What features of Stack Exchange sites do you consider "hidden"?

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56 Answers 56

up vote 155 down vote accepted

Attached Firefox/Internet Explorer search plugin. In Firefox, when you are on Stack Overflow, just click on the search dropdown (to the left of the search text field) and hit Add "Stack Overflow".

EDIT: SO-family sites now also support OpenSearch, as described in this question.

  • Does this only work on Windows? It doesn't work on the ancient version of Firefox on my CentOS box. – Paul Tomblin Oct 7 '08 at 19:29
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    It has to support the "manage search plugins" option, and have discovery working. I'm using Firefox 3.0.2 on Fedora 9, so it definitely works under linux. It may just be that your version of firefox doesn't autodiscover. – akdom Oct 7 '08 at 19:31
  • Take a look a the originating post stackoverflow.com/questions/20830/… . You will need to adjust it since that was for beta.stackoverflow.com (if it doesn't still work). But you can manually add it with that. – akdom Oct 7 '08 at 19:33
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    In Opera, you can right click on the SO search box and click "Create Search" to add it to your list of search sites. – Cristián Romo Jan 1 '09 at 2:52
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    Cool, but nowhere near hidden. Lots of sites have this (more should!). And you can add sites yourself easily by generating the needed XML by searching a site for TEST and entering the resulting URL into microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/en-uk/default.mspx – peSHIr Jan 22 '09 at 13:31
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    It get's better if you assign a keyword to StackOveflow as search engine for Firefox (e.g. "so"). You can then type something like "so python+hidden" directly as URL into Firefox. – Cyberdrow May 23 '09 at 12:05
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    Bookmark for quick search in FF/IE (or search engine shorcut in chrome) is, for searching: stackoverflow.com/search?q=%s or for taggeg questions: stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/%s – streetpc Jun 16 '09 at 17:16
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    Cool - I just noticed in IE that the little drop down next to teh search box turns slightly orange when you're on this site. Sweeeet. – Sam Schutte Jun 16 '09 at 17:19
  • @Chris or on any other search box, for that matter. – Jouke van der Maas Aug 14 '10 at 14:47
  • It's also there in the Brave browser. With appropriate settings, I can type so: whatever-I-want-to-look-for in my search bar and it shows me StackOverflow posts. – Chair Aug 17 at 4:52

If you need to tell someone to do keyboard commands you can use the kbd HTML tag.

Source

<kbd>Ctrl</kbd> + <kbd>Alt</kbd> + <kbd>Del</kbd>

Result

Ctrl + Alt + Del

Clicking on Days Visited or Consecutive Days on the profile page

clicking on Days Visited

opens a calendar that shows which days the site was actually visited.

shows a calendar

  • Nice! Never tried that. Good one. – Gabriel Guimarães Nov 8 '10 at 12:59
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    @Gabriel - também gostei do calendário e valeu um Badge para mim (I also like the calendar and I got a badge for it) :-) "You've earned the Necromancer badge for Hidden features of Stack Overflow" - this message is great too, just right for Halloween! – Carlos Heuberger Nov 8 '10 at 20:02
  • Gaaah, just WHY are half of these features so damn hidden? I know why, Jeff likes hide & seek!... – RomanSt Jan 29 '11 at 22:30
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    It already says I visited tomorrow. Now I am tempted to stay off tomorrow to create a space time paradox. Either that or the official time zone is different than my local time, but where's the fun in that? – Karl Bielefeldt Jan 30 '11 at 4:37
  • I was on my 97th consecutive day when I forgot to visit stackoverflow.com ... almost got my fanatic badge... – Marlon Jan 30 '11 at 12:31
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  • yeah me too marlon :(( – gsharp Aug 12 '11 at 13:38
  • Okay I actually discovered this by accident when I was trying to find out why my counter was reset...silly me for missing a day – prusswan Jan 25 '12 at 20:17
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    FYI: Your OpenID is actually still readable in this answer. – Zyerah Dec 1 '13 at 15:43

You can use:

https://stackoverflow.com/reputation

All the votes ( negatives and positives ) you have had, and the question where you've got them.

