LOWDOWN(5) File Formats Manual LOWDOWN(5)


lowdownMarkdown reference for lowdown


Markdown is a simple, plain-text formatting language. “Plain-text” in this case means the document input looks similar to the output, less the formatting niceties (boxed tables, italics, clickable links, etc.) provided by the output medium. For example:
# How to be a Picard fan 
## Introduction 
In order to develop fandom skills one must first and foremost 
know *whom* one idolises. Therefore: **who is Captain Picard**? 
1. Picard was named the \*Best Star Trek Captain\*, according 
to a [5-week poll](poll.html). 
    > Picard continued his winning ways in the final week, 
    > with fans naming him the most inspiring captain. 
2. Picard is handsome. ![Picard](image.jpg) 
3. Picard knows how to code: `make engage` 
## Picard Fandom 
Here's why everyone wants to be a fan...
This example consists of a series of block elements: section header, sub-section header, paragraph, set of list elements, horizontal rule, then another sub-section header. Each block element contains span elements: normal text, emphasised text (bold and italised), an image, a link, and a span of code.
This document describes the Markdown syntax accepted by lowdown(1).


A block element starts on a new line and extends to the next blank line or block element. A block element contains span elements.

Paragraphs and Line Breaks

A paragraph is made up of one or more lines of text possibly containing span elements. Paragraphs are separated by blank lines.
To insert a hard line break (i.e., a line-break in the input that is reproduced in the output), insert two spaces at the end of the line. If the commonmark input option is specified, this may also be effected by escaping the newline:
Darmok and Jalad...\ 
at Tanagra.


There are two styles of headers: underlined (“setext”) and hash-marked (“atx”). For underlined headers, underline the given word using equal signs (“=”) for first-level headers and dashes (“-”) for second-level headers.
This is an underlined header 1 
For hash-marked headers, use the corresponding number of hash characters to the corresponding level of header, up to 6 levels, at the start of the line separated by one space followed by the header.
## This is a hash-marked header 2
If the commonmark input option is specified, the space is required after the hash-marks in any hash-marked header.

Block Quotes

Block quoted sections are invoked with a single right-angle bracket (“>”) followed by a space at the start of each line and between paragraphs.
> The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; 
> it is a philosophy... and a very correct one. 
> (It goes on for a few paragraphs).
Block quotes may also have a non-multiline invocation: you need only invoke the right-angle bracket at the start of a paragraph and omit it entirely between paragraphs.
> You cannot explain away a wantonly immoral act because 
you think it is connected to some higher purpose. 
> Here is another paragraph about Picard wisdom.
Consecutive blockquotes as above will be merged as paragraphs within a single block quote on output, even if styles (non-multiline and otherwise) are mixed.
Block quotes may be nested within other block quotes, as may any other block elements such as headers, ordered/unordered lists, and code blocks.
> ### hash-marked header 3 
> > I'd be delighted to offer any advice 
> > I have on understanding women. 
> > When I have some, I'll let you know. 
> 1.  advice list item 1 
> 2.  advice list item 2 
> Here's the code to implement JLP's advice: 
>     yes | read engage


Lists may be specified as ordered (numbered) or unordered. Ordered lists are invoked as numbers followed by periods (e.g., “1.”) and rendered in a similar format. Note: it does not matter which order or which numbers you use in your ordered lists, as all ordered lists start at one.
1. Make. 
2. It. 
1. So. (Not 1. again!)
If the commonmark input option is specified, list items may alternatively terminate with the right parenthesis:
1) Live long 
2) Prosper
To prevent lists erroneously started by a paragraph beginning with a number and period, use a backslash before the period.
1987. The year TNG premiered. 
1987\. The year TNG premiered.
Unordered lists, on the other hand, can be invoked using either asterisk (“*”), pluses (“+”), or hyphens (“-”), and can be a mix of all three styles. Regardless the style, list items are rendered the same way.
- Earl Grey tea. 
* Shakespeare. 
+ Exotic fish.
All nested block elements need a new line break, otherwise they will be rendered on the same line as the list item on output. To insert paragraphs into a list item, indent each paragraph with either four spaces or one tab.
- First list item 
    Courage can be an emotion too. 
    Things are only impossible until they're not. 
+ Second list item 
+ Third list item
To insert block quotes into a list item, indent the block quote with four spaces or one tab prior to the right-angle bracket (“>”).
* List item 1 
* List item 2 
     > I am Locutus of Borg. 
     > That is the cutest of Borg.
Code blocks need to be indented twice (two tabs or eight leading spaces): once for being recognised within the list item, another for the code block itself.
* Here is a list item for an indented code block: 
        alias path='echo -e ${PATH//:/\n}'
To make list elements occur in tight sequence — like a grocery list — don't have an empty line between the items.
- Phaser 
- Communicator
On the other hand, if you want to render lists separated by white-space, use the following syntax:
- A phaser is a type of weapon. 
- A communicator keeps Riker in contact with Troi.
This applies to ordered and unordered list types.

