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  • This page is part of the Design of xkcd.com explanation.
  • The header text is part of the xkcd Header.
  • The header text is often changing when Randall has news to tell.
    • But when this news wears off the page usually returns to the go-to header text which is:
      • xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
      • It was last changed back to it on 2022-01-08.
        • At that time it was almost three years since it was used last time.
    • See more about the current header text below.


Contents

Current header text[edit]

  • The current header text will be the top of the list of changes, if this page is kept up to date...
  • Usually the header text is the same for all comics.
    • But for certain comics there may be a reason to change the text permanent and as long as that is active they will not change along with the other.
    • See Unique header text

Unique header text[edit]

  • Some comics have their own version of the header text that do not change.
    • Only when the comic is on the front page, will it also be the main header text of xkcd.
    • Put newest comic at the top.
    • Here below are examples of that:

Instructions[edit]

  • 2601: Instructions
    • This comic's header mentions the people who helped put it together.
      • It was on the front page from Friday 2022-04-01 until Monday [ 2022-04-04], until the new comic was released on Monday.
        • Expect there to be a page from April 4, but at this point there is one from 2022-04-06 showing the front page having returned to normal header.
    • The text:
    • It thanks those that helped Randall create that years April fools' comic.
      • All have a link to their name, the first with an Instagram page, the other seven with a link to their Twitter account. Five of those also helped with the previous April Fools' comic, see below.
    • Since this header was related only to the Fools' comic, it was removed from the front page header, when the next comic was released.
      • But it stayed up as one of the permanent different headers on this comic, as seen two days after it stopped being on the front page on 2022-04-06.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 2601.

Checkbox[edit]

  • 2445: Checkbox
    • This comic's header mentions the people who helped put it together.
      • It was on the front page from Thursday 2021-04-01 until Monday 2021-04-05, until the new comic was released on Monday.
    • The text:
    • It thanks those that helped Randall create that years April fools' comic.
      • All have a link to their name, the first with a personal home page, the other six with a link to their Twitter account. Five of those also helped with the previous April Fools' comic, see below.
    • Since this header was related only to the Fools' comic, it was removed from the front page header, when the next comic was released, here from the day after that release Tuesday 2021-04-06.
    • But it stayed up as one of the permanent different headers on this comic, as seen two days later on 2021-04-07.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 2445.

Collector's Edition[edit]

  • 2288: Collector's Edition
    • This comic's header mentions the people who helped put it together.
      • It was on the front page only for about a day around April 3rd and 4th 2020.
    • The text:
    • It thanks those that helped Randall create the 2020 April fools' comic, which had taken two extra days before it was released due to the complex nature of the comic.
  • Due to the delay the next comic, 2289: Scenario 4, was released already the day after the Fool's comic, even though it was thus on a Saturday!
    • Since this header was related only to the Fools' comic, it was removed from the front page header, when the next comic was released, but it stayed up as one of the permanent different headers on this comic
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 2288.

Seven Years[edit]

  • 1928: Seven Years
    • 2017-12-14
    • It was released as a response to another cancer diagnosis, this is explained in the Header text which has replaced the standard xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The new one is this one, with the active link included:
    • The text (with link):
      • Becky Beaton, sister of fellow cartoonist Kate Beaton, has also been diagnosed with cancer. You can support her treatment here.
    • Kate Beaton is the creator of the web comic Hark! A Vagran.
      • Although this comic is not one on Randall's list of Comics I enjoy, he is clearly much influenced by another cancer diagnosis among someone in his own creative field.below.
    • On 2019-08-17, close to two years later, the message was still there and also 2021-12-26 just past four years later.
      • There was the possibility that it would be removed, when the support page was discontinued...
      • But as that already happened before 2018-11-06 it seems like it will be there to stay.
      • Last archived version was from 2018-03-05.
      • Randall has previously done something similar for another friend, Emiliy, but that header was not made permanent.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 1928.

ISS Solar Transit 2[edit]

Meteorite Identification[edit]

  • 1723: Meteorite Identification
    • Randall realized that his comic was almost a copy of some other person. And he has since then acknowledged this on the comics specific page see more here.
    • At the time of this post, in the newest saved version on the archive from 2016-10-10 it is still there and says:
      • Note: Jolyon, founder of mindat.org, made a similar chart way before me!
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 1723.

Substitutions 3[edit]

Garden[edit]

  • 1663: Garden
    • This comic had a header text to help people use the comic when it came out.
    • For some time this text was the main header text, but after a while is disappeared from the main header, but remained as the header for Garden.
    • Today and as of the newest saved version on the archive from 2016-12-31 it is still there and says:
      • Protip: If you don't like how your garden is growing, you can click to prune it.
      • You can copy the URL to share your garden. From other browsers, it will be view-only.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 1663.

Substitutions 2[edit]

United Shapes[edit]

  • 1079: United Shapes
    • The header was unique for this comic on the day it came out: 2012-07-09.
    • The text:
      • There's a larger version of this map here (Colorado is here).
      • It's also available as a poster.
    • The text was never on other pages:
    • There are simply no version of the front page from the 11th and 12th of July 2012. But from other pages it can be shown that from the 11th there was a difference.
      • On 2012-07-11 on the page for Knights and for instance from the same day on page number 1077 1077: Home Organization there is the same but new header, different than the one Knights had both two days before and the other one from the day before.
      • And also on 2012-07-11 the numbered page xkcd 1079 for US displays a mix of this new and the unique version of the header text.
        • It left our the part about Colorado and moved the bottom line up so the unique part is written in one line (that may still take up two lines as the text will spill over, (maybe just in some browsers?)
        • And then it added the two lines of header text that was on all the other pages (presumably also the front page, but that was first proved with the version from 2012-07-13).
        • And this is the version still shown on xkcd 1079 today, even though the bottom lines was a normal header that was supposed to disappear.
    • The final text that is still on US today:
      • There's a larger version of this map here! It's also available as a poster.
      • New: what-if.xkcd.com: abusing science to answer hypothetical questions.
      • I'll answer a new reader question every Tuesday.
        • Here above the link has been updated to the one in the current version, where as the above link in the original version, that is now a dead link, has been directed to an archived version of the stores poster.
        • The link the new part is to the very first what if post Relativistic Baseball which was released on 2012-07-10, the day after US was released, but before the next comic 1080: Visual Field was released on 2012-07-11.
          • There are no version of comic xkcd 1080 archived while it was on the front page, so it is not possible to tell what the front page looked like on the 11th and 12th of July. But best guess is that it looked like that on Knight shown above from the 11th.
    • The first version was on the main page while the comic was up.
      • Maybe there was a time with the final version on the front page, but seems like Randall put the new header text there in hand, and forgot to delete it after, so he probably first changed it when the new comic came out.
      • Since the new header was important, promoting his new what if blog, he likely did not wish to have a fairly new page (maybe even on the front page on the 10th) without the reference. Also he did not wish to remove the link to the poster in the store.
      • But this makes it a special unique header, as a relic from the past header text is left together with the text that was supposed to be permanent. It should have been deleted when the link to what if 1 was removed.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 1079.

Umwelt[edit]

  • 1037: Umwelt
    • It has a permanent promotion of the store already from the release day on 2012-04-01:
    • The unique text:
      • You can get posters, prints, and t-shirts in the xkcd store.
    • It stayed on the front page while this comic was the most recent, so for instance also two days later on 2012-04-03
      • There was a different header on other comics even while this comic was on the front page with the unique text. See Visiting Newport News.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 1037.

s/keyboard/leopard/[edit]

  • 1031: s/keyboard/leopard/
    • In response to the idea of having you browser replace keyboard with leopard a reader made a script that could do just that.
    • Randall seem to have gotten this script before release (or at least on the day of release) as it was already the header text on 2012-03-19 the day the comic was released.
    • The unique text is:
      • A helpful reader has provided an s/keyboard/leopard/ user script.
        • The link does not go anywhere useful any longer, but here is the archived version of the link from two days after the release of the comic on 2012-03-21
    • It was never changed on the other comics so was only on the front while this comic was up until 2012-03-21
      • Here also shown on the second day it was up on its own page on 2012-03-20.
    • The next comic 1032: Networking came out on 2012-03-21 and here the header text has returned to what it was before the leopard comic: xkcd Holistic Browser.
      • Here are examples from dates around this showing it was not used on other pages:
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 1031.

Making Things Difficult[edit]

Money[edit]

  • 980: Money
    • Randall notes his thoughts about making it and makes a promotion of the poster.
    • The unique text:
      • This one was fun (and exhausting) to make.
      • There's a poster of it in the store!
        • It is both at the oldest stored version from 2012-04-04 and the newest at time of editing 2022-01-08.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 980.

Map Projections[edit]

  • 977: Map Projections
    • Randall notes that a person had birthday on the release of this comic about maps, and this guy has maps on his homepage
    • The unique text:
      • It turns out Monday was Steve Waterman's birthday. His site has posters of his map, plus maybe the world's only Winkel Tripel-critiquing poetry.
        • The link goes to Waterman project home page. Above the link goes to an archived version from around the time of release of the header text.
        • It is at the oldest stored version with the comic on the front page on 2011-11-15.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 977.

