Text Emphasis, Punctuation, and Typography

Visual Emphasis

AsciiDoc provides multiple ways to visually emphasize inline text (words, phrases, and characters).


Text that is bold will stand out against the regular, surrounding text due to the application of a thicker and/or darker font. Bold is useful when the text needs to catch the attention of a person visually scanning a page.


Text is often italicized in order to stress a word or phrase, quote a speaker, or introduce a term. Italic type slants slightly to the right, and depending on the font, may have cursive swashes and flourishes.


Technical content often requires text to be styled in a way that indicates a command or source code. Such text is usually emphasized using a fixed-width (i.e., monospace) font.


Another way to draw attention to text is to highlight (or mark) it. This semantic style is used for reference or notation purposes, or to mark the importance of a key subject or point.


Common punctuation is entered into an AsciiDoc document just as you would in an email or word processor. Less common punctuation can be entered directly or using AsciiDoc shorthands.

One way to enter less common punctuation is by using the compose key for your operating system (i.e., a special key sequence). For example, on macOS you can enter an en dash by typing the key sequence ⌥ Opt+-.

Since key sequences can be hard to remember, AsciiDoc offers a simpler way to enter less common punctuation. AsciiDoc has a shorthand syntax for entering curved (smart) quotes and offers built-in replacements and attributes for many extended punctuation symbols.

Quotation and apostrophe marks

Quotation marks and apostrophes can be explicitly marked as straight or curved.

Symbols, Signs, and Marks

Special character and symbol replacement is built right into AsciiDoc.

Special characters and symbols

AsciiDoc accepts HTML and XML character entities as well as decimal and hexadecimal Unicode code point references.