Markdown was created by John Gruber in 2004. It’s meant to be an easy to read and write syntax which converts easily to HTML (and now many other formats as well).
Markdown also varies in implementation from one parser to a next. This guide will attempt to clarify when features are universal or when they are specific to a certain parser.
Markdown is a superset of HTML, so any HTML file is valid Markdown.
<!--This means we can use HTML elements in Markdown, such as the comment element, and they won't be affected by a markdown parser. However, if you create an HTML element in your markdown file, you cannot use markdown syntax within that element's contents.-->
You can create HTML elements
<h6> easily by prepending the
text you want to be in that element by a number of hashes (#).
# This is an <h1> ## This is an <h2> ### This is an <h3> #### This is an <h4> ##### This is an <h5> ###### This is an <h6>
Markdown also provides us with two alternative ways of indicating h1 and h2.
This is an h1 ============= This is an h2 -------------
Text can be easily styled as italic or bold using markdown.
*This text is in italics.* _And so is this text._ **This text is in bold.** __And so is this text.__ ***This text is in both.*** **_As is this!_** *__And this!__*
In GitHub Flavored Markdown, which is used to render markdown files on GitHub, we also have strikethrough:
~~This text is rendered with strikethrough.~~
Paragraphs are a one or multiple adjacent lines of text separated by one or multiple blank lines.
This is a paragraph. I'm typing in a paragraph isn't this fun? Now I'm in paragraph 2. I'm still in paragraph 2 too! I'm in paragraph three!
Should you ever want to insert an HTML
<br /> tag, you can end a paragraph
with two or more spaces and then begin a new paragraph.
I end with two spaces (highlight me to see them). There's a <br /> above me!
Block quotes are easy and done with the > character.
> This is a block quote. You can either > manually wrap your lines and put a `>` before every line or you can let your lines get really long and wrap on their own. > It doesn't make a difference so long as they start with a `>`. > You can also use more than one level >> of indentation? > How neat is that?
Unordered lists can be made using asterisks, pluses, or hyphens.
* Item * Item * Another item or + Item + Item + One more item or - Item - Item - One last item
Ordered lists are done with a number followed by a period.
1. Item one 2. Item two 3. Item three
You don’t even have to label the items correctly and Markdown will still render the numbers in order, but this may not be a good idea.
1. Item one 1. Item two 1. Item three
(This renders the same as the above example)
You can also use sublists
1. Item one 2. Item two 3. Item three * Sub-item * Sub-item 4. Item four
There are even task lists. This creates HTML checkboxes.
Boxes below without the 'x' are unchecked HTML checkboxes. - [ ] First task to complete. - [ ] Second task that needs done This checkbox below will be a checked HTML checkbox. - [x] This task has been completed
You can indicate a code block (which uses the
<code> element) by indenting
a line with four spaces or a tab.
This is code So is this
You can also re-tab (or add an additional four spaces) for indentation inside your code
my_array.each do |item| puts item end
Inline code can be created using the backtick character
John didn't even know what the `go_to()` function did!
In GitHub Flavored Markdown, you can use a special syntax for code
```ruby def foobar puts "Hello world!" end ```
The above text doesn’t require indenting, plus GitHub will use syntax highlighting of the language you specify after the “`
Horizontal rules (
<hr/>) are easily added with three or more asterisks or
hyphens, with or without spaces.
*** --- - - - ****************
One of the best things about markdown is how easy it is to make links. Put the text to display in hard brackets  followed by the url in parentheses ()
You can also add a link title using quotes inside the parentheses.
[Click me!](http://test.com/ "Link to Test.com")
Relative paths work too.
[Go to music](/music/).
Markdown also supports reference style links.
[Click this link][link1] for more info about it! [Also check out this link][foobar] if you want to. [link1]: http://test.com/ "Cool!" [foobar]: http://foobar.biz/ "Alright!"
The title can also be in single quotes or in parentheses, or omitted entirely. The references can be anywhere in your document and the reference IDs can be anything so long as they are unique.
There is also "implicit naming” which lets you use the link text as the id.
[This] is a link. [this]: http://thisisalink.com/
But it’s not that commonly used.
Some Markdown flavors even make use of the combination of lists, links and
headings in order to create tables of contents. In this case, heading titles in
lowercase are prepended with hash (
#) and are used as link ids. Should the
heading have multiple words, they will be connected with a hyphen (
also replaces some special characters. (Some other special characters are
- [Heading](#heading) - [Another heading](#another-heading) - [Chapter](#chapter) - [Subchapter <h3 />](#subchapter-h3-)
Nontheless, this is a feature that might not be working in all Markdown implementations the same way.
Images are done the same way as links but with an exclamation point in front!
![This is the alt-attribute for my image](http://imgur.com/myimage.jpg "An optional title")
And reference style works as expected.
![This is the alt-attribute.][myimage] [myimage]: relative/urls/cool/image.jpg "if you need a title, it's here"
<http://testwebsite.com/> is equivalent to [http://testwebsite.com/](http://testwebsite.com/)
I want to type *this text surrounded by asterisks* but I don't want it to be in italics, so I do this: \*this text surrounded by asterisks\*.
In GitHub Flavored Markdown, you can use a
<kbd> tag to represent keyboard
Your computer crashed? Try sending a <kbd>Ctrl</kbd>+<kbd>Alt</kbd>+<kbd>Del</kbd>
Tables are only available in GitHub Flavored Markdown and are slightly cumbersome, but if you really want it:
| Col1 | Col2 | Col3 | | :----------- | :------: | ------------: | | Left-aligned | Centered | Right-aligned | | blah | blah | blah |
or, for the same results
Col 1 | Col2 | Col3 :-- | :-: | --: Ugh this is so ugly | make it | stop
In order to simplify work with Markdown and to unify its coding style,
Markdownlint has been created. This tool is available also as a plugin for
some IDEs and can be used as an utility to ensure validity and readability of
If you want to learn more on some major Markdown flavors' features, see:
Originally contributed by Dan Turkel, and updated by 13 contributor(s).