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Markdown cheatsheet

First posted in Content and Markdown; updated 24th June 2019

Markdown is a brilliant way to write content for the web. Here’s a quick overview of the most commonly used Markdown, for your reference.

Let’s start with headings

To make a heading, all you need to do is use # symbols before the heading itself, like this:

# Level 1 heading

## Level 2 heading

### Level 3 heading

#### Level 4 heading

##### Level 5 heading

##### Level 6 heading

If you’re like me and you want something that looks a little bit more like an actual heading, while you’re writing your article, you can also pop a line of = or - symbols underneath the heading to make it a level 1 or 2 heading, like this:

Level 1 heading

Level 2 heading

### Level 3 heading

#### Level 4 heading

##### Level 5 heading

##### Level 6 heading

My problem with doing it this way, aside from the lack of consistency, is that I can never remember which way round they are: using #s starts with one # and works up to six, but underlines start with two and goes down to one. Also, underlines shouldn’t be used for anything other thank links on the web, so there’s a bit of a disconnect.

General in-paragraph highlighting

What about bold, italics and what-not? Easy! Here’s how:

Here’s some *italic text*.

Here’s some **bold text**.

Just wrap the word or phrase you want to italicise (emphasise) or embolden (strongly emphasise) in either single or double asterisks!

You can also use underscores (_) for italics if you prefer.


Bulleted lists

Bulleted lists are for when you have a list of items and there’s no particular order to them. Just type a dash with a space between it and each item, like this:

- an item
- another item
- yet another item
- one more item

Don’t like dashes? You can also use plus signs (+) or asterisks (*). I used to use pluses as they stand out better, but I wrote an article on why I’ve decided to switch to dashes.

Numbered list

If there’s a definite order to your list items they should probably be numbered, rather than bulleted. All you do is type a number and a full stop, followed by a space and anything you write after that will be part of a numbered list:

1. first list item
2. second list item
3. third list item
4. fourth list item

Links are a hugely important part of the web. Here’s how to link to other web pages in your articles:

Sentences [containing links]( are great.

Surround the text you want to be the link in square brackets and—without a space—write or paste the link to the page you’re referencing in normal brackets. Piece of cake!

There’s also a special way to link to other pages in your site.

Digging deep

If you really want to get into Markdown, a great place to start is with John Gruber’s Daring Fireball website – he’s the guy who developed it and his documentation is extremely thorough!

And, by the way, in case you’re curious, I write all of my blog posts in Markdown. Any questions, just ask!

Hire me

If you like what you’ve read and think we’d work well together, I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me now

More resources

Here are a couple more resources for you to enjoy. If that’s not enough, have a look at the full list.

  1. Images as the first thing in a button or link

    If the text of an interactive element like a button or link is preceded with an accessible image, we’ve probably got an accessibility problem.

  2. Alt text for CSS generated content

    There’s an interesting feature in Safari 17.4 that allows content added with CSS to have ‘alt’ text. I’m not sure how I feel about this.