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MARKDOWN(7)	   FreeBSD Miscellaneous Information Manual	   MARKDOWN(7)

     Markdown -- The Markdown text formatting syntax

     Markdown is intended to be	as easy-to-read	and easy-to-write as is	feasi-

     Readability, however, is emphasized above all else. A Markdown-formatted
     document should be	publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like
     it's been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. While Mark-
     down's syntax has been influenced by several existing text-to-HTML	fil-
     ters -- including Setext, atx, Textile, reStructuredText, Grutatext, and
     EtText -- the single biggest source of inspiration	for Markdown's syntax
     is	the format of plain text email.

     To	this end, Markdown's syntax is comprised entirely of punctuation char-
     acters, which punctuation characters have been carefully chosen so	as to
     look like what they mean. E.g., asterisks around a	word actually look
     like *emphasis*. Markdown lists look like,	well, lists. Even blockquotes
     look like quoted passages of text,	assuming you've	ever used email.

   Inline HTML
     Markdown's	syntax is intended for one purpose: to be used as a format for
     writing for the web.

     Markdown is not a replacement for HTML, or	even close to it. Its syntax
     is	very small, corresponding only to a very small subset of HTML tags.
     The idea is not to	create a syntax	that makes it easier to	insert HTML
     tags. In my opinion, HTML tags are	already	easy to	insert.	The idea for
     Markdown is to make it easy to read, write, and edit prose. HTML is a
     publishing	format;	Markdown is a writing format. Thus, Markdown's format-
     ting syntax only addresses	issues that can	be conveyed in plain text.

     For any markup that is not	covered	by Markdown's syntax, you simply use
     HTML itself. There's no need to preface it	or delimit it to indicate that
     you're switching from Markdown to HTML; you just use the tags.

     The only restrictions are that block-level	HTML elements -- e.g.  <div>,
     <table>, <pre>, <p>, etc. -- must be separated from surrounding content
     by	blank lines, and the start and end tags	of the block should not	be in-
     dented with tabs or spaces. Markdown is smart enough not to add extra
     (unwanted)	<p> tags around	HTML block-level tags.

     For example, to add an HTML table to a Markdown article:

	       This is a regular paragraph.


	       This is another regular paragraph.

     Note that Markdown	formatting syntax is not processed within block-level
     HTML tags.	E.g., you can't	use Markdown-style *emphasis* inside an	HTML

     Span-level	HTML tags -- e.g.  <span>, <cite>, or <del> -- can be used
     anywhere in a Markdown paragraph, list item, or header. If	you want, you
     can even use HTML tags instead of Markdown	formatting; e.g. if you'd pre-
     fer to use	HTML <a> or <img> tags instead of Markdown's link or image
     syntax, go	right ahead.

     Unlike block-level	HTML tags, Markdown syntax *is*	processed within span-
     level tags.

   Automatic Escaping for Special Characters
     In	HTML, there are	two characters that demand special treatment: `<` and
     `&`. Left angle brackets are used to start	tags; ampersands are used to
     denote HTML entities. If you want to use them as literal characters, you
     must escape them as entities, e.g.	`&lt;`,	and `&amp;`.

     Ampersands	in particular are bedeviling for web writers. If you want to
     write about 'AT&T', you need to write '`AT&amp;T`'. You even need to es-
     cape ampersands within URLs. Thus,	if you want to link to:

     you need to encode	the URL	as:;q=larry+bird

     in	your anchor tag	`href` attribute. Needless to say, this	is easy	to
     forget, and is probably the single	most common source of HTML validation
     errors in otherwise well-marked-up	web sites.

     Markdown allows you to use	these characters naturally, taking care	of all
     the necessary escaping for	you. If	you use	an ampersand as	part of	an
     HTML entity, it remains unchanged;	otherwise it will be translated	into

     So, if you	want to	include	a copyright symbol in your article, you	can


     and Markdown will leave it	alone. But if you write:


     Markdown will translate it	to:


     Similarly,	because	Markdown supports inline HTML, if you use angle	brack-
     ets as delimiters for HTML	tags, Markdown will treat them as such.	But if
     you write:

	       4 < 5

     Markdown will translate it	to:

	       4 &lt; 5

     However, inside Markdown code spans and blocks, angle brackets and	amper-
     sands are *always*	encoded	automatically. This makes it easy to use Mark-
     down to write about HTML code. (As	opposed	to raw HTML, which is a	terri-
     ble format	for writing about HTML syntax, because every single `<`	and
     `&` in your example code needs to be escaped.)

