Markdown: Syntax ================ * [Overview](#overview) * [Philosophy](#philosophy) * [Inline HTML](#html) * [Automatic Escaping for Special Characters](#autoescape) * [Block Elements](#block) * [Paragraphs and Line Breaks](#p) * [Headers](#header) * [Blockquotes](#blockquote) * [Lists](#list) * [Code Blocks](#precode) * [Horizontal Rules](#hr) * [Span Elements](#span) * [Links](#link) * [Emphasis](#em) * [Code](#code) * [Images](#img) * [Miscellaneous](#misc) * [Backslash Escapes](#backslash) * [Automatic Links](#autolink) **Note:** This document is itself written using Markdown; you can [see the source for it by adding '.text' to the URL][src]. [src]: /projects/markdown/syntax.text * * * ## Overview ### Philosophy Markdown is intended to be as easy-to-read and easy-to-write as is feasible. Readability, however, is emphasized above all else. A Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it's been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. While Markdown's syntax has been influenced by several existing text-to-HTML filters -- including [Setext] , [atx] , [Textile] , [reStructuredText] , [Grutatext] , and [EtText]  -- the single biggest source of inspiration for Markdown's syntax is the format of plain text email. : http://docutils.sourceforge.net/mirror/setext.html : http://www.aaronsw.com/2002/atx/ : http://textism.com/tools/textile/ : http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html : http://www.triptico.com/software/grutatxt.html : http://ettext.taint.org/doc/ To this end, Markdown's syntax is comprised entirely of punctuation characters, which punctuation characters have been carefully chosen so as to look like what they mean. E.g., asterisks around a word actually look like \*emphasis\*. Markdown lists look like, well, lists. Even blockquotes look like quoted passages of text, assuming you've ever used email.