According to this support article, it says that we can use markdown formatting in any “long text field with rich text formatting on”.
However, this doesn’t work.
We have a long text field with rich text formatting on, but when we add markdown syntax into our text, nothing happens.
For example, if we type the following into our long text field:
**test** *test* test
We would expect the results to look like:
test test test
(Notice that the 1st word is in bold, the 2nd word is in italics, and the 3rd word is plain text. That’s what we would expect.)
But everything just stays in plain text, and looks like:
**test** *test* test
Thoughts on how to get this markdown formatting to work within a rich text long text field?
@kuovonne - this is precisely why I have been suggesting in other threads why there is deep confusion about documentation not matching actual behaviours. Indeed, it appears that the API has been improved with respect to handling Markdown better (per your tests), but there remains a disconnect and I think it’s simply that enabling a long text field (for rich-text) formatting is not clear to users that it also enables Markdown tags.
My thoughts are pretty simple - enabling a long text field for rich-text processing seems to instantiate interpretation of Markdown characters… (typing # Title… yields this):
Ergo - enabling rich text formatting also enables Markdown support.
Totally agree with you that Airtable’s official documentation is very poor across the board.
But I’m not sure I understand your response. What I think you’re telling me is that ONLY AIRTABLE’S API interprets markdown characters when inputting text into a rich text field, but we are not able to MANUALLY TYPE markdown characters into a rich text field on our own.
That’s a bummer.
Markdown is a fairly full-featured protocol. I’ve found that very few sites support the whole enchilada.
Interestingly, I used Markdown to insert that link to John Gruber’s Markdown reference page. I couldn’t get that particular formatting to work inside a long-text field for some reason.
Anyway, Airtable’s support for Airtable is, comparatively speaking, not too bad. The main problem appears to be that the long-text fields don’t seem to support using asterisks to identify bold and/or italics. Curiously, this forum editor does support those formattings.
But otherwise, you can use Markdown – at least one flavor of Markdown (“atx”) – to create headers, block quotes, code blocks, lists, and more.
I wish it supported the use of asterisks or underscores, because I’m used to typing Markdown and it’s nice to get rolling and stay in the same “input mode” so to speak. But it’s easy enough to type cntl-I or cntl-B when you need to.
Airtable has about 47 fairly high-priority problems that should be ahead of “better Markdown support”, at least in my opinion.
I admit - my message was unclear. This might help…
Cool, thanks for creating that great video! Yes, looks you’ve discovered the same exact thing that I’ve discovered — their markdown only works via manual keyboard typing for some of the formatting (maybe even MOST of the formatting), but not all of the formatting. So I’m assuming that it’s some sort of a bug on Airtable’s end. Looks like the bold and italics won’t work, but looks like lots of the other formatting features will work. But yeah, typing command-b or command-I is a fine workaround — that’s how it works in most apps anyways, so people are used to doing that.
Hum. I’m pretty sure that those shortcuts for bold used to work for me. I can’t test it right now.
If typing those shortcuts for bold and italic do not work, then that is indeed bug and Airtable does not work as documented.
@Bill.French I was wanting clarification on the accuracy of Airtable’s documentation. It is possible for documentation to be correct yet also poorly written. Having worked as a technical writer documenting software, I have some very strong opinions about Airtable’s documentation that are completely unrelated to its accuracy.
That would be great - two of us have seemingly used the rich text field and it works on some Markdown tags but doesn’t seem the case on others as the video shows. Maybe we’re missing something.
I’m pretty sure that this must be a bug in Airtable. Anyone know how to submit bugs to them?
Okay, I agree, it is a bug. Typing shortcuts in rich text fields does not work as documented.
I do not get formatted text when I type the following:
I get formatted text when I type the following:
1. numbered lists
- bullet list
 check boxes
This split between what works and what doesn’t matches the two different mini-formatting menus (except for code, which appears on both mini-menus):
This split in what works and what doesn’t is also consistent across the regular interface, the iPad app, and in webforms.
Thanks for researching this so thoroughly! Do you know how we can report this as a bug to Airtable?
As @kuovonne said, half of the fields are working, half are not.
This is a particiular problem as I was hoping to finally replace my old URL fields with markdown,
In theory this should take 10 seconds, copy the URL column, paste it into notepad, add [Link] and then wrap the link in
The problem is, pasting [Link](http://www.example.com) into the rich field doens’t actually turn it into a link, it interprates it as raw text.
I was hoping maybe it was doing something similar to TinyMCE, and you could paste actual A HREF links into the field, but it strips all tags and pastes as plain text, so that doesn’t work either.
Anyway, I’m sure they’re aware of it and working on it.
Correct. This is a suboptimal mess.
To actually use a long text field as a pretty link field, you have to:
- Enable Markdown on the field
- Add the link via the API or a script block
- (I think) You must also format the links as shown below and I believe the newline characters are required to make it pretty in a cell, and this is pretty much validated by @dave_brand’s video.
[CNN]\n http://cnn.com: \n
There are three ways to create pretty links in rich text fields:
- through the user interface button
- through the API (standard API or Scripting block API), using either syntax
- through Integromat/Zapier, (using the multi-line syntax), per @dave_brand’s update to his video that @Bill.French links to.
An ugly workaround if you have to bulk insert several records at once is to put the markdown text in a plain long text field, and then use the scripting block to copy the text to an rich-text field.
It’s a bug. Their document lists the markdowns that are not working currently.
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