Block Elements
   Paragraphs and Line Breaks
     A paragraph is simply one or more consecutive lines of text, separated by
     one or more blank lines. (A blank line is any line	that looks like	a
     blank line	-- a line containing nothing but spaces	or tabs	is considered
     blank.) Normal paragraphs should not be indented with spaces or tabs.

     The implication of	the "one or more consecutive lines of text" rule is
     that Markdown supports "hard-wrapped" Dtext paragraphs. This differs sig-
     nificantly	from most other	text-to-HTML formatters	(including Movable
     Type's "Convert Line Breaks" option) which	translate every	line break
     character in a paragraph into a `<br />` tag.

     When you *do* want	to insert a `<br />` break tag using Markdown, you end
     a line with two or	more spaces, then type return.

     Yes, this takes a tad more	effort to create a `<br	/>`, but a simplistic
     "every line break is a `<br />`" rule wouldn't work for Markdown.	Mark-
     down's email-style	blockquoting
      and multi-paragraph list items work best -- and look better -- when you
     format them with hard breaks.

     Markdown supports two styles of headers, Setext and atx.

     Setext-style headers are `underlined' using equal signs (for first-level
     headers) and dashes (for second-level headers). For example:

	       This is an H1

	       This is an H2

     Any number	of underlining `=`'s or	`-`'s will work.

     Atx-style headers use 1-6 hash characters at the start of the line, cor-
     responding	to header levels 1-6. For example:

	       # This is an H1

	       ## This is an H2

	       ###### This is an H6

     Optionally, you may "close" atx-style headers. This is purely cosmetic --
     you can use this if you think it looks better. The	closing	hashes don't
     even need to match	the number of hashes used to open the header. (The
     number of opening hashes determines the header level.) :

	       # This is an H1 #

	       ## This is an H2	##

	       ### This	is an H3 ######

     Markdown uses email-style `>` characters for blockquoting.	If you're fa-
     miliar with quoting passages of text in an	email message, then you	know
     how to create a blockquote	in Markdown. It	looks best if you hard wrap
     the text and put a	`>` before every line:

	       > This is a blockquote with two paragraphs. Lorem ipsum
	       > dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aliquam
	       > hendrerit mi posuere lectus. Vestibulum enim wisi,
	       > viverra nec, fringilla	in, laoreet vitae, risus.
	       > Donec sit amet	nisl. Aliquam semper ipsum sit amet
	       > velit.	Suspendisse id sem consectetuer	libero luctus
	       > adipiscing.

     Markdown allows you to be lazy and	only put the `>` before	the first line
     of	a hard-wrapped paragraph:

	       > This is a blockquote with two paragraphs. Lorem ipsum
	       dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aliquam
	       hendrerit mi posuere lectus. Vestibulum enim wisi,
	       viverra nec, fringilla in, laoreet vitae, risus.

	       > Donec sit amet	nisl. Aliquam semper ipsum sit amet
		velit. Suspendisse id sem consectetuer libero luctus

     Blockquotes can be	nested (i.e. a blockquote-in-a-blockquote) by adding
     additional	levels of `>`:

	       > This is the first level of quoting.
	       > > This	is nested blockquote.
	       > Back to the first level.

     Blockquotes can contain other Markdown elements, including	headers,
     lists, and	code blocks:

		   > ##	This is	a header.
		   > 1.	  This is the first list item.
		   > 2.	  This is the second list item.
		   > Here's some example code:
		   >	 return	shell_exec("echo $input	| $markdown_script");

     Any decent	text editor should make	email-style quoting easy. For example,
     with BBEdit, you can make a selection and choose Increase Quote Level
     from the Text menu.