Source: Jeff answer here

  • 1
    @ShaWizDowArd used to be correct, but due to changes since his comment was posted, /reputation no longer has any effect on your reputation, it simply displays what you currently have. – Richard J. Ross III May 7 '13 at 13:48
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    @Richard as far as I know, it's still possible to recalc and it's still making changes in rare cases where it wasn't updated automatically. IMO this answer should stay. See here a related post. – Shadow Wizard May 7 '13 at 14:23
  • @RichardJ.RossIII I stand corrected, they removed the button. :( – Shadow Wizard Jan 1 '14 at 14:37

URL tooltips

**[URL tooltips][1]**

  [1]: https://stackoverflow.com/editing-help
        (Check "Advanced Links" paragraph)

Inline URL tooltips

Inline [URL tooltips](https://stackoverflow.com/editing-help "Check "Advanced Links" paragraph")
  • 11
    talk about hidden, I'm going to use this in every post now just to show it to people who edit them. – Gordon Gustafson Jul 25 '10 at 23:37
  • I didn't know how to do that in markdown until now. I always used an html <a> element with a title attribute. – Web_Designer Mar 19 '13 at 9:17

You can see the history of what happened to a post (question and answer) by going to:

https://stackoverflow.com/posts/{post_id}/timeline

In the details that are shown, a lot can be clicked to expand.

This also works on Area 51.

Navigate to the last modification of a post

enter image description here

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    This is probably the awesomest of all things I have learned today. – jmac Oct 3 '13 at 7:06
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    Wow... you're telling me that I could have been doing this instead of doing CTRL-F and typing "ago"? :O – Doorknob Dec 1 '13 at 17:06
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    Sorry, what exactly is this referring to? I can't find this. – Kerrek SB Jan 1 '14 at 16:39
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    @KerrekSB check at the right sidebar of any question: i.stack.imgur.com/dAsv9.png – muru Aug 4 '17 at 4:32

You can see recently completed features on Meta Stack Exchange. There is also a formally-maintained list.

  • this link is dead – Carson Myers Jun 10 '09 at 19:31
  • Updated the link. – Patrick McElhaney Jun 10 '09 at 20:56
  • if only we could hide everything that's not a feature, like retags. – Gordon Gustafson Jul 25 '10 at 23:35
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    Good point. Updated the link so it only shows questions tagged status-completed and feature-request. – Patrick McElhaney Jul 26 '10 at 15:06
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    And when noticing changes: consider adding them to the community maintained Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange. – Arjan Jan 31 '11 at 16:03

While in the /about page aka guided tour of any site (e.g. Stack Overflow about page) in the network, press the following keys in the following order:
upupdowndownleftrightleftrightBAenter.
This is known as Konami code, and will cause the site icon on top of the page to become the Stack Exchange Venn Euler diagram.

If on mobile device, the following should work: tap-drag up, tap-drag up (,down,down,left,right,left,right), and then tap thrice.

Kudos to Geoff for revealing the existence of that easter egg. :)

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    Do you randomly test the Konami code in websites? :D – fedorqui Jul 3 '13 at 13:05
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    @fedorqui now I do, lol! But see the last sentence, Geoff posted answer calling us to action... so I viewed the source code, noticed the Konami and the rest is history! :-) – Shadow Wizard Jul 3 '13 at 13:07
  • Oh my... and here I thought that it was just me, when I searched "xyzzy" (but sadly, no Easter Egg) a little while ago! ;-) – Charles Rockafellor Jul 20 '16 at 4:56
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    @Charles lol, amazed it's still working... though wasn't able to do it on mobile. Guess my fingers are too fat. :( – Shadow Wizard Jul 20 '16 at 9:13
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    Not working anymore? – ashleedawg Apr 13 at 0:37

If you have 1000+ reputation, you can click the score of a question/answer and expand the net value to see the total of upvotes vs total of downvotes

