Formatting lists in markdown

I appreciate the improved support for markdown in recent updates to DTPO and DTTG. Mostly it works very well. But I am frequently bothered by the following issue:

If I type this into a markdown document …

… and then view it as rendered markdown (View -> Best Alternative), this is what I see:

Of course, that’s not what I want to see. It is hard to read a list when it is rendered on a single line. I would much prefer to see my list formated as a list, with each item on its own line.

I’ve learned that if I insert a blank line between “Test list” and “- item one”, then I am given a nicely formatted list. But I have trouble remembering to do this every time. I also have tons of old notes containing lists written without the extra blank line. It would take too much work to add the extra blank line to each list in each note.

Furthermore, I’m not sure that the rules of markdown formatting call for this extra blank line? At least, I’ve looked through the list section of the Daring Fireball Markdown Syntax Documentation, and don’t see the requirement there. Other apps, such as Marked by Brett Terpstra (who I think knows markdown pretty well), render my sample list above as a proper list. DTPO (2.9.10) and DTTG (2.1.3) seem to be the only apps that render it on a single line.

Any chance this behavior can be changed?


Unfortunately, as far as I know, this is normal markdown behaviour. Byword, my go to app for markdown, only renders it as list if there is an empty line before the first bullet point.

I’ve tested it in Marked 2, and there, too, an empty line is required for it to be rendered as a true list. (Although without the empty line, items are not displayed on a single line but do have returns behind them.)

It frustrated me as well, but doesn’t take much time to get used to.

Thanks for your reply, Eeljen. I guess you are right about Marked 2.

Ulysses, however, exports the list as a list, regardless of whether there’s an empty line before the first bullet point. (I.e., the exported HTML/ePub/PDF/DOCX files are identical either way.)

I’m not sure what the advantage of requiring the empty line is, and I still don’t see evidence that markdown syntax officially requires it, so I’ll just reaffirm my original request.

At the least, maybe DT could render a list that lacks the leading empty line like Marked 2 does: with returns behind list items, rather than on a single line. (Though I’d prefer if DT were empty-line-agnostic, like Ulysses is, and render the list as a true list either way.)

@dgbeecher has a good point. It is a bit odd and should be changed.

Agreed that this is a little awkward behaviour from Markdown, but it is according to the official standard.

Ulysses, however, uses it’s own variation of Markdown. It treats returns in a more ‘natural’ fashion as opposed to classic Markdown, in that it also doesn’t require a doubled space at the end of a paragraph to generate a soft return in the output.

This deviation from the standard Markdown rules results in quite some frustration when you try to use the same (external) documents with other editors.

What is priority for me is that DT uses the same implementation of Markdown rendering as other pieces of software, for maximal compatibility. But I think the request is fair.

Any thoughts from the developers on this? What about the modified version of my request? --> “At the least, maybe DT could render a list that lacks the leading empty line like Marked 2 does: with returns behind list items, rather than on a single line.”

(I have so many notes imported from Ulysses, most of them full of long lists without that one extra leading line, that I never knew was required. They are all rendered by DTPO/DTTG as huge blocks of text, which are very hard to read.)

We use MultiMarkdown to render Markdown documents, right now there are no plans to customize this.