The WYSIWYG editor is one my favorite features when it comes to writing on Medium. Whether it’s on my desktop or on my phone, writing new stories on Medium is a breeze.
One downside to such an intuitive editor is that you don’t find yourself exploring very much.
Medium offers a variety of formatting options that you may be unaware of. These options will help your article not only look pretty, but better control the attentiveness and interactions of your readers.
Here are three overlooked formatting improvements that will help you publish beautiful articles that stand out from the rest.
Embed URLs Instead of Hyperlinks
Next time you want to link to your other writing — a recommendation I made in a previous article and am demonstrating here — don’t convert your text to a hyperlink. Instead, copy/paste the URL in a new paragraph and watch as Medium converts it into a clickable block with featured image, title, and subtitle.
You can really embed any URL and get a similar result. Here are some of my favorite types of URLs to embed.
- Other Medium Articles
- Videos such as YouTube
- Gists from GitHub
Most likely you’re familiar with the title, subtitle, heading, and body styles. But, did you know that there’s a sub-heading style?
Sub-headings are wonderful for breaking apart smaller sections without monopolizing the screen with a large heading. Sub-headings are still block-level so you cannot increase the font-size inline with other text, but I enjoy using sub-headings for:
Breaking up long sections of paragraphs
Managing your readers’ attention is critical when writing. Aesthetically, long blocks of paragraphs can be discouraging. To break them up, and keep your readers’ attention, use sub-headings to separate and preview sections.
Replacing bulleted lists
I like the concept of bulleted lists to minimize text, but I’ve always felt Medium’s style is space inefficient. Additionally, you have limited options for multi-line formatting within a bulleted list. For these reasons, I’ve begun using sub-headings to replace lists where the item takes multiple lines of text.
Use Block Quotes
Another strategy for breaking up text and styling your article is to take advantage of block quotes.
Medium offers two styles, one with a vertical line on the left and the other indented with significantly larger text.
Looking fancy is just scratching the surface when it comes to the value of block quotes. I’ve begun using block quotes as part of my outlining strategy. Attention and interaction are your goals when writing, so I consider block quotes an intentional attempt to illicit both.
A quality block quote should be meaningful, efficient, and worth remembering.
Good quotes rarely come by happenstance. Be intentional with your writing and build around a well-crafted quote.
I hope these formatting recommendations help you publishing content that is not only strong, but has a high-quality aesthetic to match. It’s not just about being pretty, but using the formatting of your article to manage a reader’s attention and promote interaction.