Multimedia: Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is the multimedia repository of the Wikimedia Foundation. It’s also the central place that stores most of the multimedia used in Wikipedia articles. 

Although many people turn to Wikimedia Commons to search for pictures and other images or graphics, there is also a vast set of other important resources, such as sound, documents  and video available on Wikimedia Commons. 

Wikimedia Commons can be a hard repository to navigate if you use the default search box. But there are many other ways in which you can actually get the most out of Wikimedia Commons. In this whole section, the explanations will be used to find photos, but most of what is being explained can be applied to search for other multimedia content. These are general search step-by-step guides to get the most out of Wikimedia Commons.

Also, bear in mind that different search functionalities in Wikimedia Commons offer different results.


Caption: The “Search box” is the box that appears on top of the main page.


Search with Special:MediaSearch

Special:MediaSearch is an experimental search tool with improved algorithms for finding content, that is currently being tested with the Commons community. Even as a Beta service, it produces very high quality results when searching Commons:

  1. Go to 
  2. On the search box on Wikimedia Commons, type: “Special:MediaSearch”.
  3. Special:MediaSearch will retrieve better results than a regular search in the search box. 
  4. Special:MediaSearch is singular/plural sensitive. If you type “readers” instead of “reader”, you might receive slightly different results.
  5. In Special:MediaSearch you can browse through different type of media content (images, audio, video, categories, and also other file formats, such as PDF or DJVU). 
  6. In Special:MediaSearch you can select the size for images (small, medium, large).
  7. In Special:MediaSearch, for all media, you can search for specific file formats that correspond to that media (for example, in images, you can search for JPG, XFC, etc), and also sort by relevance, by choosing from the dropdown menu.