HTML has revolutionized the way we communicate. It formats the colossal amounts of information we read online, and is often used beyond the web to format books and other reading materials.
Yet, until the advent of Markdown, it was a clumsy exercise to mark up plain text with HTML tags. It’s virtually unthinkable to go through a whole document and add tags manually. But even WYSIWYG editors are painful to use, requiring you to highlight each bit of text you need to format and click buttons.
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Markdown is a brilliantly simple innovation that lets you add simple markup to plain text that is then converted to HTML automatically. For example, add a simple
# to the front of your heading text and Markdown wraps that text with
<h1> tags. Markdown in itself is simple and readable, meaning that you can focus on your writing and yet still understand its structure.
Authors writing for publications — including SitePoint — are more and more expected to submit their writing in Markdown format, so it pays to be familiar with this very simple syntax. It takes literally minutes to learn.
Our cheat sheet covers core Markdown syntax, some extended syntax, tools for processing Markdown and other resources. Enjoy!
Looking for more on Markdown? Check out these great links: