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If you’ve never heard of Markdown before, I am sure the title of this post had you going, “huh?”

Well, if you are a writer who enjoys keeping the writing of a story or article separate from the coding involved with getting the info uploaded on the Net, but you do not have the time in your schedule to keep these two entities separate, then you just might like Markdown.

Markdown is a time saver. If you learn the very easy syntax, you can combine the writing and the coding without giving it a second thought.

For example: Instead of typing in the opening and closing tags for a header at level 3, you can simply type in three ‘#’ characters then your title. So the Markdown syntax would look something like this:

### My title Goes Here

The three ‘#’ symbols indicate the h3 header level and the Markdown enabled area will simply convert it to the proper HTML code. So header level 4 would have 4 ‘#’ symbols.

To put text in a level 1 header tag, you would underline the text with equal signs.
To put text in a level 2 header tag, you would underline the text with hyphens.
To put text in header tag levels 3-5, you would place that level number worth of ‘#’ symbols before the title (4 ‘#’ for level 4 header tag, etc.)

Neat, huh? I told you!

To see more of Markdown’s awesomeness, check out the information I’ve gathered for this post – and tell me what you think! There are links throughout the article, so make sure you scan it all.

Markdown in a Nutshell:

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 formatting syntax only addresses issues that can be conveyed in plain text. – John Gruber

http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/basics
http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/dingus

I used the site(s) above to familiarize myself with the syntax. After following along, I went through and did the examples myself to see if I understood the concept(s) etc. If you learn by doing, I recommend using the link and trying it out yourself.

Be sure to download the Markdown program at http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/.

Or, download MarkdownPad for Windows at this site. This is the one I have been using.

I plan on posting my document explaining Markdown syntax as an article – however, this will be done in the near future on my website rather than on this blog…as WordPress.com (not .org) does not yet support* a Markdown plug-in. You see, I wrote the whole article in…guess…Markdown syntax!!!! 🙂

* If you host your own WordPress blog (.org), then checkout this plug-in (I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks interesting.)

Last tip before diving in: If you will open MarkdownPad up on your computer and save a new document, you can type in your text in that program and see the markdown syntax (you type in on the left) appear rendered in all its glory (on the right) of the program window.


More Markdown Reference Links:

Here is a list of a few other quick reference guides I found on the Internet after doing a search.

  • Git Flavored Markdown:
    http://github.github.com/github-flavored-markdown/
    My favorite tip on this one?: When Markdown is turned on, type ‘M’ to see a reference.

  • This one has a few Shortcuts Listed: http://five.squarespace.com/display/ShowHelp?section=Markdown

  • Check this one out if you are like me and LIKE shortcuts! 🙂 https://github.com/fletcher/MultiMarkdown/blob/master/Documentation/Markdown%20Syntax.md

  • What’s that? You want a printable PDF to hang on your wall for quick referencing and to enhance your cool status? Check out Scott Boms Cheatsheet right now.

  • I just found out about an app called iA Writer (I know, I know) via my Markdown Syntax searching. So if you use the program, here is a support reference guide to help you use Markdown on whatever device you use the app on. They did offer a few tips I was unaware of — such as nested lists!

  • Do you use Stack Overflow? Check out their page on the Markdown shortcuts. They actually modified (a.k.a simplified) the url links. They call them ‘bare urls’ and they are converted to active links later.

  • Today is a day of discovery apparently. I just stumbled on this site where they have multiple lists of Markdown Cheatsheets around the net.

Note: Several sites that I have listed are new to me. All the links are external links. I do not vouch for their accuracy or security. Please, when going on any site, be cautious before downloading and/or clicking. AND – have fun! Everything you learn today is something you didn’t know yesterday.

Do you still have a question about something? Is there something you need to know the syntax for that was not covered? Comment away. I will update this article as needed!

Until Next time,
Keep Living4Real
(And marking down those documents of course!)

Last updated: Fall 2012

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