dock shortcut on a Mac) to the news section of Wikiwand. Relevant, worldwide information appears here, and you can then also access the random function by simply clicking on the Wikiwand menu and selecting Random Article.

wikiwand-news

Pinning this website to your Taskbar or Dock in Chrome is simple: navigate to Wikiwand News, click the options button (hamburger menu) in the upper right, select More tools, and select Create application shortcuts. You can then choose between having a desktop shortcut or Taskbar shortcut on Windows, and selecting either of these will open Wikiwand News in a separate window without an address bar.

 

wikiwand-setup-taskbar-shortcut-1

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a similar way to create a shortcut to the random article site in a single click, since going to the random article site immediately redirects you to a random article.

There is something close, though. On Windows, you can right-click on your desktop, select New, and select Shortcut, and then enter the random article URL: http://www.wikiwand.com/random/en

create-shortcut

This shortcut will open the random article in your default browser. On Windows, you can drag and drop it into the Taskbar on the icon of your default Internet browser, and it will “pin” it to the browser, so that right-clicking on the browser icon will allow you to quickly access it.

pinned-websites-chrome

Using one of these methods, you should be able to quickly and easily access current news or random Wikipedia articles using Wikiwand.

What’s Your Favorite Way To Browse Wikipedia?

Wikiwand is a fantastic and gorgeous browser extension that should greatly improve your Wikipedia experience, but maybe you’ve heard of something better.

What’s your favorite way of browsing Wikipedia? Do you have any tips for users who want to quickly open up a random article? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Doug Dieckmann
    December 11, 2014 at 3:38 am

    I never use wikipedia since the articles can be edited by any one. How could it possibly be a authoritative source of information about anything?

    • Justin Dennis
      December 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      because people need to cite sources. also, it's not edited by "anyone" most high profile articles are locked down to people with good reputations in the wikipedia community, and even those that can be edited by anyone have their edits looked over a regular basis. there's a huge community and staff behind wikipedia that keeps it accurate, unbiased, and update. it's a fantastic source of information that's just as good if not better than other forms of information like the encyclopedia britannica.

      see: http://library.blogs.delaware.gov/2013/05/05/is-wikipedia-a-reliable-source/

  2. Zhong
    December 10, 2014 at 3:49 am

    The best way to learn something new is reading the science or technology news and explore your interests base from your real interactions.

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:50 am

      that too! also a good tip.

  3. Lior Grossman
    December 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for writing about us!
    That's a remarkable write up, covering the bits and pieces of Wikiwand.
    - Lior (Co-Founder & CEO of Wikiwand)

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:49 am

      glad you liked it! really enjoying Wikiwand, still.

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