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Is it possible to format letters inside words?

For example, making the first letter in a word bold. When I try this with **b**old, I get

*b*old

As you can see, it's italicized, but not bold. ***b***old gives

*b*old

Is it possible to format letters inside words without extra asterisks?

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This was an issue that was fixed some time around April 2014. See balpha's answer (he is an SE dev) for more information.

Now you can make only the first letter bold (**b**old), using just asterisks. (Fun fact if you just click the edit button on your question you will see the live markdown now displays correctly.)

However the triple asterisks (***b***old) wont work. you have to use **_b_**old which will render bold and italics. However if you want an entire word bold and italics you can use the three asterisks.

Another thing that has changed is underscores in a word are completely ignored. Here_is_an_example_
Yet the same thing with asterisks will display like this: Hereisanexample

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  • $\begingroup$ I wonder why it only appears in my question when editing.. Did they preserve the old behavior for posts written before a certain date? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3 Mod
    Aug 8 '16 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ well kind of. The html is actually stored in the database, so if the post is not updated (edited) then the old markdown rendering will stay. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Aug 8 '16 at 2:29
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Remember SE supports a strict subset of html. If markdown fails or is behaving awry, you can always fall back to this.

<strong><em>b</em></strong>old gives bold.

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