WhatsApp Adds Text Formatting Options, Tests Profile Picture Protection

WhatsApp rolled out four new text formatting options globally on Wednesday. These new options join the existing bold, italic, strikethrough, and monospace formatting options. The new range of text tools will allow users to send messages in bulleted points, and numbered lists, as well as two different styles for quotes. The new markdown-style syntax is available on WhatsApp for Android, iOS, Web, and Mac. Alongside, the instant messaging platform is also reportedly testing a new feature to protect users from malicious entities taking screenshots of profile pictures.

Gadgets 360 staff members were able to test the new formatting options on WhatsApp for Android version and the latest version of WhatsApp Web. The formatted text appears visually clean and adding the formatting is simple. In order to use the bulleted list, users can add a hyphen symbol ( – ) at the start of a new line. Once space is added, it automatically converts into a bullet point. Moving to the next line adds another bullet point, and to stop it, just tapping on the backspace is enough.

Numbered lists are easier to use — just type the number one (1) at the beginning of the line, followed by a period ( . ) and hit space to start a numbered list. The list will not be triggered if any number other than one is used, or the chain is broken by adding a non-numbered sentence. The third formatting option is block quotes, which adds the pipe symbol ( | ) before a sentence to highlight it. To use it, simply add the ‘greater than’ symbol ( > ) and add space to trigger it.

Finally, the last quote option is the inline quote that shows a message inside a greyed-out bubble. To use this formatting option in WhatsApp, add the backtick symbol ( ` ) before and after a sentence, without adding any space in between. This will automatically trigger the inline quote formatting. These options have been rolled out globally and should reach all users in the coming days.

On the other hand, WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo spotted the service is working on a feature that will protect users’ profile pictures from unauthorised screenshots by others. The feature was spotted in the Android beta build version Once it is enabled, others will see a black screen when attempting to take a screenshot, with a message that says, “Can’t take a screenshot due to app restrictions.” This is intended to add another layer to safeguard user privacy on the platform. A similar feature is available on the Facebook app for smartphones, where a user can turn on the Profile Picture Guard option within the profile picture window — once activated, other users cannot take a screenshot of the profile page or photo.

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