Styles (?) for Ordered Lists

sylvaticus's Avatar


15 May, 2019 05:41 PM

Because I'm not a developer, all suggestions implemented in code are easy!

Actually, I know they're not, but hopefully this won't be horrifically difficult.

I was always a little surprised that Gruber only allowed for 1, 2, 3… for ordered lists (and the same for unordered lists). How hard would it be to base the ordered list style on the first character typed, such as 1, A, I, a, i?

For my own technical writing, I prefer to use no more than two levels, but that means that after I export MultiMarkdown to HTML, I have to go through and add type="a" to all ordered second-level lists.

It would be awesome to type:

  1. do this
  2. do that (the 2 auto added by MMDC because I started by typing "1." Obviously, this part works already.)
    a. if x, then y b. if not y, not x (the b auto added by MMDC because I started the line by typing a "b." A. yay outlines! B. yay multimarkdown! (the B auto added by MMDC because I started the line by typing an "A.")

To go one step farther (this might not be possible with

?: use a "." or ")" or "( )" based on what I type for the first line, allowing:

type: "1." get: "2.", "3." etc

type: "a." get: "b.", "c." etc

type: "a)" get: "b)", "c)" etc

type: "(A)" get: "(B)", "(C)" etc

In other words, turn MMDC into the markdown version of OmniOutliner! :-)

Just a thought.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Fletcher on 15 May, 2019 05:48 PM

    Fletcher's Avatar

    This is "presentation" not "content."

    Which in "HTML world" means CSS. (It's different for other formats, but HTML is great for this.)

    Simply use CSS to change the bullet styles for all of your lists, at whatever nesting levels you desire.

    But fundamentally, there are only two types of lists -- those with an implied order (enumerated) and those without (bulleted). Everything else is just presentation (which style of bullet, which style of enumerated, which color, which font, etc.) All of that belongs in CSS, not in MultiMarkdown.

    And the beauty of doing it this way is that it works across all Markdown parsers and environments. :)


    Fletcher T. Penney
    Manager, Founder
    MultiMarkdown Software, LLC
    [email blocked]

  2. 2 Posted by sylvaticus on 15 May, 2019 05:54 PM

    sylvaticus's Avatar

    I think of a., b., c…, etc are more semantic or content than presentation (subordinating a to 1 is not a consideration of style, but rather one of subordination and hierarcy, yes?), but I take your point, especially regarding other parsers, which I didn't think about before adding this suggestion.

    Sigh…. :-)

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Fletcher on 15 May, 2019 06:01 PM

    Fletcher's Avatar

    a, b, c is semantic when compared to *, *, *

    but a, b, c vs 1, 2, 3 vs A, B, C is style

    Having different levels of an outline is semantic, but exactly which numbering system used at a given level is style.

    The following are semantically identical, though obviously different stylistically:

    1. Foo
    A. foo
    B. bar
    2. Bar
    A. bar

    A. Foo
    1. foo
    2. bar
    B. Bar
    1. bar

    Using CSS to convert between those two is trivial, and does not require changing the meaning of the outline.

    Fletcher T. Penney
    Manager, Founder
    MultiMarkdown Software, LLC
    [email blocked]

  4. 4 Posted by sylvaticus on 15 May, 2019 08:50 PM

    sylvaticus's Avatar

    Hmmm…thanks! Obviously I hadn't thought of it that way. Super interesting. Thanks! (Even if now I'm going to have learn even more CSS! Just starting out, so it's a miracle I understand what little I do!)

    I know about inline styling, such as type="1" and type="a". I assume the next…dare I say it?…level…is to create classes.

    Still, I would love it if we could MMDC configure a setting for levels? A pane with fields for each level so we could create

    1. this is level one
    2. this is also level one
      a. this is level two b. and so is this
    3. back to level one

    instead of what it does now:

    1. this is level one
    2. this is also level one
      1. this is level two
      2. and so is this
    3. and back to level one

    Does the suggestion make sense for styles internal to MMDC, but exporting to HTML stays

    and honoring other Markdown parsers keeps it at 1, 2, 3, 4 as above? I suspect you'll place the next pearl of wisdom before me and I'll have to give up entirely, but that second example above really does seem…awkward? At least convert the 3 to a 1 when we press Tab, and the 5 to a 3 when we press Shift-Tab so it's
    1. level one
    2. level one
      1. level two
      2. level two
    3. level

    ??? :-)

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Fletcher on 03 Jun, 2019 12:57 AM

    Fletcher's Avatar

    Sorry for the delay -- got tied up with several other things and was a bit behind in some emails.

    Markdown enumerated lists are numerical only (1, 2, 3). I don't have any intention at this time of changing that for MultiMarkdown.

    There are several issues with cleaning up lists when not expected by the user when typing lists, but I might work on that in the future. But if you alter the levels of enumerated list items by indenting/outdenting, all you have to do is toggle the list type back and forth and the entire list is renumbered automatically. You can also use the cleanup list menu command, but there's not a keyboard shortcut for that so it takes a second or two longer.


    Fletcher T. Penney
    Manager, Founder
    MultiMarkdown Software, LLC
    [email blocked]

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