     Markdown supports ordered (numbered) and unordered	(bulleted) lists.

     Unordered lists use asterisks, pluses, and	hyphens	-- interchangably --
     as	list markers:

	       *   Red
	       *   Green
	       *   Blue

     is	equivalent to:

	       +   Red
	       +   Green
	       +   Blue


	       -   Red
	       -   Green
	       -   Blue

     Ordered lists use numbers followed	by periods:

	       1.  Bird
	       2.  McHale
	       3.  Parish

     It's important to note that the actual numbers you	use to mark the	list
     have no effect on the HTML	output Markdown	produces. The HTML Markdown
     produces from the above list is:


     If	you instead wrote the list in Markdown like this:

	       1.  Bird
	       1.  McHale
	       1.  Parish

     or	even:

	       3. Bird
	       1. McHale
	       8. Parish

     you'd get the exact same HTML output. The point is, if you	want to, you
     can use ordinal numbers in	your ordered Markdown lists, so	that the num-
     bers in your source match the numbers in your published HTML.  But	if you
     want to be	lazy, you don't	have to.

     If	you do use lazy	list numbering,	however, you should still start	the
     list with the number 1. At	some point in the future, Markdown may support
     starting ordered lists at an arbitrary number.

     List markers typically start at the left margin, but may be indented by
     up	to three spaces. List markers must be followed by one or more spaces
     or	a tab.

     To	make lists look	nice, you can wrap items with hanging indents:

	       *   Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing
		   elit. Aliquam hendrerit mi posuere lectus. Vestibulum
		   enim	wisi, viverra nec, fringilla in, laoreet vitae,
	       *   Donec sit amet nisl.	Aliquam	semper ipsum sit amet
		   velit. Suspendisse id sem consectetuer libero luctus

     But if you	want to	be lazy, you don't have	to:

	       *   Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing
	       elit. Aliquam hendrerit mi posuere lectus. Vestibulum
	       enim wisi, viverra nec, fringilla in, laoreet vitae,
	       *   Donec sit amet nisl.	Aliquam	semper ipsum sit amet
	       velit. Suspendisse id sem consectetuer libero luctus

     If	list items are separated by blank lines, Markdown will wrap the	items
     in	`<p>` tags in the HTML output. For example, this input:

	       *   Bird
	       *   Magic

     will turn into:


     But this:

	       *   Bird

	       *   Magic

     will turn into:


     List items	may consist of multiple	paragraphs. Each subsequent paragraph
     in	a list item must be intended by	either 4 spaces	or one tab:

	       1.  This	is a list item with two	paragraphs. Lorem ipsum
		   dolor sit amet, consectetuer	adipiscing elit. Aliquam
		   hendrerit mi	posuere	lectus.

		   Vestibulum enim wisi, viverra nec, fringilla	in,
		   laoreet vitae, risus. Donec sit amet	nisl. Aliquam
		   semper ipsum	sit amet velit.

	       2.  Suspendisse id sem consectetuer libero luctus

     It	looks nice if you indent every line of the subsequent paragraphs, but
     here again, Markdown will allow you to be lazy:

	       *   This	is a list item with two	paragraphs.

		   This	is the second paragraph	in the list item.
		   You're only required	to indent the first line. Lorem
		   ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

	       *   Another item	in the same list.

     To	put a blockquote within	a list item, the blockquote's `>` delimiters
     need to be	indented:

	       *   A list item with a blockquote:

		   > This is a blockquote
		   > inside a list item.

     To	put a code block within	a list item, the code block needs to be	in-
     dented *twice* -- 8 spaces	or two tabs:

	       *   A list item with a code block:

		       <code goes here>

     It's worth	noting that it's possible to trigger an	ordered	list by	acci-
     dent, by writing something	like this:

	       1986. What a great season.

     In	other words, a *number-period-space* sequence at the beginning of a
     line. To avoid this, you can backslash-escape the period:

	       1986\. What a great season.

