Is there a definitive source of all possible markup for all the SO sites? For instance, I saw on one meta site someone putting tag links in their question, and it showed up looking like the actual tag image. Is that a markup device? Also, I've heard some discussion on another meta site about creating a 'Spoiler' markup device, that would hide spoiler text until the reader hovered their mouse over it. Is there a place to see a list and usage information for specialized, SO-only markup syntax?

3 Answers 3


There is currently no definitive resource - more because there have actually been a few recent additions to the system in the past month or so. For the most part, everything is detailed in the Formatting Help, which is linked in various places. When asking questions, you can see it in a link on the right while you write. When answering questions, it's found by clicking the large question mark in the top right, as shown below.

Help icon is circled in an unknown color

That link pretty much explains how to do most of what you can format on the Stack Exchange Network. However, the two you're noting are brand new functions that have only recently been added. The closest to a timeline of this is our community-maintained changelog, which does include when these two were added. But it's not organized to help you find anything markup related.

It might be wise to get the Formatting Help updated for these two. Or, failing that, find a good tag to categorize these unique markup features for easier-to-find action - they can be found under , but that's also grouping it with every other basic request or support question on markdown.

  • Aha thanks! And actually Formatting Help was the first place I looked, which is why I then came here. Do you think this requires a new tag? new-markup? markup-requests?
    – morganpdx
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 22:16
  • @morganpdx If I think about it, it's difficult to try and tag this kind of thing. In essence, it's just a combination of a [feature-request] for [markdown] that got [status-completed]. Which, actually, that search works pretty well to try and find anything new which isn't yet in Formatting Help. It's got a couple other stuff, but it is a pretty good filter.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 22:20
  • I guess I just had the good (or bad) timing of wanting to use both of these features soon after they got implemented. It shows SO is keeping things updated to user needs. Which...is awesome.
    – morganpdx
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 22:26
  • 2
    Things like spoilers, tag links etc. will be included in the help page after the next build.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 11:17
  • @balpha Awesome! If you're not posting some additional answer of your own, I'll just update this post with that data once the build is deployed.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 11:20
  • Sure, go ahead. Remember that the question mark now opens the in-page help menu, so it's one more click to go to the Giant Wall Of Text™.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 11:34

This answer aims to collect advanced markdown features that are not listed in the inline post help (click that ? at the top right of the text box) nor in the markdown advanced editing help. If you notice a feature that's neither in the official editing help nor in this answer, please add it here.


To read a spoiler, move your mouse over it or select it.

>! To read a spoiler, move your mouse over it or select it.


There are no footnotes. Move along.¹

¹ <sub> or fake them. </sub>


Backticks in code spans

If you need to typeset a backtick in a code span, surround your code span by multiple backticks. See the markdown documentation for more information. This is a code span containing a lone backtick: `.

This is a code span containing a lone backtick: `` ` ``.

Syntax highlighting (coloring)

Stack Exchange uses Google Code Prettify for automatic syntax highlighting.

<!--language: lisp-->

    (let ((greeting "hello world")) (print greeting))

Domain-specific needs

Keyboard keys

This is part of supported HTML markup: <kbd>Space<kbd>.


Sites that need mathematical typesetting allow $\LaTeX$ markup.

Citing Stack Exchange tags

This is Stack Overflow's tag. That is Meta Stack Overflow's tag.

This is Stack Overflow's [tag:markup] tag.
That is Meta Stack Overflow's [meta-tag:markup] tag.

Comment markup

Note that the features listed here can be used in questions, answers and tag wikis, but not in comments. Comments use a very restricted markdown subset with a few incompatibilities: HTML tags don't work; hyperlinks must use the [text](URL) syntax; code spans (between `backticks`) are parsed differently.

In addition, some sequences of the form [word] are converted to hyperlinks, for example [faq] links to the site's FAQ (e.g. https://meta.stackoverflow.com/faq), etc. See Add data.SE style “magic links” to comments for the full list.

Final words

If you want to experiment, use the formatting sandbox.


Since the Great Editing Help Revamp of May 2011, https://stackoverflow.com/editing-help is the place you're looking for. It has been much improved, contains everything1 from the list here, and it is supposed to always be up-to-date. If you find anything that's missing, please open a question here on Meta so we can add it.

For advanced Markdown features (we obviously can't put everything in there), it also links to John Gruber's syntax Markdown documentation, which obviously is the definitive resource for all things Markdown.

1Except for footnotes, because they don't exist. Also, things like syntax highlighting or LaTeX are only mentioned on sites where the respective feature is enabled.

  • Do you recall where you found the reference for markdown <strike> when it was introduced in chat? I'm on a campaign to make <strike> an official markdown citizen without the use of HTML blocks, unless I get a life in the interim.
    – user50049
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 6:41
  • What do you mean by "reference"?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 6:49
  • I believe you indicated that you found something in the standard for <strike> (---), but I can't seem to locate the same.
    – user50049
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 7:06
  • I think it was a suggestion in a comment: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/31228/…
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 7:08

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