Na[edit]

  • 851: Na
    • After Randall made this comic, he realized he could have "made it better" and changed the header text to:
      • I can't believe I forgot Hey Jude.
      • I don't get do-overs, but I couldn't resist making a fixed version.
    • See more about it in that comics trivia section.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 851.

Malamanteau[edit]

  • 739: Malamanteau
    • Randall notices that he has changed this comics license, so it can be used on Wikipedia.
    • The text:
    • When the comic came out it had the normal header text from that time, as seen here two days after release on 2010-05-14.
      • First archived version with the unique text is from 2010-09-13, but the previous archived version of this comic is from 2010-07-13.
      • So it happened somewhere in the two months in between. But at least it was not there the first two months after release, but there before four month after release.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 739.

Steal This Comic[edit]

  • 488: Steal This Comic
    • Randall is tired of DRM, an acronym standing for Digital Rights Management. This comic displays this. He thus make a promotion of Amazon that sells music without DRM.
    • The text:
      • Note: the Amazon.com MP3 store sells DRM-free music. Kudos.
        • The link is to Amazon MP3 music. Here is an archived version from 2008-10-01, two weeks prior to the release of the comic.
    • The header text was on the comic from the release day, here seen the day after on the first archived version from 2008-10-14.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 488.

House of Pancakes[edit]

  • 472: House of Pancakes
    • This comic's header notes its status as a parody:
    • Only on the days this comic was the newest was this header featured on the front page of xkcd for instance as seen here the day after release on 2008-09-06.
      • But it was only on this comic. The commercial for his new t-shirt was on all the other pages, also on 2008-09-06 and presumably returned to the front page with the next comic. But there is a gap in the archive after this comic.
    • See the comic on xkcd xkcd 472.

Changes to the header text[edit]

  • The header text changes often.
    • Here these changes can be listed
    • Begin with the date of the web archive link and make the date a link.
    • Link to the comic that was on the front page when the text changed
    • Then describe the changes and put in text if possible
    • Also the comic that was the last to feature a message would be interesting to have below the other data.
    • Put the newest (current) version at the top.

2022-01-31 - What if? 2[edit]

  • 2022-02-01
    • 2575: What If? 2 came out as it changed, and then it looked like this already on 2022-01-31. But there is no archived version from that day after the header changed.
      • This was what the countdown had been counting down to.
      • An announcement that Randall had written a sequel to the first what if? book, based on his blog.
    • The header consist of two part. To the left a line of text (split up, most likely over three lines for most users). And to the right the window also used in the countdown, but with the image that appeared in it after the count down ended.
      • The image is taken from the front cover of the new book, with red background, showing a passenger plane taking off wit the wheels still down. On top of it a Tyrannosaurus Rex has begun eating its way into the plane. Below the plan it the book title in white text.
    • The text:
      • What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions comes out 9/13. Preorder here!
      • What If? 2:
        • The link goes to a dedicated page on xkcd about what if? 2: the book. The image is also a link to this page.
        • The entire comic that came out along with the new header text is also a link to that page.
    • At the same time the xkcd links in the top left section of xkcd also changed to include links to books, and especially this new book.
  • It will be interesting to see how long this version of the promotion for the new books stays up. But most likely there will be promotion for the book until release, and then more after the release.

2022-01-10 - Standard text with countdown[edit]

  • 2022-01-10.
    • 2565: Latency was still up when the Countdown in header text was added.
    • The text was still the standard xkcd header: xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    • But a countdown was added. This was inserted in a rectangular box, placed at the end of the standard header text.
      • In some browsers the box forces the last word "Friday" to jump down to the next line.
    • Inside the box the following time was displayed in the version in the link:
      • 20d 20h 27m
        • This clock will also count down every minute, although it will return to the time at the time of archive when reloaded!
        • While this was edited into this wiki the time had changed to 20d 19h 12m. So it was a very fresh download in the web archive, only about 1 hour old when it was updated to this wiki.
        • The minutes change without refreshing the page, and follows this editors computers clock exactly, so it will end at 59 minutes, not at a full hour.
      • It looks like it started on 01-10 17:00 UTC.
        • A calculation shows that this countdown will reach zero on Monday 2022-01-31 at 14:59 (2:59 PM) UTC.
        • This will be at 9:59 (9:59 AM) in Randall's home town
          • The last ten minutes it switched to seconds for the last minute so it made the switch 15:00 UTC 10:00 in Boston!
        • From that it can be deduced that the count started at 20d 22h 0m
          • The first image on the archive thus came 1h 33m after the count began.
    • At 2022-01-11 a diagonal black bar appeared in the lower left-hand corner of the countdown box.
      • After that the Countdown in header text page was created and any further development on the count down will be mentioned on that page.
  • It was last up on 2022-01-31 when 2574: Autoresponder was on the front page.
    • This archived version was when the counter was at 0d 2h 11m, and the last normal frame was already up at this time.
      • It stayed like this until the counter ran out.
        • Then for a few minutes the final frame, that revealed that all this was a promotion for Randall's new book what if? 2 was up while the Friday comic was still up.
        • Then when the new Monday comic came out with the promotion for what if? 2, the header changed.

2022-01-08 - Back to standard text[edit]

  • 2022-01-08.
    • 2565: Latency came out around the time the new header text appeared, on a Friday!
    • The text returned to the standard xkcd header:
      • xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    • This was the first time since 2018-11-07 that the text had changed back to that, and at that time it lasted until 2019-02-05.
      • That is 1067 days (less than a month short of three years) without the standard text! (Can it be called standard anymore?)
    • It was only left in the complete standard version until 2022-01-09 when Latency was still on the front page.
      • Then the next day a countdown was added to it.
        • That was after the weekend on Monday but before the Monday comic came up.
        • So only during the weekend was it normal standard header text.

2021-12-20 - What If in stock[edit]

2020-06-03 - Black Lives Matter[edit]

  • 2020-06-03.
    • 2315: Eventual Consistency came out as a new header text was finally inserted after almost two months without one.
    • Cueball is standing to the left and speaks a single line of text: "Black Lives Matter"
    • To the right is a gray link button with text: "How To Help."
    • As always, the entire image (which is only below the xkcd logo) is a link
      • The button is thus not needed, but it will also work when clicking the location of the button.
    • The link goes to Join Campaign Zero.
  • It stayed like this until 2020-06-16 when 2320: Millennium Problems was up.
  • On April 1st 2021 the front page header changed to mention who made the April Fools' comic.
    • But this was only for this comic Checkbox.
    • The rest of the pages kept the BLM header and it returned to this on the front page once the next comic was released on April 5th. At that time it will have been up for 13 months, making it the longest header different from the standard header.
  • It was last up on 2021-12-19 when 2556: Turing Complete was on the front page.
    • At that time it had been up for 564 days or 1,5 year plus 16 days! This is most likely a record.

2020-04-05 - Empty header[edit]

  • 2020-04-05.
    • 2289: Scenario 4 came out and the header belonging to the previous comic was removed.
    • But no new header was inserted. Not even the go to Header text about the release days of xkcd.
      • Since the previous header was related only to the April fools' comic 2288: Collector's Edition, and that had stopped the promotion of the How To book, after first experiencing problems with it's release, it seems Randall forgot what he usually put in the header.
  • It stayed empty like this until 2020-06-02 when 2314: Carcinization was on the front page.
    • So almost two month without a header. This had not happened before.

2020-04-04 - Put together by[edit]

  • 2020-04-04.
  • Due to the delay the next comic, 2289: Scenario 4, was released already the day after the Fool's comic, even though it was thus on a Saturday!
    • Since this header was related only to the Fool's comic, it was thus removed from the general header, but it stayed up as one of the permanent unique header texts.
      • However, when it was removed from the general header, the header was left empty.
      • Unlike some other headers that stayed on a given comic, this one was on all comics for the duration of the time it stayed on the front page, see for instance the previous comic on 2020-04-03.

2020-04-02 - Technical Reasons[edit]

  • 2020-04-02.
  • Randall turned out to, again, have problems with his complicated and interactive April fools' comic for 2020.
    • The text:
      • Note: For technical reasons Wednesday's comic will be posted Thursday instead. Apologies for the delay!
  • This finally stopped the promotion of the How To book.
    • It had then been part of the header for well over a year since 2019-02-06.
  • It stayed up a day longer than planed as the fool's comic, 2288: Collector's Edition was first released on Friday, so the note was still up on 2020-04-03.

2020-01-16 - How To explores - again[edit]

  • 2020-01-16.
    • 2255: Tattoo Ideas was still up when the header changed.
    • The ongoing promotion of the book continued but here more than three weeks after Christmas the reference to Christmas was removed.
    • The header then returned to the one from before Christmas:
  • It was last up on 2020-04-01 when 2287: Pathogen Resistance was on the front page.
    • It was the problems with April fools' comic of 2020 that finally stopped the promotion of the How To book.
    • It had then been part of the header for well over a year since 2019-02-06.

