Do yourself a favor: learn Markdown – Master it in 10 minutes!

Format documents with Markdown

Episode 1: Markdown is easy, keeps things simple

Markdown is…

Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax that incorporates rich text elements while retaining the ease and readability of plain text.

Why learn Markdown?

Markdown greatly simplifies writing in the digital age and is a standard used on many web sites such as github.

Markdown has a very easy syntax indicating the desired rich text elements and how to format them.

Markdown advantages

Markdown lets you focus on the writing without being distracted by format.

Markdown documents can be exported to HTML or other types of documents including PDF or MSWord.

Markdown is written in plain text which makes it “future proof” since the (plain) text is always available. (The word processor formats of 10 or 20 years ago may not be recognized today by any software!)

Markdown can handle and autogenerate citations.

Markdown syntax is simple and easy to learn.

Quick example

This very short example demonstrates Markdown simple syntax. For example note the simple method to create a “Level 1”  heading simply using the hashtag symbol # while in HTML it would require all this: <h1>Level 1</h1> making it less easily readable.

Markdown plain text Markdown converted to HTML
 # Level 1

This is a simple example.
This is *italic* and this is **bold**.
While this is ***both***.

## Level 2

* list item 1
* list item 2

Level 1

This is a simple example.
This is italic and this is bold.
While this is both.

Level 2

  • list item 1
  • list item 2

See a 3 panel table with Markdown, HTML code and text rendered in browser on the Wikipedia entry for Markdown.

Learn Markdown

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Learning Markdown – Course – Beginner. Free to UW-Madison personnel.

Video demonstrations

Learn The Basics Of Markdown in 10 Minutes With This Video Tutorial – 10:55 min

Academic Writing in Markdown – 10:44min

Markdown Crash Course – 19:30 min

Interactive Tutorials

The interactive tutorial at is very easy and immediately rewarding! It is available in multiple languages: English, Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Dutch, and Chinese.

The tutorial at also covers most of the useful syntax.

Blog entries as reference

Credits: background image by humusak on