Source

  • Good addition. I wonder how casual users will discover this feature. – jjnguy Dec 1 '09 at 18:06
  • Well, how will the 1k rep users who don't visit meta discover the feature? – jjnguy Dec 1 '09 at 18:39
  • I think the low publicity is intended, Jeff was against this – juan Dec 1 '09 at 18:59
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    By misclicking (with the intention to vote). I just discovered it half an hour ago on SO... and wondered why it wasn't working on my meta account, until I found this. – splicer Dec 1 '09 at 19:01
  • @splicer, a good reason to upvote this post! – juan Dec 1 '09 at 19:10
  • @Juan: yeah, you're right. done ^^ – splicer Dec 1 '09 at 19:19
  • @Justin Nelson, it's listed on the sitename.com/faq page. Granted, explicit instructions aren't provided, but a simple mouseover does the trick. – Pops May 20 '10 at 20:25
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    @popular kind of wondering but what's the reason for needing 1k rep to use this feature? – greatwolf Jan 29 '11 at 10:12
  • @Victor, you'd have to ask a developer for an official answer, but I think they once said it was to prevent too many database accesses. – Pops Jan 29 '11 at 19:26
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    @Victor Popular Demand is right, see this answer by Jeff. – Shadow Wizard Jan 1 '13 at 11:24

The nofollow attribute on your profile website link is removed at a rep of 2000.

Jeff's answer

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    Also mentioned in the podcast, episode 15 (2011-08-10, 30.1 MB, episode 100 in the old numbering scheme) at 43 min 00 secs. – Peter Mortensen Aug 12 '11 at 14:21

You can search for multiple tags by typing them in the URL separated by %20. This does an AND search, i.e. only questions with all the tags you specified will be shown.

For example:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/windows%20com

searches for both the 'windows' and the 'com' tags

Alternatively you can type the following in the search box in the top right for the same results:

[windows] [com]

  • It'd be nice if they enabled the word 'AND' but i'm happy to learn about this, thanks. – Lance Roberts Oct 7 '08 at 19:11
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    You can also do "tag1 or tag2" in the URL. – Evan Jun 12 '09 at 11:30
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    In fact, I think the "not" keyword works as well. – Evan Jun 12 '09 at 11:31
  • Related feature request: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/30371/… – Patrick McElhaney Dec 1 '09 at 20:20
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    [or] is now a tag so you can do [foo][or][bar] in the search box. – Dennis Williamson Feb 18 '11 at 4:21
  • [or] is no longer a tag; I imagine that's because it wasn't intended as a search operator, it was intended to act like the rest of the tags. ;) – ashleedawg Aug 6 at 0:27

I recently learned that the Your Question/Your Answer editor has an auto-indent feature (in source code blocks): Try Shift+Enter.

  • 36
    Actually Shift+Enter is a continue formatting command: I.e. it doesn't continue extra indenting within code, but it does add the first 4 needed spaces if you're already in code. It also adds the next numeric value for a numbered list, a copy of the first mark for an unnumbered list, and for both of the latter it "fixes" the other numbers/marks to be sequential/the same. It also continues > blockquotes. – Mark Hurd Jul 10 '10 at 3:16
  • @Mark Hurd: Great comment! You learn something new every day! – Andreas Rejbrand Jul 10 '10 at 9:48

#stackoverflow IRC channel on freenode, and the SObot that will post new questions in the channel as they're posted.