2019-12-02 - Into Science[edit]

  • 2019-12-02.
    • 2236: Is it Christmas? came out when the header changed. Fitting as the change is about Christmas list.
    • Still promoting the new How To book, continuing to make the image a link to the How To book page on xkcd.
      • The links below to order are the same as in the previous header.
      • Actually most of the header stays the same with the same four images and the same layout. But the text above has changed completely and the two main text sections between the drawings has changed but only slightly. The description of the images is thus left out, see below. Only new thing is that there are now two red circles connected with a red arrow. The first circle is around the word How To at the end of the first text with the arrow going from that circle to the second circle drawn around the picture of the book.
    • The text:
      • Is there someone on you Christmas list who's into science? They might like my new book How To
      • It explores ridiculous ideas for applying scientific research to everyday problems...
      • ...And illustrates what would happen if you tried them.
      • Boom
      • You can get it here:
      • Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, Apple, Audible, Target
  • It was last up on 2020-01-15 when 2255: Tattoo Ideas was on the front page.

2019-11-22 - How To explores[edit]

  • 2019-11-22.
    • 2232: Hotel Room Party was up when the header changed. It most likely changed when the comic appeared. Earlier on that day it was the previous header over the previous comic.
    • Still promoting the new How To book, here again making the image a link to the How To book page on xkcd, after it previously was a link to where to listen to the audio book.
      • The links below to order returns to the same as in the header before the previous header with links to audio books, except that the link to an exclusive edition has been removed.
      • The header consist of an image with text above five small drawings with two text parts in between them. To the left is the closed How To book which is black with a blue readable title, How To, and unreadable white text below this as well as below the unreadable blue author name, which are below the image. The image shows Cueball putting in a light-bulb with drones under each foot while Megan, holding a ladder, and White/Black Hat are looking up at him. To the right of the book is a drawing of Ponytail pole-vaulting with two black helium filled balloons. Next to her is the first text segment. Then after that is the drawing, seen before in the header text, of a truck towing a house up a steep hill. This truck goes above the second text segment, with Cueball somersaulting above the text. Furthest right, above and just right of the text is an explosion with the sound written inside. Below the header image is some black text and then the links to where to get it as regular blue link text.
    • The text:
      • My new book How To explores the science behind spacecraft heat shields, butterfly metabolisms, and land border surveys...
      • ...By imagining ridiculous ideas for applying the research to you everyday life...
      • ...And illustrating what would happen if you tried them.
      • Boom
      • You can get it here:
      • Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, Apple, Audible, Target
  • It was last up on 2019-12-01 when 2235: Group Chat Rules was on the front page.

2019-11-06 - Audio clip[edit]

  • 2019-11-06.
    • 2224: Software Updates was still up when the header changed, but the first archive version was first from after the next comic came out 2225: Voting Referendum.
    • Still promoting the new How To book, here making the image a link to the How To book on Penguin Random House's audio book, where a audit clip read by Wil Wheaton can be sampled.
      • The links below to order have now changed to those with audio books.
      • The header consist of an image with text, with a "blue link", above the How To book that is being folded out from closed; to partially open; to opened up on two full pages; this takes three images. The closed book is the black book with a blue readable title, How To, and unreadable white text below this as well as below the unreadable blue author name, which are below the image. The image shows Cueball putting in a light-bulb with drones under each foot while Megan, holding a ladder, and White/Black Hat are looking up at him. The partly open book still has this cover partly visible, but unreadable, as well as come unreadable text in the open side. The open book shows two pages with lots of unreadable text and three figures (maybe one is a table). Next to the open book there is an arrow to the right pointing at an audio icon with three audio lines in front. Below the header image are the links as regular text.
    • The text:
    • The entire image is a link to the How To book on Penguin Random House page, where the audio clip can he played.
      • As always it is the entire picture that is a link, and not only the blue underlined text that says click here!
  • It was last on the archive on 2019-11-22 when 2231: the Time Before And After Land was on the front page. But it was most likely still up when 2232: Hotel Room Party came out. But then changed during the next day.

2019-10-02 - Horse vs football team[edit]

  • 2019-10-02.
    • 2210: College Athletes was up when the header changed.
    • Still promoting the new How To book, but seeing this is no longer close to the release day the focus has changed. This time the image seems to be from one of the How To explanations in the book.
      • The links below to order are the same as the previous header.
      • But new text is added after the links to promote two events with Randall in New York the two days after this header came up.
        • These links disappeared after a week leaving only the picture and the link to buy the book. See below.
      • The header consist of an image with Cueball riding bareback on a horse. He comes from the left holding an American football. Running towards him from the right are eight American football players with helmets with three stars on the back of the helmet. Two of the players at the back are almost hidden by players in front of them. Beneath them is a line of text that belongs to the image, the period at the end of the sentence hangs in height with the center line of the last letter E... Then below the image follows the link and promotion of the NY events, these are written in regular.
    • The text:
    • The image is a link to the How To book page on xkcd.
      • The link to Target still seems to go the main page rather than to their How To book page... Probably a still undiscovered error on Randall's part?
  • This header changed, but so slightly that the changes will only be mentioned here rather than in a new section:
    • The first link was last active on 2019-10-04
    • Then the day after only the second link remained from 2019-10-05. 2211: Hours Before Departure came out when it changed.
      • But the text of this link changed as it had been a continues text from one to the other link. Also it was not entirely on it's own line, thus not as with the first link whose text was directly connected to the line with the links to buy the book.
      • The new text of that link was:
        • Zach Weinersmith and I will be hosting an event Friday night at Caveat NYC!
        • The last link was the same, but now it only covered two words not the entire end of the sentence.
      • This other link was last active on 2019-10-07.
    • And then the last link was gone by 2019-10-08, when 2212: Cell Phone Functions came out.
  • It ended on 2019-11-05 when 2224: Software Updates was up.

2019-09-30 - Tons of fun[edit]

  • 2019-09-30.
    • 2209: Fresh Pears was up when the header changed.
    • Still promoting the new How To book, but seeing this is no longer close to the release day the focus has changed to how much fun it was for Randall to write it and how proud he is of the result. Randall, as Cueball, is saying this in the new header image.
      • The links below to order are the same, except a new has been added at the end.
      • The header consist of an image with Cueball standing to the left of the book, shown as tall as he is. The book is opened up on two pages with lots of unreadable text as well as three drawings, only one of these, with a circle diagram, can clearly be seen. Cueball is speaking, and the text is above him and the book. Two words are blue with a line under as if they where a link. But as always the entire image is a link. Beneath the image is the links on where to order the book.
    • The text:
    • The image is a link to the How To book page on xkcd.
      • The new link to Target seems to go the main page rather than to their How To book page... Probably an error on Randall's part.
  • It ended on October 2nd while 2210: College Athletes where up. But there is no archived versions from the 1st of October and the one from the 2nd is with the next version. But the editor of this was making changes the the explanation of College Athletes before the next header change came along.

2019-09-11 - How To available[edit]

  • 2019-09-11.
    • 2200: Unreachable State was still up when the header changed.
    • The release day part of the promotion was changed to telling that the new How To book was available. With teasers about what is in the book below the heading. On either side of the text a picture of the book is still shown. Also the links below changed, adding three new and removing one old.
      • The header consist of an image with the book shown both left and right of some text. Both books have blue title and author name, and white unreadable title and white drawing of Cueball flying on two quadcopters to put in a light-bulb in a ceiling lamp, while White/Black? Hat is watching together with Megan, who is holding a ladder. Beneath the image is the links on where to order it.
      • Between the two books are two sections of text above each other, the lover with smaller font.
    • The text:
      • How To is available now!
      • Learn how to open bottles with nuclear weapons and how to be on time for meetings by altering the Earths rotation. The book also features advice from real-life experts including Chris Hadfield and Serena Williams.
      • Order: Amazon, B&N, B&N Exclusive Edition, IndieBound,Apple, Audible
    • The image is a link to the How To book page on xkcd.
    • Serena Williams is a famous tennis player who was also featured in one of the promotion comics for How To: 2190: Serena Versus the Drones
    • Chris Hadfield is a Canadian retired astronaut, engineer, and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot. The first Canadian to walk in space, Hadfield has flown two Space Shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.
      • The new link to audible probably needs the user to be signed up, else it will go the the front page and ask yo to sign up. But from the archive the page can be seen here.
  • Up till 2019-09-22 it looked like this.
  • It ended on 2019-09-29 when 2208: Drone Fishing was up.

2019-09-04 - Happy Release Day - bookstore[edit]

  • 2019-09-04.
    • 2198: Throw was already up when the header changed slightly, as the text below Happy release day changed.
  • Most of the header stayed the same as the day before, but the reference to the Gregorian/Julian calender was changed.
    • The header consist of an image with the book shown both left and right of some text.Both books have blue title and author name, and white unreadable title and white drawing of Cueball flowing on two quadcopters to put in a light-bulb in a ceiling lamp, while White/Black? Hat is watching together with Megan comes who is holding a ladder. Beneath the image is the link on where to order it, now the preorder has been changed to order.
      • Between the two books are two sections of text above each other, the lover with smaller font and in brackets.
    • The text:
      • Happy How To release day!
      • Available wherever books are sold.
      • (Mostly bookstores, I assume but you can always try your luck at Wendy's.)
    • See below for any other details.
  • It ended on 2019-09-09 when 2200: Unreachable State was up.

