Markdown has support for code blocks. There are three ways to include A Markdown code block in your document:
- Inline code blocks
- Fenced code blocks
- Indented code blocks
In this article, I’ll demonstrate all three ways to include code in a Markdown document.
Markdown inline code block
For starters, Markdown allows you to include inline code in your document. Inline code is surrounded by backticks (`). For example:
Use `print("Hello, world!")` to print a message to the screen.
Inline code is useful to mention a piece of code in a document. For example, you might want to mention the
Fenced code blocks
A fenced code block is a block of code that is surrounded by three backticks (“`) and an optional language specifier. In the most basic form, you can leave out the language specifier. For example:
Some regular text here, and here's the code example: ``` print("Hello, world!") for i in range(10): print(i) ```
Enable syntax highlighting
To enable syntax highlighting for your Markdown code block, you need to specify the language right after the first three backticks, like so:
Some regular text here, and here's the code example: ```python print("Hello, world!") for i in range(10): print(i) ```
Both examples above will be rendered as a code block in the document. If a language is specified like in the first example, the syntax highlighter will be enabled for the selected language.
For a list of commonly available languages, see to list at the bottom of this article.
Indented code blocks
If fenced code blocks are an option for your specific Markdown parser, I recommend using them because you can specify the language of the code block.
The most basic markdown syntax for indented code blocks is to start a line with four spaces. This will be rendered as a code block in the document and is supported by all Markdown parsers. For example:
Here's some regular text. And now a code block: print("Hello, world!") if True: print('true!')
The upside of this method is that it is supported by pretty much all Markdown parsers, as far as I know. However, there are some downsides to using indented code blocks as well:
- You can’t specify a language, so most likely you won’t have syntax highlighting.
- Indented code blocks are less convient to insert in your document.
If possible, I strongly suggest using fenced code blocks.
Markdown code block language list
Which languages are supported, heavily depends on the Markdown parser you’re using. What follows here, is a list of many common languages and formats that you can try. If your language isn’t in here, I suggest you simply try if it is supported. Alternatively, visit the documentation of your specific Markdown.
Here’s the list of commonly supported languages on sites like GitHub:
- coffee-script, coffeescript, coffee
- cpp – C++
- erb – HTML + Embedded Ruby
- make – Makefile
- profile – python profiler output
- salt, saltstate – Salt
- shell, sh, zsh, bash – Shell scripting
- rb, jruby, ruby – Ruby
- vim, viml – Vim Script
Make sure to also check out my Markdown cheat sheet for a quick overview of what’s possible. You might also like to read more about including Markdown tables in your document, and my tricks to center stuff in Markdown.