The Magic of Markdown

Ted Laderas (

October 27, 2017


Where are These Slides?

What is Markdown?

John Gruber (of Daring Fireball) originally created Markdown as a simple replacement for HTML for use in message board posts to allow for better formatting.

The wonderful thing about Markdown is that it doesn’t get in your way - you can just get in and edit documents using any text editor. Once you learn it, you find that you can work very fast and not worry about how things look on the page until later.

You can worry about translating the markdown to other formats later, which is handled by an engine called Pandoc.

Markdown Variants

Markdown was originally made to be a substitute for HTML in forums. The original implementation doesn’t really cover formatting such as tables.

GitHub also uses their own flavor of Markdown (called GitHub markdown) as the main format for their webpages, which makes maintaining them much easier than having to edit raw HTML. They extended markdown so you can add tables and better code formatting.

A variation of GitHub markdown is Rmarkdown, which is Markdown + R. Rmarkdown is really useful for reproducible analyses, and it can also be used in conjunction with Shiny to make interactive slides.

Follow Along!

Go to this page ( to play around with a group edited markdown file (click on the pencil to edit).

Have fun, (but be SFW)!

Markdown Basics (Formatting)

When in doubt, look at this quick markdown cheat sheet that covers both plain markdown and GitHub Markdown.

*Italicise your text*

_Italicise your text_

Italicise your text

**Bold your text**

__Bold your text__

Bold your text

Markdown Basics (Bullets)

 * Will add bullets
  * Another Depth
1.  Numbered Lists
2.  Another Number
  1. Numbered Lists
  2. Another Number