What’s a markup language?

Print anything with Printful

Markup languages use symbols and words to instruct how a document should look. They are not limited to computer programming and include editing markup. HTML is the most well-known and is used for web design. Markup languages dictate appearance and are not seen by the end user.

A markup language is a combination of words and symbols that provide instructions on how a document should look. For example, a tag may indicate that words are italicized or bolded. Although the most common and most widely used markup languages ​​are written for computers, the concept of a markup language is not limited to computer programming.

One of the oldest and once most commonly used markup languages ​​is one used by editors to instruct writers on how something should be written or how it should look in the final draft of a piece. When written by hand, the editor generally uses symbols and instructions written in a different ink color than the author’s; usually blue or red. This practice has been replaced in many areas thanks to the widespread use of computers, but teachers and sometimes journalists are still required to know proper editing markup.

The best-known markup language today is probably Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). This is the language used by web browsers to display websites. The coding can be typed by hand and loaded via a word processor or created in one of many web design programs. There are new variants of this language that have updated codes and rules. Dynamic hypertext markup language is one example. Multiple codes can be put together and can be used to create a style sheet to ensure that a website has a unified look and feel.

Many word processors also use some type of markup language to change the appearance of text within the document. This is generally not seen by users of the program, but takes place behind the scenes. These types of languages ​​are created by computer programmers and are generally only used by the computer.

The main things most markup languages ​​have in common is that they dictate the appearance of text or entire pages and are usually not seen by the end user in the finished product. In HTML, only the web browser reads and deciphers the meanings of certain codes. For example, the tag instructs a browser to display all following text in bold. The following tag is inserted to terminate the bold text: . While many people will never use a markup language themselves, they will likely use a product or read a web page that implements its use.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content