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Development status Active
Operating system Cross-platform
Type message board

BBCode or Bulletin Board Code is a lightweight markup language used to format posts in many message boards. The available tags are usually indicated by square brackets ([ ]) surrounding a keyword, and they are parsed by the message board system before being translated into a markup language that web browsers understand—usually HTML or XHTML.[1]

BBCode was introduced in 1998 by the messageboard software Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) implemented in Perl. In 2000 BBCode was used in PhpBB - an internet forum system written in PHP.


BBCode Example HTML / CSS Output
[b]bolded text[/b]
<b>bolded text</b>
<strong>bolded text</strong>
<span style="font-weight: bold;">bolded text</span>
bolded text
[i]italicized text[/i]
<i>italicized text</i>
<em>italicized text</em>
<span style="font-style: italic;">italicized text</span>
italicized text
[u]underlined text[/u]
<u>underlined text</u>
<ins>underlined text</ins>
<span style="text-decoration: underline;">underlined text</span>
underlined text
[s]strikethrough text[/s]
<s>strikethrough text</s>
<del>strikethrough text</del>
<span style="text-decoration: line-through;">strikethrough text</span>
strikethrough text
<a href=""></a>
<a href="">Example</a>
<img src="" alt="" />
[quote="author"]quoted text[/quote]

(including optional author)
<blockquote><p>quoted text</p></blockquote>

(usually implemented in more advanced ways)
To quote:

quoted text

[code]monospaced text[/code]
<pre>monospaced text</pre>
monospaced text
[style size="15px"]Large Text[/style]

(The unit of measurement varies with each BBCode variant and could represent pixels, points, or relative HTML sizes.)
<span style="font-size:15px">Large Text</span>


<font size="(+,-)x">Different text-size</font> (you can set + or - and x is a number representing pixels
Large Text
[style color="red"]Red Text[/style]

[style color=#FF0000]Red Text[/style]

[color=#FF0000]Red Text[/color]

(Both HTML color names and hexadecimal color values are generally supported, although on some boards, you must omit the # from selecting a hexadecimal color.)
<span style="color:#FF0000;">Red Text</span>


<font color="red">Red Text</font>, <span style="color:#FF0000;">Red Text</span>


<span style="color:red;">Red Text</span>


<span style="color:red;">Red Text</span>

this would be another way to use the [img]url_img[/img] and must be pre-configured for the forum administrator
(And other emoticons, depending on the variant. Most BBCodes do not enclose emoticons in square brackets, leading to frequent accidental usage)

<img src="Face-smile.svg" alt=":-)">

(Specific image and size vary)

[*]Entry 1
[*]Entry 2

Some message boards do not need the square brackets around the markers, e.g.:

*Entry 1
*Entry 2


(many variants for li and /li, list types (unordered and ordered, with different bullets or counter formats), etc.)

<ul><li>Entry 1</li><li>Entry 2</li></ul>
  • Entry 1
  • Entry 2
  [td]table 1[/td]
  [td]table 2[/td]
  [td]table 3[/td]
  [td]table 4[/td]

(some variants for thead, rules, etc.)

<table><tr><td>table 1</td><td>table 2</td></tr><tr><td>table 3</td><td>table 4</td></tr></table>
table 1 table 2
table 3 table 4



BBCode is typically implemented by applying a series of regular expression string-replace operations upon the input. Because regular expressions are limited in analyzing the structure of text input, this has the artifact that any non-hierarchical BBCode input will be transformed into invalid non-hierarchical HTML without error.

Applying traditional parsing techniques is made difficult by ambiguities in the markup, such as in [quote=[b]text[/b][/quote], where the input can either be interpreted as "text" quoted from someone called "[b", or the bolded text "text" surrounded by "[quote=" and "[/quote]", i.e. "[quote=text[/quote]".


  1. ^ "Why modern forums are switching from HTML to BBCode". Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  2. ^ BOINC Project Forums et al.