markdown slack alternative

The Magic of Mattermost Markdown

We’re happy to announce that Mattermost is adopting Markdown for text rendering. This lets Mattermost users communicate with greater expression and precision through font formatting, emoji, headings, bullet points, tables and many other options.

As an open source Slack-alternative, we get a lot of feature requests for functionality that Slack doesn’t provide, and Markdown was high on the list.

Since Mattermost ships in the GitLab omnibus installer (as “GitLab Mattermost“, an MIT licensed binary configured with GitLab SSO), our aim was to be compatible with GitLab Flavored Markdown and its special references tailored for software collaboration.

Example: Sending richly formatted messages in Mattermost using GitLab Flavored Markdown

We’re hugely thankful to the GitLab and Mattermost communities for convincing us to build this, as we love the new functionality and it’s hard to imaging not having it.

For example, before this feature, if you wanted to have shortcuts in channel headers you’d need to use raw URLs–and a pop-over to see all the links:

Now we can turn long URLs into concise links using simple formatting:

[Repo]( | [Forum]( | [Feature Requests]( | [Tickets](

Which renders neatly in your channel header:

You can also use image icons in place of words to create shortcut buttons–and this works on dynamic images as well, like build status indicators from systems like Travis CI:

[![Repo](]( | [![Forum](]( | [![Feature Requests](]( | [![Tickets](]( | [![Build Status](](

Here’s how the above renders in your header:

As a fun bonus feature, use “#” to show emoji in different heading sizes:

##### :sheep: 
#### :sheep: 
### :sheep: 
## :sheep: 
# :sheep:

Which renders as:


Markdown is incredibly compact and powerful, and we’re looking forward to all the creative uses from the community.

Below is an overview of all that it can do today–documentation written in Markdown, describing Markdown, rendered in Markdown in a Mattermost channel:

ScreenClip [437]
ScreenClip [438]
ScreenClip [439]

What’s Next on the Mattermost Markdown Journey

There’s still work to be done to complete the full GitLab Flavored Markdown specification. Some of it is formatting, like adding syntax highlighting code from various programming languages, and some elements like GitLab Special References require deeper API integration between GitLab and Mattermost, and that’s planned as well.

Like what you see? Star us on GitHub!

Thanks for your interest in Mattermost and what we’re building. We look forward to your ideas, comments, and questions. You can reach us at:


Ian Tien is CEO and co-founder of Mattermost, Inc., an open source platform for secure collaboration across the entire software development lifecycle. Hundreds of thousands of developers around the globe trust Mattermost to increase their productivity by bringing together team communication, task and project management, and workflow orchestration into a unified platform for agile software development.