2019-09-03 - Happy Release Day - calendar[edit]

  • 2019-09-03
    • 2197: Game Show was still up when the header changed, but it was for sure to coincide with 2198: Throw which came out later on the release day while it still looked like in this version.
    • Randall celebrated the release day of How To, coming out the day the header changed.
      • The comic is also a reference to a chapter in the book on how to throw things. A very complicated interactive comic where different persons or other living things can be chosen to throw dead or living things. The trow will then be shown below with distance measured in two units, normal and special. That is if the thrower can actually manage to throw the thing.
    • The header consist of an image with the book shown both left and right of some text. The two black books have red stars around them, five on the outer side of the image and 6 on the inner, the stars are mirrored around left and right book. Both books have blue title and author name, and white unreadable title and white drawing of Cueball flying on two quadcopters to put in a light-bulb in a ceiling lamp, while White/Black? Hat is watching together with Megan, who is holding a ladder. Beneath the image is the link on where to order it, now the preorder has been changed to order.
      • Between the two books are two sections of text above each other, the lover with smaller font and in brackets.
    • The text:
    • The image is a link to the How To book page on xkcd.
    • Most of the world uses the Gregorian calendar, but before it was taken into use, the Julian calendar was in use.
      • The Julian calendar does not take into account that every 100 years a leap year should be passed as in the Gregorian calendar, and thus it is at the moment 13 days behind, as it has has this many February 29th too many. Since there should actually be a leap year every 400 year, and the last of those was 2000, then it has been 13 days since 1900, and will stay like this until 2100 when it will become 14 days.
      • The image is a link to the How To book page on xkcd.
    • Already the next day the part of the header below happy release day about the Gregorian calender changed. See above.

2019-08-27 - Out in a week[edit]

  • 2019-08-27.
    • 2194: How to Send a File was up when the header changed.
    • Randall continues to promote his new book, How To, coming out a week from this header.
      • It is only three lines of text
    • The text:
    • Later on the same day, (and here for the next day 2019-08-27 for the front page), more text and links where added, plus the order of the text was changed.
    • The later text was:
    • The link to the book tour also include the winner of the contest to get Randall to add "your" city to his book tour.
  • It ended on the release day 2019-09-03, so this was last on the page on 2019-09-02.

2019-08-06 - Win a sketch[edit]

  • 2019-08-06.
    • 2185: Cumulonimbus was up when the header changed.
      • Most likely the header changed when that comic came out on 2019-08-05. But the previous header was also out during that day.
    • Randall continues to promote his new book, How To, now making a competition where you can win a stick figure sketch of yourself. (Although only for US residents!)
      • The image shows Hairy, with a cat at his feet and Megan (or Danish?) with a samurai sword. They are standing with their backs towards each other, the cat on the left, Megan facing right with the sword towards the words.
      • Below the drawing are links to places to preorder the book.
    • The text:
      • Want to win a sketch of yourself as a stick figure? Click here to find out how!
      • [Four links in gray blue are given with the first words in black:] Preorder How To: Amazon,Barnes & Noble,IndieBound,Apple Books
        • The entire picture is a link to a Blag post: Win an xkcd sketch
        • That is even though only the click here part of the text is in blue, like a link.
        • Cause as he often has written: I still haven't figured out HTML imagemaps, most recently in the 2019-07-09 header.
  • The header stayed like this until 2019-08-26 when 2193: Well-Ordering Principle was up.

2019-08-03 - First look inside[edit]

  • 2019-08-03.
    • 2184: Unpopular Opinions was up when the header changed.
    • Randall continues to promote his new book, How To, now stating that it comes out next month.
      • Set to be released on September 3rd 2019, this update was made exactly one month before.
      • The image shows text to the left of three drawings of the book: First the closed book showing the black front cover with blue and white text and white drawings, then the book is partly opened, and finally it lays opened up showing two pages, with a readable heading on the right page.
      • Below the drawing are links to places to preorder the book.
    • The text:
      • My new book comes out next month. Click here for a first look inside!
      • [On the books front cover only two thins can be read:]
        • How To
        • Randal Munroe.
      • [These two words can also partly be read on the opening book.]
      • [Only the large heading can be read on the right page of the open book:]
        • How to Dig a Hole.
      • [These two pages also became part of a special comic relased during the weekend when this header was up: Disappearing Sunday Update.]
      • [The transcript of that comic describes the images in the open book.]
      • [Four links in gray blue are given with the first word in black:] Preorder:Amazon,Barnes & Noble,IndieBound,Apple Books
        • The entire picture is a link to a Blag post: How To: Chapter list and introduction.
  • It stayed up like this while the special Disappearing Sunday Update came out on Sunday 2019-08-04, and was there still on Monday [ http://web.archive.org/web/20190805050812/https://www.xkcd.com/ 2019-08-05], at least during the time that the Sudan Update was still up.
    • When the next comic came out late that Monday, it probably disappeared along with the Disappearing comic, but the first update with the next header is from Tuesday 2019-08-06, but the Monday comic 2185: Cumulonimbus was still on the front page at that time,.

2019-07-23 - Back to previous header[edit]

2019-07-15 - ComiCon[edit]

  • 2019-07-15.
  • Randall tells that he will be at ComicCon and links to his plans there.
    • The text:
      • Going to San Diego Comic Con this week? I'll see you there!
        • The link is to a Blag post about his plans for the ComicCon
    • Randall appeared in a couple of panels, and gave a talk.
    • Finally he also handed out signed copies of his new How To book more than a month before official release.
      • So still promoting the book, also in this header...
  • It stayed up until 2019-07-22 the day after the ComiCon ended, while 2178: Expiration Date High Score was up.
    • Then it returned to the previous header from before the ComicCon announcement when 2179: NWS Warnings came out.

2019-07-10 - Adding links[edit]

2019-07-09 - Drawings from How To[edit]

  • 2019-07-09.
    • 2173: Trained a Neural Net was up when the header changed.
    • Randall continues to promote his new book, How To.
      • The image shows a small picture of his book with text on either side.
      • Below are what appears to be three drawings from the book. Ponytail pole vaultig with three baloons in one hand, then text, then a truck with a house behind it speeding fast up a hill then text and finally Cueball somersaulting towards an explosion.
      • To the right there is a big blue button to click for preorder, with text below.
    • The text:
      • New book [Arrow points to book. Title can be read: How To]
      • How To: Absurd Scientific Answers to Common Real-world Problems
      • It's a guide to bad ways to do things...
      • ...And what would happen if you tried them.
      • Boom
      • Click here to preorder
      • Or click anywhere. I still haven't figured out HTML imagemaps.
  • It stayed up like this only for a day, then an extra line of links was added the day after while the same comic was still up, see 2019-07-10.
    • But the general header stayed up first for five days, and then it returned again for 10 more days after a break to announce a ComiCon visit.
    • So a total of 16 days with this drawing.

2019-06-25 - People with books[edit]

  • 2019-06-25.
    • 2167: Motivated Reasoning Olympics was up when the header changed.
    • Randall continues to promote his new book, How To, and his book tour.
      • The image now shows 15 people standing side by side each holding a book up in front of them with unreadable titles.
      • From left: Megan, Cueball, a man with blonde hair, Science Girl, Blondie, Hairy, another Hairy, White Hat, a kid with curly hair, Hairbun, another Cueball, another Megan, a guy with a knit cap, Ponytail and Beret Guy.
      • Above them is a text message.
    • The text:
      • Want to bring me to your town for my How To book tour? Click to find out how to enter the challenge!
        • The entire picture is a link to the official book tour announcement posted on the Blag, with all cities and dates listed with details.
        • In the link it is explained how to enter a competition on how to bring Randall to your city.
        • Make a story using only book titles and get the books used to be held up by different individuals.
        • A longer sentence will improve your chances.
          • This is indeed what this header picture shows.
  • The header stayed like this until 2019-07-08 when 2172: Lunar Cycles was up. When it changed the day after 2173: Trained a Neural Net was up.

2019-06-15 - Adding dates[edit]

  • 2019-06-15
    • 2163: Chernobyl was up when the header changed.
    • Randall only made a small change to the one that had been up for four days at this time.
    • The text only changed by adding a line below the first line:
      • Announcing the How To book tour:
      • [Click here for dates and tickets]
        • The rest of the header is exactly the same as on 2019-06-11, except everything is a bit smaller to make room in the same place for the extra line.
        • The link is not located on the blue part of the text and it was already there before this update.
        • Best guess is that not many clicked through and Randall then made it obvious that there was a link.
        • The entire picture is a link to the official book tour announcement posted on the Blag, with all cities and dates listed with details.
        • Randall has previously made it clear, in 1572: xkcd Survey, that he knows how to make an image a link, but not how to put the link only where he says to click. But it is easier to make a place for people to click than tell them this...
  • The header stayed like this until 2019-06-25, when it changed while 2167: Motivated Reasoning Olympics was up. But this one was still up when that comic came out the day before 2019-06-24.

