Editor Mini-Guide

byBenito1y11th Mar 201834 comments


Here is a brief overview of what you can do in the editor on LessWrong. This will change a great deal over time, so I’ll keep a note here of when the latest update was: March 11th, 2018.

Added: Well a bunch of this immediately went out of date. Half of it is no longer true. Sorry about that, will try to fix it soon. Main change is that it's no longer markdown - italics and bold and underline are done with standard keyboard commands. Oh, and you can go back to markdown via your account settings if you wish, though then it will no longer be WYSIWYG.

Key info

The editor has a small popup menu, which appears if you highlight or double click text.

After that, the only three things you need to know about writing comments are:

  • The editor uses markdown
  • It is a WYSIWYG editor
  • LaTex is supported

More details

  • See below for pointers on using markdown in our editor. There are extensive online resources for basic markdown on the internet, if you want to find something do use google.
  • WYSIWYG means what you see is what you get. The editor automatically turns markdown into the finished product, so what you can see when you hit submit, is exactly what the comment or post will look like after you hit submit. (If you're not a fan of this for whatever reason, you can disable it in your settings.)
  • Open the LaTex editor using ctrl-4 (or cmd-4 if you're on a Mac). Open a centred LaTex popup using Ctrl-M (aka cmd-M). If you’ve written some maths in normal writing and want to turn it into LaTex, if you highlight the text and then hit the LaTex editor button it will turn straight into LaTex.
    • f_i(x) = y_i becomes .
    • There are extensive resources for using LaTex on the internet, so again, use google to figure out how to write things like this:

A Few More Specifics


Quotes use the greater-than symbol '>' and look like this.


To add an image, you'll first need to add it to an image hosting site like imgur or cloudinary. Then you can use the native image-adding button in the menu.

However, that method currently doesn't let you scale the image. If instead you have the URL to the size image you'd like, you can insert the image URL between the curly brackets () in the following markdown text:


And get this:

alt text


Videos can't be inserted at the minute. One thing you can do instead is include a snapshot of the video.

Here's the text that will create a snapshot image.


(Note that you shouldn't copy in the whole URL, just the youtube video ID.)

This will look like this:


Then you can add the link anywhere e.g. underneath.


This is a list of things that might go wrong; there also contains common bugs (which will be removed when the dev team fixes them).

  • If your editor has not automatically turned some markdown into the finished product, bring your cursor to the end of the relevant markdown and hit the spacebar key. If that hasn’t worked, then our editor doesn’t support whichever specific markdown function you used.
  • Current bugs
    • Copy-pasting any text from the site into the markdown editor will result in that text being bold.
    • Remove italics from any text that is a link, because the link will fail. This link is supposed to go to google.
    • If you try to delete a section separator like the one below, it will instead delete the paragraph of text below it. To solve this, make a new line after the separator, and then delete twice. The first delete will delete the new line, the second will delete the separator.