IntelliJ IDEA 2021.3 Help

Markdown

Markdown is a lightweight markup language for adding formatting elements to plain text. IntelliJ IDEA recognizes Markdown files, provides a dedicated editor with highlighting, completion, and formatting, and shows the rendered HTML in a live preview pane.

Create a new Markdown file

By default, IntelliJ IDEA recognizes any file with the .md or .markdown extension as a Markdown file.

  1. Right-click a directory in the Project tool window Alt+1 and select New | File.

    Alternatively, you can select the necessary directory, press Alt+Insert, and then select File.

  2. Enter a name for your file with a recognized extension, for example: readme.md.

The Markdown editor provides several basic formatting actions in the popup that appears when you select a text fragment:

  • Bold: Bold Ctrl+B

  • Italic: Italic Ctrl+I

  • Strikethrough: Strikethrough Ctrl+Shift+S

  • Code: Code Ctrl+Shift+C

  • Decrease header level: Decrease heading level

  • Increase header level: Increase heading level

You can use the preview pane to see the rendered HTML.

Markdown editor formatting toolbar

There is also completion for links to files in the current project, for example, if you need to reference source code, images, or other Markdown files.

Markdown editor completion popup

Code blocks

To insert a fenced code block, use triple backticks (```) before and after the code block. If you specify the language for the code block, by default, the Markdown editor injects the corresponding language. This enables syntax highlighting and other coding assistance features for the specified language: code completion, inspections, and intention actions.

Insert a fenced code block in Markdown

Disable coding assistance in code blocks

If your code blocks are not meant to be syntactically correct, you may want to disable code injection and syntax errors in code blocks.

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+S to open the IDE settings and select Languages & Frameworks | Markdown.

  2. Clear the following options:

    • Inject languages in code fences

    • Show errors in code fences

  3. Click OK to apply the changes.

Diagrams

The Markdown editor can render diagrams defined with Mermaid and PlantUML. This is disabled by default and requires the corresponding Markdown extensions.

Mermaid diagram in Markdown

Enable diagram support

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+S to open the IDE settings and select Languages & Frameworks | Markdown.

  2. Enable either Mermaid or PlantUML under Markdown extensions.

  3. After IntelliJ IDEA downloads the relevant extensions, click OK to apply the changes.

HTML preview

By default, the Markdown editor shows a preview pane next to it for rendered HTML code based on the Markdown file. You can use The Show Editor Only button or The Show Preview Only button in the top right corner of the Markdown editor to show only the editor or the preview pane.

Markdown editor and live preview pane split horizontally

Split editor and preview horizontally

By default, the editor and preview are split vertically (side by side), which is convenient for wide monitors and high resolutions.

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+S to open the IDE settings and select Languages & Frameworks | Markdown.

  2. Select Split horizontally under Preview layout.

  3. Click OK to apply the changes.

Disable editor and preview scrollbar synchronization

By default, the scrollbars in the editor and in the preview pane are synchronized, meaning that the location in the preview pane corresponds to the location in the source.

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+S to open the IDE settings and select Languages & Frameworks | Markdown.

  2. Clear Sync scroll in the editor and preview.

  3. Click OK to apply the changes.

Custom CSS

IntelliJ IDEA provides default style sheets for rendering HTML in the preview pane. These style sheets were designed to be consistent with the default UI themes. You can configure specific CSS rules to make small presentation changes (for example, change the font size for headings or line spacing in lists) or you can provide an entirely new CSS to better match your expected output (for example, if you want to replicate the GitHub Markdown style).

Markdown preview with a custom CSS that resembles GitHub rendering style

Configure CSS for rendering HTML preview

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+S to open the IDE settings and select Languages & Frameworks | Markdown.

  2. Configure the settings under Custom CSS:

    • Select Load from to specify the location of a custom CSS file.

    • Select CSS rules rules to enter specific CSS rules that you want to override.

  3. Click OK to apply the changes.

Images

By default, Markdown uses the following syntax for images, which you can enter yourself with completion for paths inside your project:

![alt-text](path/to/file.png "optional-title")
Inserted image in a Markdown document

Insert image

  1. Press Ctrl+U.

    Alternatively, press Alt+Insert to open the Insert popup, and select Image.

  2. Specify the path to the image in the Insert Image dialog.

    Markdown Insert Image dialog
  3. Click OK.

To configure the image, click The Configure image icon in the gutter on the line where the image is inserted. For example, you can select Convert to HTML in the Insert Image dialog to insert the image with raw HTML markup in the Markdown file.

Insert Image with raw HTML

This will produce the following:

Image inserted with raw HTML

You can define links with the following syntax:

[link-text](link-url "optional-title")
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+U.

    Alternatively, press Alt+Insert to open the Insert popup, and select Link.

    If you had some text highlighted, it will be enclosed in [ ] as the text of the link. If you had a URL copied to the clipboard, it will be enclosed in ( ) as the link URL.