2019-06-11 - Book tour[edit]

  • 2019-06-11
    • 2161: An Apple a Day was up when the header changed.
      • Note when this change happened two new links was added to the xkcd links section of xkcd.
    • Randall changed the header text to announce the official book tour for his newest book How To to be released 3 months later.
    • The text:
      • Announcing the How To book tour:
      • [Below this header is a map of the mainland USA with 14 labeled black dots indicates the 14 cities that the book tour will take Randall to. One red dot with five red question marks above is located beneath the map to the left, indicating a 15th city to be chosen in a contest. Above the map to the right is a small picture of the book with the blue title on the black cover. Above the book is the release date and with an arrow pointing down to the book.]
      • September 3rd
      • How to
      • Seattle
      • Portland
      • San Francisco
      • Santa Cruz
      • Los Angeles
      • Salt Lake City
      • Kansas City
      • Ann Arbor
      • Cincinnati
      • Louisville
      • Cambridge
      • New York
      • D.C.
      • Raleigh
      • ????? (Chosen by readers)
      • [The entire picture is a link to the official book tour announcement posted on the Blag, with all cities and dates listed with details.]
        • In the link it is explained how to enter a competition on how to bring Randall to your city.
        • Make a story using only book titles and get the books used to be held up by different individuals.
        • Only US cities can apply.
    • The header only stayed exactly like this for three days, and was still up on 2019-06-14 when 2162: Literary Opinions was on the front page.
      • Then it changed slightly to indicate that the picture was a link which was not clear before. See above.

2019-05-17 - Back to previous header[edit]

  • 2019-05-17:
  • It changed back to the exact same heading as before the one with Google reader here below.
    • See 2019-02-06 below for all details.
    • It stayed up for more than three weeks and was still up on 2019-06-10, while 2160: Ken Burns Theory was still up on the day the next comic 2161: An Apple a Day was to be released (where the new header could be found at least the next day, but maybe from the release of that comic?). Then it changed to announce the book tour for his new book.

2019-04-23 - Google Reader[edit]

  • 2019-04-23:
    • 2140: Reinvent the Wheel came out when it changed, ending a more than two and half month long promotion of Randall's new book How To.
    • Randall changed the header text to ask if the reader still mourned the loss of Google Reader which closed on 2013-07-01, almost 6 years before this comic..
      • He offers the possibility to sign up to receive the newest comic by e-mail.
    • The comic may have relation to this, as some where using Google reader for different purposes when they closed it, without any chance of getting your data out.
      • The comic "Reinvent the Wheel" mentions that using external dependencies carry risks, such as Google closing down a feature. given the fact that the comic came out as the header changed it is probably not a coincidence.
    • The text:
      • Still mourning the demise of Google Reader? You can sign up to get new comics delivered by email here.
    • The link is to https://xkcd.com/newsletter, where it is possible to submit your e-mail address and press a subscribe button.
      • the following text is written above it:
      • To receive the comic and news postings in your inbox, subscribe here.
    • It stayed up for more than three weeks and was still up on 2019-05-16, when 2150: XKeyboarCD was up. Then it changed back to the promotion of his new book.

2019-02-06 - How to book[edit]

  • 2019-02-06:
    • 2107: Launch Risk was up at the time when it changed, having been up since Monday the 4th of February.
      • Here it can be seen being on the front of xkcd on 2019-02-05, without the new text. This was also the last time the standard header text was used in several months.
      • 2108: Carbonated Beverage Language Map came up later on the day the header changed.
    • Randall changed the header text to promote his newest book How To to be released 7 months later.
      • He added an image of the book with large text next to it regarding the release and links on how to preorder it.
      • There was no direct relation to the comics released at the time, except of course that he kind of launched his new book with all the risk it involves, while having a comic called launch risk up. It was though a very different and more real type of launch risk (of a human carrying space rocket) in the comic.
    • The text:
      • [The book is shown to the left as a black rectangle with large blue text and smaller gray text. On the book cover, in white drawings, are seen Megan with a ladder and either Black or White Hat (hard to say on black background). Both are looking up on Cueball who is floating in the air with a quadcopter beneath either leg, trying to plug in an electric light bulb in a naked lamp hanging down near him. It seems he has already removed the broken light bulb, as he has one in both hands. And now he tries to put in the new one. He could have let Megan use the ladder...]
      • [The header in blue above it all:] How To.
      • [Sub header in gray to the left of Cueball:] Absurd Scientific Answers to Common Real-world Problems
      • [Author name in blue below the drawing:] Randall Munroe
      • [Sub header to this below in gray:] Creator of xkcd
      • [Sub header to this below in gray:] Author of what if? and Thing Explainer
      • [Next to this book image are the following text:]
      • [Large heading:] HOW TO
      • [Normal size sub header:] Absurd Scientific Answers to Common Real-world Problems
      • [In smaller gray font below:] Available September 3, 2019.
      • [Four links in gray blue are given with the first word still in gray:] Preorder:Amazon,Barnes & Noble,IndieBound,Apple Books
    • It stayed up for more than two and a half month and was still up on 2019-04-22, when 2139: Email Settings was up. Then it finally changed to a new header without going back to the standard.

2018-11-07 - Back to standard text[edit]

  • 2018-11-07
    • The text returned to the standard xkcd header:
      • xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    • It stayed like this until 2107: Launch Risk was up on 2019-02-05, so two days less than three months.
      • After this it did not return to the standard text for almost three years, but just short of a month before the third year without it, it returned on 2022-01-08.

2018-11-06 - Election Day[edit]

  • 2018-11-06:
    • 2068: Election Night (on election day the day after this comic was released).
      • It added a larger comic above the two links from the previous header. Those links of the previous header text was still up the day before 2018-11-05, when 2067: Challengers was still up.
    • Randall changed the xkcd header once more to try to make more people vote, and in this case help others to vote.
      • Once again directly related to the new comic about election night.
    • The text:
      • [A line of altering blue and red stars, blue first and last of two rows of nine starts around of the heading:]
      • Election Day!
      • [Below Black Hat and Ponytail to the left and Megan to the right of Cueball is checking their smart phones. Cueball is addressing the reader:]
      • Cueball: The biggest thing you can do th help is to check in with friends and family and make sure they know when and where they're voting.
      • [Below these four characters there is the following text with two arrows pointing left and right. Both are turning up to text/links on either side of the four:]
      • Use these links to answer questions
      • [To the left:] Where and how to vote: Vote-org
      • [To the right:] What's on your ballot: BallotReady.org
      • [Below was the two links from the previous header:]
      • Find out where to vote: vote.org.
      • See what's on your ballot: BallotReady.org
    • It was only up one day and thus on ended the day after 2018-11-07 when the next comic 2069: Wishlist came out.
      • The text then returned to the standard xkcd header: xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

2018-11-02 - Where to vote[edit]

  • 2018-11-02:
    • 2067: Challengers (on the Friday, it was released).
      • It added another link to the previous header text. That text was still up the day before on Thursday 2018-11-01.
      • That was while comic 2066: Ballot Selfies was still up.
    • Randall changed the xkcd header to let people know who is on their voting ballot, and as before there is also a link on how to register for voting.
      • This is also directly related to the new comic that came out that day, about helping people to decide who to vote for, i.e. who is on their ballot.
    • The text:
    • This was done at this moment because the United States midterm election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, four days after the release of this comic.
    • It was still up the day before the election day, 2018-11-05, and then it changed with the next comic.

2018-10-22 - Register for voting[edit]

2018-09-13 - NY votes today[edit]

  • 2018-09-13
    • 2045: Social Media Announcement (the day after the release of the comic.)
      • It was not up when the comic was released on 2018-09-12.
    • It was a short lived reminder that NY votes today below the usual standard text.
    • The text:
      • xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
      • NY votes today! Find your polling place here. (Zephyr Teachout for AG!)
    • It ended with 2046: Trum-, the very next comic, on 2018-09-14, returning to the standard text.

2017-11-26 - Christmas gifts[edit]

2017-09-22 - Visiting the UK[edit]

2017-07-31 - Thank you[edit]

2017-07-25 - Vote against health care bill[edit]

  • 2017-07-25:
    • 1867: Physics Confession (2nd day after release of the comic, it was not up on the first day: 2017-07-24).
    • Randall modified the xkcd header to ask readers to support voting against Donald Trump's new health care bill.
      • The header was replaced with an image which is available in an archived version here.
      • The image is also a link (and you can click anywhere on it to go the the link that is mentioned).
        • The link goes to TrumpCare Ten (here in an archived version).
        • Randall has previously made it clear, in 1572: xkcd Survey, that he knows how to make an image a link, but not how to put the link only where he says to click.
      • Transcript of the image:
        • [Megan is holding hand with Cueball next to three lines of large text, the same height as they are:]
        • Please tell your senators to vote against this health care bill. It will hurt people.
        • [After these three lines there is a phone number in a very large bold font with a line of text below:]
        • 202-224-3121
        • Or click here for more info
        • [Below the above is a gray line which is split in the middle with gray text, and below that four state names in white text inside black boxes:]
        • Know anyone in these states? Ask them to call, too.
        • Alaska Maine Nevada Ohio West Virginia
    • Ended while 1869: Positive and Negative Reviews was up on 2017-07-31, when it was replaced by a Thank you.

