Part 6 of Markdown for Bloggers – Software and Many Other Resources
This list is far from exhaustive, but should be more than enough to get you started in using and learning about Markdown. Updated with additional resources, April 2, 2015.
Macintosh and iOS applications
- Markable (Mac) includes a side-by-side editor with Markdown to HTML and HTML to Markdown conversion, and works with Evernote, Dropbox, and Tumbler. There’s also an online tool.
- MultiMarkdown Composer (Mac) supports (as the name suggests) MultiMarkdown, which adds additional features.
- MultiMarkdown (Mac, Windows) offers advanced Markdown features, such as footnotes, tables, citations and bibliographies, definition lists, document metadata and more. Exports to text, HTML, LaTex, OpenDocument (LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice), and OPML (a format for outlines and mindmaps), and coordinates with a number of Mac and iOS tools, including Scrivener.
- iA Writer (Mac, iOS, Android) an elegantly simple editor, with Dropbox and iCloud sync; and Word import and export.
- Mou (Mac) although still in beta, Mou claims to be an editor for developers with lots of high-end features, including color marking for Markdown code. You can also use built-in CSS themes or customize your own. Also supports Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Post direct to Scriptogr.am or Tumblr. Free while in beta.
- Byword 2 (Mac, iOS) Another clean-looking editor that syncs with iCloud and Dropbox; export to HTML, PDF, RTF, or publish directly to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogr.am blogs and Evernote.
- Macchiato (Mac) has basic text and Markdown editing with gorgeous background images.
- Writing Kit (iPad) is a writing and Markdown app for the iPad with lots of features, including links to Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Posterous, Tumblr, Twitter and reference and research tools.
- Textilus (iPad) is a word processor and writing tool that allows you to preview and create Markdown and HTML code, as well as PDF, RTF, edit Word files and syncing with iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and Scrivener Syncing, Evernote posting, and iTunes file sharing.
- Writeup (iOS) is a good, clean editor for iPad and iPhone with Markdown preview and translation. Requires a Dropbox account.
- Textastic (iPad, iPhone, Mac) is my favorite text / Markdown app for the iPad. It’s geared a bit more to programmers than to writers, but Textastic’s on-screen iPad keyboard allows me to access most keys without switching to another keypad, which speeds up my writing. (It’s easier viewed than described.)
- Marked 2 (Mac) is a Markdown editor which supports Scrivener, MarsEdit, Fountain, CriticMarkup for collaboration, Mathjax, and VoodooPad with support for book formats, PDFs, Word file creation, and programming tools. Free trial, then $15.
- See also Texts and Haroopad below, under Windows, and Sublime Text under Linux.
For a long time it seemed that Windows Markdown fans were being neglected by programmers. This is beginning to change, although Mac users probably still have some better choices.
- MarkdownPad 2 (Windows) is arguably the best of the tools for Windows. It’s new version is a big improvement over what it offered last summer. There is a paid Pro version for extra features, including PDF creation, auto save, auto update, and other advanced features for $15.
- MdCharm (Windows) is an attractive, free Markdown Extra and MultiMarkdown editor that exports HTML, ODT (the LibreOffice / Apache OpenOffice word processing format), and PDFs! Unfortunately it appears that it is no longer being improved or supported. It works, however.
- WriteMonkey (Windows) is a zenware writing app that offers some support for Markdown. It’s a better writing tool than a Markdown editor, in my opinion.
- Aflava’s SmartDown (Windows) is a zenware writing and Markdown tool with spell checking, commenting, customizable look, and MultiMarkdown support, and a shortcut system called Snippets. Uniquely, it allows for outline-style folding and and code editing. It costs $20.
- Texts (Windows, Mac), is a basic word processor capable of translating text, Markdown, HTML, Word, and LaTex files into HTML, PDF, DOCX, Epub, HTML presentations, math typesetting and XeLatex. You need to also install, Pandoc (available free on the Texts website). Texts offers a free 30-day trial, but it’s still in beta (v. 0.22 when I tried) and I don’t like paying to become a beta tester. However, if you need to convert Markdown, HTML and other files to specific formats, especially ebooks, this could be an essential publishing tool.
