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Diarly uses special characters to format text, called Markdown. To use it, special characters are added to your text. This allows Diarly to store everything as plain text.

Why is this important?

  • It avoids "vendor lock-in": files are easy to import and export, and you can access your entries and notes using any application in the future from a backup.
  • These special characters can be added automatically by Diarly, by using the same shortcuts you already know (like ⌘B for Bold), or by using the menus. But you can also add them manually using the keyboard, which can allow you to type and format your text at the same time, without taking your hands off the keyboard or having to select text.

Some characters modify the entire line or paragraph, while others only a part of the text. Let's take a look at how to use Markdown.

Line modifiers

Line modifiers are always the first characters of a line, followed by a space. Diarly supports the following line modifiers:


Headers come in four levels: #  to start a primary header, ##  for a secondary header, ###  and ####  for third and fourth level headers respectively.

# This is a main header
## This is a secondary header
### This is a tertiary header


  • * starts an unordered list
  • 1. starts an ordered list
  • > starts a quotation
  • [] starts a checklist
  • [x] creates a completed checklist item

A checklist can be toggled as completed by clicking on the checkbox, or with ⌘ enter.

Lists and checklists can be nested. You can use ⌘[ and ⌘] to increase and decrease the nesting level.

In-line text modifiers

Inline text modifiers can be added to any word or group of words in a line. The available in-line modifers are:

  • **Bold**
  • *Italic*
  • __Underline__
  • ::Highlight::
  • ~Striketrough~
  • `Code or monospace` (using the backtick key, right above the tab key).

These modifiers can be used anywhere in the text, not just at the start of the line.

Diarly - Markdown


You can create links to websites using the following format:

[Link to amazing website](http://amazing-website.com)

Alternatively, you can select the text you want to convert into a link and paste the link, and it will be added automatically.


You can use wikilinks format to link entries and notes, like so:

[[Note Link]]

Diarly will automatically show suggestions of link to entries while you type the name.

Learn more about linking entries and notes in our article: How to link between entries

Hiding and showing Markdown syntax

If you'd like to be able to see the Markdown syntax, or if you find it distracting and would like to hide it, you can go to:

  • Mac: Settings > Other Options and toggle Hide markdown syntax
  • iOS: More > Other Options and toggle Hide markdown syntax