FAQ Desk: Formatting Forum Posts



  • Hello, and welcome to the FAQ Desk.

    In this FAQ entry, we will be covering how to format your posts in the Notepad++ Community Forum.

    Brief Summary

    TL;DR: This forum uses a set of special characters (called “Markdown”) in your post to format the text – and for some formatting, you can use the toolbar on the post window to insert that formatting. You should look at the PREVIEW window to help you make sure your post looks right before hitting SUBMIT. Use the </> Code button on the toolbar for formatting multi-line example text. Use backticks ` around the text for formatting text as typewriter style, which is useful for asking about regular expressions.

    Preview and Editing

    The results of the Markdown syntax can be seen in the PREVIEW pane next to the post-editing pane. If you cannot see the PREVIEW pane, click the SHOW PREVIEW in the upper-right of the editing input box. Your post can only be edited for three minutes after you click SUBMIT, so make sure you use the PREVIEW to get the post looking correct before you submit your post.

    Forum Toolbar

    To make post-creation easy, there is an editor toolbar over the post-entry box, so you can just type your text in the entry, highlight a portion of text, and use the toolbar to apply formatting to that text. If you click the button without selecting text first, it will put in some dummy text that will be formatted in that style, and you can just edit that text with whatever you’re trying to say. The screenshot below shows the buttons available, and tells what each of those buttons do.

    Formatting

    In a forum discussing the Notepad++ text editor, some of the most useful formatting for our posts are the blocks of multiple lines literal text (or “code”) which is useful for sharing example text; or for formatting small strings in your paragraph to stand out using typewriter font in red, which is useful when talking about search and replace strings (regular expressions); and the ability to include images in your post to show screenshots of what you need help with; and the ability to make special characters in the forum lose their meaning by putting a backslash \ before the special character.

    Literal Text Blocks

    7584aac5-d690-46c5-8e8e-52f779d0c7de-image.png When you want to show us data from your editor window (“I have paragraphs X Y Z that I need help with”), you can use the </> button on the toolbar, which will insert ``` on a line before and after your selected text. When your text is between those lines of three backticks each, it will be formatted as a block of typewriter text

    ```
    lines of
    **example**
    text
    1*2*3
    ```
    

    will render as

    lines of
    **example**
    text
    1*2*3
    

    Aside from being formatted differently than the other parts of your post, it also has the benefit of telling the forum to display the literal characters, even when they would normally be special characters to the forum. For example, typing 1*2*3 would normally show up in the forum as 123 with the 2 in italics because a single-asterisk before and after text is the formatting code for “italic” in the forum (see below)… but inside the literal text block shown above, it shows up as the actual characters.

    Also, normally, the forum takes "quoted text" and changes the quotes to “smart quotes” or “curly quotes” . That’s fine in a paragraph like this. But if you are showing us the text you want to search-and-replace on, we cannot be sure whether the “smart quotes” were actually part of your data, or whether they were meant to be "normal quotes". If you use the literal text block in your post for sharing your example data, we can be sure that the text we see in your post is really the text you have.

    Extras: For blocks of inline text, you can alternately use ~~~ instead of ```. Also, on the line of ``` or ~~~ before the literal text, you can actually also append a word to tell what kind of text, like ```txt, ```html, ```xml, or ```python. This might not seem useful to you at first, but there are times when telling the forum what kind of text will help the forum display it better. (You can search the internet for “markdown code block language list” to find other languages.)

    Red Typewriter Text in your paragraph

    To get red typewriter text inside your paragraph, use `red typewriter text`. Like the literal code blocks above, this will make the forum’s special characters not do anything, so `1*2*3` will show up as 1*2*3.

    In the forum, we often use the red typewriter text for search and replace strings (regular expressions), so they stand out, and so that special characters come through.

    Special Characters

    As mentioned above, the sequence 1*2*3 will show up as 123 with 2 in italics, because single asterisks * around text makes it italic. To be able to show special characters, you can use a backslash \ before it, like 1\*2\*3 . If you need to include the special forum formatting characters in your normal text, that’s how. But really, you should be using literal text blocks and red typewriter text when giving us example text and regular expressions.

    However, one sequence needs special attention, even inside of red typewriter text backslash open bracket or multiline literal text blocks: \[. The forum treats that more special than others, so backtick backslash open-bracket backtick `\[` will render as just [, rather than the expected \[; even worse, the forum PREVIEW tab makes it look like you got it right, but really, it still will be wrong in the final post. With the right number of escapes, it is possible to get it right; but if you have the backslash open-bracket in your example text or your regex, you might want to include a screenshot as well, to make sure you communicate it properly. For a regular expression, where backslash bracket is used to tell the regex to search for a literal open-bracket, it might be best to use an alternate regex for matching the literal open-bracket, like \x5B, which will format properly in the forum and can be easily copy/pasted, but will still work in your regular expression in Notepad++'s search-and-replace.

    Images in your post

    The easiest way to include a screenshot in your post is to use normal Windows methods to take the screenshot (for example, Alt+PrintScreen to grab the whole Notepad++ window, or use the Windows Snip & Sketch Win+Shift+S to grab smaller section of the screen), and then just use Windows paste Ctrl+V to paste it in your post.

    1c1a19a5-5c66-4a33-98e6-e47a992c3aa7-image.png If you’ve already saved the screenshot as an image on your computer, you can use the Upload Image button on the toolbar to manually upload the image from your computer.

    a8ca2516-1104-4a75-996d-1456b5d55ff6-image.png If the image is on a server like imgur, you can use the Image button to type ![alt text](image url) in the forum, and then replace image url with the URL of the image; for example, to include the toolbar screenshot in the FAQ post above, I used ![](https://i.imgur.com/KOsSLNe.png) . (Please note: for services like imgur, the URL they usually give you is the wrapper page, like https://imgur.com/KOsSLNe, which won’t properly work as an image in the forum; make sure you grab the URL for the imgage .gif or .png file itself; imgur calls it the “direct link”.)

    Other formatting

    **bold** or __bold__ will make your text bold

    *italic* or _italic_ will make your text italic

    you can get a list with the list button, or putting asterisk-space * or hyphen-space - as the first characters on the line

    * first bullet
    * second bullet
    
    • first bullet
    • second bullet

    Numbered lists with a number, then period or close-parenthesis, then a space

    1. one
    2. two
    
    1) first
    2) second
    
    1. one
    2. two
    1. first
    2. second

    ~~strikethrough~~ will strikethrough your text

    Headers: use one or more hashtags followed by a space and the text for the header. The titles of posts are header one, so I generally stick with header two or lower inside a post:

    ## header two
    ### header three
    #### header four
    ##### header five
    

    header two

    header three

    header four

    header five

    -----

    Other Markdown References


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