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Text Formatting FAQ

This topics lists frequently asked questions on text formatting. Text formatting applies to people who edit TWiki pages in raw edit mode. TextFormattingRules contains the complete TWiki shorthand syntax on one quick reference page.

How do I make a separator?

Create a separator - a horizontal rule - by entering three dashes at the beginning of a blank line: ---. You can enter more than three if you like, for a more visible separator in edit mode:

How do I create a heading?

You can create six sizes of headings - <h1>...<h6> in HTML - by typing, from the beginning of a line, three dashes (-), from one to six plus signs (+), a space, and your heading text. The FAQ questions on this page are created with: ---++ Have a question?.

  • You can insert a nested table of contents, generated from headings, by placing %TOC% wherever you like on a page (see TWikiVariables for more %TOC% options).

Text enclosed in angle brackets like <filename> is not displayed. How can I show it as it is?

TWiki interprets text as HTML, and the '<' and '>' characters define where HTML commands start and end. Text inside angle brackets is treated as HTML, and ignored if it doesn't actually do anything - either way, the brackets and its contents are not displayed.

If you want to display angle brackets, enter them as HTML codes instead of typing them in directly:

  • Enter &lt; to get <
  • Enter &gt; to get >

  • Example: (a &gt; 0)
  • Result: (a > 0)

Some words appear highlighted with a red-link. How can I prevent that?

A red-link points to a topic that doesn't exist yet - click on it to create the new page. This is a TWiki feature - typing a MeaningfulTitle in a comment is an invitation for someone else to add a new branch to the topic.

To prevent auto-linking - say you want to enter a word like JavaScript - prefix the WikiStyleWord with an exclamation point:

  • !WikiStyleWord displays as WikiStyleWord

How do I start a word with an exclamation mark?

A leading exclamation point is used to escape wiki formatting, as we have learned in the previous question. Sometimes it has an unwanted effect, such as when you want to write "!=" (e.g. "not equal"), you will not see the exclamation mark.

To escape the exclamation mark escape, try prefixing a <nop>, e.g. write A <nop>!= B to get "A != B". Alternatively, use the HTML entity &#33;, which renders as an exclamation mark, e.g. write A &#33;= B to get "A != B".

How can I write fixed font text?

The quickest way is to enclose the text in equal signs:

  • You enter: Proportional text, =fixed font=, proportional again.

    Result: Proportional text, fixed font, proportional again.

Text I enter gets wrapped around. How can I keep the formatting as it is?

TWiki interprets text as HTML, so you can use the preformatted HTML option to keep the new line of text as is. Enclose the text in <pre> </pre>, or in TWiki's own <verbatim> </verbatim> tag:

This text will keep its format as it is:
  Unit     Price   Qty  Cost
  -------  ------  ---  ------
  aaa       12.00    3   36.00

The pre tag is standard HTML; verbatim is a special TWiki tag that forces text to fixed font mode, and also prevents other tags and TWiki shortcuts from being expanded.

NOTE: VARIABLES are still Set within verbatim tags (this is a historical peculiarity)

NOTE: The verbatim opening and closing tags are converted into pre tags; any HTML attributes (e.g., class, id) in the opening verbatim tag are included in the corresponding pre tag.

How do I create tables?

There are three possibilities:

  1. Use Wiki rule with "|" vertical bars.
  2. Use HTML tables with <table>, <tr>, <td> tags.
  3. Use preformatted text with <verbatim> tags.

1. Use Wiki rule with "|" vertical bars

  • Example text:
    | cell A1 | cell B1 | cell C1 |
    | cell A2 | cell B2 | cell C2 |
  • Example output:
    cell A1 cell B1 cell C1
    cell A2 cell B2 cell C2

2. Use HTML tables with <table>, <tr>, <td> tags

This is a manual process using HTML commands.

You enter:

<table border="1">
    <th> Head A  </th> <th> Head B  </th>
    <td> Cell A2 </td> <td> Cell B2 </td>
    <td> Cell A3 </td> <td> Cell B3 </td>


Head A Head B
Cell A2 Cell B2
Cell A3 Cell B3

3. Use preformatted text with <verbatim> tags

See "Text I enter gets wrapped around..."

Can I include images on a page?

Yes. The easiest way is to attach a GIF, JPG or PNG file to a topic and then to place it with: %ATTACHURL%/myImage.gif. This works only for the topic where the image is attached to.

To place an image on any topic, there are two ways of including inline images.

1. Using URL ending in .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png

This is a simple and automatic way of including inline images. Simply write the URL of the image file, this will create the inline image for you. NOTE: The images must be accessible as a URL.

  • You enter: %PUBURL%/TWiki06x00/TWikiLogos/T-logo-80x15.gif logo.
    Result: T-logo-80x15.gif logo.

You can upload images directly to your server with FTP access. You can also attach image files to a topic - you could even create a dedicated image topic, like ImageLibrary - and then link to the images directly:

  • Attach pic.gif to Someweb.SomeTopic
    Display with %PUBURL%/Someweb/SomeTopic/pic.gif

2. Using <img> tag

This is a manual process where you have more control over the rendering of the image. Use the <img> tag of HTML to include GIF, JPG and PNG files. Note: The rendering of the topic is faster if you include the width and height parameters that have the actual image size. http://www.htmlhelp.com/reference/wilbur/special/img.html has more on inline images.

  • You enter: <img src="%PUBURLPATH%/TWiki06x00/TWikiLogos/T-logo-80x15.gif" width="80" height="15" border="0" alt="logo" /> logo.
    logo logo.

Can I write colored text?

