Text Formatting Rules

For some examples of how these rules are used, see Text Formatting Examples.

To experiment with these rules, please try editing the Wiki Wiki Sandbox. Please, do not experiment with this page because that is extraordinarily bad form.


Do not indent paragraphs.

Words wrap to window width and fill as needed. (Emphasis fails to work if you insert end of line by hand!)

Use blank lines as separators.

Horizontal Lines

Four or more hyphens (----) at the beginning of a line make a horizontal rule.


asterisk in column one for bullet item

use more asterisks for deeper indenting

old format using tabs and numbered lists (lines starting with <tab(s)>number) is discouraged because of on-going problems some people have with tabs in browsers in general.


Indent with one or more spaces to use a monospace font:

This is text in a monospaced font indented with a space. This is indented with a tab stop.

This is not.

You can generate vertical whitespace by using multiple newlines after a monospaced line, but doing so to create more than one blank line is discouraged.

Indented Paragraphs


tab space colon tab -- often used (with emphasis) for quotations. (See Simulating Quote Blocks)


This is quoted. (When a quoted line wraps, it too is indented maintaining an indented block.) If the text continues for a bit then the feature will be demonstrated nicely. You will see that each successive line is indented.

This isn't.

If you are going to Convert Spaces To Tabs, you need to type nine spaces, a colon, and then three spaces before the text. (See Simulating Quote Blocks.)


Indented paragraphs are actually a special case of definitions. For example, to define a gnu, we would use

tab Gnu colon tab -- and then the definition. This looks like this:

A furry animal.

You may use bold (see next paragraph), then it looks like this:

A furry animal.


Use doubled single-quotes for emphasis (usually italics)

Use tripled single-quotes for strong emphasis (usually bold)

Use five single-quotes, or triples within doubles, for some other kind of emphasis (Bold Italic), but be careful about the bugs in the Wiki emphasis logic... (for example, text within doubled single-quotes followed immediately by text within tripled single-quotes is processed incorrectly)doubletriple Q:has this bug been fixed? No, but the overlapped tags produced are accepted by some browsers.

Emphasis can be used multiple times within a line, but cannot span across line boundaries.

Is there a simple way to do strike-throughs? perhaps ---three hyphens before and after--- ala ' ' ' for bold? [Michael Muller 9/22/2004] Not On This Wiki


Join Capitalized Words to make links to Wiki pages.

Use Six Single Quotes to separate capitalized prefixes (like 'Prefixed') from PrefixedWiki Name, or to AvoidMakingLinksToWikiName, or to separate suffixes (like 's') from Wiki Names. Put the six quotes after the prefix and before the first capitalized letter of the PrefixedWiki Name (for example NonWiki Name equals Non ' ' ' ' ' ' Wiki Name), or before a lowercase letter to avoid links in the entire word (for example AvoidMakingLinksToWikiName equals A ' ' ' ' ' ' voidMakingLinksToWikiName), or after the Wiki Name and before the suffix (for example Wiki Names equals Wiki Name ' ' ' ' ' ' s).

Precede URLs with "http:", "ftp:", "gopher:", "mailto:", or "news:" to create links automatically as in: www.c2.com . For a url containing an apostrophe, use %27 instead of the apostrophe.

URLs ending with .gif, .jpg, .jpeg or .png are inlined. (URLs ending with .jpe should be handled the same way, but aren't.) Note This approach means that image URLs with query parameters will not render as an image unless you add an extra "dummy" parameter ending with .gif, .jpg, .jpeg or .png at the end. Thankfully the need for such tricks is rare. (Bug: those image extensions must be lower-case).

Links to books specified by ISBN are treated specially. E.g., ISBN: 0-13-748310-4 links to a bookseller. (The pattern is: "ISBN", optional colon, space, ten digits with optional hyphens, the whole thing optionally in square brackets. The last digit can be an "X".) We are an Amazon Associate.

[1], [2], [3], [4] used to refer to remote links. This feature has been removed. See Fixing Links if you stumble across one of them.

Links to You Tube videos are translated to imbed codes. The video will show as a key frame with a play button in the center.

