Take Wikipedia Offline - The Best Tools for Downloading Wikipedia - Digital Inspiration

Take Wikipedia Offline - The Best Tools for Downloading Wikipedia

T
Published in: Wikipedia

Would you like to download the entire Wikipedia on your computer or mobile phone for offline reading? Well, here are some good options to consider.

Download Wikipedia Articles for Offline Reading

Wikipedia, the world’s largest encyclopedia, provides database dumps of all their wikis that one can download for free and thus access the entire Wikipedia content on computers that are not connected to the Internet.

The database dumps are frequently updated and include every single article that’s available on the main Wikipedia website. The dumps are available as .xml.bz2 files that you can easily open on your computer using the free and portable WikiTaxi software.

WikiTaxi ships with an importer that will first un-compress the Wikipedia database files (.bz2) and then converts them into a .taxi file format. Now you open these .taxi files inside WikiTaxi just like the way you open .doc files inside Microsoft Word. If you are running low on space, the original Wikipedia dumps can be safely discarded.

A good alternative to WikiTaxi is Kiwix – this is also free software and available for Mac, Windows and Linux systems. You need to install the Kiwix software on your computer and then download one of the Wikipedia editions – the articles are packaged as .zim files that will open directly inside Kiwix without requiring any conversion.

The latest .zim package for various editions of Wikipedia can be downloaded from kiwix.org using any download manager or you can use this .torrent file to download using any BitTorrent client. This is 9.7 GB file and includes all the text of Wikipedia pages but no images.

Kiwix is definitely easier to use than WikiTaxi and the packaged .zim files can read across all popular platforms but the downside is that, unlike the database dumps used by WikiTaxi, the .zim files aren’t very frequently updated. Also, the zim package for English Wikipedia doesn’t include every article though the packages for other languages are complete*.

If you have an iOS device – like the iPhone, iPad or iPad Touch – you may grab the excellent Wiki Offline app and carry all the Wikipedia articles in your pocket. The app renders Wikipedia articles in a beautiful interface and supports tabbed browsing so you can open multiple articles side by side. Wiki Offline is also available in the Mac App Store for your Mac OS X.

The other option for using Wikipedia offline is WikiReader – this is a 3.5” monochrome device with a capacitive touch screen and contains over 3 million Wikipedia articles. The  updates to Wikipedia articles are released every quarter – you can update the device by connecting it to your computer – or you opt to receive updates on SD cards.

The WikiReader device costs  $99 and though I haven’t tried it myself, it did get a huge thumbs-up from Ars Technica. You definitely don’t need this if you carry a smart phone that is always connected to the Internet but could be a good reference tool for the rest of us with an impressive battery life – much like the Kindle.

Finally, if all you want to do is download a handful of Wikipedia articles for offline reading, use the built-in book creator that turns multiple pages from Wikipedia into a PDF book.

Also see: Wikipedia Tools & Resources

[*Update April 9, 2012] The Wikipedia blog just noted that these ZIM packaged files have been recently updated and they now include the text of all articles that were part of Wikipedia till January 2012.

📮  Subscribe to our Email Newsletter for Google tips and tutorials!
Published in: Wikipedia

Looking for something? Find here!

Meet the Author

Web Geek, Google Developer Expert
A
Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India. He is the developer of Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory

Get in touch

Google Add-ons

Do more with your Gmail and GSuite account
G

We build bespoke solutions that use the capabilities and the features of Google Workspace for automating business processes and driving work productivity.

  1. Mail Merge with Attachments
    Send personalized email to your Google Contact with a Google Sheet and Gmail
  2. Save Emails and Attachments
    Download email messages and file attachments from Gmail to your Google Drive
  3. Google Forms Email Notifications
    Send email notifications to multiple people when a new Google Form is submitted
  4. Document Studio
    Create beautiful pixel perfect documents merging data from Google Sheets and Google Forms
  5. Creator Studio for Google Slides
    Turn your Google Slides presentations into animated GIFs and videos for uploading to YouTube