May 9, 2006

Markdown quick reference

Posted in Software at 23:18 by graham

I use Markdown to edit this blog.

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).

Markdown is based on plain text / e-mail format. Often typing something in as you would in a plain text e-mail will produce what you want. Paragraphs and line breaks are the obvious ones for the text you type. Special HTML characters like < and > and & are escaped for you.

Here’s a visual quick reference guide to the rest of the Markdown syntax. The format is simply some text and the output it produces.


# Level one header #

Level one header

### Level three header ###

Level three header

Headers continue as you’d imagine, with extra hashes.


[This is a link](

This is a link


> This is quoted

This is quoted


Indent text at least 4 spaces for all formatting in it to be ignored.

# This isn't displayed as header, because it is indented 4 spaces

Or inline:

Inline code is `escaped` with backticks

Inline code is escaped with backticks


Unordered lists use *, + or -

* This
* is
* a list
  • This
  • is
  • a list

Ordered lists use number followed by period.

1. with
1. numbers
  1. with
  2. numbers

Horizontal lines

Three or more dashes



A single underscore or asterix is italic, two is bold.

_italic_ or *italic*

italic or italic

__bold__ or **bold**

bold or bold


If you don’t want some of these rules to apply, they can be escaped by preceding the special character with a backslash.

This is \*\*not\*\* in bold.

This is **not** in bold.

See also: The full Markdown syntax


  1. TIWEN said,

    May 26, 2014 at 22:35

    […] […]

  2. John Smart said,

    November 1, 2013 at 16:44

    Thanks – nice quickref!

  3. Runar Ovesen Hjerpbakk | said,

    August 15, 2012 at 11:18

    Concise and good reference, thank you!

  4. Get started with Skrivr | said,

    April 8, 2012 at 21:17

    […] learn more about Markdown and its syntax visit Graham Kings’ quick reference, try the Slekx live tester or read John Gruber’s full Markdown Syntax […]

  5. Shayne Cuffy said,

    February 27, 2012 at 17:00

    clear & helpful, thank you

  6. ukdiveboy said,

    September 20, 2006 at 23:58

    Is this the same as what Wiki’s do, a la TWiki or MediaWiki?

    Why do you like Markdown more?

Leave a Comment

Note: Your comment will only appear on the site once I approve it manually. This can take a day or two. Thanks for taking the time to comment.