- TrimWord (Windows 8 app) advertises itself as a word processor for people who don’t like word processors. The word “Markdown” is difficult to find in their website. But it has the dual screen interface of a Markdown editor with the ability to hide either side, select themes, and export the document to HTML or Markdown. It’s the first Windows 8 Markdown editor I’ve seen that might be worth working with. It’s free, although you can purchase additional themes. I have 2 problems with the app: 1) you cannot personalize any of the themes, and 2) this is a Windows 8 app and it doesn’t feel efficient to write and use in that environment.
- Write RT is a simple, full-screen Markdown editor for Windows 8. Free trial, then $2.99 (apparently a price reduction). Can be used as a zenware writing app, too.
- Haroopad beta (Windows 7 & 8, Mac, Linux) is a cross-platform Markdown editor that offers a choice of its own Haroopad style and some Github Flavored Markdown. It advertises being able to embed media files (Youtube, Twitter, Vimeo, Slideshare and Flickr, Instagram, Soundcloud and other files) into your Haroopad document. It currently exports to HTML and PDF, with projected tools to export to WordPress, Tumblr, MediaWiki, EPub, ReStructured Text, and RTF. It uses MathJax to create LaTeX math expressions. It also supports footnotes and columns. Haroopad also has a nice set of backgrounds and colors to customize your editing environment. A special feature is that you can load your blog’s CSS stylesheet into Haroopad so it can preview how it will look on your site! It’s only currently version 0.13.1, but it appears to be a stable program with lots of advanced features. It’s free, but you may get a little nag notice asking for a donation.
- There are a number of newer Windows 8 apps for available in the Windows Store, with names like Markdown Metro, Markdown Editor, Markdown Edit, #Markdown, MDown, Downwrite, MarkPad and Markdown Pad. Unfortunately, the Windows Store gives no technical info about the type of Markdown available in each app, nor does it explain their export options. My conclusion is that most of these are likely pretty but basic tools.
- See also Sublime Text under Linux and MultiMarkdown under Mac software.
- Remarkable (Linux) is an attractive looking, Linux only tool with preview, Github Markdown support, PDF and HTML export and customizable CSS.
- Sublime Text 2 and 3 (Mac, Windows, Linux) is more for programmers than writers. It’s a sophisticated text application with various plugins for creating Markdown. It’s probably more than most bloggers need, unless they are also programmers. It costs a hefty $70.
- ReText (Linux) is written in Python and can, for those who know how, be used on other platforms, too.
- See also iA Writer under Mac/iOS.
- Draft (Android) A simple text and Markdown editor with Dropbox support.
- Writebox (Android, Chrome, iOS, web browsers).
- Jotterpad is a full-featured text editor that supports CommonMark and preview. Also includes spelling, rhyming, thesaurus. (It may require a $5 in-app purchase to get Markdown and other features.)
These tools should work with any up-to-date browser:
- Markdown Dingus is the original online Markdown tool on Daring Fireball and it still works fine. I’ve used it many times. Outputs formatted text and HTML.
- Dillinger A reliable side-by-side editor (write on the left, preview on the right). Shares files with Dropbox, Github, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive; exports HTML, “Styled HTML,” and PDFs. Open source and free.
- Jon Combe’s Markdown Editor is another text to HTML converter with side-by-side or top-bottom editing/preview. It uses larger type helpful for late night writing or for the seeing impaired. Saves to text, HTML and can print. Simple, free and it works.
- Online Markdown Editor is a basic 2-column writing tool with no frills.
- Hashify Me is another Markdown editor, but with the emphasis on large, easy-to-read output and the ability to Tweet directly.
- StackEdit is an advanced editor (using Markdown Extra, Github Flavored Markdown and LaTeX math markup) that works through your browser, but can also be used offline with local documents. It offers document management, Google Drive and Dropbox synchronization, publication to Blogger, Dropbox, Gist, GitHub, Google Drive, Tumblr, WordPress and more with automatic updating. It offers advanced features (tables, definition lists, MathJax, diagrams, Table of Contents generation). It’s free, open source software that accepts donations. However, if you want PDF output, you need to become a sponsor for $5 / year. Definitely worth a look if you need the advanced features!
- Draft is a Markdown editor with version control and To Do list management, among other features. Exports to text, HTML, Word, Google Docs, PDF, Kindle, and ePub. Requires free registration. Draft allows you to invite an editor or co-worker to view and comment. You can then accept or reject changes. Can export directly to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and Ghost and sync with Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and Box.
