Discourse Cheat Sheet

This post is a ‘how-to’ or a ‘cheat sheet’ which explains how to use Discourse and execute basic functions.

My No. 1 Tip for new Discourse users

There are SO many new things to learn and remember when finding your way around a new platform for the first time. You will read many documents containing helpful information and you’ll probably want to refer back to them at some stage. So that you can find them easily, click on the bookmark button at the bottom of a topic and that will add that topic to your bookmarks page.

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You can review your list of bookmarks by clicking your profile image on the top right and choosing bookmarks.


Posts in Discourse are formatted using Markdown. When you create a post, you will see the raw markdown on the left and a preview on the right. Here is a full Markdown cheat sheet. 231

To get back to the home page

Clicking the site icon at the top left will take you back to the home page no matter where you are.

To reply with a quote

To do a reply with quote, highlight the text you want to quote and a pop-up will appear saying "quote reply. Click it and that text will be copied to a new post. To reply to multiple posts in the same thread, repeat the process again until you get all your quotes.

Reply as new topic

Sometimes a topic may be closed, but you want to add to the conversation. Or you may want to start a new discussion based on an existing one.

In this case, go any post in the old topic and click on the timestamp.

Then click on which will enable you to create a new topic that references the old one.

To create a signature

You can’t. This might seem like a disappointing step back to some people accustomed to traditional forum software, but we take the view that forum signatures have the undeserved reputation among the SEO crowd of being powerful and beneficial back links. They aren’t. In fact, many sites set them as no-follow, but that doesn’t deter spammers from signing up just to abuse signature rights.

As an alternative, we recommend that you fill out your profile and link to your site there. If people are genuinely interested in what you do (which they will be if you are an active and valuable contributor) they will check out your profile, and ta-da! There’s your link — and you’ll earn a shiny profile badge, to boot.

Inserting an image

Once you reach Trust Level 1 you will be able to insert images using:

drag & drop (it even works for multiple images at once )
the upload button in the composer toolbar (keyboard shortcut: CTRL+G)
a link to the image (on a line by itself)
copy & paste (Chrome only)

Creating a poll

To create typical poll surround a list with [poll] and [/poll]

- option one
- option two
- option three


* option one
* option two
* option three

or, for numbered options—

1. option one
2. option two
3. option three

This creates the following result:

You can also make a multiple choice poll, you simply add type=multiple (do not put quotes around multiple) to the poll tag.

[poll type=multiple]
- option one
- option two
- option three

You can also use * or numbers for your options, like you could with a regular poll.

Multiple polls create the following result:

You can also set the minimum and maximum options a user can select by using min=X and max=Y

[poll type=multiple min=1 max=2]
1. option one
2. option two
3. option three

Which produces the following:

You can also do a Rating/Number poll. So if you wanted to ask people to rank something from 1 to 10, you can do that using

[poll type=number min=1 max=10][/poll]

(note: this option does not require you to make a list)

The following is what will be generated:

You can also have it increment the numbers in steps using step=X

[poll type=number min=1 max=10 step=2][/poll]

Which produces:

Last but not least you can put multiple polls within a single topic by adding the name=poll_name parameter.

[poll name="poll_example_1"]
1. option one
2. option two
3. option three

[poll name="poll_example_3" type=multiple min=1 max=2]
1. option one
2. option two
3. option three

[poll name="poll_example_5" type=number min=1 max=10 step=2][/poll]


Search uses the Postgresql database and has a few quirks.

Things to note:

  1. The “preferred results” are affected by what page you’re on when you use Search.
    • If you are on a Category page Search will prefer results from that Category
    • If you are on a member’s Profile page Search will prefer results from that member
  2. The Search feature uses auto-suggest and depending on what’s entered may show results for Topics, Categories, or Users
  3. If a phrase is enclosed in quotes, searches for a word in the phrase will not find it.
    eg: A search for flagged will not return a post with “flagged by users” in it because all words between the quotation marks are treated as though they were a single word.
  4. Search is case-insensitive.

Subscribing to categories and topics

Some key definitions to understand are:

Watching - You will be notified of every new post in the topic. The count of unread and new posts will also appear next to the topic’s listing.

Tracking - You will be notified only if someone mentions your @name or replies to your post. The count of unread and new posts will also appear next to the topic’s listing.

Regular - You will be notified only if someone mentions your @name or replies to your post.

Muted - You will never be notified of anything about this topic, and it will not appear on your unread tab.

To subscribe to a Category (or forum) go to your preferences (via your Profile page) and scroll to the bottom of the page. You can add Categories by beginning to type and then selecting from the dropdown.

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To subscribe to a Topic (or thread) go to the topic in question and scroll to the bottom. Just above the Suggested Topics table is a notifications drop-down, from which you select the appropriate option.

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Keyboard navigation

The Keyboard Shortcut menu can be accessed by ?

Known keyboard issues
p and = open the Profile and “Hamburger” menus respectively, but if you have interacted with the page in any way - even simple j/k navigation - focus will not move to the open menu without refreshing the page.

The Profile and “Hamburger” drop-down menus can only be navigated by tabbing; j/k and up/down arrow keys do not work.

j/k navigation does not work on the Categories page, or Profile pages (except for Messages).

Smilies / Emoticons / Emoji

Discourse uses the Emoji set of emoticons. Hover over the one you want to see its code. Each begins and ends with a colon, with the name between (no spaces). So, for example, if you want to add a smiley face to your post :smiley: , you can just type :smiley: or use the emoji picker in the composer window(as shown below).

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