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Text Formatting Rules


TWiki Text Formatting

Working in TWiki is as easy as typing in text - exactly like email. You don't need to know HTML, though you can use it if you prefer. Links to topics are created automatically when you enter WikiWords. And TWiki shorthand gives you all the power of HTML with a simple coding system that takes no time to learn. It's all laid out below - refer back to this page in a pop-up window from the Edit screen.

TWiki Editing Shorthand

Formatting Command: Example: You write: You get:
Blank lines will create new paragraphs.
1st paragraph

2nd paragraph
1st paragraph

2nd paragraph

At least three dashes at the beginning of a line, followed by plus signs and the heading text. One plus creates a level 1 heading (most important), two pluses a level 2 heading; the maximum is level 6. Note: A Table of Content can be created automatically with the %TOC% variable, see TWikiVariables. Any heading text after !! is excluded from the TOC; for example, write ---+!! text if you do not want to list a header in the TOC.
---++ Sushi

---+++ Maguro



Bold Text:
Words get bold by enclosing them in * asterisks.
Italic Text:
Words get italic by enclosing them in _ underscores.
Bold Italic:
Words get _bold italic by enclosing them in _ double-underscores.
__Bold italic__
Bold italic
Fixed Font:
Words get shown in fixed font by enclosing them in = equal signs.
=Fixed font=
Fixed font

Bold Fixed Font:
Words get shown in bold fixed font by enclosing them in double equal signs.
==Bold fixed==
Bold fixed
Note: Make sure there is no space between the text and the bold, italic, or other indicators (* _ __ = ==).
_This works_,
_this not _
This works,
_this not _
Verbatim Mode:
Surround code excerpts and other formatted text with <verbatim> and </verbatim> tags.
Note: Use <pre> and </pre> tags instead if you want that HTML code is interpreted.
Note: Each tag must be on a line by itself.
class CatAnimal {
  void purr() {
    <code here>
class CatAnimal {
  void purr() {
    <code here>
At least three dashes at the beginning of a line.

List Item:
Three spaces, an asterisk, and another space.
   * bullet item
  • bullet item
Nested List Item:
Six, nine, ... spaces, an asterisk, and another space.
   * level 1
      * level 2
  • level 1
    • level 2
Ordered List:
Three spaces, a number, a dot, and another space. Several types are available besides a number:
Type Generated Style Sample Sequence
1. Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3, 4...
A. Uppercase letters A, B, C, D...
a. Lowercase letters a, b, c, d...
I. Uppercase Roman Numerals I, II, III, IV...
i. Lowercase Roman Numerals i, ii, iii, iv...

   1. Sushi
   1. Dim Sum

   A. Sushi
   A. Dim Sum

   i. Sushi
   i. Dim Sum
  1. Sushi
  2. Dim Sum

  1. Sushi
  2. Dim Sum

  1. Sushi
  2. Dim Sum
Definition List:
Three spaces, a dollar sign, the term, a colon, a space, followed by the definition.
   $ Sushi: Japan
   $ Dim Sum: S.F.
Dim Sum
Any number of lines of text. Each line is one row of the table consisting of one or more cells. Each cell starts and ends with a vertical bar '|'. Any spaces at the beginning of a line are ignored.
| *bold* | cells are displayed as table headers.
|   center-spaced   | cells are displayed center aligned.
|     right-spaced | cells are displayed right aligned.
| 2 colspan || cells are displayed as multi-span columns (i.e., a cell with no text spans a column).
|^| cells with a caret indicate follow-up rows of multi-span rows (this functionality is provided by TablePlugin).
• If a row contains a large amount of text, and you want it to be more readable while editing the table, split the row into multiple text lines by ending each line with a backslash character '\'.
• Table cells wrap automatically as determined by the browser.
| *L* | *C* | *R* |
| A2 |  2  |  2 |
| A3 |  3  |  3 |
| multi span |||
| A4-6 | four | four |
|^| five | five |

|^| six | six |
A2 2 2
A3 3 3
multi span
A4-6 four four
five five
six six
WikiWord Links:
CapitalizedWordsStuckTogether (or WikiWords) will produce a link automatically.
Note: In case you want to link to a topic in a different TWiki web write Otherweb.TopicName. (The link label is the the name of the web in case the is WebHome, else it is the topic name)