Insert a link in a Markdown file

Tables

IntelliJ IDEA provides support for creating and editing tables in Markdown.

Insert table

  1. Press Alt+Insert to open the Insert popup, and select Table.

  2. Select the size of the table (number of rows and columns).

  3. Type the contents of each cell and press Tab to move the caret from one cell to the next. To add a new row, press Shift+Enter.

Editing a table in a Markdown file

Click the column marker to perform the following actions:

  • The Move Column Left button Move Column Left

  • The Move Column Right button Move Column Right

  • The Insert Column Left button Insert Column Left

  • The Insert Column Right button Insert Column Right

  • The Select Column Cells button Select Column Cells

  • The Align Left button Align Left

  • The Align Center button Align Center

  • The Align Right button Align Right

  • The Remove Column button Remove Column

Click the row marker to perform the following actions:

  • The Move Row Up button Move Row Up

  • The Move Row Down button Move Row Down

  • The Insert Row Above button Insert Row Above

  • The Insert Row Below button Insert Row Below

  • The Select Row button Select Row

  • The Remove Row button Remove Row

Reformat Markdown files

IntelliJ IDEA can format Markdown files with proper line wrappings, blank lines, and indentation.

  • From the main menu, select Code | Reformat Code or press Ctrl+Alt+L.

For more information, see Reformat code.

IntelliJ IDEA formats the contents according to the code style settings for Markdown files.

Configure Markdown code style settings

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+S to open the IDE settings and select Editor | Code Style | Markdown.

Markdown code style settings include the following:

Configure the options for breaking lines.

Hard wrap at

Specify at which column to put a line break. IntelliJ IDEA shows a vertical line at the specified column and breaks lines between words, not within words.

Wrap on typing

Add line breaks as you type. Disable this option to add line breaks only when IntelliJ IDEA performs formatting.

Visual guides

Show an additional vertical line at the specified column.

Configure the options for nesting text blocks and alignment within a block.

Use tab character

Use the tab character for indentation. Disable this option to use spaces for indentation.

Smart tabs

Nest blocks with tabs and align with spaces. Disable this option to use only tabs and replace spaces that fit the specified tab size with tabs.

Tab size

Specify the number of spaces to render in place of one tab character.

Indent

Specify the number of spaces used for each indentation level.

Continuation indent

Specify the number of spaces used for continuing the same text block.

Keep indents on empty lines

Retain tabs and spaces on empty lines. By default, this option is disabled and IntelliJ IDEA removes tabs and spaces if there is nothing else on that line.

Set the maximum and minimum number of blank lines to keep for various text elements.

Around header

Before and after chapter headings.

Around block elements

Before and after code blocks.

Between paragraphs

Between two adjacent paragraphs.

Specify which elements should have exactly one space.

Between words

Remove extra spaces between words.

After header symbol

Remove extra spaces or add a missing space between the header symbol and the header title.

After list marker

Remove extra spaces or add a missing space between the list item marker and the list item text.

After blockquote marker

Remove extra spaces or add a missing space between the block quote marker and the text of the block quote.

Convert Markdown files

IntelliJ IDEA can use Pandoc for converting to and from Markdown files.

Configure Pandoc

IntelliJ IDEA should be able to detect your Pandoc installation automatically. If not, perform the following:

  1. From the main menu, select Tools | Markdown Converter | Configure Pandoc.

  2. Under Pandoc Settings specify the location of the Pandoc executable and the location where you want to store images imported from Microsoft Word documents.

  3. Click OK to apply the changes.

Import from Microsoft Word

  1. From the main menu, select Tools | Markdown Converter | Import Word Document.

  2. Specify the location of the document.

Export Markdown file to another format

  1. From the main menu, select Tools | Markdown Converter | Export Markdown File To.

  2. In the Export Markdown dialog, specify the name, location, and format for the output file and click OK.

    The Markdown Export dialog

IntelliJ IDEA can export to Microsoft Word (requires Pandoc), PDF, and HTML.

Productivity tips

Customize highlighting for Markdown

IntelliJ IDEA highlights various Markdown elements according to the color scheme settings.

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), select Editor | Color Scheme | Markdown.

  2. Select the color scheme, accept the highlighting settings inherited from defaults, or customize them as described in Colors and fonts.

  • Use the Structure tool window Alt+7 or the File Structure popup Ctrl+F12 to view and jump to the relevant headings.

Add comments to a Markdown file

Markdown does not have dedicated syntax for commenting out lines. However, it is possible to emulate a comment line using a link label without an address, like this:

[comment]: <> (Your comment text)

  • Put the caret at the line that you want to comment out and press Ctrl+/.

    This will add a link label with the commented out text in parentheses and a blank line before it if necessary. Press the same shortcut to uncomment.

Last modified: 01 December 2021