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The formatting options are deliberately restricted to things that are semantically useful, not too distracting, and not too arty. Arty is good, but it discourages quick writing, so it doesn't suit the purpose of this wiki. (See http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WhyDoesntWikiDoHtml for arguments about this sort of issue.)

Links

You can make a link to another page on this wiki by writing the page's name in double brackets, like this: ((wombats)) or ((cute wombats)), which gives you wombats or cute wombats respectively.

The only restrictions on page names are:

  • they can't contain dots (periods)
  • they can't containt forward slashes (/).

You can make a link to any URL just by typing it in —- for example, http://courses.ormond.unimelb.edu.au/Bolzano.

If you type in an email address in standard Internet format, like Jason.Grossman@xeny.net, Bolzano will turn it into a link.

As a special case, if the URL points to a picture in a format that Bolzano understands, then instead of making a link, Bolzano will show the picture, like this:
http://bunny.xeny.net/linked/guinea%20pig%20chewing.gif

Character set

If your browser and operating system allow it, you can use any Unicode character with Bolzano, in one of three ways:

  • by typing it straight in
  • by copying and pasting it from somewhere
  • using HTML character codes — for details on this method, see HTML markup codes.

Here are some example characters. How they look will depend on what fonts your browser is using.

☺ ☃ ☆ ❡ φ ∴ Ⅽ ↀ ↂ ⌘ ←→↑↓ ❈ ♪ ●

Paragraphs

Start a new paragraph by leaving a blank line.

Emphasis

You can emphasise text (which usually means putting them in bold or italics, but the details depend on the font) by surrounding it with asterisks (*). E.g., this input:

*single asterisks*  

**double asterisks**  

will produce:

single asterisks

double asterisks

Headings

To make a heading, use 1 to 6 hash characters at the start of the line. For example:

# This is a big header  

## This is a smaller header  

###### This is a much smaller header  

Comments

Anything between double curly brackets, {{ and }}, is hidden when the page is displayed to the public. It will still be there when you edit the page, though.

Blockquotes

Bolzano uses email-style > characters for blockquoting. If you're familiar with quoting passages of text in an email message, then you know how to create a blockquote in Bolzano.

Bolzano allows you to be lazy and only put the > before the first line of a hard-wrapped paragraph. For example, this:

> This is a blockquote with   
two paragraphs.   

> Lorem ipsum dolor  
sit amet.  

is displayed like this:

This is a blockquote with
two paragraphs.

Lorem ipsum dolor
sit amet.

Blockquotes can be nested using adding additional levels of >.

Horizontal rules

You can produce a horizontal rule by placing four or more hyphens, asterisks, or underscores on a line by themselves (with spaces allowed). There must be a blank line below this. Each of the following lines will produce a horizontal rule:

* * *  

***  

*****  

- - -  

----  

Lists

Bolzano supports ordered (numbered) and unordered (bulleted) lists.

Unordered lists use asterisks, pluses, and hyphens — interchangably — as list markers:

*   Red  
*   Green  
*   Blue  

is equivalent to:

+   Red  
+   Green  
+   Blue  

and:

-   Red  
-   Green  
-   Blue  

and is displayed as:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue

Ordered lists use numbers followed by periods.

1.  alpha  
2.  beta  
3.  gamma  

looks like this:

  1. alpha
  2. beta
  3. gamma

The actual numbers you use to mark the list have no effect on the output. You get exactly the same list by typing this:

1.  alpha  
1.  beta  
1.  gamma  

This is useful when you keep adding to a list. You don't have to bother updating the numbers.

List markers (*, 1. etc.) must be followed by one or more spaces or a tab.

Sometimes you may want a point in a list to have multiple paragraphs. In that case, indent the extra paragraphs in the list item by 4 spaces or a tab. For example, this:

1.  This is a list item with two paragraphs. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aliquam hendrerit mi posuere lectus.  

    Vestibulum enim wisi, viverra nec, fringilla in, laoreet vitae, risus. Donec sit amet nisl. Aliquam semper ipsum sit amet velit.  

2.  Suspendisse id sem consectetuer libero luctus adipiscing.  

gets you this:

  1. This is a list item with two paragraphs. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aliquam hendrerit mi posuere lectus.

    Vestibulum enim wisi, viverra nec, fringilla in, laoreet vitae, risus. Donec sit amet nisl. Aliquam semper ipsum sit amet velit.

  2. Suspendisse id sem consectetuer libero luctus adipiscing.

It's worth noting that it's possible to trigger an ordered list by accident, by writing something like this:

1986. What a great season  

which will be displayed like this (probably not what you want):

  1. What a great season

When you need to avoid this, put a backslash before the period:

1986\. What a great season.  

"Code blocks"

Sometimes you want to preserve the indentation of some lines of text, and have characters which usually have special meanings to Bolzano treated as if they didn't. This is especially useful for pasting in computer programs and poetry. Since programmers don't often think about poetry, they call these things "code blocks".

To produce a code block in Bolzano, indent every line of the block by at least 4 spaces or 1 tab. For example:

From great beginnings  
    to the edge of the sea  
    **my life and yours**  
Mapped out like a cliché.  

x := 6  

To indicate a short span of code, wrap it with backtick quotes (" ` "). For example:

Use the `printf()` function.  

will produce:

Use the printf() function.

Backslash escapes

Bolzano allows you to use backslash escapes to generate literal characters which would otherwise have special meaning in Bolzano's formatting syntax. For example, if you want to surround a word with literal asterisks (instead of an HTML <em> tag), you can use backslashes before the asterisks, like this:

\*literal asterisks\*  

Bolzano provides backslash escapes for the following characters:

\   backslash  
`   backtick  
*   asterisk  
_   underscore  
{}  curly braces  
[]  square brackets  
()  parentheses  
#   hash mark  
+   plus sign  
-   minus sign (hyphen)  
.   dot  
!   exclamation mark  

Differences from Markdown formatting

Bolzano's formatting syntax is adapted from the Markdown system. If you're used to using Markdown's rules, you might like to note the following ways in which it differs from the instructions on this page. See Bolzano for the reasons behind some of these differences.

  • Bolzano respects any line breaks you put inside paragraphs. Markdown doesn't, unless the line before the line break ends in two spaces. (My very limited user testing suggests that people find Markdown's behaviour surprising.)

  • Bolzano shows linked pictures automatically. Markdown uses special syntax for this.

  • Bolzano offers coloured text. This is mainly for backwards compatibility with a previous wiki program (IoWiki), but if you like it then hey, go wild.

  • Markdown doesn't use the { } codes for comments.

  • Markdown lets you use HTML codes. Bolzano doesn't.

  • Markdown lets you produce nicely formatted tables. Bolzano doesn't.

  • Markdown adds a few less important formatting options which are also allowed in Bolzano but which I've left off this page for the sake of simplicity, or in some case because I don't like them.