Answer Me: Would it be possible to provide the same thing for other materials using ASIN instead of ISBN? -- Aalbert Torsius [Linking to what? Amazon doesn't have many such materials.] [Just about anything that's not a book, right? Such as B000060PEU is www.amazon.com (a Wacom drawing tablet) - and amazon certainly sells a lot of things that aren't books.][This could also be useful to link to scientific papers online via dx.doi.org followed by a number such as 10.1038/1011 which provides a unique and stable link to the article (e.g. dx.doi.org ) and works for all publishers (Nope. It's not a stable link. This is a Broken Link. 2005-09-19)]

Wiki Case is needed to link to a single word [Wiki Single Word Problem]

Wiki has no syntax for an anchor point within a Wiki page; Wiki Wiki Web Faq explains why.

Wiki's Text Formatting Rules aren't HTML

HTML tags don't work

&, <, and > are themselves


When a rule says "tab," it wants a tab character without extra spaces around it. See Tip For Typing Tab if you have trouble entering tabs.

The actual Text Formatting Regular Expressions that implement these rules are available for those who can read them.

I've been able to see what's going on by opening the edit window as a new window in the browser. That way, I can link (in my mind) the text formatting rules with what finally gets displayed. Not that the rules are difficult!

Inserting lines with the Lynx Browser presents a special challenge. For help with that, see Using Wiki With Lynx.

Use italics sparingly when possible, as it's harder to read (especially at low resolution) than non-italics.

None of these work here:




Mathematical formula expansion


Loops or other programmatic structures

Q: Why not include into Wiki abilities to make tables? I think, it's one of the most important thing when discussing mathematics, for example.

A: Serviceable tables can be done with preformatted text, e.g. the table at the bottom of Text Formatting Examples. Many other Wiki Implementations do implement Wiki Tables, including Ward's own Quicki Wiki.

I find myself wanting to add a link from a page here on Wards Wiki to a page on a Sister Site. What's the best way to do that? (a) Directly include the full URI; (b) use the Wiki Name to a stub page here, then put the full URI on that stub page; or (c) some other method? -- David Cary

There's no established convention. One method would be Meatball:Wiki Name, which links to a page from which you can click on the meatball logo to get to the proper page. There's no need to create the page on this wiki if it doesn't already exist.

Look at the bottom of this page (Text Formatting Rules). You see those convenient little pictures that link to Sister Sites? Do those automatically show up when sister sites have pages with the same name? Does Ward manually stick those in somehow? Or is there something I/you can do to make those show up? (I mean, they *already* show up on this page; how do I make them show up on *other* pages?)

They will be shown in due course - the process is automatic, but not necessarily immediate.

So how, without using HTML character entities, do I type a character which is not on my keyboard? -- Damian Yerrick

Copy and paste from somewhere else (such as Utf Eight Values For Umlauts), or, in Microsoft Windows, hold down the Alt key, then, using the numeric pad, type 0 followed by the character's 3-digit ANSI (decimal) code (up to 255). (The second method doesn't work for the tab character in some browsers.) -- Anonymous Donor

Inserting raw character codes (which is what ALT+number does) is not portable. It is specific to that platform, and the character set you're using. I will see something different. On the other hand, HTML character entities are, per the standard, portable. So that isn't a good solution. -- Ben Scott

Use Unicode (And set your browser to UTF-8). You can enter Unicode characters on Windows/MacOSX/X11 using Ctrl+Shift+CODE (Hold down Ctrl, hold down Shift and type in the code in hexadecimal).

But there's still a portability issue for the <b>readers</b> of the text, who may not be viewing it as Unicode, eh? So at minimum you also need to tell everyone on every platform using every conceivable version of every conceivable browser how to make sure their tool displays Unicode (and how to get the font needed, if Unicode characters are used that are outside the font set provided by default on the platform/tool in question.)

However, as of May 2006, this wiki reports its encoding as Utf Eight, so that is the encoding to use.

Q: Is there a way to create spaces in-between individual lines of a numbered list without destroying the order of the numbering?

A: Nope.

Q: Is it possible to create lists that use ordering elements other than numbers and asterisks? (it would be really handy to be able to use letters)?

A: Nope. This wiki is quite bare bones, and intentionally so. Less formatting means you have to concentrate on saying things carefully and clearly. Content over form.

Q: Is it possible to create a link to another section within the same page?

Q: Is it possible to create a link to a section within another page?

If the topic of a section is important enough to link to, it's important enough to dedicate an entire page to that topic. After Refactor By Extracting To Page, it's easy to link to that section. (Link to the page it has become).

See original on c2.com