  • 5
    Quote from mibbit: Connections via mibbit are no longer supported on freenode. You may wish to consider using webchat.freenode.net instead – Bob Jul 4 '09 at 14:32
  • never knew the IRC channel existed! great find! – Brian Dec 1 '09 at 19:36
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    @George: It's not a support channel! It's a mostly off-topic channel for socialising. (I speak as one of the very first people to come to that channel, back when it started in August 2008. It was founded by non-SO-staff, and even now, SO staff coverage is very thin; Geoff Dalgas comes in occasionally, but nobody else.) – Chris Jester-Young Apr 19 '10 at 17:28
  • Also, sobot is now in its own channel, #sobot. (zigdon is the owner of sobot, so, if he had an account on meta, I'm sure he'd update the post to say so.) – Chris Jester-Young Apr 19 '10 at 17:32
  • i'm there!! (well I've been there for a year now) – Evan Carroll Jul 26 '10 at 15:17
  • @Evan: how come you never reply, then? – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jul 26 '10 at 16:34
  • I do, sometimes, I find #perlcafe to be more amusing. – Evan Carroll Jul 26 '10 at 18:02
  • 2
    <byte_tongue/> – IAbstract Nov 7 '10 at 16:19

Wildcards in tag filters

Adding *C#* to your ignored tags will ignore any tag that contains the letters C#, including C#-4.0 and visual-C#-express-2010. Likewise for favorite tags.

This is useful because there are often questions tagged C#-3.0 but not C#, so just ignoring C# wouldn't catch this. Its a really nice solution to ignoring all questions on a given topic.

You can even use it to ignore all questions not in your favorite tags by just ignoring * :D

Tag links:

Syntax: [tag:tag-name]

Meta tags:

(red because it's moderator only tag)

Syntax: [meta-tag:tag-name]

It's possible to view the markup used to create any question or answer. (This may be useful if you wish to combine answers or quote part of the question with formatting.)

If the question or answer has been edited so that it has an edited X timeunits ago link, you can use that to view the revision history, then use the view source link.

If it hasn't been edited then you can still view the revision history, but you'll have to manually enter the url in your browser's address bar. For questions, take the number in the middle of the page's url; for answers use the link link for the answer to get it's unique number in the anchor of the url (after the # character) and then go to:

http://stackoverflow.com/posts/number/revisions

  • 1
    A feature like this should not be hidden. – RomanSt Jan 29 '11 at 22:26
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    I usually just click "edit". Now that even low reputation users can click edit, this is not very hard to find. – Brian Jan 31 '11 at 16:58
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    Although it's still useful, since low-rep users can't edit on meta sites. – JonasCz Jan 19 '16 at 15:54

Start a blockquote with >! for:

spoilers!

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    This is literally a hidden feature. – Kevin Panko Dec 1 '13 at 22:18

Typing --- in chat forces a new section. Usually, consecutive chat messages from the same user are kept in the same box.

enter image description here

It is hidden in the transcript, but the separation between sections is still visible:

enter image description here

I just noticed today that asker comments are shaded just like the background for the user box:

enter image description here

This applies in comments to everything for that particular question too. It can be handy for context on larger pages.

  • 1
    I just noticed that this applies to self answers, too. – a cat Jun 21 '12 at 22:26
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    this feature doesn't seem too hidden – ajax333221 Sep 21 '12 at 16:35

Comment timestamp is a permalink to that comment: (need to right click it --> copy link address)

In the above example clicking that timestamp leads here.

  • 2
    Adding comment so I can see this feature. – Kevin Panko Dec 1 '13 at 22:16
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    @KevinPanko You failed to seize the opportunity to do a self-referential comment link, there – sehe May 14 '14 at 19:44
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    @sehe now real magic is doing it without editing! – Shadow Wizard May 14 '14 at 20:18
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    ‮: yrt em tel, tub gnitaehc – sehe May 14 '14 at 20:19
  • @ShadowWizard ^ does that count? – sehe May 14 '14 at 20:19
  • @sehe nope, not relevant. The trick was predicting the ID that was about to be given to the new comment. – Shadow Wizard May 14 '14 at 20:20
  • @ShadowWizard I know :) I like my try better o.O – sehe May 14 '14 at 20:20
  • @sehe how did you get everything typed backwards? – ahorn Apr 26 '15 at 20:21
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    @ahorn meta.stackexchange.com/a/229336/152859 – Shadow Wizard Apr 26 '15 at 20:25

Modify tags in question (hidden area at right of tag list):

enter image description here

Note: This is only available with 10k rep or more.

