What is Markdown and what are the basics I should know?

If you regularly use online social networks or discussion forums, chances are you’ve seen or used Markdown without even knowing what Markdown is.

For many already on the web, HTML was the first and most basic coding language they learned. However, Markdown is even simpler. In fact, it’s so simple that there aren’t really any courses for it. You can learn it in just a few minutes.

In this article, let’s take a look at the basics of what Markdown is and everything you need to know about one of the web’s most popular and lightweight markup languages.

What is downgrade?

As a name, Markdown is a pun on the term “markup.” Markup is defined as “the process or result of correcting text in preparation for printing,” which is an accurate description of how programming languages ​​interact with interpreters and rendering engines to render text to those of us who surf the web.

HTML stands for “Hypertext” format Language”, and Markdown is therefore a way to write HTML code more easily, albeit in a less robust way.

Markdown was created in 2004 by John Gruber and Aaron Swartz, who wanted to allow people “to write using an easy-to-read and easy-to-write plain text format, optionally converting it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).”

One of the core goals of Markdown was to make it easier to read compared to the alternatives. This makes writing Markdown and reading Markdown code in plain text very easy.

Which sites use Markdown?

Since Markdown is just an easier way to write HTML, you won’t see websites that consider themselves “written in Markdown”. However, you will find many websites where users can contribute or post in ways that accept Markdown.

An example is GitHub. Markdown is accepted in the pre-generated README.md file of any GitHub repository. As this suggests, MD is the extension used for files written with Markdown code.

Reddit and Stack Exchange also use Markdown as a way for their users to better organize posts and express themselves. Stack Exchange Sites like Stack Overflow wouldn’t be the same without Markdown for turning plain text into readable, formatted code snippets.

Using Markdown?

The sample image above shows Markdown formatting examples for creating a new Reddit text message. While it goes beyond the basics of Markdown, some common examples are not included. Let’s go through those.


In Markdown you can create a header by typing (number/hash) for your text. The number of number/pound signs you use lowers the header level. For example, will be the largest section and will show a smaller subtitle.

In HTML, these are simply converted to tags. is

and is for example


Similar to links, images in Markdown are created by enclosing the alt text in square brackets and the URL in parentheses. Here’s an example:

[Help Desk Geek Logo](https://helpdeskgeek.com/wp-content/themes/hdg/images/hdg-banner.png)

Inline code

Starting a line with four spaces creates a block of code, but for inline code you can simply wrap text into backticks. Here’s an example:

`int main(){printf(“Hi World\n”);return 0;}`

Markdown Text Editors

If you want to master Markdown, finding support in the form of a desktop text editor is a good place to start. However, because Markdown can be rendered live in the browser and does not require complicated interaction on the server side, there are even online Markdown editors.

Standalone Markdown Editors

One of the best standalone Markdown editors (and text editors in general) for Windows, macOS, and Linux is Sublime text

All you need to do to enable Markdown syntax highlighting is load an MD file or set the syntax highlighting to write-down by clicking Flat text on the right side of the status bar.

Two other great free Markdown editors are: typora (Mac) and Remarkable (Linux).

Web-based Markdown Editors

Web-based Markdown editors are generally feature-rich, so we highly recommend them.

For example, StackEdit provides a distraction-free interface with two panels: one for your Markdown code and another for a dynamic, live preview of your text.

If you’re new to StackEdit, all you need to do is click . to click Start writing and you’ll be taken to the web-based editor, which comes pre-populated with sample Markdown code and instructions.

If StackEdit doesn’t have what you’re looking for, check it out Dillinger or editor.md

Markdown can be found all over the internet, and if you’re new to the internet, it will probably be the first unofficial “coding language” you learn to use. It’s extremely useful and improves the way we communicate online via text, so we hope this article helped you learn more about it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.