When you research a paper, you spend many hours online browsing Wikipedia for information and sources. That time quickly chews up your monthly mobile data cap. To remedy this issue, give offline resources a try.

Kiwix is an offline content reader software developed by a company in Switzerland. It displays Wikipedia content along with other online content libraries such as software documentation, WikiLeaks, WikiSource, WikiVoyage and more.

Why should this matter to you? Convenience and money! You do not always have access to the Internet on campus or while commuting when you could be working on research assignments. Your data plan consumes massive amounts of dollars while you try to find and download content for school work.

Being able to work offline is priceless. Download entire sections of Wikipedia when you have a free WiFi connection. You can grab all relevant links and images. Then, when you have time to actually concentrate on researching, you can concentrate on quality without fretting about your data plan bill.


Why Kiwix?

Kiwix is a lightweight file reader that handles highly-compressed ZIM-formatted files. ZIM is the format Wikipedia and other large online databases use to store and display text files.

You do not need any special skills to use the software. Much like other specialized text editors or word processing software, ZIM is a self-contained program that opens the ZIM files and displays them as readable text on your computer screen or mobile device.

You can get the Kiwix app for free from the Google Play Store for Android 4.0 or higher devices and the Apple Store for iOS version 8.0 or higher. You can also download free ZIM software for your desktop or laptop computer from the Kiwix website. Kiwix is available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

Kiwix is mostly installed in schools, universities and libraries which can’t afford a broadband Internet access. It is much faster than the Internet and also can be used by many institutions to save bandwidth and reader’s time. But many people also use Kiwix for personal purposes, such as prisoners or people suffering from censorship.

Easy to Use

The Kiwix mobile app and computer software are easy to use. It looks and works much like a web browser. They both provide a range of features which make usage comfortable.

These features include:

  • Full text search engine
  • Bookmarks and notes
  • PDF/HTML export
  • User interface in more than 100 languages
  • Tabs navigation
  • Integrated content manager and downloader
  • History, zoom and key shortcuts
  • Sorting, filtering and searching features

Kiwix is a portable application. This means that you do not need to install it in order to use it. You can copy the Kiwix directory and put it wherever you want: hard disk, USB flash drive or a DVD.

Kiwix has its own library so you can gather all the content you find immediately. The content is listed with its metadata, which you can open or remove.

The library provides a more practical, user-friendly view compared to an on-line catalog. At the start of every new session, Kiwix checks for new content.