Markdown is a simple way of formatting documents using just plain text. (In this way, it’s similar to HTML.)
For example, headings can be indicated with a hash:
# First level heading ## Second level heading ### Third level heading
You can indicate that text should be bold by wrapping it in double asterisks:
This is a **bold** bit of text.
Then there are a variety of programs (e.g. Caret, Ulysses) that can take your Markdown text and render it with your choice of styles.
So the above could look like this (depending on what you decide your headings and bolded text styles would be):
Markdown is used a lot for documentation in programming (for example, GitHub documentation uses Markdown, and so do Python’s Jupyter notebooks).
But Markdown isn’t just for programmers – it’s a really lightweight way to format any text document. It frees you up from having to use a word processor if you want formatted text, and so helps you just focus more on your writing. This blog post was initially written in Markdown in Ulysses!
Note that there are a few different varieties of Markdown and some apps let you customise your own version so some of the instructions may differ in these courses.
Mastering Markdown — Wes Bos
Wes Bos is a bit of a super star educator – he has a real knack for making topics fun and exciting.
He’s created a free video-based mini-course that will get you writing in Markdown in less than an hour.
This very short tutorial to Markdown uses an in-browser Markdown writer so you don’t need to install a Markdown app to see your plain text turn into pretty formatted documents.
Each lesson is based on a single Markdown concept, with exercises that help you to apply and test your learning.
Markdown Crash Course – Abhay Talreja
This one (long) page guide to Markdown goes through the key things you need to know about Markdown. You should be able to get through it in about an hour.
There’s also a handy cheatsheet.
Markdown Tutorial – Commonmark
This online tutorial introduces key Markdown concepts with practice exercises using a fun interactive app.
This comprehensive online guide goes through both basic and extended syntax to help you master creating documents with Markdown.
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