- Penflip is a clean-looking editor which supports footnotes, images, Mathjax, and book chapter managements. You can invite others to edit and comment on your work, too. You can export to text & Markdown code, HTML, Word, PDF and ePub and other formats. It’s free for public projects, but if you want privacy (and what writer doesn’t?) it costs $10 / month; or $25 / month for Teams.
- Parsedown is a PHP coded Markdown generator designed for programmers; but the demo section can be used to translate Markdown into HTML code, using Markdown Extra or Github flavored Markdown.
- (GitHub-Flavored) Markdown Editor is a simple side-by-side editor to interpret Github Flavored Markdown. When you’re finished, type Cntrl-S to save / download your Markdown or your html.
- Wri.pe is a nicely designed text editor and calendar that supports Markdown. To sign-in, however, you need to be a Github or Facebook user, there’s no private registration. If you sign in with Facebook though, you give the site access to all your friends, so I only recommend this to Github users.
- Markdown Live Editor is a basic, simple online editor. After you create your text, you click on a button to copy Markdown to your clipboard, or copy the HTML code. The Markdown is formatted for easy email to Posterous or similar blogs (although I haven’t tested this, being a WordPress user). There is no Save button nor a save to file command (either online or off).
- InstantMark is another quick and easy online editor. It has a Export to Md and Export to HTML options, which download your writing when you’re finished. There’s no option to save online.
- BackPager Online Markdown Editor is yet another 2-pane online editor. The right pane has tabs to show a Preview or HTML or a help file. Click on the Copy to Clipboard command and you can copy either the finished text (unformatted) or the HTML code to the clipboard. If you want to save your Markdown source, though, you need to use Control/Command-A to select it and then copy, which is easy, but a bit inconsistent interface-wise.
- Jetpack Markdown for WordPress is part of the Jetpack collection of plug-ins for WordPress. If you enable it, it allows you to write and edit Markdown in the Text tab of your WordPress editor (where you normally write HTML) and view the results in the Visual tab. It uses Markdown Plus.
Chrome (browser and OS)
- Marxico (Chrome App), a colorful Markdown editor that integrates with Evernote. Requires subscription after 10 days.
- Minimalist Markdown Editor is a Chrome browser app that can be run offline. Appears to have more functionality than the online app.
- Poe: Markdown Editor uses Github Flavored Markdown. It works in your Chrome browser and offline.
- The Chrome Web Store also offers a variety of utilities for working with Markdown, including Markdown Here, Markdown Preview Plus, Markdown Reader, Copy as Markdown, Markdown Linker, and more.
Firefox Browser Extensions
- Markdown Here (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Thunderbird) is a browser extension to aid in creating formatted email.
- MarkDown Editor is a basic Markdown editor for Firefox.
If you want to compare the different implementations of Markdown, these sites explain:
- Basic Markdown on Daring Fireball
- MultiMarkdown on Fletcher Penney’s website, see description above. Offers downloads for Macs and Windows.
- Github Flavored Markdown explains how it is different from traditional Markdown. Mastering Markdown has more specifics.
- PHP Markdown Extra explains the expanded tools available in Markdown Extra. It also offers its own Markdown Dingus for this style.
- Commonmark is trying to standardize all these different implementations. The site includes a Commonmark Dingus to translate it to HTML.
- kramdown is designed to allow using Markdown in the Ruby programming language.
- Pandoc is a universal document converter that, among other things, can turn Markdown files into an ebook. It is not for the faint of heart and might require a small tech staff to set up. (But see Texts above for easier set-up and use, however.)
- Another tool for translating Markdown and other languages to PDFs and ebooks is AsciiDoc.
- Auto Kindle eBook Converter is a beta application to create Kindle ebooks from Markdown.
- Markdown Rules allows you enter a web page’s URL and translate it into Markdown – an HTML to Markdown converter. It also includes a number of browser bookmarklets to help various conversions from webpages to HTML to Markdown and clipping tools. In G- and R-rated versions.
- Babelmark 2 is a Markdown test system to check how different implementations of Markdown create their output. Not practical, perhaps, for writing blogs, but interesting if you want to check different Markdown interpreters to compare the HTML code or see how it looks on the screen.
