TextformatterMarkdownInMarkup by Ryan Cramer

Enables markdown to be used in existing markup/HTML like that from CKEditor.

Markdown in Markup/HTML

ProcessWire 3.x Textformatter module that enables you to use Markdown formatting codes in rich text fields like CKEditor.

A significant amount of content that is populated into the “bodycopy” field of websites is not actually written in the CMS and instead originates from text editors, word processors, and other tools outside of the CMS. It then gets pasted into a richtext editor like CKEditor, and then manually formatted into HTML using tools in the richtext editor. This process of manually converting links, lists, headlines, bold, and italic text and more in the richtext editor can be sometimes very time consuming.

This module provides a time saving alternative, enabling use of markdown formatted text in a richtext editor. It remains as markdown formatted text in the editor, but as soon as it is rendered on the front-end it is automatically formatted as HTML. This means that text like **this** gets converted to this, links like [this](https://processwire.com) get converted to this, and so on for most types of markdown formatting.

This enables markdown formatted text to be written anywhere and the formatting to be rendered properly in your body copy when viewed on your website. Using this module means that you can mix richtext and markdown in the same copy. No longer do you have to manually convert all of the links, lists, bold/italic, and so on in pasted in text.

  • Where to use it: Use on fields that already contain HTML markup, like CKEditor fields.

  • Where NOT to use it: Don’t use it on text fields that do not already contain markup. If you want to use Markdown on those, use ProcessWire’s core Markdown/Parsedown Textformatter module.

Why not just use the core Markdown/Parsedown module?

Because most of it doesn’t work if the text is already HTML (like CKEditor output). This is because traditional markdown parsing is looking for anchor points like newlines rather than boundaries of block-level markup tags, for example. In HTML, whitespace collapses, whereas in traditional markdown text, whitespace has meaning, such as indentation at the beginning of a line, or 2 spaces at the end of a line, etc. To enable some markdown support in HTML it was necessary to build a markdown parser for this purpose from scratch, as it's an entirely different kind of parsing, even if the intended output is the same.

Supported markdown


  • Bracketed URLs: <https://processwire.com> i.e. https://processwire.com
  • Links: [Example](https://processwire.com) i.e. Example
  • Strong text: **example** i.e. example
  • Underline text: __example__ i.e. example (CUSTOM)
  • Emphasized text: *example* i.e. example
  • Strikethrough text: ~~example~~ i.e. example (EXTENDED)
  • Image: ![alt text](/url/to/image.jpg).
  • Blockquote: > quoted text
  • Headings: # Heading 1, ## Heading 2, ### Heading 3, etc.
  • Headings with ID: ## Heading {#custom-id} (EXTENDED)
  • Inline code: `example` converts to <code>example</code>
  • Horizontal rule --- converts to <hr />
  • Ordered lists where each list item is identified with a leading hyphen i.e. - List item
  • Unordered lists where each list item is identified with a digit and period i.e. 1. List item
  • Fenced code blocks opened/closed with ~~~ on their own line. (EXTENDED)
  • Language specific fenced code blocks opened with ~~~php where php can be any supported language name. (EXTENDED)

(CUSTOM): Indicates items that are not officially part of markdown.
(EXTENDED): Indicates items that are part of extended syntax markdown.

For more details on supported markdown, examples and related information, see the module configuration screen.

Please note

In order to be converted to HTML, block level elements like headlines, blockquote, code blocks, horizontal rules, etc., must be written in their own paragraph in the rich text editor. For example, <p>---</p> would convert to a horizontal rule, but <p>hi---</p> would not.

Nested <ul> or <ol> lists are not supported. These require whitespace indentation which is something that does not directly translate to or survive HTML outside of a <pre> block. So when/if you need nested lists, use the tools of the editor rather than markdown. For the same reason, you cannot use indented preformatted code blocks, but you can use fenced code blocks.

You can turn markdown processing off (or on) in any part of text by typing markdown=off or markdown=on in your text (in separate paragraph). These commands are recognized by the parser and automatically removed from the output as well.

Please keep an eye out for unintended markdown translation and open an issue report if you come across any instances.

How to install


  1. Copy the files for this module to: /site/modules/TextformatterMarkdownInMarkup/

  2. In your admin go to Modules > Refresh.

  3. Click “Install” for Textformatter > Markdown in Markup. Note the configuration settings and decide if you want this module enabled or disabled by default.

  4. Go to Setup > Fields > [any CKEditor field], and on the “Details” tab select this module for the “Textformatters”. Save.

  5. Edit a page using the field, enter some markdown, save and view. View some other pages to make sure there is no unintentional markdown translation occurring. If there is, you may want to have markdown disabled by default (see setting in module config).

Module configuration


  • Type/tag names to disable: Specify a space separated string of types/tags to disable from markdown processing. If you only intend to use this module for inline formatting like bold, italic, links, then you may choose to use this setting to disable other kinds of markdown translations. For instance, entering img hr blockquote h pre ul ol would disable all of the block-level formatting and leave the inline formatting active.

  • Tag classes: Enter one per line of tag:class where tag is the name of a tag inserted by markdown and class is a class attribute to add. For example: ul:uk-list will add the uk-list class to ul tags inserted by the markdown parser. pre:hljs would add the hljs class to all fenced preformatted code blocks.

  • Disable markdown processing by default? When “Yes” is selected, markdown will not be processed except after a paragraph containing only markdown=on appears. When “No” is selected, markdown will be processed automatically, unless/until a paragraph containing only markdown=off appears. Regardless of selection, you can enter markdown=on or markdown=off to turn on/off as needed in your text/copy. The markdown=on|off commands are always removed from the output. The “on” or “off” can also be specified as 1 or 0.

Future versions


Currently we don't support footnotes or definition lists (extended markdown), and I would like to add support for both. These are both things that aren't easily accomplished in CKEditor, so could be especially useful here.


Copyright 2021 by Ryan Cramer

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