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


57 Answers 57


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. Oct 7, 2008 at 19:29
  • 2
    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, 2008 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, 2008 at 19:33
  • 11
    In Opera, you can right click on the SO search box and click "Create Search" to add it to your list of search sites. Jan 1, 2009 at 2:52
  • 4
    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, 2009 at 13:31
  • 1
    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, 2009 at 12:05
  • 1
    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, 2009 at 17:16
  • 1
    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. Jun 16, 2009 at 17:19
  • @Chris or on any other search box, for that matter. Aug 14, 2010 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.
    – user392547
    Aug 17, 2018 at 4:52

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


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


Ctrl + Alt + Del

  • 2
    More here: stackoverflow.com/editing-help#html Mar 19, 2013 at 9:37
  • 7
    That's a standard HTML tag, though; it just has a really nice CSS style.
    – wchargin
    Jun 3, 2013 at 0:05
  • You've revealed my greatest tool in making my footer reference links look cool.
    – n00dles
    Dec 18, 2022 at 16:51
  • It’s actually abuse of standard HTML to use <kbd> for a single key. Apr 5 at 12:22
  • @user3840170 No it is not; the WHATWG spec you linked to does not mention any such stipulation.
    – TylerH
    Apr 25 at 14:37


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

Also display how much reputation was earned from suggested edits.

Source: Jeff’s 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. May 7, 2013 at 13:48
  • 1
    @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. May 7, 2013 at 14:23
  • @RichardJ.RossIII I stand corrected, they removed the button. :( Jan 1, 2014 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")
  • 13
    talk about hidden, I'm going to use this in every post now just to show it to people who edit them. Jul 25, 2010 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. Mar 19, 2013 at 9:17
  • How the hell can you just nest double quotes without the world immediately collapsing?
    – dim
    Jan 27, 2020 at 12:24
  • @dimlostfaithinSE by the power of stack we will prevail!
    – HuBeZa
    Jan 27, 2020 at 12:36

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


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

This also works on Area 51.

2020-01-16 update: A link to the respective timeline page is now always visible on each post.


The "Modified" timestamp of a question is a link to the latest activity post:

modified timestamp with red circle

  • 4
    This is probably the awesomest of all things I have learned today.
    – jmac
    Oct 3, 2013 at 7:06
  • 4
    Wow... you're telling me that I could have been doing this instead of doing CTRL-F and typing "ago"? :O
    – Doorknob
    Dec 1, 2013 at 17:06
  • 9
    Sorry, what exactly is this referring to? I can't find this.
    – Kerrek SB
    Jan 1, 2014 at 16:39
  • 3
    @KerrekSB check at the right sidebar of any question: i.stack.imgur.com/dAsv9.png
    – muru
    Aug 4, 2017 at 4:32

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

  • if only we could hide everything that's not a feature, like retags. Jul 25, 2010 at 23:35
  • 1
    Good point. Updated the link so it only shows questions tagged status-completed and feature-request. Jul 26, 2010 at 15:06
  • 6
    And when noticing changes: consider adding them to the community maintained Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange.
    – Arjan
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:03

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


  • Good addition. I wonder how casual users will discover this feature.
    – jjnguy
    Dec 1, 2009 at 18:06
  • Well, how will the 1k rep users who don't visit meta discover the feature?
    – jjnguy
    Dec 1, 2009 at 18:39
  • I think the low publicity is intended, Jeff was against this
    – juan
    Dec 1, 2009 at 18:59
  • 11
    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, 2009 at 19:01
  • @splicer, a good reason to upvote this post!
    – juan
    Dec 1, 2009 at 19:10
  • @Juan: yeah, you're right. done ^^
    – splicer
    Dec 1, 2009 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, 2010 at 20:25
  • 2
    @popular kind of wondering but what's the reason for needing 1k rep to use this feature?
    – greatwolf
    Jan 29, 2011 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, 2011 at 19:26
  • 1
    @Victor Popular Demand is right, see this answer by Jeff. Jan 1, 2013 at 11:24

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

Jeff's answer

  • 3
    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. Aug 12, 2011 at 14:21

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

  • Single most useful feature I've seen yet. I don't know why I didn't think to try that!
    – Chipster
    Dec 29, 2019 at 3:21

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

  • 39
    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, 2010 at 3:16
  • @Mark Hurd: Great comment! You learn something new every day! Jul 10, 2010 at 9:48

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:


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. Oct 7, 2008 at 19:11
  • 9
    You can also do "tag1 or tag2" in the URL.
    – Evan
    Jun 12, 2009 at 11:30
  • 3
    In fact, I think the "not" keyword works as well.
    – Evan
    Jun 12, 2009 at 11:31
  • Related feature request: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/30371/… Dec 1, 2009 at 20:20
  • 5
    [or] is now a tag so you can do [foo][or][bar] in the search box. Feb 18, 2011 at 4:21
  • 1
    [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, 2018 at 0:27

