Zettelmarkup: First Steps

Zettelmarkup allows you to leave your text as it is, at least in many situations. Some characters have a special meaning, but you have to enter them is a defined way to see a visible change. Zettelmarkup is designed to be used for zettel, which are relatively short. It allows to produce longer texts, but you should probably use a different tool, if you want to produce an scientific paper, to name an example.


The most important concept of Zettelmarkup is the paragraph. Ordinary text is interpreted as part of a paragraph. Paragraphs are typically separated by one or more blank lines.

Therefore, line endings are more or less ignored within one paragraph. Zettelmarkup will recognize the end of a line, and sore it as a ""soft break". A soft break is rendered in most cases as a space character.

Within a paragraph you can style your text with special markup. Some examples:

ZettelmarkupRendered outputInstruction
An __emphasized__ wordAn emphasized wordPut two underscore characters before and after the text you want to emphasize
Someone uses **bold** textSomeone uses bold textPut two asterisks before and after the text you want to see bold
He says: ""I love you!""Her says: “I love you!”Put two quotation mark characters before and after the text you want to quote.

You probably see a principle.

One nice thing about the quotation mark characters: they are rendered according to the current language. Examples: “english”, « french », „german“, "finnish". You will see later, how to change the current language.


Quite often, text consists of lists. Zettelmarkup supports different types of lists. The most important lists are:

You produce an unnumbered list element by writing an asterisk character followed by a space character at the beginning of a line. Since a list typically consists of more than one element, the following elements will also start at their own line:

* First item
* Second item
* Third item

This is rendered as:

  • First item
  • Second item
  • Third item

Similar, an numbered list element begins a line with the number sign (sic!) followed by a space character:

# First item
# Second item
# Third item

This is rendered as:

  1. First item
  2. Second item
  3. Third item

After trying out these markup elements, you might want to continue with the second steps.