New Text Formatting in WhatsApp Update

If you’re a WhatsApp user — and the chances are high since more than one billion people open the app each month — you might be interested to know that the chat app just added some neat new formatting options. Now you can use bolditalics and strikethrough  in your messages with friends and family.

These tricks, a rare update that might actually (slightly) change how people use WhatsApp, are pretty easy to master:

  • For bold: add an asterisk (*) before and after the specifics words : e.g. *hello*
  • For italics: add an underscore (_) before and after the specifics words: e.g. _hello_
  • For strikethrough: add a tilde (~) before and after the specifics words: e.g. ~hello~
These new stylings can also be entered in the WhatsApp web client — which launched last year— but the formatting will only show up in the app-based version of chats.
WhatsApp hasn’t introduced too many new features since its launch, aside from voice calls, with the team preferring to keep things simple. That’s quite unlike other messaging apps, which have added payments, bots, games, official accounts, stickers and many more features to provide increased functionality.
But we might be about to see the first move to turn the WhatsApp messaging app into a platform. Facebook, which acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion two years ago, recently revealed plans to enable business accounts inside the app, thereby allowing users to connect with companies that they want to communicate with via the service. That hasn’t happened yet, but it could become a reality very soon — perhaps at Facebook’s upcoming F8 conference.
Either way, messaging is sure to be a big part of F8, with Facebook likely to unveil its bot initiative for Messenger, the other blockbuster app that the social network giant owns. At this point though, it looks like WhatsApp will continue to remain the more basic chat app, with Messenger likely to become a more sophisticated and feature-rich service in a similar way to popular messaging apps in Asia like China’s WeChat or Line in Japan.

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