- HTML Inspector is a tool on GitHub that allows you to inspect HTML code for problems. It’s not for beginners and seems to be geared more to HTML and other coders.
- Scribble – If you want to create a multi-user Wiki with a Markdown interface, instead of a blog, you might want to try Scribble. The free plan limits you to five wikis.
Dummy text generators
Because sometimes you just need dummy text to test your Markdown. (You could also use the text to reply to those spam bots that leave incomprehensible comments on your blog.)
- Hipster Ipsom is a fun site for generating non-Latin (or fake Latin) dummy text without using the traditional printer’s “Lorem ipsom” Latin text (as used in the previous tutorial).
- If you like Hipster Ipsom, another site you might also like is the Gangsta Lorem Ipsom.
- Some may find the text in the Samuel L. Ipsum to be sexist and obscene, which is why others will like it. (There’s no accounting for taste.)
- After looking all that, you might prefer the original Latin text after all, which can be found at the “official” Lorem Ipsom page.
- More flexible is the Blind Text Generator which also offers quotes by Cicero, Goethe (from Werther), and Kafka.
- Fillerati also has a literary turn, with excerpts from Frank Baum, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Jack London, and Lewis Carroll, asserting that “Faux Latin is a Dead Language.” (Requires a mouse. Touch screens won’t work.)
- If you write a food blog, there’s also the vegetarian Veggie Ipsom and meat-arian Bacon ipsom.
Markdown for Writers by Gene Wilburn. A free book for learning Markdown, MultiMarkdown, and other tools for PDF and ebook creation. This book was very useful in preparing this series. Available on Barnes and Noble and the iTunes Store.
78 Tools for Writing and Previewing Markdown on Mashable. It dates from 2013, but is still one of the better resource lists.
Mastering Markdown: 30 Resources, Apps and Tutorials to Get You Started by Joshua Johnson is a 2011 collection of Markdown tutorials, cheat sheets and reference lists, and links to software. Although it’s aging, the links appear to still be good.
#52TECH | Week 7: Markdown Writing Apps by Hunter, on Hunter’s Writings. Another list of Markdown tools.
10 Free Online Markdown Editors by Jacob Gube on SixRevisions.
The Best Markdown Editor for Windows by Zack Wallace, which includes some recent options.
The Best Markdown Editors for Windows by huuphongdn2009 on Code for Share.
Comparison of Markdown Editors for Windows 8 by Daniel Aleksandersen. A mostly negative review of several of the newer Windows 8 apps for Markdown. It’s over a year old, so some of the apps may have improved.
The Five Most Noteworthy Markdown Apps on Android by Nathan Snelgrove. Dating from 2013, some of the info may be out of date.
6 Markdown Editors That Play Nice With Google Drive by Joel Lee on MakeUseOf.com.
10 editors with support for Markdown on Android on AndroidAppHut.com.
The best Markdown editors for Linux on LinuxBSDos.com.
Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster by Bakari Chavanu.
Markdown Tutorial is an online tutorial that teaches Markdown by doing in a series of steps.
A comparison of web-based Markdown editors by Jeff Porter on Wordius, compares Penflip, Draft (see links above) and the now defunct Editorially — all web-based Markdown tools.
Writing a Novel Using Markdown: Part One by Ian Hocking on his “This Writing Life” blog. This and part 2 explain creating a book from Markdown on a Mac using scripts.
Make Writing for the Web Easier by using MultiMarkdown by Roger Hyttinen on Daily Mac Tips.
Daring Fireball’s Tutorial is still worth a thorough look if you are using basic Markdown. It’s by the creator of Markdown, John Gruber. It won’t tell you anything about the newer interpretations of Markdown Plus, MultiMarkdown, Github Flavored Markdown, or Commonmark, but it covers the basics thoroughly.
Be sure to check the previous five parts of our series on using Markdown:
Markdown for Bloggers – Introduction (part one)
Markdown for Bloggers – Basic Formatting (part two)
Markdown for Bloggers – Headlines & Lists (part three)
Markdown for Bloggers – Web Links (part four)
Markdown for Bloggers – Quoting Text and Code (part five)
Title photo is “Primate 1960” from New Old Stock.
Small monsters are all by “Akarakingdom” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.