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


Start a blockquote with >! for:



Tag links:

Syntax: [tag:tag-name]

Meta tags:

(red because it's moderator only tag)

Syntax: [meta-tag:tag-name]


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

  • never knew the IRC channel existed! great find! Dec 1, 2009 at 19:36
  • 3
    @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.) Apr 19, 2010 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.) Apr 19, 2010 at 17:32
  • Fortunately there is no such bot, or the channel would be unusable.
    – gerrit
    Nov 28, 2018 at 20:51
  • Back in '09 there was, it was great. Not shocked it no longer runs though.
    – zigdon
    Dec 5, 2018 at 22:28

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.


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:


  • 1
    A feature like this should not be hidden.
    – RomanSt
    Jan 29, 2011 at 22:26
  • 31
    I usually just click "edit". Now that even low reputation users can click edit, this is not very hard to find.
    – Brian
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:58
  • 3
    Although it's still useful, since low-rep users can't edit on meta sites. Jan 19, 2016 at 15:54

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, 2012 at 22:26
  • 24
    this feature doesn't seem too hidden
    – ajax333221
    Sep 21, 2012 at 16:35

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.

  • 6
    How... how did you find?! ;) Dec 19, 2016 at 11:02
  • 2
    @ShadowWizard Hat hunting for Winterbash :)
    – user307833
    Dec 19, 2016 at 11:02

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) Sep 18, 2017 at 21:24

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.

  • 3
    What's the difference between that and retag question that requires only 500 rep?
    – HuBeZa
    Feb 7, 2011 at 11:31
  • 3
    @HuBeZa It's the same function with another user interface. Feb 7, 2011 at 11:38
  • 1
    @HuBeZa also the retag link is removed after hitting 2K.
    – Keelan
    May 22, 2013 at 18:33
  • 2
    The “retag question” function / privilege seems to have gone away⁠ altogether. Aug 24, 2017 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. Nov 7, 2010 at 16:35
  • OData is unfortunately disabled now on SEDE it won't comeback.
    – rene
    Jul 25, 2018 at 19:12

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

hello world

With two:

hello world

  • 18
    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. Jan 2, 2013 at 0:44
  • 11
    @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. Jan 2, 2013 at 7:35
  • 4
    Works as a charm for <sup>[Image source](url)</sup> links under images.
    – E.P.
    Aug 3, 2015 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


When you upload an image, you can append these characters to its name to get:

  • s -> small square fixed at 90×90
  • b -> big square fixed at 160×160
  • t -> small thumb, 160×160
  • m -> medium thumb (max 320?)
  • l -> large thumb (max 640?)
  • h -> huge thumb (max 1024?)
  • add ?s=X for a custom size (X=16,32,64,128,256 or 512 (source))




Small square:


small square

Big square:


big square

Small thumbnail:



Medium thumbnail:



Large thumbnail:



Huge thumbnail:



Custom size: e.g. 16x16




To find the age of specific site, you can view the profile of the site's Community account, then the "member for" is the site age since this is the very first account ever created on each site.

For example on puzzling site: (URL template is //[site].com/users/-1/community)

Easier than going to the full sites list and looking for the site you want. :)


View other users' privileges page by visiting /help/privileges/user/<id> URL. This page is accessible without any restrictions which seems to be by design.

Came to know about this feature from a post made by animuson.


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.

  • @MehdiAbbassi stop making useless edits please. They do NOT tidy up anything, and in this case made the post worse. For example, "user's" is the correct English word. If you don't know, do not edit. Thanks. Oct 4, 2022 at 7:37
  • I don't really see how Mehdi's edit made the post worse. It was minor, but I think most of it was an improvement. The only part I'm not sure about preserving the original intent is the "maybe" -> "may be". I think "users'" can make sense (as in "review stats of users").
    – starball
    Jan 16 at 8:05
  • @starball nope. You can't see multiple users reviews in one place, you see single user reviews each time, so "user's" is the only correct word. "maybe" to "may be" is just, well, silly, and the only fair change was "he/she" to "them" but I was so annoyed it didn't matter. Jan 16 at 8:26

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

  • 11
    I didn't even know there were keyboard shortcuts!
    – Tyler
    Apr 17, 2010 at 3:59
  • 4
    what are the shortcuts? where can I find them? Nov 16, 2010 at 16:07
  • 11
    @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, 2010 at 20:27
  • Thanks @Sam never noticed that. Nov 18, 2010 at 14:38

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