GitBook is a hosted solution for documentation websites and knowledge bases. In a nutshell, you sign in to GitBook’s website and use their web-based editor to write your documentation. Or, if you’d rather maintain control over your content, you can keep it in a GitHub repository that is integrated with GitBook. Either way, you can create different webpages and organize them in a logical order. When everything looks the way you want it, you can publish it on a custom domain.

Like so many projects, GitBook started as an open source toolchain with a commercial offering, but eventually dropped the open source project in favor of a new proprietary and closed-source offering that’s hosted exclusively on their website. The open source toolchain is still available, but as that option is now unsupported, this article only documents the new hosted option.

The advantage of GitBook over a tool like Docusaurus is that GitBook takes care of building and hosting the site, and the WYSIWYG controls are intuitive enough to be used by Markdown novices. On the GitBook website, the live editor hides the Markdown formatting syntax after you type it. The editor is a bit flaky, but weird little bugs aside, the website generally works for both Markdown experts and people who don’t have any experience with Markdown. You can also simply copy and paste Markdown-formatted text into the GitBook interface.

GitBook Markdown Support

GitBook provides support for the following Markdown elements.

Element Support Notes
Headings Yes
Paragraphs Yes
Line Breaks Yes
Bold Yes
Italic Yes
Blockquotes Yes
Ordered Lists Yes
Unordered Lists Yes
Code Yes
Horizontal Rules No
Links Yes
Images Yes
Tables Yes
Fenced Code Blocks Yes
Syntax Highlighting Yes
Footnotes No
Heading IDs Yes
Definition Lists No
Strikethrough Yes
Task Lists Yes
Emoji (copy and paste) Unknown
Emoji (shortcodes) Unknown
Automatic URL Linking Yes
Disabling Automatic URL Linking Yes

See Also

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