How to Format Text in Youtube Comments

Lately, I have been seeing comments on Youtube that were written using some basic text formatting. In these comments, text was bold or italic in some places. Naturally, I became curious about how to achieve the same result. Like everyone else I tried to use the HTML tags at first, but it did not work. It turns out that Youtube comments follow the same guidelines as many other social networking apps or services. You can make your text bold, italic or strike-through using very simple methods.

In order to make the text bold in your Youtube comments, you have to enclose it inside a pair of asterisks. For example, if you type *Hello* in the comment it will become Hello. Similarly, you can enclose text inside a pair of underscores to make it italic or inside a pair of dashes (also called hyphens) to make it strike-through. For example, _Hello_ will turn into Hello and -Hello- will turn into Hello.

Youtube Comments

And of course, you can combine all of these text effects together in the Youtube comments to get the desired affects. For example, if you want the text to be both italic and bold, then you have to enclose the text inside asterisks as well as underscores. But these asterisks, underscores or hyphens should be used in the proper manner. For example, *-Hello-* will produce Hello but *-Hello*- will not show any desired effect because the asterisk is placed before the hyphen pair.

Youtube Comments

To do things correctly, first apply one effect and then on top of that effect, you can use another one. The order in which you apply these effects does not really matter, for example, *_Hello_* and _*Hello*_ both will produce the same effect: Hello . If you overlap these, then none of the desired effects will be visible.

Youtube Comments

Conclusion: Youtube comments allow a little text formatting and all it takes is appropriately placing asterisks, underscores and dashes in your comment. You can even combine these to get the desired effect in your Youtube comments.


  1. How do you tag/link to someone in the comments section on youtube? I just tried with the @ and then the name of the channel, to ask the channel maker a question and link it to them, but it doesn’t show up as blue highlighted text, when the comment is saved, just normal black text.

    That particular youtube channel answers people’s questions in videos, and has the name of the channel with an @ in front, over the video, indicating that’s where to direct questions to, but it doesn’t seem to work

    I don’t understand youtube!

    1. They might want you to leave a question on their Instagram or Twitter account, so they can then answer them in a Youtube video. I’ve seen several videos like that.

  2. A dash and a hyphen are two different things. A dash is essentially twice as long as a hyphen when typesetting or writing and is emulated on a computer keyboard by typing two hyphens.

  3. So how does one indent paragraphs in YouTube comments? I want to cite a quote, but format it like a block quotation, but every time I use the tab key it doesn’t work OR if I try to use the space bar to form a block quotation when I press publish it changes the block quote and mixes it all up so it’s all over the place 🙁

  4. *How do I put a comma after bold text without a space?* ,

    If the , is right next to the text then it is not in bold but displays the asterisks.

  5. Greetings,

    Is there a way to negate the auto-formatting?

    For example, what if I want my comment to literally be read as:

    In the above example, I want the comment to appear exactly as typed. I want it to show the * characters on both sides of hello.
    Can this be done?

      1. I can’t help you with nothing? LOL. We’re in the same boat. In youtube comments, Im trying to format like: 1. 2. 3. below each other, you know. I saw this video on youtube, this guy who could not speak English. did this: *Good* then under that, _to_ and under that -know-. then he hit save and it was underneath each other. Remarkable. Didn’t work for me though. SOB.

    1. Any formatting that isn’t deliminated by whitespace doesn’t happen and just shows the formatting characters.

      ” *hello* ” will show as bold, but
      ” *hello*.” will show as *hello*

      A whitespace is any character that isn’t visible, like spaces, tabs and carriage returns. So, writing “*hello* ” after a returned sentence will show show as bold. Even if there is nothing before this “*hello* ” it’ll still show as bold because, for the purposes of formatting, the default nature of a character test before the first character and after the last character is considered to be a whitespace. This is so formatting works on the first and last words.

  6. When I write a YouTube comment and start a new line the previous line I wrote becomes invisible and i have to scroll up to see it. Then I can’t see the line i was just on. I used to be able to see everything I typed in the comment section. What’s happened and how do I change it?

  7. Thanks Trisha for the info.
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to make breaks in my posts – such as make a new paragraph. Every time I hit enter to start a new paragraph it doesn’t work after you save your comment. No matter how many times I go back and edit it by entering a couple of times to break up my sentences it still comes out with all the sentences running together – No paragraph breaks.

    Is there a formatting code for making paragraph breaks in Youtube comments?

    1. What kind of web browser or app are you using? I have tested in all the new browsers, simply pressing Enter starts a new paragraph.

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