Editor Mini-Guide

post by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2018-03-11T20:58:59.828Z · score: 45 (12 votes) · LW · GW · 35 comments


  Three things you need to know
    Extra details
    Images, videos, and footnotes

Here is a brief overview of what you can do in the editor on LessWrong. This will change a great deal over time, so I’ll keep a note here of when the latest update was: Friday 5th July, 2019.

Three things you need to know

Extra details

Images, videos, and footnotes


Unfortunately, you can't yet upload your images to the website. To include an image in a post, you'll first need to add it to an image hosting site like Dropbox, Google Drive and Cloudinary. Then you can use the native image-adding button that appears when you highlight text. Click on the image to see a menu that lets you move it the left/right/centre.


Videos can't be used in posts at the minute.

There is a markdown hack you can do instead, that lets you include a snapshot of the video.

Here's the text that will create a snapshot image.


NB: you shouldn't copy in the whole URL, just the youtube video ID. You need the /0.jpg at the end, and the img.youtube.com/vi/ at the beggining.

This will look like this:


Then you can add the link anywhere e.g. underneath.


The editor does not currently support footnotes. However, if you really want/need footnotes, the markdown editor does support them. Turn the markdown editor on in your user settings.

Use the following commands to create footnotes in markdown (full details are on this page):

Here is a footnote reference, [^1] and another.[^longnote]
[^1]: Here is the footnote.
[^longnote]: Longnotes can be multiple paragraphs.
Subsequent paragraphs are indented to belong to the previous footnote.

See what this text looks like in this comment [LW · GW]. You will actually need to add a bunch of spaces in front of the line beginning 'Subsequent paragraphs...' in order for it to be included in the footnote.


If you're talking about something that has spoilers, like the solution to a math problem, or a plot twist in a piece of fiction, you should hide it to make sure people don't read it by accident! Hover nearby this text:

Here is some hidden text.

To make this, use the symbols >! and then hit enter.


This is a list of things that might go wrong; it also contains common bugs (which will be removed when the dev team fixes them).


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Scott Garrabrant · 2018-05-09T21:18:11.768Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Command 4 does not work on safari....:(

comment by Raemon · 2018-05-09T22:10:03.071Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Which version of Safari? (seems to work on v11)

comment by Scott Garrabrant · 2018-05-10T18:29:11.540Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I dont know but Ctrl-Cmd-4 did work

comment by Raemon · 2018-05-10T20:14:21.750Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW


comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2018-05-09T22:28:03.965Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Neither Cmd-4 nor Ctrl-4 works here: Chrome 65.0.3325.181, Mac. Ctrl-M to open a LaTeX popup also doesn’t work (nor, for obvious reasons, does Cmd-M).

comment by Raemon · 2018-05-09T22:46:12.621Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. Those both appear to work using the browserstack emulator (I'm not 100% about the ".0.3325" part of the version number but just tried on chome 65 for both Sierra and High Sierra. Which OS are you on? Also doublechecking that you're in the rich text editor? The markdown one is not expected to work)

comment by Scott Garrabrant · 2018-05-10T22:18:17.954Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Mine was in the text editor. Even in the text editor, Cmd 4 sends me to my 4th tab in the window, instead of entering latex.

comment by Raemon · 2018-05-10T23:13:28.301Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, in that case this looks like an issue where it's just hard to account for every browser's hotkeys (we had gone through a few other plausible hotkeys for LaTeX that were in use by chrome). So in this case ctrl-cmd-M works because it's an override over Safari's hotkeys.

We could list this particular issue/solution in the helper-text, but I'm not sure it's practical as a general policy to account for all possible browser hotkey overrides.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2018-05-09T23:05:42.126Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also doublechecking that you’re in the rich text editor? The markdown one is not expected to work

Oh! Well, never mind, then.

comment by Raemon · 2018-05-09T23:26:27.087Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah – in principle probably it can work but it gets much more complicated (trying to integrate markdown with LaTeX is one of the things that resulted in extremely long wordcounts).

comment by TurnTrout · 2018-03-22T02:04:42.139Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Am I able to make intra-article hyperlinks to allow my readers to jump to footnotes / other parts of the article?

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2018-03-22T03:11:22.207Z · score: 9 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No. Though they're important so we will get them in the future.

comment by steve2152 · 2019-06-14T02:31:01.029Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Can you please update on footnotes? I notice people have written posts with footnotes, so it must be possible, but I can't figure out how. Thanks in advance

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-06-14T02:55:55.373Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You can use footnotes with the markdown editor. You can read about the syntax here:


comment by daozaich · 2018-06-08T20:29:04.664Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a way of getting "pure markdown" (no wysiwyg at all) including Latex? Alternatively, a hotkey-less version of the editor (give me buttons/menus for all functionality)?

I'm asking because my browser (chromium) eats the hotkeys, and latex (testing: $\Sigma$ ) appears not to be parsed from markdown. I would be happy with any syntax you choose. For example \Sigma; alternatively the github classic of using backticks appears still unused here.

edit: huh, backticks are in use and html-tags gets eaten.

comment by ksvanhorn · 2018-06-02T01:36:07.851Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How do I do things like tables using the WYSIWYG interface? There doesn't seem to be any way to insert markdown in that interface. And once you've already been using WYSIWYG on an article, you can't really switch to markdown -- I tried, and it was a complete mess.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2018-06-02T02:07:18.819Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Standard Markdown does not support tables (there are extensions to Markdown that add tables support, but I don’t think Less Wrong uses one of such).

