How to Use Bold, Italics and Strikethrough in WhatsApp Messages

The trick to sending formatted text in WhatsApp

What To Know

  • Select the text, then use the formatting menu to strikethrough, bold, italicize, etc.
  • Special characters have the same effect (e.g., ~text~ will do a strikethrough).
  • You can mix them to italicize, strikethrough, and bold simultaneously.

This article explains how to format your WhatsApp messages so that you can bold, italicize, strikethrough, or monospace the text. You can do this from the mobile app, desktop program, and WhatsApp Web.

How to Format Text in WhatsApp

Most messaging apps just let you send plain text, nothing fancy. WhatsApp is an exception in that you can format the text before you send it. It supports bold, italic, strikethrough, and monospace.

There are two ways: use your phone's built-in functionality to select Bold, Strikethrough, etc., or type special characters around the text you want to be formatted.

Visual Editor

This method is easy. No cheat codes to remember!

  1. Tap-and-hold (Android) or double-tap (iOS) a word you've typed to reveal a formatting menu. To select more than one word, use the buttons on either side of the selection to expand it.

  2. On Android, tap one of the formatting options: Bold, Italic, Strikethrough, or Monospace. If you don't see all of them, select the three-dotted button on the right.

    On iOS and iPadOS, choose BIU and then Bold, Italic, Strikethrough, or Monospace.

    WhatsApp formatting bar on Android.

    Feel free to use bold, italic, and strikethrough together on the same word. Just make the selection again and repeat the action to overlap the formatting.

  3. If you're using WhatsApp from a computer, you won't see the effect until you send the message. Mobile users will see the text change immediately.

Formatting Shortcut

The manual method is a little faster if you're a quick typer or if you need to apply the format to a large set of text. But, you'll have to memorize the formatting rules.

The way it works is by typing a special character or set of characters before and after the word(s) you want to format. For example, you can strikethrough WhatsApp text by surrounding it with a tilde, such as ~words~ or ~something like this~.

Here's the whole list (tip: some of these work in the Facebook Messenger app, too):

WhatsApp Formatting Rules
Format What to Type Example
Italic Underscore _text_
Bold Asterisk *text*
Strikethrough Tilde ~text~
Monospace Backticks ```text```

The tilde and backtick are usually next to each other on a phone's keyboard. If you're using WhatsApp from a computer, the two are in the same key on US keyboards; hold Shift while pressing it to type a tilde.

Italic, bold, and strikethrough text in WhatsApp on Android.

To double-up on these styles, make sure the special characters are in the correct place. It's easy to mistype the order and wind up with a different look than you intended. One way to get this right is to mirror the characters on either end.

Here are some examples:

  • *_italic and bold_*
  • ~*bold and strikethrough*~
  • _~strikethrough and italic~_
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