   Code	Blocks
     Pre-formatted code	blocks are used	for writing about programming or
     markup source code. Rather	than forming normal paragraphs,	the lines of a
     code block	are interpreted	literally. Markdown wraps a code block in both
     `<pre>` and `<code>` tags.

     To	produce	a code block in	Markdown, simply indent	every line of the
     block by at least 4 spaces	or 1 tab. For example, given this input:

	       This is a normal	paragraph:

		   This	is a code block.

     Markdown will generate:

	       <p>This is a normal paragraph:</p>

	       <pre><code>This is a code block.

     One level of indentation -- 4 spaces or 1 tab -- is removed from each
     line of the code block. For example, this:

	       Here is an example of AppleScript:

		   tell	application "Foo"
		   end tell

     will turn into:

	       <p>Here is an example of	AppleScript:</p>

	       <pre><code>tell application "Foo"
	       end tell

     A code block continues until it reaches a line that is not	indented (or
     the end of	the article).

     Within a code block, ampersands (`&`) and angle brackets (`<` and `>`)
     are automatically converted into HTML entities. This makes	it very	easy
     to	include	example	HTML source code using Markdown	-- just	paste it and
     indent it,	and Markdown will handle the hassle of encoding	the ampersands
     and angle brackets. For example, this:

		   <div	class="footer">
		       &copy; 2004 Foo Corporation

     will turn into:

	       <pre><code>&lt;div class="footer"&gt;
		   &amp;copy; 2004 Foo Corporation

     Regular Markdown syntax is	not processed within code blocks. E.g.,	aster-
     isks are just literal asterisks within a code block. This means it's also
     easy to use Markdown to write about Markdown's own	syntax.

   Horizontal Rules
     You can produce a horizontal rule tag (`<hr />`) by placing three or more
     hyphens, asterisks, or underscores	on a line by themselves. If you	wish,
     you may use spaces	between	the hyphens or asterisks. Each of the follow-
     ing lines will produce a horizontal rule:

	       * * *



	       - - -


Span Elements
     Markdown supports two style of links: inline and reference.

     In	both styles, the link text is delimited	by [square brackets].

     To	create an inline link, use a set of regular parentheses	immediately
     after the link text's closing square bracket. Inside the parentheses, put
     the URL where you want the	link to	point, along with an *optional*	title
     for the link, surrounded in quotes. For example:

	       This is [an example](	"Title") inline	link.

	       [This link](	has no title attribute.

     Will produce:

	       <p>This is <a href=""	title="Title">
	       an example</a> inline link.</p>

	       <p><a href="">This link</a> has no
	       title attribute.</p>

     If	you're referring to a local resource on	the same server, you can use
     relative paths:

	       See my [About](/about/) page for	details.

     Reference-style links use a second	set of square brackets,	inside which
     you place a label of your choosing	to identify the	link:

	       This is [an example][id]	reference-style	link.

     You can optionally	use a space to separate	the sets of brackets:

	       This is [an example] [id] reference-style link.

     Then, anywhere in the document, you define	your link label	like this, on
     a line by itself:

	       [id]:  "Optional Title Here"

     That is:

     +o	 Square	brackets containing the	link identifier	(optionally indented
	 from the left margin using up to three	spaces);

     +o	 followed by a colon;

     +o	 followed by one or more spaces	(or tabs);

     +o	 followed by the URL for the link;

     +o	 optionally followed by	a title	attribute for the link,	enclosed in
	 double	or single quotes, or enclosed in parentheses.

     The following three link definitions are equivalent:

		   [foo]:  "Optional Title Here"
		   [foo]:  'Optional Title Here'
		   [foo]:  (Optional Title Here)

     Note: There is a known bug	in 1.0.1 which prevents single
     quotes from being used to delimit link titles.

     The link URL may, optionally, be surrounded by angle brackets:

	       [id]: <>  "Optional Title Here"

     You can put the title attribute on	the next line and use extra spaces or
     tabs for padding, which tends to look better with longer URLs:

		   "Optional Title Here"

     Link definitions are only used for	creating links during Markdown pro-
     cessing, and are stripped from your document in the HTML output.