Forced Links:
You can create a forced internal link by enclosing words in double square brackets.
Note: Text within the brackets may contain optional spaces; the topic name is formed by capitalizing the initial letter and by removing the spaces; for example, [[text formatting FAQ]] links to topic TextFormattingFAQ. You can also refer to a different web and use anchors.
Note: To "escape" double square brackets that would otherwise be a correct link, prefix the leading left square brackets with an exclamation point, that is, begin with ![[....
[[wiki syntax]]

[[Main.TWiki users]]

![[wiki syntax]]
wiki syntax

Main.TWiki users

escaped: [[wiki syntax]]

Specific Links:
Create a link where you can specify the link text and the link reference separately, using nested square brackets like [[reference][text]]. Internal link references (e.g. WikiSyntax) and external link references (e.g. are supported.
Note: The same Forced Links rules apply for internal link references.
Note: For external link references, you can simply use a space instead of ][ to separate the link URL from the descriptive text.
Note: Anchor names can be added as well, like [[WebHome#MyAnchor][go home]] and [[][GNU Action]].


[[ XML]]



You can define a link reference inside a TWiki topic (called an anchor name) and link to that. To define an anchor write #AnchorName at the beginning of a line. The anchor name must be a WikiWord. To link to an anchor name use the [[MyTopic#MyAnchor]] syntax. You can omit the topic name if you want to link within the same topic.


#MyAnchor To here


To here

Prevent a Link:
Prevent a WikiWord from being linked by prepending it with an exclamation point.
Disable Links:
You can disable automatic linking of WikiWords by surrounding text with <noautolink> and </noautolink> tags.
Note: Each tag must be on a line by itself.
Note: This also works for TWiki tables, but only if you add a blank line between the end of the table and the closing </noautolink> tag (known issue of the TablePlugin).
 RedHat &
RedHat & SuSE
Mailto: Links:
To create 'mailto:' links that have more descriptive link text, specify subject lines or message bodies, or omit the email address, you can write [[mailto:user@domain descriptive text]].
[[ Mail]]

[[mailto:?subject=Hi Hi]]


Using HTML

You can use just about any HTML tag without a problem - however, there are a few usability and technical considerations to keep in mind.

HTML and TWiki Usability

  • TIP TIP: On collaboration pages, it's preferable NOT to use HTML, and to use TWiki shorthand instead - this keeps the text uncluttered and easy to edit.
  • ALERT! NOTE: TWiki is designed to work with a wide range of browsers and computer platforms, holding to HTML 4.0 and XHTML 1.0 compatibility in the standard installation - adding raw HTML, particularly browser-specific tags (or any other mark-up that doesn't degrade well) will reduce compatibility.
  • Recommondations when using HTML:
    • Use XHTML 1.0 Transitional syntax
    • Do not span a tag over more then one line
    • Remove all empty lines. TWiki inserts <p /> paragraph tags on empty lines, which causes problems if done between tags that do not allow paragraph tags, like for example between table tags.

TWiki HTML Rendering

  • TWiki converts shorthand notation to XHTML 1.0 for display. To copy a fully marked-up page, simply view source in your browser and save the contents.
    • TIP If you need to save HTML frequently, you may want to check out TWiki:Plugins/GenHTMLAddon - it will "generate a directory containing rendered versions of a set of TWiki pages together with any attached files."
  • ALERT! NOTE: The opening and closing angle brackets - <...> - of an HTML tag must be on the same line, or the tag will be broken.
    • This feature allows you to enter an unclosed angle bracket - as a greater than or less than symbol - and have it automatically rendered as if you had entered its HTML character, &lt;, ex: a < b
    • TIP If you're pasting in preformatted HTML text and notice problems, check the file in a text processor with no text wrap. Also, save without hard line breaks on text wrap, in your HTML editing program.

TWiki and JavaScript

You can use JavaScript for your TWiki applications. Since TWiki rendering might interfere with JavaScript code you need to escape it with HTML comments and <pre> tags:

<script type="text/javascript">
<!-- Hide JavaScript and <pre> escape TWiki rendering
... put your JavaScript code here...
// Stop hiding and stop </pre> escaping TWiki rendering -->


Being able to create links without any formatting required is a core TWiki feature, made possible with WikiWords. New TWiki linking rules are a simple extension of the syntax that provide a new set of flexible options.

