Extension for markdown-it to support additional numbering types for ordered lists

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import markdownItFancyLists from '';


NPM version


Plugin for the markdown-it markdown parser.

Uses unofficial markdown syntax based on the syntax supported by Pandoc. See the section Syntax below for details.


This library can be installed from the NPM package registry. Using NPM:

npm install markdown-it-fancy-lists

or Yarn

yarn add markdown-it-fancy-lists


ES module:

import * as MarkdownIt from "markdown-it";
import { markdownItFancyListPlugin } from "markdown-it-fancy-lists";

const parser = new MarkdownIt("default");
parser.render(/* markdown string */);


const MarkdownIt = require('markdown-it');
const markdownItFancyListPlugin = require("markdown-it-fancy-lists").markdownItFancyListPlugin;

const parser = new MarkdownIt("default");
parser.render(/* markdown string */);


The supported markdown syntax is based on the one used by Pandoc.

A simple example:

i. foo
ii. bar
iii. baz

The will yield HTML output like:

<ol type="i">

A more complex example:

c. charlie
#. delta
   iv) subfour
   #) subfive
   #) subsix
#. echo

A short description of the syntactical rules:

  • Apart from numbers, also letters (uppercase or lowercase) and Roman numerals (uppercase or lowercase) can be used to number ordered list items. Like lists marked with numbers, they need to be followed by a single right-parenthesis or period.
  • Changing list marker types (also between uppercase and lowercase, or the symbol after the 'number') starts a new list.
  • The numeral of the first item determines the numbering of the list. If the first item is numbered "b", the next item will be numbered "c", even if it is marked "z" in the source. This corresponds to the normal markdown-it behavior for numeric lists, and essentially also implements Pandoc's startnum extension.
  • If the first list item is numbered "I" or "i", the list is considered to be numbered using Roman numerals, starting at 1. If the list starts with another single letter that could be interpreted as a Roman numeral, the list is numbered using letters: a first item marked with "C." uses uppercase letters starting at 3, not Roman numerals starting a 100.
  • In subsequent list items, such symbols can be used without any ambiguity: in "B.", "C.", "D." the "C" is the letter "C"; in "IC.", "C.", "CI." the "C" is a Roman 100.
  • A "#" may be used in place of any numeral to continue a list. If the first item in a list is marked with "#", that list is numbered "1", "2", "3", etc.
  • A list marker consisting of a single uppercase letter followed by a period (including Roman numerals like "I." or "V.") needs to be followed by at least two spaces (rationale).

All of the above are entirely compatible with how Pandoc works. There are two small differences with Pandoc's syntax:

  • This plugin does not support list numbers enclosed in parentheses, as the Commonmark spec does not support these either for lists numbered with Arabic numerals.
  • Pandoc does not allow any list to interrupt a paragraph. In the spirit of the Commonmark spec (which allows only lists starting with 1 to interrupt a paragraph), this plugins allows lists that start with "A", "a", "I" or "i" (i.e. all 'first numerals') to interrupt a paragraph. The same holds for the "#" generic numbered list item marker.


Options can be provided as a second argument when registering the plugin:

parser.use(markdownItFancyListPlugin, {
    /* options */

Supported configuration options:

  • allowOrdinal - Whether to allow an ordinal indicator (º) after the numeral, as occurs in e.g. legal documents (default: false). If this option is enabled, input like

    1º. foo
    2º. bar
    3º. baz

    will be converted to

    <ol class="ordinal">

    You will need custom CSS to re-insert the ordinal indicator into the displayed output based on the ordinal class.

    Because the ordinal indicator is commonly confused with other characters like the degree symbol, these characters are tolerated and considered equivalent to the ordinal indicator.


This project adheres to Semantic Versioning.


Contributions to this project are more than welcome. When reporting an issue, please include the input to reproduce the issue, along with the expected output. When submitting a PR, please include tests with your changes.


This project is released under the MIT license.