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2019-07-05T20:49:41.352Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here is a footnote reference, [1] and another.[2]

  1. Here is the footnote. ↩︎

  2. Here's one with multiple blocks.

    Subsequent paragraphs are indented to belong to the previous footnote. ↩︎

comment by MakoYass · 2018-12-30T09:01:37.736Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Oh I see the index on the left is constructed automatically

Okay so how did you make that index on the left side of the page? :p

comment by Sniffnoy · 2018-07-11T00:43:16.015Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So, um, I was writing a post and I left the tab open for a few hours and the post seems to have just disappeared? While it's not impossible I accidentally clicked refresh or something, as best I can tell it was just gone when I got back, with the tab not having been touched in over an hour.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2019-05-31T18:05:17.488Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What's up with images?
I stumbled on advanced image features. I don't mean badly discoverable, but really clearly a UI bug. The features let me resize them and choose between left- and right-justification (and text flowing around them?) and it's a pity that they're not widely available. Specifically, I made this comment [LW · GW]. First I switched my account to markdown (is there a way to switch a single comment?). I made the comment with the image. I switched my account to wysiwyg. I edited the comment and accepted the option to switch the comment to wysiwyg. At this point I had the resizing ability, but only for the old markdown image and not for new images I added in wysiwyg, either that comment or a comment that started as wysiwyg (the test comment below).

I replicated this procedure with this comment. It started as markdown and I can resize this image:

but not this one:

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2019-05-31T20:41:50.917Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The difference is that the first image is a block-layout image, and the second is inline.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2019-05-31T21:34:10.990Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, but that doesn't mean anything to me. Is this documented anywhere? Is this page the best documentation for the editor?

Is your comment even intended for users, or is it a hint for debugging?

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2019-05-31T22:36:23.175Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My apologies; I sometimes lose track of what sorts of technical knowledge is common among the Less Wrong crowd.

“Inline” and “block” are the two types (layout-wise) of elements in HTML (and many other systems). More or less, this means:

  • An “inline” element appears in the flow of text (a hyperlink, for example, is an inline element)
  • A “block” element is like its own paragraph (i.e., it’s like a block of text)

All of this is not specific to Less Wrong’s editor, or to any editor or website or anything; it’s just how HTML works.

So an inline image will be inserted right into the middle of a paragraph. A block image will be, basically, its own paragraph.

In a Markdown editor (whether LW’s or GW’s), whether an image is inline or block depends on whether the image syntax is in the middle of some other text, or whether it’s on a line by itself.

In Less Wrong’s draft.js editor… well, see this comment by habryka [LW · GW].

I hope that helps. Feel free to ask me to explain further if anything’s not clear!

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-05-31T21:51:27.663Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There are two ways to insert images, which I agree should be better documented somewhere.

To insert block-level images, you can select a piece of text and press the "image" button, these images will not be resizable.

To insert inline-images you use the markdown syntax of the form (closing parenthesis omitted because otherwise it would get parsed as an image):

![Image text](ImageLink <Closing Parenthesis>

We are working on an editor rework that will make this all less confusing, as well as an editor guide that will document behaviors like this better. Sorry for the confusion.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2019-05-31T23:09:49.534Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think that you mixed them up. When I use the markdown syntax, I get full-width, presumably inline images, not block. Whereas when I follow your other instructions...I can't follow them. When I select text, I don't get an image button, just (Bold, Italic, Underline, Link | Title, Blockquote). Is image supposed to be on that list? If so, that's a simple explanation of the bug.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-06-01T00:06:48.518Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, you're right. I mixed that up. Fixed.

Re the rest: This was advice for the post-editor. For the comment editor we intentionally don't make it super easy to attach images, since that makes it too easy to disproportionately get more attention than seems good.

We didn't deactivate images to make it easier for us on the backend and allow arbitrary content-transfer between posts and comments, but that's why you don't see that button (you would see it on the post-editor).

comment by Zack_M_Davis · 2019-03-13T04:48:45.825Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This comment is a test! I prefer the plain-Markdown editor, but I want to try using LaTeX for one comment, so I temporarily swapped my user settings to the "rich" editor so that I could try out the LaTeX editor here. Then after submitting this comment, I'll switch my settings _back_ to Markdown, and edit this comment to see what the syntax is for using LaTeX from that editor (wrap it in $s, maybe?), which didn't seem to be explained in the post above? I would be pretty disappointed if it were to turn out that there's no way to do LaTeX from the Markdown editor, but I would also be somewhat surprised.

Edit: even after switching my settings back, editing this comment gives me the rich editor? So ... I guess individual comments are saved on a per-editor basis, with no translation? I'll concede that that makes sense from a technical standpoint, but it's somewhat disappointing.

comment by Zack_M_Davis · 2019-06-02T01:01:06.555Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

LaTeX test

Added: subscript test, <em>x<sub>1</sub></em>.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2019-05-31T20:43:41.625Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Note that on GreaterWrong, you can always edit any comment in Markdown (because there’s just the one editor); and also, if you click the ‘$’ button on the editing toolbar, it’ll insert the markup for a LaTeX formula for you.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-03-13T05:02:45.376Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The LaTeX syntax for comments is indeed to wrap it in $ .

You might have to refresh for the editor change to take effect. The correct behavior should be that it displays you a small warning at the top, with the option of switching the editor to your preferred editor and doing some data conversions in the process (though those data conversions don't properly process LaTeX, so that experiment wouldn't have helped you figure out the markdown LaTeX syntax).

comment by Adele Lopez (adele-lopez-1) · 2018-05-27T06:06:18.560Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a way to make drafts available to specific people, for review?

comment by bfinn · 2019-02-01T16:38:33.362Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like there is, but they must be LessWrong members.

comment by Raemon · 2019-02-14T22:23:39.269Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We used to have an option to make a post "unlisted" rather than just "draft" which would allow arbitrary people to look at it. Getting the UI right for it was a bit tricky and people kept finding ways to find unlisted posts that they hadn't been meant to get access to so we made it admin-only for now. But we do intend to restore that eventually.