Words on a Page Writings about writing

A look at 3 Markdown editors for writers

The Markdown Mark, created by Dustin Curtis

If you’ve read the posts in this space for any length of time, you know my feelings about Markdown. I use it for a majority of my work, including writing posts on all of my blogs. I like Markdown so much that I even wrote a book about it.

There are a number of great editors, both for the desktop and on the web, out there for working with Markdown. They’re easy to use, fast, and make writing with Markdown a breeze.

Let’s take a quick peek at a three useful Markdown editors.

Remarkable

Remarkable is nice open source desktop Markdown editor for Linux and Windows.

To get going, just fire up Remarkable, create a new document, and start typing. Some basic formatting is available on the toolbar, though you can quickly insert more by using the Format and Insert menus. You also get a preview which automatically updates as you type.

Working with Remarkable

You can change the look of the preview by selecting different layout schemes from the Style menu. In the screen capture above, I’m using the Modern style.

You can export your writing as an HTML or PDF file. Under the Edit menu, there are a pair of options that let you copy your entire document or a text you’ve selected as HTML. This makes it easier to paste your writing into another document or into a blog editor or content management system.

Dillinger

Dillinger is a web-based Markdown editor, and it’s is pretty bare bones, but it gets the job done. Just head over to the app, create a new document, and start typing.

You get a two-pane view: your text on the left and a preview of how your document will look (more or less) in a web browser on the right. As you type, Dillinger updates the preview.

Working on this post in Dillinger

Pretty simple, no?

Dillinger can do a few other things, too. You can view the HTML code of the document, or download your document as an HTML or a Markdown file. You can also connect Dillinger to a Github (an online code repository for programmers, which some writers also use), Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive account. Doing that enables you to import files from or save your files to those services. That also works in reverse — you can open files stored on those services, as well as from your computer.

Dillinger also gives you a running word count and automatically saves your documents in your browser’s cache. It’s basic, but it works.

StackEdit

StackEdit is another web-based Markdown editor. If you use the Chrome browser extension, it works when you’re not connected to the internet, too.

Like Dillinger, StackEdit has two-pane view: your text is on the left and a preview is on the right. A toolbar at the top of the window gives you quick access to various bits of Markdown formatting like headings, images, links, lists, and character formatting.

Writing with StackEdit

StackeEdit a very flexible Markdown editor that’s perfect for writing just about anything. You can open files from, and save them to, Google Drive. Dropbox integration has been broken for a while. And you can publish your work to Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress, GitHub, or your own website.

While offline, you can open files from and save them to your computer. You can also save your files as HTML. For $5 a year, you can get a few additional features like the ability to save your documents as PDF files.

What if none of those editors is right for you?

They’re not the only game in town. Not even close.

If you’re willing to do a little reading and playing, check out some of the editors on this list. You can find even more editors here.

(A quick plug: If you want to quickly learn Markdown, check out my ebook Learning Markdown.)

Thoughts? Let's start a conversation on Twitter.