Internal Links

  • GoodStyle is a WikiWord that links to the GoodStyle topic located in the current TWiki web.

  • NotExistingYet? is a topic waiting to be written. Create the topic by clicking on the ?. (Try clicking, but then, Cancel - creating the topic would wreck this example!)

External Links

  • http://..., https://..., ftp://..., gopher://..., news://..., file://..., telnet://... and mailto:...@... are linked automatically.

  • Email addresses like are linked automatically.

  • [[Square bracket rules]] let you easily create non-WikiWord links.
    • You can also write [[ Yahoo home page]] as an easier way of doing external links with descriptive text for the link, such as Yahoo home page.

TWiki Variables

Variables are names that are enclosed in percent signs % that are expanded on the fly.

  • %TOC% : Automatically generates a table of contents based on headings in a topic - see the top of this page for an example.

  • %WEB% : The current web, is TWiki.

  • %TOPIC% : The current topic name, is TextFormattingRules.

  • %ATTACHURL% : The attachment URL of the current topic. Example usage: If you attach a file to a topic you can refer to it as %ATTACHURL%/image.gif to show the URL of the file or the image in your text.

  • %INCLUDE{"SomeTopic"}% : Server side include, includes another topic. The current TWiki web is the default web. Example: %INCLUDE{"TWiki.SiteMap"}%

  • %SEARCH{"sushi"}% : Inline search showing the search result embedded in a topic. FormattedSearch gives you control over formatting, used to create web-based applications.

  • TWikiPreferences defines site-wide variables. Among others:
    • Line break: Write %BR% to start a new line.
    • Colored text: Write: %RED% Red %ENDCOLOR% and %BLUE% blue %ENDCOLOR% colors to get: Red and blue colors.
    • Documentation Graphics: Write: %H% Help, %T% Tip, %X% Alert to get: HELP Help, TIP Tip, ALERT! Alert. For more info see TWikiDocGraphics.

  • To "escape" a variable, prefix it with an exclamation point. Write: !%SOMEVARIABLE% to get: %SOMEVARIABLE%.

TWikiPlugin Formatting Extensions

Plugins provide additional text formatting capabilities and can extend the functionality of TWiki into many other areas. For example, the optional SpreadSheetPlugin lets you create a spreadsheet with the same basic notation used in TWiki tables.

Available Plugins are located in the Plugins web on Currently enabled plugins on this TWiki installation, as listed by %PLUGINDESCRIPTIONS%:

  • DefaultPlugin: This plugin can be used to specify some simple custom rendering rules. It also renders depreciated *_text_* as bold italic text.
  • EditTablePlugin: Edit TWiki tables using edit fields, date pickers and drop down boxes
  • InterwikiPlugin: Link ExternalSite:Page text to external sites based on aliases defined in the InterWikis topic
  • RenderListPlugin: Render bullet lists in a variety of formats
  • SpreadSheetPlugin: Add spreadsheet calculation like "$SUM( $ABOVE() )" to tables located in TWiki topics.
  • TablePlugin: Control attributes of tables and sorting of table columns

Check on current Plugin status and settings for this site in TWikiPreferences.

Common Editing Errors

TWiki formatting rules are fairly simple to use and quick to type. However, there are some things to watch out for, taken from the TextFormattingFAQ:

  • Q: Text enclosed in angle brackets like <filename> is not displayed. How can I show it as it is?
    • A: The '<' and '>' characters have a special meaning in HTML, they define HTML tags. You need to escape them, so write '&lt;' instead of '<', and '&gt;' instead of '>'.
      Example: Type 'prog &lt;filename&gt;' to get 'prog <filename>'.

  • Q: Why is the '&' character sometimes not displayed?
    • A: The '&' character has a special meaning in HTML, it starts a so called character entity, i.e. '&copy;' is the © copyright character. You need to escape '&' to see it as it is, so write '&amp;' instead of '&'.
      Example: Type 'This &amp; that' to get 'This & that'.

-- TWiki:Main.MikeMannix - 02 Dec 2001
-- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny - 01 Aug 2004