TWikiPreferences defines some commonly used colors: %YELLOW%, %RED%, %PINK%, %PURPLE%, %TEAL%, %NAVY%, %BLUE%, %AQUA%, %LIME%, %GREEN%, %OLIVE%, %MAROON%, %BLACK%, %GRAY%, %SILVER% and %ENDCOLOR%.

  • You enter: %RED% red text %ENDCOLOR% and %GREEN% green text %ENDCOLOR%

    Result: red text and green text

Note: %<color>% text must end with %ENDCOLOR% . If you want to switch from one color to another one you first need to end the active color with %ENDCOLOR%, e.g. write %RED% some text %ENDCOLOR% %GREEN% more text %ENDCOLOR%.

If you need more colors you can use HTML, like <font color="#ff0000"> red text </font>. You can also use the up-to-date style attribute - ex: style="color:#ff0000" - placed in most HTML tags. span is an all-purpose choice: <span style="color:#ff0000">CoLoR</span>. Only old (like 3.x IE & NS) browsers have a problem with style.

The code is the hexadecimal RGB color code, which is simply Red, Green and Blue values in hex notation (base 16, 0-F). For pure red, the RGB components are 255-0-0 - full red (255), no green or blue. That's FF-0-0 in hex, or "#ff0000" for Web page purposes. StandardColors lists basic colors.

-- Contributors: TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny, TWiki:Main.MikeMannix

Comments & Questions about this Distribution Document Topic

Is there a way to use a graphic image as a hyperlink?

-- JayMacDonald - 28 Jul 2004

Absolutely! wink You can use HTML as is, or set a variable with complete HTML you need, or generate HTML dynamically as skins do. See ie. SimpleSkin

-- PeterMasiar - 29 Jul 2003

Third table had bug,
Bugs are fixed now with TWiki,
Mars in summer sky.

-- DavidKing - 22 Aug 2003

Nice Haiku smile

-- PeterThoeny - 22 Aug 2003

Thanks Peter Thoeny.
Poetry ain't my forte.
More questions to come. smile

This is a remarkable interactive environment.

My vision at this early point is an access-controlled group of Editors modifying /twiki/ while one or two Administrators periodically (review changes and) publish /twiki/ to the real public site /www/. I already saw an HTML "plug-in" somewhere that helps with this. Pardon me for chit-chatting on this page but we can delete it -- it's TWiki! I will explore discussion forums after learning more from an installation.


-- DavidKing - 23 Aug 2003

Why does PRE not preserve links to WikiWords? I agree that I want it preserve layout, but surely links should still work. Is there another tag that does this?

An example:

The P/E Ratio says what price per dollar of earnings investors are currently paying for a share. Calculated as:

P/E Ratio = PricePerShare 
            EarningsPerShare (EPS)  

I want PricePerShare to be linked but the formula to be layed out. I know that the Math plugins exist - I have non math cases as well.

-- MartinCleaver - 14 Oct 2003

Is there an alternative markup language available? For ease of use, I'd rather see no HTML being interpreted, and have the automatic markup be more, well, automatic. Neeing an exact number of spaces around the asterisk for a bullet list entry, for instance, seems like overkill. Not being able to use greater-than or less-than symbols is another example of the issue. I realize such a change couldn't easily by backward compatible, but for new sites, perhaps with different (less computer/html literate) user bases, I'd think it could be a big win.

-- PaulFox - 06 Feb 2004

What's the best way to cause a WikiWord or URL reference to open in a new browser window? I'm hoping for something like %NEWWINDOW{WikiWord}%. Thanks.

-- LarryKluger - 10 Mar 2004

Inserting HTML (from Open Office) causes plaintext above it to lose line endings. See Sandbox.Identity for coding.

-- MVMcKenna - 22 Apr 2004

A. You need to paste only the stuff between <body> tags, plus optionally the <style> block. See modified page in Sandbox.

-- RickJones - 27 Jul 2004

Q. How do I start a word with an exclamation mark? I'd update the FAQ if I only knew... Specifically, I want to write "!=" not equals, bang-equals.

-- PeterKay - 08 Mar 2005

A: try ! (like this: !) Any character which has special meaning in TWiki can be shown using an ampersand (&amp) followed by a hash mark (#) and the decimal representation of the character's ascii value. Google "ISO Latin" or "HTML entities".

-- ScottHerman - 27 Apr 2007

I added a new question & answer to the FAQ on the exclamation mark question.

-- PeterThoeny - 29 Apr 2007

I want to know how can I save the form's data. I made a form using an edittable table. Now I want that each time I save the data either it is saved into a new topic or in a file. So that the next time another user can use the same page to enter his data....

-- ShoaibSarwar - 16 Aug 2007

Please ask support questions in the Support web.

-- PeterThoeny - 23 Aug 2007

Is there a way to put text into a frame (like in a sidebar of an article) so that it does not look like a table cell?

-- DanielOderbolz - 16 Apr 2008

Please ask support questions in the Support web!

-- PeterThoeny - 16 Apr 2008

In TWiki 6 a %COLOR% ... over a bunch of paragraphs (<p>) seems to color the first para only. In TWiki 4 it did color everything. Would that be intentional? Occurs in both Firefox and IE.

-- Andre Vergison - 2014-05-16

I checked. TWiki-4 uses font tags, which is deprecated. TWiki-6 uses a span tag with style="color:...". The span is the reason for the color applying only for the first paragraph. To fix your issue you could change the span tag to a div tag. This has the consequence that you no longer can color text within a sentence because div tags introduce a new block (new line).

-- Peter Thoeny - 2014-05-16

Please use the Support forum if you have questions about TWiki features. This comment section is about the documentation of this topic.
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Topic revision: r48 - 2016-05-06 - PeterThoeny
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