     Link definition names may constist	of letters, numbers, spaces, and punc-
     tuation --	but they are not case sensitive. E.g. these two	links:

		   [link text][a]
		   [link text][A]

     are equivalent.

     The implicit link name shortcut allows you	to omit	the name of the	link,
     in	which case the link text itself	is used	as the name.  Just use an
     empty set of square brackets -- e.g., to link the word "Google" to	the	web site, you could simply write:


     And then define the link:


     Because link names	may contain spaces, this shortcut even works for mul-
     tiple words in the	link text:

		   Visit [Daring Fireball][] for more information.

     And then define the link:

		   [Daring Fireball]:

     Link definitions can be placed anywhere in	your Markdown document.	I tend
     to	put them immediately after each	paragraph in which they're used, but
     if	you want, you can put them all at the end of your document, sort of
     like footnotes.

     Here's an example of reference links in action:

	       I get 10	times more traffic from	[Google] [1] than from
	       [Yahoo] [2] or [MSN] [3].

		 [1]:	"Google"
		 [2]:	"Yahoo Search"
		 [3]:	"MSN Search"

     Using the implicit	link name shortcut, you	could instead write:

	       I get 10	times more traffic from	[Google][] than	from
	       [Yahoo][] or [MSN][].

		 [google]:	     "Google"
		 [yahoo]:  "Yahoo Search"
		 [msn]:    "MSN Search"

     Both of the above examples	will produce the following HTML	output:

	       <p>I get	10 times more traffic from <a href=""
	       title="Google">Google</a> than from
	       <a href="" title="Yahoo Search">Yahoo</a>
	       <a href=""	title="MSN Search">MSN</a>.</p>

     For comparison, here is the same paragraph	written	using Markdown's in-
     line link style:

	       I get 10	times more traffic from
	       [Google]( "Google") than from
	       [Yahoo](	"Yahoo Search")	or
	       [MSN]( "MSN Search").

     The point of reference-style links	is not that they're easier to write.
     The point is that with reference-style links, your	document source	is
     vastly more readable. Compare the above examples: using reference-style
     links, the	paragraph itself is only 81 characters long; with inline-style
     links, it's 176 characters; and as	raw HTML, it's 234 characters. In the
     raw HTML, there's more markup than	there is text.

     With Markdown's reference-style links, a source document much more
     closely resembles the final output, as rendered in	a browser. By allowing
     you to move the markup-related metadata out of the	paragraph, you can add
     links without interrupting	the narrative flow of your prose.

     Markdown treats asterisks (`*`) and underscores (`_`) as indicators of
     emphasis. Text wrapped with one `*` or `_`	will be	wrapped	with an	HTML
     `<em>` tag; double	`*`'s or `_`'s will be wrapped with an HTML `<strong>`
     tag. E.g.,	this input:

	       *single asterisks*

	       _single underscores_

	       **double	asterisks**

	       __double	underscores__

     will produce:

	       <em>single asterisks</em>

	       <em>single underscores</em>

	       <strong>double asterisks</strong>

	       <strong>double underscores</strong>

     You can use whichever style you prefer; the lone restriction is that the
     same character must be used to open and close an emphasis span.

     Emphasis can be used in the middle	of a word:


     But if you	surround an `*`	or `_` with spaces, it'll be treated as	a lit-
     eral asterisk or underscore.

     To	produce	a literal asterisk or underscore at a position where it	would
     otherwise be used as an emphasis delimiter, you can backslash escape it:

	       \*this text is surrounded by literal asterisks\*

     To	indicate a span	of code, wrap it with backtick quotes (`` ` ``).  Un-
     like a pre-formatted code block, a	code span indicates code within	a nor-
     mal paragraph. For	example:

	       Use the `printf()` function.

     will produce:

	       <p>Use the <code>printf()</code>	function.</p>

     To	include	a literal backtick character within a code span, you can use
     multiple backticks	as the opening and closing delimiters:

	       ``There is a literal backtick (`) here.``

     which will	produce	this:

