Markdown Cheat Sheet (for Pandoc and Emacs)

Markdown Cheat Sheet (for Pandoc and Emacs)

Compact 4-page cheat sheet: what layout feature – how to write in Markdown. Includes 4 kinds of tables, Emacs commands and Emacs table mode. Based on markdown supported by Pandoc.

Cheat Sheet

This Markdown cheat sheet is…

  • compact (much information in small space),
  • user-oriented: structured by
    • layout feature I want to achieve (“How do I indent a paragraph?”),
    • not by Markdown convention (“What does ‘>’ mean?”)


  • Paragraph and Block
  • Characters
  • Document Structure
  • Links
  • Images
  • Tables
  • Footnotes
  • Emacs Markdown Mode
  • Emacs Table Mode

If you don’t use Emacs, you can skip page 4 (about Emacs Markdown Mode + Emacs table mode).


Tip: I printed the PDF as 4 DIN A5 sheets and put them together as a leporello.

What is Markdown?

Markdown is a convention to write formatted texts in plain text using a simple text editor.

Write this Get this
## What is Markdown

Write **plain text** in `Emacs`

- compact
- user-oriented
1.1 What is Markdown

Write plain text in Emacs

  • compact
  • user-oriented

Why Markdown?

Using plain text has advantages:

  • comfortable typing, no need for using formatting menus
  • manage in version control
  • editor macros (repeat complex editing actions)
  • post-processing (check hyperlinks, generate Microsoft .chm help file…)
  • store images as a separate file, which allows re-use and simple update

Of course, there is a cost:

  • you must remember the convention, e.g. typing **asterisks** for bold
  • the formatting is limited, especially complex tables are a pain

My Use of Markdown

Personally, I use Markdown for…

  • meeting notes
  • readme.txt in a file system folder
  • software documentation (create Microsoft .chm help file)

My workflow for an individual text file is:

  • write .txt file in Emacs
  • create and inspect as HTML file by pressing Ctrl-C Ctrl-V (opens HTML in Firefox)
  • inspect the HTML text
  • adapt/extend the .txt source in Emacs
  • update the HTML file by pressing Ctrl-C Ctrl-E, switch to Firefox and inspect
  • leave the .txt source and the generated .html in the folder

Markdown Cheat Sheets