Hide Bold/Italic Syntax By Default

FoldingText’s synthesis of rich formatting and plain text editing is really great for writing, with one niggling exception: bold and italics. The underscores and asterisks for bold and italics consistently get in the way and complicate editing.

Here are a few examples:

  • When bolding/italicizing with cmd-b/i, one must move the cursor outside of the asterisks/underscores via the arrow keys to end formatting, which slows the flow of writing
  • Deleting a formatted segment of text requires deleting the syntax, rather than just the formatted text
  • Accidental leading or trailing white space produces erroneous output. E.g. a bolded word with trailing white space renders as: * segment *
  • Traversing a document with the arrow keys requires arrowing over the syntax of formatted segments

In contrast to the syntax for headers, links, blocks, and lists, the bold/italics syntax has no real utility in itself. And as the examples above show, it often gets in the way.

My request is simply to hide the bold/italics syntax: that is, the asterisks and underscores.

The syntax would still be there in the .md file. You could still manually type asterisks and underscores to make something bold/italic; upon typing the closing asterisks/underscores, the syntax would be hidden. To make the syntax visible, unchecking View → Hide Syntax would show the syntax, as it does now. Copying formatted text would still include the syntax.

I recognize that hiding the syntax might sound heretical given that Markdown is all about plain text. However, this relatively small tweak would reduce the complexity and friction of editing (especially for anyone new to Markdown or FoldingText) while preserving the portable plain text Markdown syntax (in the .md file, in copy/paste, and through the View menu).

Thank you for considering this request! Sorry for the length.



I just realized that this is in fact how FoldingText already handles bulleted lists.

I.e. the list syntax (asterisks and dashes) is replaced with bullets. To show the list syntax, one simply unchecks View → Show List Bullets. The syntax is also preserved in the .md file and when copying text.

My request is simply to apply this same functionality to bold/italics. Likewise, to show the syntax, one could simply uncheck a View → Show Bold/Italics Syntax option (or uncheck the global Hide Syntax).

It’s likely that for the next TaskPaper release (working on a big UI experiment/update at the moment) there won’t be bold/italic syntax. Instead it will just work like a normal rich text editor. If that proves successful then it’s likely to eventually show up in FoldingText too.

Awesome. I look forward to checking it out. Thanks!

I really think this would make the editor mor apppealing. Have a look at texts.io, they do a good job at hiding markdown clutter…