Simple Markdown Questions


  1. Indenting the first line of a paragraph
    As far as I know, it doesn’t seem possible to indent the first lines of paragraphs in Markdown, or is it (please see attached file)?

  2. Assuming the above mentioned is not possible, I therefore won’t do any indenting for the first lines of my paragraphs.
    I’m writing a book for publication under Kindle format. Since I’ve never done so, please let me know whether not indenting the first line of paragraphs can be problematic as far as Amazon requirements are concerned.

Note about my workflow
Since Scrivener 2.4.1 Manual says “MMD currently has no easy path toward e-book publishing. If you intend to put your work out primarily in an e-book format, right now it’s probably not the best choice for you” (page 319), I’m writing in simple Markdown in Byword on iOs or on one of my Macs (10.8.3) and then I import the generated Markdown documents into Scrivener as Rich Text documents so that I can organize them, modify them and so forth in the Binder till my book is ready for compiling.
If you have a better suggestion, say if you think I better write directly in Markdown into Scrivener, please let me know.
test for Scrivener.txt (553 Bytes)

Hi again,

Is my question not appropriate? Is it stupid? Too basic?

I’ll therefore try to make it simpler; basically, my previous post is asking for 2 things:

  1. Am I missing something when saying Markdown syntax doesn’t seem to allow us to indent our paragraphs’ first line?
    I know, this has nothing to do with Scrivener… until you read my second point.

  2. Taking into account what I’d like to achieve (produce a book in Kindle format) and the description of my workflow, I do believe my thread has a lot to do with Scrivener: should I write Markdown directly into Scrivener?

Just for the record: I’m also using Ulysses III on the Mac with external sources connecting to iOs apps. But in spite of my convoluted workflow, I keep thinking Scrivener is the best option to organize the multiple pieces which are needed for working on a book.

Thanks for your attention.

Your post is fine, it’s just that it has been the weekend.

Markdown just creates HTML files. That is its sole purpose, and thus anything that can be done with HTML via CSS is available. CSS isn’t something you control from Markdown, it’s purely a stylesheet applied to the content. All Markdown does is describe said content. So strictly speaking: no, it doesn’t let you indent paragraphs because the full extent of what it has the capability of doing is saying: “this is a paragraph”. The expectation is that one would use styles to take the raw semantic blocks and make them look pretty, though. So practically speaking: yes you can indent paragraphs. :slight_smile:

The same goes for MultiMarkdown, the extended syntax of Markdown that Scrivener makes use of internally. Both of these formats follow an idea of deliberately not allowing one to declare things like indenting in the writing medium itself. All of the styling using these tools is done with stylesheets. For example, in CSS you could do something like this:

p { text-indent: 3em; } h1 + p, h2 + p, h3 + p, h4 + p, h5 + p, h6 + p { text-indent: 0; }

That will indent all paragraphs by 3 units of measurement relative to the font size (so the size of the indent will scale with the text proportionally), but on any paragraph that immediately follows a heading of any level of depth, no indent will be used.

The attached .txt file you provided shows two paragraphs declared as quotations. Typically, browsers will display quotations as having a block left indent of around half an inch, but this varies. Naturally one would want to use CSS to handle them more nicely. Whatever the case they are not intended to be a way of saying a paragraph should have its first line indented, if that is what you are going for. Your paragraphs should be standard paragraphs. Again it is the CSS that declares what a paragraph looks like, from the font all the way down to the metrics of the margins, indentation and other factors. For example, the way the blockquote element appears in this forum post, with a little quotation mark symbol, straw coloured background and faint border.

You definitely wouldn’t want to use a tab in front of your paragraphs, if that is what you mean, because that tells (Multi)Markdown to make the line a code or verbatim block.

Regarding Markdown and e-books, the creator of MultiMarkdown has designed a script for converting an ordinary MMD document and turn it into an ePub. The script can be found at this location.

One would work using Markdown (and optionally MultiMarkdown) syntax while writing in Scrivener, and when they compile, they would choose the plain “MultiMarkdown” export option from the “Compile For” drop-down menu. After that, Sigil makes a good editor for working on the CSS (as mentioned above, for defining the look of your e-book) and other polishing aspects. Finally, you would open the finished ePub document in Kindle Previewer to automatically convert it to a Mobi file, suitable for Kindle distribution.

So, if you want to stick with the Markdown route, that’s a good way to go. Otherwise converting your Markdown files to HTML/RTF and importing them into Scrivener for a traditional rich text workflow will be fine, too. It’s mostly a matter of taste.

An additional note to AmberV’s lengthy response: since you say you are aiming at a Kindle ebook in the end, you don’t have to do anything - Kindles indent paragraphs by default. ALL your paragraphs will be indented when your text is read on a Kindle.

It is only when you do NOT want a paragraph indented in Kindle that you need to resort to CSS and stylesheets.


Thank you very much AmberV and Asotir to make things clear for me with all the necessary details. :smiley: :smiley:

I thoroughly read your replies and jotted down some notes for my records.