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How to Format Your WhatsApp Messages

Sometimes you want to add a little emphasis to certain words in your messages. If you’re a WhatsApp user, you can add four types of emphasis, either inline or from a menu.

The types of formatting you can apply in a WhatsApp message are bold, italics, strikethrough, and monospacing. To manually apply the formatting, you need to place a particular punctuation mark on either side of a word (or series of words):

  • Bold: Place an asterisk on either side (*bold*).
  • Italicize: Place an underscore on either side (_italic_).
  • Strikethrough: Place a tilde on either side (~strikethrough~).
  • Monospace: Place three back ticks on either side (```monospace```).

When you send your message, the text will be displayed with the chosen formatting.

Four example messages showing the different formatting.

If you’re not big on typing—especially if you want to use monospace (the back tick is often hidden away on smartphone keyboards)—you can also use the built-in formatting menu.

Long press the word you want to format and the menu will appear. In the case of Android, the Bold option will already be visible. To access the other formatting options, tap the three dots on the right side of the menu or the BIU option on the menu for iPhone.

The long press menu showing the Bold option and the 3 dots.

This will display the other formatting options for you to choose from.

The secondary menu with the other formatting options highlighted.

Choose your desired formatting option—we’re going to pick monospace—and the relevant punctuation marks will be added automatically.

A draft message with the monospace punctuation marks displayed.

Tap the send button that looks like an arrow, and your message will be sent with the formatting applied.

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Additionally, you can add multiple formats to messages by using any combination of bold, italic, and strikethrough.

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An example message showing words with both 2 and 3 concurrent types of formatting.

The one caveat is monospace. This limitation applies because the formatting option allows you to include asterisks, underscores, or tildes in a message without them changing the look of the text.

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