Code Blocks

Code blocks consist of pre-formatted text, such as source code. Each code block contains opaque/literal text. This means that new lines and white spaces are retained — they're not formatted in any way, and any text inside the code block is not interpreted. To invoke a code block, create a line break then indent each line with four spaces or one tab.
Here is a paragraph about Bridge protocol 
    Here is a code block for the command "Engage"
Within a code block, text is escaped given the output format. Therefore, characters that would normally need to be escaped in other text processing languages such as ampersands (“&”) do not need to be escaped.
Here is how you start the program xterm: 
    xterm &

Horizontal Rules

A horizontal rule is a line that goes across an output page. These are invoked with three or more asterisks (“*”), hyphens (“-”), or underscores (“_”) on their own line. Spaces between these characters are disregarded.
* * * 
- - - 
_ _ _ 


Documents can include metadata that is not part of the main text. This requires the metadata input option, which is the default. The syntax loosely follows the “Multimarkdown” specification.
The metadata block begins on the document's first line and continues until the first blank line. It consists of one or more key-value pairs, with keys and values separated by a colon, and pairs separated by a newline. A key (and following value) must exist on the line beginning the metadata pair, but the value may span multiple lines.
Title: Captain's log 
Author: Captain J-L Picard 
Summary: As part of an exchange program, we're taking 
 aboard a Klingon officer to return the recent visit 
 of Commander Riker to the cruiser Pagh. 
Stardate: 43917.4
If there are multiple lines of text in a metadata value, subsequent lines should (but need not) be offset with whitespace. Otherwise, they must not have a colon in the value, else they will be construed as a subsequent pair's key.
End each line with two spaces to ensure linebreaks are rendered on output for non-conforming Markdown renderers. Moreover, beginning a document with a regular sentence containing a colon might invoke metadata. To escape this, add one blank line to the beginning of the document.
Metadata keys must consist of alphanumeric ASCII characters, the hyphen (“-”), or the underscore (“_”). They must have at least one character. Keys are stripped of white-space and converted to lower case. Values have leading white-space stripped, i.e., space following the colon.


Span elements are inline elements (including normal text) within block elements, for example, a span of emphasised text or a hyperlink. A span element cannot contain a block element, but can contain other span elements.


There are two different styles of emphasis: strong, usually rendered as bold; and emphasis, usually rendered as italics. This is confusing, so sometimes the former is referred to as a “double-emphasis” while the latter is a “single-emphasis”.
Text surrounded by a single asterisk (“*”) or underscore (“_”), the single-emphasis variant, is traditionally rendered with italics.
*Captain Picard* 
_Captain Picard_
Text surrounded by a double asterisk (“**”) or underscore (“__”), the double-emphasis variant, is traditionally rendered as bold.
**Jean-Luc Picard** 
__Jean-Luc Picard__
Emphasis may occur within the middle of a word:
In order to produce a literal asterisk (“*”) or underscore (“_”) simply surround the character by white space.
The ship * USS Enterprise * will not be emphasized
There are two types of links: inline and reference. In both cases, the linked text is denoted by square brackets (“[]”). An inline link uses parentheses (“()”) containing the URL immediately following the linked text in square brackets to invoke the link.
[text to link](https://bsd.lv)
Local references may be absolute or relative paths:
A reference link, on the other hand, keeps the URL outside of the text — usually in the footnotes. Define a reference link anywhere in a document by a title in square brackets (“[]”) followed a colon (“:”) followed by the corresponding URL or path:
[link1]: https://www.bsd.lv/picard.jpg
The definition must be on its own line.
Reference the link anywhere in your text using [text to the link] and the same [link title], both in square brackets (“[]”) next to each other:
Text about [Captain Picard][link1].
References need not follow the definition: both may appear anywhere in relation to the other. Automatic links are links to URLs or emails addresses that do not require text to links; rather, the full link or email address is inferred from the text. To invoke an automatic link, surround the link or email address with angle brackets (“<>”), for example:
In lowdown(1), these are only enabled if the autolink input option is specified. By default, it is.


The image syntax resembles the links syntax. The key difference is that images require an exclamation mark (“!”) before the text to link surrounded by square brackets (“[]”).
![Image text](imageurl.jpg)
Just like with links, there are both inline and reference image links. The former consist of an exclamation mark (“!”) followed by the text for the image (which may be empty) surrounded by square brackets “([])” followed by the URL or the path to image in parentheses “(())”.
![Picture of Picard](https://bsd.lv/picard.jpg)
The reference style definition consists of an image identifier surrounded by square brackets “([])” followed by a colon “(:)” followed by an image URL or path to image and optional title attribute in double quotation marks.
[image1]: https://bsd.lv/picard.jpg "Picture of Picard"
Invoking the image reference is as follows:
A picture of the captain: ![Captain Picard][image1]
As with regular reference links, the definition and references may occur anywhere in relation to each other.


In addition to code blocks, inline code spans may be specified within paragraphs or other block or span elements. To invoke a span of code, surround the code using backtick quotes (“`”).
I need your IP address to scp you Picard pics. 
Use the `ifconfig iwm0` command.
To include literal backticks (“`”) within a code of span, surround the code using multiple backticks (“(``”).
``Here is a span of code with `backticks` inside it.``
If you have a literal backtick at the start or end of the span of code, leave a space between the literal backtick and the delimiting backticks.
`` `So many backticks.` ``


Automatic Escapes

Output is automatically escaped depending upon the medium. For example, HTML output will properly escape angle brackets “(<)” and ampersands “(&)” to produce conformant HTML. The same goes with man(7) output in escaping leading periods and so forth.

Backslash Escapes

Backslash escapes render literal characters that would otherwise invoke a particular block or span element. For example, surrounding a phrase with single asterisks renders it as an emphasis:
*Captain Picard*
However, if you want to invoke those italics as literal characters, escape those asterisks using backslashes (“\”).
\*Captain Picard\*
The following characters may be escaped to produce literal text:
curly brace
exclamation mark
hash mark
minus sign
plus sign
square bracket




The Markdown syntax accepted by lowdown(1) conforms to John Gruber's original Markdown implementation. Extensions to the language are specifically noted. They include:


The lowdown reference was written by Christina Sophonpanich, huck@divelog.blue.
October 23, 2017 OpenBSD 5.8