  • 2
    What's the difference between that and retag question that requires only 500 rep? – HuBeZa Feb 7 '11 at 11:31
  • 3
    @HuBeZa It's the same function with another user interface. – Dr. belisarius Feb 7 '11 at 11:38
  • 1
    @HuBeZa also the retag link is removed after hitting 2K. – Keelan May 22 '13 at 18:33
  • The “retag question” function / privilege seems to have gone away⁠ altogether. – Scott Aug 24 '17 at 6:45

Well, not only related to Stack Overflow but also AWESOME: ODATA for all Stack Exchange sites.

There's even some saved queries to know. For example, how much is still missing for me to get the X badge.

This is awesome!

  • 1
    It is great, yes. Hopefully Area51 will soon be added. – Wikis Nov 7 '10 at 16:35
  • OData is unfortunately disabled now on SEDE it won't comeback. – rene Jul 25 at 19:12

When you search for a popular keyword the search gets auto-converted to a tag search.

- results: 6,560 questions tagged

You can override that by prefixing a plus sign.

+hibernate - results: 4,807 search results for posts containing +hibernate
(some of which are not tagged )

  • The top (n) tags in the tag list are automatically turned into tags when they appear in searches (source) – fedorqui Sep 18 '17 at 21:24

You can write small text using <sub><sup> trick. For example wrapped with "single" <sub><sup>:

hello world

With two:

hello world

  • 13
    Don't do that. It's an abuse of the markup, which is supposed to be for superscripts and subscripts. And it'll look horrible if you have multiple lines of text. – Mechanical snail Jan 2 '13 at 0:44
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    @Mechanicalsnail I just shared something I've seen lots of times here, not my idea. But personally I think that since we don't have any <small> tag it can be useful to show small sized text. – Shadow Wizard Jan 2 '13 at 7:35
  • 3
    Works as a charm for <sup>[Image source](url)</sup> links under images. – E.P. Aug 3 '15 at 19:42

Every site on Stack Exchange network has a "network login help" page, which run a few tests to check for the availability of certain necessary features in the user's browser.

To reach the page just append /network-login-help to the URL of any site, e.g. for the main site: https://stackoverflow.com/network-login-help

All the editing keyboard shortcuts act as toggles, including add hyperlink.

  • 9
    I didn't even know there were keyboard shortcuts! – MatrixFrog Apr 17 '10 at 3:59
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    what are the shortcuts? where can I find them? – Gabriel Guimarães Nov 16 '10 at 16:07
  • 8
    @Gabriel: Hover over the buttons above the textarea and a tooltip will tell you what it does and what the keyboard shortcut for it is. – Sam Hasler Nov 17 '10 at 20:27
  • Thanks @Sam never noticed that. – Gabriel Guimarães Nov 18 '10 at 14:38

Stack Overflow Meta

enter image description here

Quick access to see user's review stats: daily, weekly, monthly and total, plus last time he/she reviewed.

URL format is: https://stackoverflow.com/review/user-info/[review queue ID]/[user ID]

Review queue ID list:

  1. Suggested Edits
  2. Close Votes
  3. Low Quality Posts
  4. First Posts
  5. Late Answers
  6. Reopen Votes
  7. ? (future use, or maybe available on specific non SO sites only)
  8. Broken Links
  9. ? (future use, or maybe available on specific non SO sites only)
  10. Triage
  11. Help & Improvement

Some examples, using Geoff as model (and rene for the latest queues):

This is just raw data, unformatted and of course can be changed or taken down at any point.

Sending a chat message consisting solely of this is fine now oneboxes to this comic:

this is fine

If you want to test this for yourself, please use the Sandbox room to avoid bothering others.

  • 1
    How... how did you find?! ;) – Shadow Wizard Dec 19 '16 at 11:02
  • @ShadowWizard Hat hunting for Winterbash :) – Mego Dec 19 '16 at 11:02

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