Download Wikipedia content on your computer to read full Wikipedia offline for free wherever you are in the world. Wikipedia officially makes available free database dumps for personal use, thereby making it easy for interested readers to download the full Wikipedia content and browse it offline.
I am sure that many of us love to read the comprehensive information provided by Wikipedia, an authoritative resource on every topic compiled by voluntary editors and contributors. But downloading Wikipedia database dumps and processing them for reading is not as simple as it sounds, and specialised Wikipedia readers make the task easier. Simply download complete Wikipedia on your computer and its easy to spend reading time on your next long flight.
Download Kiwix Wikipedia reader
To get started, download the most popular Wikipedia reader Kiwix, an open source free software for reading web content offline and is specially recommended for reading Wikipedia content offline. First you can start by downloading the version of Kwix for your operating system like Mac, Windows, Linux and more. I chose to download the Windows version on my computer.
and here is what the start-up screen looks like.
Download Wikipedia ZIM Files
Then you need to download the full Wikipedia .ZIM file which contains all the articles of Wikipedia to the particular date mentioned on the download files. ZIM files are an standardised open format to store wiki content for offline use.
These files are frequently updated and right now I can see to English versions on the website. You can download an older version since 2010 which has 45,000 articles with pictures (3.7GB), or download the latest full version which contains all Wikipedia articles till January 2012, but contains no pictures to reduce the download size. I decided to download the latest January 2012 version, but it was a huge 9.7 GB download file! Pre-indexed ZIM files and the Kiwix Wikipedia reader are also available for combined download (9.2GB). You can download the bittorrent versions of these files also.
If those huge downloads seem too time-consuming for your broadband Internet connection, you can choose to download smaller versions of the Wikipedia which might be more useful to your needs like the simple English Wikipedia (730MB), 6000 child friendly Wikipedia articles (2.6GB), or the 30,000 best Wikipedia articles (2.3GB). They are available in the other section below the links.
After you install the ZIM file, you can get started with the Kiwix Wikipedia reader. I installed the simple English Wikipedia, a 730 MB download which came in under half an hour on an 8 MBps broadband connection.
Read Wikipedia Offline
In Kiwix, Click Open File, load the ZIM file and the entire Wikipedia content loads instantly. The software will ask you to index all content for faster searching, and you should enable that option.
Their screencast video shows you how you can use the Kiwix reader to browse Wikipedia articles offline, search for content and find your needed information quickly and easily.
I hope you download Wikipedia easily after using this tutorial and like me get ready to read Wikipedia offline on your laptop during the next long air travel, and make good use of your time and expand your knowledge.