How to Keep a Personal Wiki

Do you enjoy sites like Wikipedia and wikiHow? Would you like your very own personal wiki? Read on!


  1. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 1
    Understand what a wiki is. Wiki the Hawaiian word for "fast"[1] and was originally designed to allow people far apart to collaborate on projects over the Web, but they also work well as personal information managers.
  2. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 2
    Decide if you need, or at least want a wiki. You could just as well use your computer's text editor to jot down notes, name it something intuitive, and drop it in My Documents.
  3. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 3
    Get Wiki on a Stick, or WoaS. WoaS is a single .html file which can contain an entire Wiki. This is not nearly as advanced as MediaWiki, the software which powers Wikipedia, wikiHow, and other sites, but is far easier and quicker to set up and use. If you are still unsure you really want a Wiki, it is a great place to test the waters.
  4. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 4
    Unzip the .html file to a folder of your choosing. Any folder works. Your Documents folder is a good place.
  5. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 5
    Open your web browser of choice, and drag and drop the .html file onto your browser.
  6. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 6
    Bookmark the file.
  7. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 7
    Click the Advanced icon in the upper-right corner (the wrench and screwdriver icon).
  8. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 8
    Under Maintenance, click Special::Erase Wiki, confirm twice, and then give it permission to alter the file on disk (itself). Refusing this permission will leave you with read-only access to your wiki.
  9. Image titled Keep a Personal Wiki Step 9
    You are now ready to begin. Click the pencil-on-paper icon to edit any page.


  • Since Wiki on a Stick is just one .html file, your browser's back and forward buttons will not work as you expect. Use the back and forward buttons in the upper-right corner of the page. (This will take some getting used to.)
  • Wiki on a Stick can be affected and enhanced by any browser extensions you use, or Greasemonkey scripts you may have, though the scripts would have to be pointed to the .html file. This can make your work easier in some situations.
  • Back on the Advanced page, click the top link (Options) and check Fixed menu area and topbar. This will make the title of the page as well as the toolbar follow you down a long page, so you always have access.
  • Also under Options, if Save last page visited when quitting is checked, upon returning to WoaS, you will be taken to the last page you were on, rather than the main page. This is default. If you want the main page every time, uncheck this option.
  • Wiki on a Stick works with all WWW browsers, including the open source browsers Firefox and Opera, as well as Internet Explorer. If you set it as your "homepage", Wiki on a Stick will automatically load and be displayed when you start your WWW browser
  • If you really like working with a Wiki, you should consider setting up MediaWiki as it has a lot more features, but if Wiki on a Stick's ease of use and portability works well for you, don't think you have to move up.


  • Wiki on a Stick does not use the same markup language as MediaWiki, so if you learn WoaS, you will have to re-learn MediaWiki, if you haven't already. Some things are the same, though, so it can be confusing.
  • The current and only version of WoaS offered is a beta, and the main page warns you not to use it for any important information. Each page also displays the debug information. If you want to hide that, you can edit the .html file in a text editor (Notepad is fine) and find the line it says to look for, and set it to false, as it says. Tampering with other settings there is not recommended.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Wikis | Web Writing and eBooks