Write (More) Effortlessly With Markdown


Markdown has arrived on WordPress.com! Some of you may respond with “Finally!” Others might be asking, “what’s that?” Markdown is a quick way to add formatted text without writing out any HTML.

Let’s take a closer look. Here is an example of how Markdown looks while editing a post:

Markdown Example in the Text Editor

This is how that same example looks in the Reddle theme after it’s converted to HTML:

Markdown Example shown in the Reddle theme

Writing with Markdown

Markdown lets you compose links, lists, and other styles using regular characters and punctuation marks. If you want a quick, easy way to write and edit rich text without having to take your hands off the keyboard or learn a lot of complicated codes and shortcuts, then Markdown might be right for you.

For example, to emphasize a word, you just wrap it with an asterisk on both ends, like this: *emphasized*. When your writing is published, it will instead look like this: emphasized. Similarly, two asterisks denote strong text: **strong** will be become strong.

Want to see what else you can do? Take a look at the quick reference chart, which shows handy steps for creating links, lists, and other types of formatting.

Enabling Markdown on WordPress.com

To start using Markdown, go to Settings → Writing in your blog dashboard, check the box next to Use Markdown for posts and pages, and save.

Markdown Settings Example

When writing Markdown, make sure to use the Text Editor for the best results.

Getting into the Details

Markdown nerds (like me!) know there are a lot of variants out there. On WordPress.com, we’re using a slightly modified version of Markdown Extra1, with a tweak to allow fenced code blocks inspired by GitHub Flavored Markdown2.

For instance, you can write code examples quickly using backticks:

.ninja { visibility: hidden;

…which produces:

.ninja {
visibility: hidden;

Take a look at the Posting Source Code support page for a list of the syntax highlighting schemes that WordPress.com supports. More details are available on the Markdown support page, including steps for enabling it for your commenters as well.

Go Mobile

You can also write formatted text in Markdown from any of our great mobile apps. Just enable Markdown, install one of the apps, and write whenever inspiration strikes.

  1. It includes footnotes, which I think are basically the best thing ever with which to indulge my penchant for glorious digressions that would otherwise muddy the main point. Did I ever tell you about the time…3 ↩
  2. Inspired by Evan Solomon’s GitHub-Flavored Markdown Comments. ↩
  3. [edited for brevity] Yes, you can even have footnotes inside footnotes. ↩

Filed under: Writing

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