	       <p><code>There is a literal backtick (`)	here.</code></p>

     The backtick delimiters surrounding a code	span may include spaces	-- one
     after the opening,	one before the closing.	This allows you	to place lit-
     eral backtick characters at the beginning or end of a code	span:

		   A single backtick in	a code span: ``	` ``

		   A backtick-delimited	string in a code span: `` `foo`	``

     will produce:

		   <p>A	single backtick	in a code span:	<code>`</code></p>

		   <p>A	backtick-delimited string in a code span: <code>`foo`</code></p>

     With a code span, ampersands and angle brackets are encoded as HTML enti-
     ties automatically, which makes it	easy to	include	example	HTML tags.
     Markdown will turn	this:

	       Please don't use	any `<blink>` tags.


	       <p>Please don't use any <code>&lt;blink&gt;</code> tags.</p>

     You can write this:

	       `&#8212;` is the	decimal-encoded	equivalent of `&mdash;`.

     to	produce:

	       <p><code>&amp;#8212;</code> is the decimal-encoded
	       equivalent of <code>&amp;mdash;</code>.</p>

     Admittedly, it's fairly difficult to devise a "natural" syntax for	plac-
     ing images	into a plain text document format.

     Markdown uses an image syntax that	is intended to resemble	the syntax for
     links, allowing for two styles: inline and	reference.

     Inline image syntax looks like this:

	       ![Alt text](/path/to/img.jpg)

	       ![Alt text](/path/to/img.jpg =Optional size "Optional title")

     That is:

     +o	 An exclamation	mark: `!`;

     +o	 followed by a set of square brackets, containing the `alt` attribute
	 text for the image;

     +o	 followed by a set of parentheses, containing the URL or path to the
	 image,	an optional `size` attribute (in width c height	format)	pre-
	 fixed with a `=`, and an optional `title` attribute enclosed in dou-
	 ble or	single quotes.

     Reference-style image syntax looks	like this:

	       ![Alt text][id]

     Where "id"	is the name of a defined image reference. Image	references are
     defined using syntax identical to link references:

	       [id]: url/to/image  =Optional size "Optional title attribute"

   Automatic Links
     Markdown supports a shortcut style	for creating "automatic" links for
     URLs and email addresses: simply surround the URL or email	address	with
     angle brackets. What this means is	that if	you want to
      show the actual text of a	URL or email address, and also have it be
       a clickable link, you can do this:


     Markdown will turn	this into:

	       <a href=""></a>

     Automatic links for email addresses work similarly, except	that Markdown
     will also perform a bit of	randomized decimal and hex entity-encoding to
     help obscure your address from address-harvesting spambots. For example,
     Markdown will turn	this:


     into something like this:

	       <a href="&#x6D;&#x61;i&#x6C;&#x74;&#x6F;:&#x61;&#x64;&#x64;&#x72;&#x65;

     which will	render in a browser as a clickable link	to

     (This sort	of entity-encoding trick will indeed fool many,	if not most,
     address-harvesting	bots, but it definitely	won't fool all of them.	It's
     better than nothing, but an address published in this way will probably
     eventually	start receiving	spam.)

   Backslash Escapes
     Markdown allows you to use	backslash escapes to generate literal charac-
     ters which	would otherwise	have special meaning in	Markdown's formatting
     syntax. For example, if you wanted	to surround a word with	literal	aster-
     isks (instead of an HTML `<em>` tag), you add backslashes before the as-
     terisks, like this:

	       \*literal asterisks\*

     Markdown provides backslash escapes for the following characters:
     `	     backtick
     *	     asterisk
     _	     underscore
	     curly braces
     []	     square brackets
     ()	     parentheses
     #	     hash mark
     +	     plus sign
     -	     minus sign	(hyphen)
     .	     dot
	     exclamation mark

     Markdown assumes that tabs	are set	to 4 spaces.

     John Gruber

     markdown(1), markdown(3), mkd-callbacks(3), mkd-functions(3),

MASTODON			 Dec 22, 2007			      MASTODON

NAME | DESCRIPTION | Block Elements | Span Elements | Miscellaneous | BUGS | AUTHOR | SEE ALSO

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