Rendering of Markdown and LaTex equations in EML

April 30, 2021

Susanne Grossman-Clarke


The EDI Data Portal now supports the provisional rendering of Markdown and LaTex equations in most TextType elements of the Ecological Metadata Language (e.g., “abstract”, “intellectualRights”, and the method step “description”). EDI recently updated these two features on the Data Portal’s Data Package Metadata web page through the use of “showdown.js” ( for Markdown and “MathJax.js” ( for LaTex formatted math equations. Markdown provides a convenient way to add structural highlights to text elements, including the use of different heading styles, bold and italicized text, bulleted and numbered lists, and much more. The “showdown.js” package supports most of the commonly used GitHub flavored Markdown ( syntax and is processed by the client’s web browser. For example, the following snippet from the EDI Data Portal shows both a Markdown heading style and a bulleted list from a rendered EML document:

Similarly, “MathJax.js” renders LaTex equations into beautifully formatted math glyphs, also by the web browser. Online equation editors such as are an easy way to create LaTex equations. Look for our instructional video on the EDI YouTube channel for a demonstration on how to create and add equations to your EML. MathJax documentation is available at An example of a MathJax rendered equation, also from the EDI Data Portal, follows:

At this time, however, the EDI Data Portal does not support LaTex equations that are embedded within a Markdown element. In addition, the Markdown content in the element must be fully left-justified for expected results. Examples of Markdown and LaTex equations in action may be found on the EDI Data Portal in the methods and protocols section of the full metadata web pages at and, respectively. These new displays are a “work-in-progress” – particularly working with markdown. EDI welcomes feedback on these features of the EDI Data Portal.