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“. 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.