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Nick Ang

Markdown bullet points - hyphen or asterisk?

Markdown is amazing. It’s like HTML but much, much more readable and less work. But some things can get confusing, especially if there is more than one way to do the same thing. Bullet points—or unordered lists if you’re a web developer—are one of those things.

So which should you use to create lists in Markdown - hyphen or asterisk?

I’ve preferred to use the hyphen - because visually they resemble the kind of bullets that I’d write by hand on paper. But I just realised that the asterisk * has one slight advantage over hyphens.

The asterisk is less often used in the English language. In fact, it’s hardly ever used at all.

Scarce usage is the reason why “TK” is so commonly used by the editorial world to indicate “to come”, or an unfinished sentence. Nowhere else in the English language will you see these two letters side by side!

Since * is much less often used than - in a markdown file, I now prefer using that because it allows me to do quick multi-selection like this:


I know it’s not a frequent use case, but changing a list from unordered (bulleted) to ordered (numbered) comes up just enough to give preferential treatment!

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