Public Lab Wiki documentation

Authoring Help

16 | 59 | | #6897

Intro video

Research notes are kind of like a shared blog where you can show the things you've made to other Public Lab folx, ask questions, propose ideas, or post events.

Formatting uses Markdown, a simple way to add formatting to web pages. You can read about Markdown here, but if you want to keep things simple, you can just write in plain text and things should "just work".

A great list of available Markdown syntax can be found here:

Note: The Daring Fireball section on carriage returns differs slightly from the Public Lab markdown. A single carriage return will suffice to bring the text to a new line. When you want a space between paragraphs, end the line with two or more spaces and add two carriage returns.

See formatting you like & want to replicate on your own research note or wiki? Click the edit button edit_button.png at the top right of any wiki page to see its Markdown language & copy for your own use!

To preview the formatting of your content, click "Preview" at the bottom of the editing window.

PDF embedding

We have a PDF embedding "widget" that can be used in wiki pages and research notes, but it's a little particular in formatting:

For research notes, you can use this link

For wiki pages, you can use this link

Advanced formatting


To embed a link in clickable text, type the text in square brackets directly followed by the url in parentheses (or use the link button above):

[Click here for PublicLab](

This is displayed as:

Click here for PublicLab

You can also use relative links within the wiki. Beginning a link with a forward slash connotes that you want to start after For example, suppose you were on the following wiki page:

and you wanted to link to someone's user profile. The following:


would be displayed as: username

LaTeX Math

The LaTeX Math is a syntax that allows you to construct and replicate mathematical formulas in a research note, comment, question, etc.

In order to tell LaTeX what part of the text contains mathematical elements, you need to use delimiters.

To write a math formula in the same line as the text, use the delimiter $...$ or \(...\)

To display a formula separately in a new line, use the delimiter $$...$$

Always enclose your entire equation in <p> </p> tags

Here is an example of a simple equation:

<p> $a=x^2$ </p>

would produce:


To write more complicated formulas, you need to familiarize yourself with the syntax for the math constructs you want to use.

For eg. the syntax for a fraction is: \frac{numerator}{denominator}

Hence, writing $$a=\frac{3}{x}$$

would produce

Here is a link containing most of the syntax supported by LaTeX:

Go ahead and explore the syntaxes for various math constructs and symbols, and then write your first LaTeX math equation!


To add an image to the post body:

  • Place the cursor where you want an image to be.
  • Drag and drop a jpg, png, or gif file to that place.
  • Don't move the cursor until the upload completes (or do, but the image will place where the cursor is once the upload completes).
  • Some code like this will appear:

[![filename.jpg](made )] (

  • Change the word "medium" to "large" to display a larger image, or to "thumb" to display a smaller image.
  • Click "Preview" at the bottom to preview the image.

For lead images, simply drag the image into the indicated region. You can also add an image by clicking the add_image_button.png icon on the bottom toolbar.

There is an image upload limit of 10mb.


  • To add a figure caption under an image, place the image code as above.
  • Directly after the last closing parenthesis, enter two line breaks.
  • On the next line enter your caption. Start and end your caption with an _underscore_ if you want to make the text italic.
  • Directly after the caption, enter two line breaks (to separate your caption from following text).


Make a bulleted list by starting with a blank line and then starting each line with *, +, or - followed by a space:

* Balloons
* Kites
* Poles

Will display as:

  • Balloons
  • Kites
  • Poles

For numbered lists, after a blank line start each item with any number, a period, and a space:

1. Balloons
7. Kites
4. Poles

Will display as:

  1. Balloons
  2. Kites
  3. Poles

To override automatic renumbering and list-making, add a backslash \ between the number and the period:

1\. Balloons
7\. Kites
4\. Poles

Will display as:

1. Balloons 7. Kites 4. Poles

To indent a line, indent it at least four spaces for each indent

  1. Mapping tools
    1. Balloons
    2. Kites
    3. Poles
  2. Spectral tools
    1. Spectrometer
    2. Infragram


To enter short (single line) examples of code (html, markdown, Javascript, etc) so that it will not be interpreted, begin and end the text with backtick quotes (`) (on an American keyboard, that's on the key with the tilde ~; on a British keyboard it's usually in the top left-hand corner of the keyboard, with the |):


To enter larger blocks of code, indent each line 4 spaces.

Buttons and other HTML

See many examples of buttons on this post or stick an "edit this wiki page" button in line by simply adding edit in square brackets.

For example, the code below would create this button Follow mine reclamation



To create this:


...use this type of markdown where cells are separated by pipes and rows are separated by carriage returns:





Power tags

Power tags are an advanced feature which can add extra functions and layout options to your wiki pages (and sometimes research notes).


Foldaways allow authors to hide sections of text in a kind of "accordion fold" and provide a link to reveal the hidden content. To use them, enclose your text between [fold :FOO] and [unfold ] tags, where FOO is the text to use for the reveal link. In this example, remove the spaces after "fold" and "unfold" to make this work -- I inserted it to stop the foldaway from working. For example, once you remove the spaces after "fold" and "unfold":

Hello world!

[fold :Show more text]

Hello, hidden world!

[unfold ]

will display as:

Hello world!

Hello, hidden world!

Alert Flags

  • Green alert flag: alert alert-success
  • Blue alert flag: alert alert-info
  • Red alert flag: alert alert-danger

For example, to display the green alert flag below, use the code:


Learn more about the new Spectral Workbench 2.

To display the red alert bar below, use this code:


testing new red bar in "alert-danger" for Bootstrap v4

Read more about using colored alert bars at:

...this is a wiki... help flesh this out!

Edit this page to help complete it!