The Markdown Guide
The Markdown Guide
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The Markdown Guide

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Completed on 2018-10-21

About the Book

You Need to Learn Markdown

My name is Matt Cone. I'm a technical writer, and I've used a lot of writing tools over the course of my professional career. One of the most interesting tools I've encountered is Markdown.

I've been using Markdown for years now and I recommend it to everyone I know. There are lots of reasons why you should learn to write using Markdown, but one of the best reasons is that it's better than the alternatives.

Learning Markdown means you can stop using all the subpar writing tools you've tolerated for years. It can also further your career. Believe it or not, knowing how to write using Markdown is a requirement for many jobs.

Markdown is Everywhere

My litmus test for a successful writing tool is whether using it can become second nature. Does writing with it feel natural? Or do I feel like I'm constantly fighting against it? I stop using tools that hinder me. Time is valuable, and I don't have the luxury of indulging things that squander that precious resource.

Markdown passes the test with flying colors. Writing using Markdown just feels right. Since its introduction in 2004, millions of people have starting using it to write everything from notes to documents. It's one of the most successful markup languages of all time.

Markdown has succeeded where other markup languages have failed because it strikes the right balance between power and simplicity. It's easy to learn and simple to use. Its tremendous success means it's ubiquitous enough to replace WYSIWYG editors on websites like Reddit and GitHub. But Markdown is also powerful enough to create documents, books, and technical documentation. Markdown is literally everywhere.

Get Going Fast

So you want to learn to write using Markdown. Great! Now what?

I was in your shoes once, too. I wanted to learn Markdown, but I couldn't find any good resources for beginners. That's why I decided to create the Markdown Guide. It's designed to be a comprehensive reference guide to the Markdown markup language.

The Markdown Guide contains all of the content on the Markdown Guide website, but it's been updated and expanded to include more examples. And it's not finished yet! Like the website, the book will continue to be updated on a regular basis with new sections and chapters.

Contributing

This is an open-source project, and your contributions are welcome. The repository is hosted on GitHub.

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • Where to Get This Book
    • How to Read This Book
      • Beginner Resources
      • Syntax Examples
      • Asides
      • Quirks
    • Contributing
    • Reporting Issues
    • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Getting Started
    • Kicking the Tires
    • How Markdown Works
    • Additional Resources
  • 2. Doing Things With Markdown
    • Websites
    • Documents
    • Notes
    • Books
    • Presentations
    • Email
    • Documentation
  • 3. Basic Syntax
    • Headings
      • Alternate Syntax
    • Paragraphs
    • Line Breaks
    • Emphasis
      • Bold
      • Italic
      • Bold and Italic
    • Blockquotes
      • Blockquotes with Multiple Paragraphs
      • Nested Blockquotes
      • Blockquotes with Other Elements
    • Lists
      • Ordered Lists
      • Unordered Lists
      • Adding Elements in Lists
    • Code
      • Escaping Tick Marks
      • Code Blocks
    • Horizontal Rules
    • Links
      • Adding Titles
      • URLs and Email Addresses
      • Formatting Links
      • Reference-style Links
    • Images
    • Escaping Characters
      • Characters You Can Escape
  • 4. Extended Syntax
    • Availability
      • Lightweight Markup Languages
      • Markdown Processors
    • Tables
      • Alignment
      • Formatting Text in Tables
      • Escaping Pipe Characters in Tables
    • Fenced Code Blocks
      • Syntax Highlighting
    • Footnotes
    • Heading IDs
      • Linking to Heading IDs
    • Definition Lists
    • Strikethrough
    • Task Lists
    • Automatic URL Linking
      • Disabling Automatic URL Linking
  • 5. Cheat Sheet
    • Basic Syntax
    • Extended Syntax
  • About the Author
  • Notes

About the Author

Matt Cone
Matt Cone

Matt Cone is a technical writer at Fastly. He has over ten years of experience creating documentation for organizations like Linode and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Matt's first book, Master Your Mac, was published by No Starch Press. To get in touch with Matt, visit http://mattcone.com.

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