2017-01-21 - Update on previous[edit]

2016-11-28 - Christmas sale[edit]

2016-04-23 - Back to standard text[edit]

  • 2016-04-23
    • When 1671: Arcane Bullshit came out (probably 2016-04-22, but no earlier archived versions exist) the text returned to the standard xkcd header:
      • xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    • It stayed like this for more than 7 months until 1764: XKCDE was up on 2016-11-28.

2016-04-04 - Protip on Garden[edit]

  • 2016-04-04
    • Because of the complexity of the April fools' comic 1663: Garden, Randall needed to give people some advice, hence a protip was added.
      • This came in several versions, not all managed to be documented in the archive. See more in the trivia for garden regarding the Header text after release.
    • The header text became a protip with the following text (the first version not documented only had the first line):
      • Protip: If you don't like how your garden is growing, you can click to prune it.
      • You can copy the URL to share your garden. From other browsers, it will be view-only.
    • When the next comic, 1664: Mycology, was released two days later on 2016-04-06, an extra line of text was added, due to the issues caused by Garden not being on the front page xkcd but only on the numbered page xkcd 1663.
      • This change was first documented on the front page the day after on 2016-04-07
      • The change was of course also on and all the other comic and thus also on the Garden comic from 2016-04-06.
    • Text added below the other two lines:
      • Note: If you're seeing today's comic in place of your garden, change the URL from xkcd.com/#<your code> to xkcd.com/1663/#<your code>.
        • This extra line was only there until next time the comic change, so last day was 2016-04-08.
    • On 2016-04-08 when 1665: City Talk Pages was released the extra line was removed leaving the two written first here above.
      • This was also the case on the Garden comic (and all other comics) from 2016-04-08.
    • The Protip stayed in the main header text until 2016-04-22 when 1670: Laws of Physics was up.
      • But even though it disappeared from main header and thus from all other comic it stayed on the Garden comic, also on 2016-04-23.
      • And it has then turned out to become one of the permanent Unique header texts.

2016-04-04 - Back to standard text as Garden came up[edit]

  • 2016-04-04
    • For a brief period of time, when 1663: Garden was finally released, the Header text returned to the standard xkcd header:
      • xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    • But this lasted less than 13 hours. (Time between the previous and next archived version is 13 hours and 7 minutes).
      • As people needed guidance to the new complicated comic.

2016-04-01 - April 1st comic - technical difficulties[edit]

  • 2016-04-01
    • When Randall had problem releasing 1663: Garden several April Fools' header text arrived in short succession while 1662: Jack and Jill was still up.
    • Each of these where simple text.
      • The first from the link abve:
        • The xkcd April 1st comic is currently experiencing technical difficulties.
        • Please stand by!
      • The next from 2016-04-02 at 12:57:
        • The xkcd April 1st comic is currently experiencing technical difficulties.
        • Status update: Please stand by.
        • Status update: This is fine. Everything is fine.
        • Status update: Everything is on fire.
        • Status update: Searching for calendar systems in which Saturday is April 1st.
      • The next from 2016-04-02 at 17:58:
        • The Friday xkcd comic is currently experiencing technical difficulties
        • [Editor's note: Everything is on fire] and has been delayed until Sunday night.
    • It stayed like the third version until 2016-04-04 three days after the April Fools' comic was supposed to come out, so Jack and Jill was up until it changed.
  • This was what was needed to stop more than 10 months of promotion of the Thing Explainer book, see below.

2015-12-13 - Thing Explainer is available[edit]

2015-12-05 - Thing Explainer is available and Next week[edit]

2015-11-24 - Pages from my new book Thing Explainer[edit]

  • 2015-12-03
    • 1611: Baking Soda and Vinegar was still up when the header changed.
      • This was a special one comic header text consisting of a large image with pages and excerpts from the book Thing Explainer.
      • The image was larger than most comics, and took away the focus of today's comic.
      • So already two days after, when 1612: Colds was released, the image was relegated to the being below the comic, but inside the main comic segment, thus not a part of the bottom segment.
        • But it was displayed in the header for all comics, here an example from the comic released two comics before 1611, 1609: Food Combinations.
        • See more (and the image) here on the page for Thing Explainer.
    • Description of the image:
      • At the top are shown four pages from the book. Two mainly blue, left and right, with white text and large images and between them two mainly white pages with blue text and smaller images. None of the text is readable, but the two blue pages pictures can be understood even in this size.
        • The first page is number 2 about an animal cell: Tiny bags of water you’re made of. It shows a detailed drawing of a human cell, with text at the top, and then several labels with text beneath that have arrows pointing to different parts of the cell.
        • The second page is number 31 about the cockpit of an airplane: Stuff you touch to fly a sky boat. It shows the inside of a cockpit with view out of the four windows, with lots of buttons in the ceiling, and blue screens and instruments at the bottom. Out the windows can be seen clouds and Cueball hanging from a balloon (a reference to 1110: Click and Drag).
          • A zoom in on this page is shown beneath the four pages, see more below.
        • The third page is page 27. What is on this page is a bit difficult to see, as there are no big drawings with clear meaning. It is the second page in a two page section on Data centers, with the second page focusing on the Computer: Computer building. The pictures shows the data racks, to the right, and the individual computer components put into these, to the top left, with the wiring shown below to the left. Lots of text with arrows to different parts.
        • The fourth page is page 23 about Trees: Tree. It clearly shows the silhouette of a white tree on blue background. Several animal live on, in and beneath it. Cueball is standing on the ground. All the text are beneath labels that points to parts of the tree or the tree dwellers.
      • In between the two time two pages there is a readable text, split over five lines, with two arrow at the top going from the corners of the text to the near corners of the white pages to either side. And below three arrows, with two pointing similarly as the two top arrows, but starting at the bottom of the text, and one arrow pointing straight down from the middle of the text to the large image below.
      • Beneath all this is a large image which shows a zoom in on the left part of the cockpit from the second page above. The zoom is focused on the two front windows, but only the left is entirely in the picture, and the balloon hanging Cueball, cannot be seen in this part of the right window.
        • At this zoom level, most of the text van be read (that is labels written on things or having arrows pointing to them). Clouds can bee seen out of both windows and in the background a rocket launch with smoke plume below the rocket is visible. The horizon line is well defines across both windows. Some of the instruments can be seen below the windows with text written on them. And some blue areas, mainly screens can be seen.
      • Beneath this picture is a line with links to where the book can be ordered, like the one from the previous header text.
    • The text:
      • Pages from my new book, Thing Explainer: Complicated stuff in simple words.
      • [Labels in the cockpit]:
        • Sky
        • Ground (This should be below the sky. If it's above the sky, you're either having a big problem or doing something really fun.)
        • Use this stuff to tell the sky boat to fly itself.
        • Fly
        • How fast it feels IAS 172
        • Direction HDG 240
        • Fall or rise
        • How high 2500
        • Fly
        • Helpful screen
        • Where the ground is
        • You are: Flying
        • Look here if there is a problem
      • Below this image is a line of text with the first word in black and the other are four links to where to order the book:
      • The image is a link to Thing Explainer on Amazon.
    • It was only part of the header for two days until 2015-12-04.
      • It was then moved below the comics as mentioned above from 2015-12-05 when the next comic 1612: Colds came out.

