Basic to Extended Markdown Cheat Sheet With Examples

Linux TLDR
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Markdown is a widely used standard for distributing text files with special syntax that modern software can easily understand and format, eliminating the need to write the entire HTML code.

Consider it a way to add HTML style and structure to your text document in a straightforward, readable manner that people without coding experience can easily understand and remember.

For example, by placing β€œ#” at the beginning of a respective line like this β€œ# Heading 1β€œ, it will be interpreted as β€œ<h1>Heading 1</h1>” in HTML format, and to accomplish this, you simply need to save your file with a β€œ.md” extension.

Due to its simplicity, nearly all README files on GitHub are markdown files named β€œREADME.mdβ€œ. The widely used static site generator Hugo defaults also uses it for posts and pages, and in the WordPress block editor, you can use it to instantly generate specific elements.

So, it’s no wonder that if you have an IT background or have occasional interactions with programs, you must learn to read and write Markdown files, right now!

How to Read and Write Markdown Files (Cheat Sheet)

To read and write markdown files, you must have a basic understanding of the special syntax used in them. You can refer to the following cheatsheet (or examples) for that purpose.

The following are natively supported syntaxes that are widely used; anything other than these is specifically designed syntax that can only be processed by a special processor.

1. Syntax for declaring HTML headings.

# Heading 1
## Heading 2
### Heading 3
#### Heading 4
##### Heading 5
###### Heading 6

Interpreted as:

writing HTML headings in markdown file

2. Syntax for styling text in bold and italic.

Regrettably, adding an underline to text in a markdown file is not possible, as it is also represented by a link.
**bold text**

*italic text*

Interpreted as:

styling text in markdown file

3. Syntax for declaring blockquotes and nested blockquotes.

> single blockquotes

> blockquotes
>> nested blockquotes

Interpreted as:

blockquotes in markdown file

4. Syntax for creating a horizontal line (or separator).

# The following are three hyphens to create a horizontal line.
lorem ipsum

Interpreted as:

adding separator in markdown file

5. Syntax for creating ordered and unordered lists.

# Ordered List

1. First Item
2. Second Item
3. Third Item

# Unordered List

- First Item
- Second Item
- Third Item

Interpreted as:

ordered and unordered list in markdown file

6. Syntax for creating code blocks.

` $ echo "Linux TLDR is great site to learn about Linux." `

Interpreted as:

Code block in markdown file

7. Syntax for adding (or inserting) links.

Regrettably, you cannot specify β€œ<a>” tags used in HTML files, such as β€œtarget” and β€œrelβ€œ.

[Linux TLDR](

Interpreted as:

inserting links in markdown file

8. Syntax for adding (or inserting) images.

![alt text](image.jpg)

Interpreted as:

inserting image in markdown file

9. Syntax for enclosing a link within an image.

[![title](image.jpg "Image Alt Text")](

Interpreted as:

inserting link within image in markdown file

So, here ends the basic syntax used in Markdown files. Now, you might think that the list has a very limited number of syntaxes, which unfortunately is true.

Now, there are a few extended syntaxes that provide some additional features, and fortunately, they are supported in popular applications like Hugo or on GitHub.

To learn more about them, you can checkout the following examples, continuing from our previous basic syntax.

10. Syntax for creating a table.

| No          | Person      | Age         | 
| ----------- | ----------- | ----------- |
| 01          | Chris       | 36          |
| 02          | Dennis      | 25          |
| 03          | David       | 24          |
| 04          | Thomas      | 47          |

Interpreted as:

creating table in markdown file

11. Syntax for defining a fenced (or multi-line) code block.

$ echo "This is the first sentence"
$ echo "This is the second sentence"
$ echo "This is the third sentence"

Interpreted as:

fenced code block in markdown file

12. Syntax for creating a heading ID and redirector link.

### Heading 01 {#ref-h1-id}

lorem ipsum

[Redirect to Heading 01](#ref-h1-id)

Interpreted as:

creating heading id in markdown file

13. Syntax for creating footnotes.

Footnotes are a way to create a note and then add a reference to it, through which users can click and be redirected to the created note.
Here's a sentence with a footnote. [^1]

lorem ipsum

[^1]: This is the footnote. 

Interpreted as:

creating footnote in markdown file

14. Syntax for creating a definition list.

: definition


Linux TLDR
: Welcome to Linux TLDR, your ultimate destination for all things Linux! We are passionate about open-source technology and dedicated to providing you with the latest news, tutorials, tips, and resources to help you master the world of Linux and open-source software.

Interpreter as:

creating definitation list in markdown file

The above output might not explain the behavior of this syntax, so below is the HTML code output of the above, illustrating how it works by adding definition tags to your Markdown file.



    <dt>Linux TLDR</dt>
    <dd>Welcome to Linux TLDR, your ultimate destination for all things Linux! We are passionate about open-source technology and dedicated to providing you with the latest news, tutorials, tips, and resources to help you master the world of Linux and open-source software.</dd>

15. Syntax for striking through a text.

~~Cat's never bite~~

Interpreter as:

strikethrough text in markdown file

16. Syntax for creating a task list.

Tasks can’t work together with the backend server, but it’s a good way to display specific work progress or provide a status update.
- [x] Project Blueprint
- [x] Project Design
- [ ] Budget Allocation

Interpreter as:

creating task list in markdown file

17. Adding emoji via copy-paste or shortcode.

You can add emojis to your Markdown file in two different ways: the first is by directly copy-pasting them from emoji-providing sites like Emojipedia, or by using an emoji shortcode (get list).
## What did the cat say to the fishbowl?

You're looking fin-tastic today! :laughing:

Interpreted as:

adding emoji in markdown file

18. Disabling automatic URL linking.

Automatic URL linked

Disable automatic URL linking

Interpreted as:

Disabling automatic URL linking in Markdown file

19. Adding highlighting to a text.

In Linux World, ==Linux TLDR== would be the best site.

Interpreted as:

highlight text in markdown file

20. Specifying subscript and superscript.


Interpreted as:

adding subscript and superscript in markdown file

Here comes the end of the extended syntax list in the Markdown file. Now, if you are interested in them and want to practice, how can you do that? Let’s find out that in the next section.

How to Practice Markdown Syntax (Online and Offline)

The easiest way to practice Markdown syntax is by using online platforms like (commonly used for creating GitHub readme files), or you can explore Dillinger (which is excellent and supports almost all extended syntax).

If you are more of an offline person, you can try out the Runme Runs Markdown extension for VSCode. For installation, you can check out our separate article on VSCode and its extensions.

And there is another incredible offline software called Marker (free and open-source) or Typora (premium) that can easily let you read and write from basic to extend markdown syntaxes, including other additional features.

Spice Up Your Markdown File with These Popular Processors

All the Markdown syntax mentioned in this article is standard and natively supported by all Markdown processors. However, there are quite a number of other processors that provide additional features for you to take advantage of.

The top seven markdown handlers recommended by us for you to try out are as follows:

  1. Pandoc
  2. Commonmark
  3. Kramdown
  4. Goldmark
  5. AsciiDoc
  6. Org Mode
  7. reStructuredText

These are the suggested markdown processors for you to try out, but keep in mind that some online platforms with built-in handlers, like GitHub, might not be able to process the syntax these processors provide.

However, offline software or tools like Hugo can be integrated with this handler by adjusting certain settings in the configuration. So, in the end, it depends on the usage, and where they are going to be used must have an option for changing the Markdown handler.

Final Word

I hope you find this article useful. If you have any questions or queries related to the article, feel free to tell me in the comment section.

Till then, peace!

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