From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Filename extension .etx
Developed by Ian Feldman
Initial release 1992; 23 years ago (1992)
Type of format Markup language

Setext is a lightweight markup language used to format plain text documents such as e-newsletters, Usenet postings, and e-mails. In contrast to some other markup languages (such as HTML), the markup is easily readable without any parsing or special software.

Setext was first introduced in 1992 by Ian Feldman for use in the TidBITS electronic newsletter.


Setext allows viewing of marked-up documents without special viewing software. To prevent errors, most large setext publications are created using a markup language such as HTML or SGML and then converted. The setext document can then be distributed without the need for the recipient to use a html email or web viewer.

Setext tags[edit]

The following are the most common setext tags.[1]

Name setext pattern Example Comments
title-tt Title
This is a long title
A distinct title identified by the text, maximum one per setext.

Must start at the beginning of the line.

subhead-tt Subhead
Subheading One
A distinct subheading identified by the text, zero or more per text.

Must start at beginning of line. See note in title-tt about handling.

indent-tt 66-char lines indented by 2 spaces
  First paragraph...
  ...more of paragraph.
  [blank line]
  Next paragraph...
Lines undented and unfolded (longer lines are generally tolerated by most parsers).

This is primary body text, generally plain undented in emails, etc. currently.

bold-tt **[multi]word** This is **very important**... One or more bold words, generally *word* or **word** in emails
italic-tt ~word~ This is an ~italic~ word. Single italicized word; unclear why multi-word form not available.

Multi-word form of ~first~second~third~ supported by setext2latex.

underline-tt [_multi]_word_ This is _underlined_text_. Display in a (user) selected style, preferably with underlining--except in browsers where underlining corresponds to hot links.

One or more underlined words

hot-tt [multi_]word_ This is a hot_word_.
include-tt >[space][text] > This is quoted text... > ...more... Displayed in a user selected style, preferably monospaced with the leading ">"
bullet-tt *[space][text] * Item 1 that is... ...really long * Item 2 Displayed in bullet or list format.

Standalone Setext files[edit]

By default all properly setext-ized files will have an ".etx" or ".ETX" suffix. This stands for an "emailable/enhanced text",

See also[edit]

Other lightweight markup languages (inspired by Setext):


External links[edit]