2015-11-24 - Thing Explainer is out today[edit]

  • 2015-11-24
    • 1607: Supreme Court was still up, but 1608: Hoverboard most have come out close to the change.
      • See both 2015-11-25 00:12 and 2015-11-25 23:07.
      • Since this new "comic" was actually a browser game made to celebrate the release of Randall's new book, Thing Explainer, which was released on the same day as this comic: Tuesday, November 24, 2015. The comic thus appeared on a Tuesday, replacing that week's normal Wednesday release to coincide with the release day.
      • Hence it is a shame that there is no archived versions on the 24th showing Hoverboard on the front page. Even though the new version of the Header text is shown on the 24th, but on the previous comic.
    • Cause all the header text is about is the release day of Thing Explainer!
      • The top part is text with a line with large letters and a line below in brackets and using smaller letters. Below that there is a line dividing the text from the next part.
      • Below follows the same header that was up as early as 2015-05-15 with the open book and three lines of text.
    • The text:
      • My new book, Thing Explainer, is out today!
      • (If you're in NYC, you can also come see me!)
      • A picture of the open book is shown with diagrams of a human cell on the left page and suspension bridges on the right. All held in blue nuances. And arrow goes from the first word of the text to the right to the book on the left. The text is also blue except the title of the book which is in red:
        • New book: Thing Explainer
        • Up Goer Five-style diagrams of things (explained in the then hundred most common words)
      • Below this image is a line of text with the first word in black and the other are four links to where to order the book:
      • The image above the order line is a link to the Blag post New book: Thing Explainer.
    • Already the day after 2015-11-25, when 1608: Hoverboard was up, an extra line (a link) was added below the above. A line was separating it from the links above:
      • A puzzle for UK readers
        • This was to a blag post with A puzzle for the UK because he could not go to UK in person. So this was a kind of bonus for those who could solve it. (We need an entry on that here on xkcd...)
    • On 2015-11-27 is still looked like this but then when the next comic, 1609: Food Combinations, came out on 2015-11-28 the line about seeing him in New York was removed.
    • The version with the puzzle, but without the New York line, was then up until 2015-12-01 when 1610: Fire Ants was up.
    • Then on 2015-12-02 the line with the puzzle at the bottom was changed to:

2015-10-22 - World Polio Day[edit]

2015-09-23 - Book trip and tool[edit]

  • 2015-09-23:
    • 1580: Travel Ghost was up when the header changed.
      • Announcing the book trip for the Thing Explainer book as well as linking to a Thing Explainer word checker tool! Two lines of text with links.
    • The text:
      • News: Announcing my Thing Explainer book trip. Come say hi!
      • Other news: Announcing the Thing Explainer word checker tool!
        • Both links are to the Blag, the first a schedule for his book trip, and the second telling about Randall's new Simple Writer that could help you Write Like Up Goer Five and Thing Explainer.
    • Was there until 1593: Play-By-Play was up on 2015-10-21.

2015-09-06 - New links[edit]

2015-08-09 - Back to previous header[edit]

2015-06-06 - Other news[edit]

  • 2015-06-06
    • Changed while 1534: Beer was still up.
      • This was just adding some "Other news", but leaving the promotion of Thing Explainer unchanged as in the previous header, but adding two news stories in text below the link to preorder.
    • The new text:
      • In other news, Space Weird Thing is delightful, and I feel surprisingly invested in @xkcdbracket's results.
        • The link to Space Weird Thing is a YouTube video with a simple words version of David Bowie's Space Oddity music video, using only the top then hundred words. The creators contributes the idea to the 1133: Up Goer Five diagram which also inspired the book Thing Explainer, also promoted in this header text.
        • The other link is referring to 1529: Bracket released 12 days before this update, as a twitter user made a survey going through all the brackets all the way to a winner was found. Seems Randall became interested in who won. See more on the comics page.
    • Was there until 1561: Water Phase Diagram was up on 2015-08-07. Then it returned back to the previous header with only the promotion of the book.

2015-05-15 - Thing Explainer details[edit]

  • 2015-05-15
    • 1525: Emojic 8 Ball
    • This was a more detailed promotion for Randall's new book: Thing Explainer to be published in November 2015, more than half a year after the announcement, compared to the previous change which was just a line and a link.
    • The text:
      • A picture of the open book is shown with diagrams of a human cell on the left page and suspension bridges on the right. All held in blue nuances. And arrow goes from the first word of the text to the right to the book on the left. The text is also blue except the title of the book which is in red:
        • New book: Thing Explainer
        • Up Goer Five-style diagrams of things (explained in the then hundred most common words)
      • Below this image is a line of text with the first word in black and the other are four links to where to preorder the book:
      • The image above the preorder line is a link to the Blag post New book: Thing Explainer.
    • Changed while 1534: Beer was up on 2015-06-05, but only to add other information. The main promotion of the book stayed the same.

2015-05-14 - New book Thing Explainer[edit]

2015-02-11 - Back to standard text[edit]

2015-02-04 - Valentine cards only[edit]

2015-02-02 - Last day shirt[edit]

  • 2015-02-02
    • 1481: API came out as it changed.
      • Just letting people know it is the last chance to order the binary t-shirt.
      • There was just a line of text:
    • The text was:
      • Today is the last day to order the limited-run binary heart shirt!
      • The last words is link to the shirt in the shop.
    • Ended before the next comic was up, but still the day after, when it was too late to order: 2015-02-03.

2015-01-29 - Valentine cards and shirt[edit]

  • 2015-01-29
    • 1479: Troubleshooting was up when it changed.
      • It was to tell about both the two previous updates in the same header- Both about the collaboration to make science themed Valentine's Day cards and his new Valentine t-shirt.
      • There where two pictures, with a promotion of the two products and a link to them in the shop.
      • On the left was text about the cards with a small drawing to the right of the text showing the four cards.
        • An ant talking to an aphids; Earth rotating about the sun but locked so one side melts; an ant with a fungus growing from it's head with a heart, and a Velociraptor skeleton where the last bit of the tail is put on by a person. The text on the cards are unreadable, but they can be seen via the link.
      • The text (in three lines) was:
        • Webcomic science Valentine card collaboration
        • The link to the cards from the picture.
      • The picture on the left shows binary numbers 0 and 1 in white on a black background. The middle of the three lines of those have message in red text.
      • The text:
        • 0 1 0 1 0 Binary heart 1 1 1
        • 1 1 1 Valentine shirt 0 1
        • 0 0 0 1 [limited run] 0 0 1
        • The link to the shirt from the picture.
    • Ended while 1480: Super Bowl was up on 2015-02-01.

2015-01-27 - Valentine's Day cards[edit]

2015-01-24 - Get shirts in store[edit]

2014-12-22 - Get shirts in store[edit]

  • 2014-12-22
    • 1463: Altitude came out as it changed.
      • After the Christmas sale deadline there was still merchandise in the xkcd store.
      • There was just a line of text:
    • The text was:
      • You can get xkcd shirts, prints, and posters in the store!
    • The word store was a link to the shop.
    • Ended while 1476: Ceres was up 2015-01-23.

2014-12-19 - Back to previous header[edit]

2014-12-18 - Order now[edit]

  • 2014-12-18
    • 1461: Payloads was still up when it changed.
      • It was to alert that the deadline for shipping before Christmas from the xkcd store was Friday and that it was rapidly approaching. This was a follow up on the Wednesdays announcement the day before.
      • The image was just four lines of text with several red and blue words.
    • The text was:
      • The xkcd store Christmas shipping deadline is Friday!
      • Once it passes, there is no going back. The arrow of time drags us all
      • Inexorably forward toward decay and disorder. toward the end of all things.
      • Towards the empty silence of the grave. Order now!
    • The entire drawing was a link to the xkcd store, not just the blue text.
    • Ended a day later while 1461: Payloads was still up 2014-12-16.

2014-12-17 - Christmas deadline[edit]

  • 2014-12-17
    • 1461: Payloads came out as it changed.
      • It was to alert that the deadline for shipping before Christmas from the xkcd store was Friday. This was announced Wednesday two days before the deadline.
      • The image was just text with the last word in each line in red and the xkcd store blue as a link.
    • The text was:
      • Looking for a gift?
      • xkcd store Christmas shipping deadline is Friday!
    • The entire drawing was a link to the xkcd store, not just the blue text
    • Ended a day later while 1461: Payloads was still up!

2014-12-03 - Christmas shopping[edit]

  • 2014-12-03
    • 1455: Trolley Problem came out as it changed.
      • It was to announce the start of the Christmas shopping on the xkcd store
      • Four boxes with shipping details are shown. Two green and two red, alternating from green. Between them are three text messages in two, two and three lines.
    • The text was:
      • xkcd store
      • Christmas shopping
      • I will probably not ship you a bobcat.
    • The entire drawing was a link to the xkcd store.
    • The bobcat is a reference to 325: A-Minus-Minus.
    • Ended while 1460: SMFW was up 2014-12-16.

2014-11-29 - Thanks - Emily[edit]

  • 2014-11-29
    • 1453: fMRI was still up when it changed.
      • It was to thanks for all the help his friend Emily with cancer got through among other his previous header text Help Emily.
      • That only needed to be up two days before the goal was met.
    • The text was:
      • Thank you for helping my friend Emily.
      • It means so much.
    • Ended three days later while 1454: Done was up 2014-12-02.

2014-11-27 - Help Emily[edit]

  • 2014-11-27
    • 1452: Jurassic World came out as it changed.
      • It was to help a friend who got cancer by raising money for her.
    • The text was:
      • Hey all. My friend Emily—the economist who helped
      • me with my money chart—has been fighting cancer. She's
      • having a rough time and could use some help. Thank you.
    • There are two links, one to the 980: Money comic she helped Randall create, and one for her Go Fund Me page to raise money for her cancer cure.
      • The help link above is to the archived version from that time, but the link was still active in August 2019: Helping Emily Fight Cancer.
    • Ended while 1453: fMRI was up 2014-11-28.
      • She did thus not get a permanent header as did Becky on the Seven Years comic.

