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I find myself frequently highlighting and formatting portions of text cells in a Mathematica notebook. Bold and Italic typesetting is easy to handle but I would like to use backticks to provide formatting similar to the SE editor or perhaps use underscores and asterisks to auto-format in other ways (say for example, text within ** here ** would be red and text within _ here _ would be highlighted yellow.

Is it possible to customize a stylesheet to afford this type of formatting?

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This answer has a simple markdown bold/italic/bolditalic -> mma converter. A simple solution would be to have a button that, when pressed, reads all the text cells in the current notebook and applies this function on the contents. You can extend this with other rules. –  rm -rf Oct 8 '13 at 0:18
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