2014-10-02 - what if? bestseller[edit]

2014-09-04 - what if? book out[edit]

2014-09-02 - what if? book out today[edit]

2014-07-23 - what if? book tour[edit]

  • 2014-07-23
    • 1398: Snake Facts
    • This was a promotion of his book tour for the what if? book made by Cueball standing to the left of the text with arms raised. Several parts of the text was underlined and blue to indicate links.
    • The text was:
      • I'm going on a book tour! click here for a list of stops.
      • Or click anywhere-this whole image is one link because I've never gotten the hang of HTML imagemaps.
    • The entire image was a link to the Blag post: What If book tour!.
    • Ended while 1415: Ballooning was still up 2014-09-01.

2014-03-13 - what if? announced[edit]

2014-01-09 - Back to standard text[edit]

2013-12-21 - Deadline for Christmas shipping has passed[edit]

  • 2013-12-21
    • It changed when 1306: Sigil Cycle came out.
    • This came up when it was too close to Christmas in 2013 for shipping to arrive in time for Christmas. And Randall makes a note of this, but lets people know that they could still buy presents...
    • The text was
      • The deadline for guaranteed Christmas shipping has passed, but if you order something from the xkcd store, we'll get it to you as fast as possible!
    • Ended when 1314: Photos was up on 2014-01-08.

2013-12-06 - Empty header[edit]

Changes not documented yet 3[edit]

  • More changes will for sure be here between this and the one below.

Interesting links in the Archive 3[edit]

  • Just put the link here with a date and maybe a short note:
  • 2013-12-05: Xmas sale before above
  • 2013-03-15: Empty follows below

2013-03-15 - Empty header[edit]

2013-03-13 - Comic will be delayed[edit]

  • 2013-03-13
    • It changed when 1184: Circumference Formula came out, likely because the next comic was delayed.
      • But there is a gap of three days before where no archived version exist, so cannot say if there where more than a few hours with this text.
    • The text:
      • The comic will be delayed until late morning EDT.
    • Ended when 1185: Ineffective Sorts was up on 2013-03-13.
      • That was later same day as the first archived version. But could have been longer as mentioned above.

2012-11-26 - xkcd store[edit]

  • 2012-11-26
    • It changed while 1138: Heatmap was up.
      • Notice that the above link is not from the main page, but from xkcd 1138.
      • There was a gap of five days in the archive of the main page.
      • The first day that it was archived from the front page was on 2012-12-01, while 1141: Two Years was up.
    • The standard header text is replaced with an image that makes it seem like a rip is being torn in the white region where the text used to be. Beneath the white material that has now been ripped, some text can partly be seen. It is possible to read it.
    • The text:
      • xkcd store
    • Ended when 1183: Rose Petals was up on 2013-03-11
      • The above link is from xkcd 1183.
      • Last time the front page was archived with it was though on 2013-03-09.

2012-10-24 - Back to standard text[edit]

2012-10-17 - New What-If - Lightning[edit]

2012-10-10 - New What-If - Mariana Trench Explosion[edit]

2012-10-02 - This week's What-If - Short Answer Section[edit]

2012-09-26 - New What-If - Laser Pointer[edit]

2012-09-18 - what-if.xkcd.com - Raindrop[edit]

Changes not documented yet 2[edit]

  • The above is the last documented.
    • There will for sure be more changes earlier than this.

Interesting links in the Archive 2[edit]

  • Just put the link here with a date and maybe a short note:
  • 2012-09-17: What if Droppings ends.
  • 2012-07-18 Next stores header text

2012-07-10 - New: what-if.xkcd.com[edit]

  • 2012-07-10
    • This was a special change happening over a few days. The above "new" header text from the given date is actually shown on the previous comic 1078: Knights.
    • The comic on the main page released on 2012-07-09 was 1079: United Shapes, but that comic had a unique header text upon its release.
      • So both on the 9th as shown above and on 2012-07-10 the header text was different on the front than on all other pages.
        • As can be read in the link above, the new header text actually got incorporated into the unique text, so that after the next comic was released on 2012-07-11 the current new header text and a smaller version of the original unique header text was now shown on the Unites Shapes page.
        • And it was never changed back.
    • The first version of the new text from the 10th was only active one day:
      • The text:
        • New site: what-if.xkcd.com, where I abuse science to answer hypothetical questions. I'll answer a new question every Tuesday.
          • The link was not an active link. And this was never shown on the front page, but on all other comics.
    • Already on 2012-07-11 when 1080: Visual Field was released the new header changed a bit
      • At this time it most have been shown on the front page, but the link above is again from 1078: Knights.
        • For some reason the front page was not saved on either the 11th or 12th, so no version of the front page with Visual Field exist
        • The first archived version of the front page with this new header text was from 2012-07-13 when 1081: Argument Victory was on the front page.
    • The final text:
      • New: what-if.xkcd.com: abusing science to answer hypothetical questions.
      • I'll answer a new reader question every Tuesday.
    • The whole idea was that Randall released the new what if? blog on the 10th of July 2012. And thus would like to make a promotion of it.
      • And then he timed it so poorly that the front page had a different header than the rest of the comics.
      • It was so annoying for him that he actually changed the header for Unites Shapes manually so that page also showed the new link. Maybe even before it left the front page, but that has not been documented in the archive.
      • And then he forgot about it when the header changed for all the other comics, so it is now a relic of the promotion of his first what if release.
    • The what if promotion continued for a long time, but the final version from above only lasted until 17th at the latest. There is again no archived versions of the front page from the 15th, 16th or 17th.

2012-04-09 - Standard text plus store link[edit]

  • 2012-04-09
    • It changed when 1040: Lakes and Oceans came up.
      • The above link to prove this is though from comic xkcd 1026 1026: Compare and Contrast the first to be found that where archived on the 9th.
      • The first archived version on the main page is from 2012-04-11 when 1041: Whites of Their Eyes was up.
      • There where no archived version of the front page on the 9th or 10th while Lake and Oceans was up. So it was also first on the 11th that this new text could be seen, but only when it had moved to its own page number 1040.
        • The change probably came because of this special comic, which may became a poster.
    • The update was to add a promotion for the store under the standard header text.
    • The text
      • XKCD updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
      • You can get prints, posters, and t-shirts in the store.
    • This lasted until 2012-07-09 when 1078: Knights was up, exactly three months, so although not only the standard text, the standard text was first for three months and three days, see below.

2012-04-05 - Back to standard text[edit]

  • 2012-04-05
    • While 1038: Fountain was on the front the header returned to the standard xkcd header:
      • xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    • The link above to prove the date is seen on 1021: Business Plan.
      • The first archived version on front page is from 2012-04-06, when 1039: RuBisCO was up.
      • A version showing Fountain with this can be found on it's own page xkcd 1038 on 2012-04-06.
        • When it was archived while on the front page it still had the previous header on 2012-04-05.
    • It stayed up, unchanged, until 2012-04-08 when 1039: RuBisCO was up. So only three days.
      • But the change did not remove the standard text but just added a link to the store. And this version, still with the standard text at the top stayed for three more months.

2012-03-28 - Visiting Newport News[edit]

  • 2012-03-28
    • 1035: Cadbury Eggs was on the front when it changed.
      • From the end of March 2012, there is a problem with the archived versions of xkcd, so they do not load properly and do not include the comic picture.
    • It was to announce a talk Randall gave at his old school.
    • The text:
      • I'm visiting Newport News, VA next week, where I'll be speaking at CNU, my old school. If you want to come, reserve a seat here!
    • There was a special situation with this header text. For three days it was not on the front page, as the April fools' comic 1037: Umwelt came out and stayed from April 1st to April 3rd on the front page.
    • It returned to the front page on 2012-04-04 and stayed up until 2012-04-05 when 1038: Fountain was up.
      • The link from the 5th though is from xkcd 1021 1021: Business Plan, the only comic archived on the 5ht to be found.
        • The previous link was the last time it was archived while on the front page.

2012-03-12 - xkcd Holistic Browser[edit]

  • 2012-03-12
    • 1028: Communication was up at the time.
      • From here the archive doesn't load the page properly so it is really boring to document. This goes for both first and last day of this text.
    • The text:
      • New: holistic.xkcd.com, the least useful web navigation tool ever.
        • The link is now dead, but the link above is to an archived version.
        • On that page there is the following text:
          • The XKCD Holistic Browser
          • Because we are all one.
          • Type a web address
          • and you'll be taken to one
          • typed by someone else.
          • URL:
          • Warning: This allows strangers to direct your browser!
          • They may send you to pages containing
          • porn, viruses, or Justin Bieber fanfiction.
          • At the very least, turn on private browsing.
    • During the time this header was active the comic 1031: s/keyboard/leopard/ came out.
      • It had its own unique header text which thus replaced this text on the front page for two days.
      • But it did not replace it on all the other pages so this was the active header text during the entire period, see more here: s/keyboard/leopard/
    • This lasted till 2012-03-27 while 1034: Share Buttons was up.
    • But the last archived version with this on the front page was the day before 2012-03-26.
  • 2012-03-11 Text before. For net entry below...

Changes not documented yet 1[edit]

  • More changes will for sure be here between this and the one below.

Interesting links in the Archive 1[edit]

  • Just put the link here with a date and maybe a short note: