11 Incredible Markdown editors for writers

December 26, 2020

Markdown has become a mainstay for lightweight markup languages; it’s pretty much everywhere now and it has many uses, among them are:

  • Serving as a simple way to write LaTeX documents using Pandoc.
  • Writing blog posts (like this one) for static site generators.
  • As an easy way to write rich-text comments (Reddit, Tumblr, and more sites implement a WYSIWYG editor that uses Markdown in the background).
  • For creating static content-rich HTML pages.
  • Leveraging MDX for inserting React components (see Gatsby, NextJS, etc).
  • Writing online books (example: GitBook), documentation, and more.

In this roundup post I will show you my favourite (and some I didn’t know about) Markdown editors; some of them are free and some of them cost a bit of money. The app I personally use to write my blog posts is called Typora, which is also included in this list.

Desktop Apps

iA Writer - Multiplatform (Paid)

iA Writer

Get focused. The simple, award-winning design of iA Writer delivers the essential writing experience. Used by half a million people worldwide, its minimal interface is crafted to cut out noise. It’s just you, your thoughts, and the words on the page.

This app was initially launched for Mac, but it soon expanded to other Apple platforms and just 2 years ago (as of December 2020) the Windows version opened to the public. It’s costs $30 dollars with a 14-day free trial.

Typora - Desktop (Free)

Typora

Typora gives you a seamless experience as both a reader and a writer. It removes the preview window, mode switcher, syntax symbols of markdown source code, and all other unnecessary distractions. Instead, it provides a real live preview feature to help you concentrate on the content itself.

As I mentioned earlier, Typora is my favourite Markdown app because it provides a wide variety of themes and you can create your own (I did, it resembles my blog so I can live-preview my posts without having to start Gatsby). One of my favourite features is the friendly auto-completion of tables, code fences and images inside preview mode.

Typora is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac (beta).

Haroopad - Desktop (Free)

Haroopad

Haroopad is a markdown enabled document processor for creating web-friendly documents. You can author professional-looking documents of various formats: blog posts, slides, presentations, reports, email and more. Haroopad gives you the same editing experience regardless of the platform you are working on. It runs on all three major operating systems—Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

I used to have this app installed 4 years ago and I loved it because it had a very powerful sidebar with many useful snippets to speed-up the writing process. It’s available for Mac, Windows, and Linux for free.

Caret - Desktop (Paid)

Caret

Caret is a Markdown editor for Mac, Windows and Linux. It stands out with its clean interface, productivity features and obsessive attention to detail.

This is a minimalist-looking app for desktop (it costs $29 dollars) with interesting features such as inline rendering of LaTeX math equations, SublimeText-inspired multiple cursor selection, auto-completion, spelling corrector, and more.

GhostWriter - Desktop (Free)

GhostWriter

Enjoy a distraction-free writing experience, including a full screen mode and a clean interface. With Markdown, you can write now, and format later.

GhostWriter is very focused on distraction-free writing, including a Hemingway mode to avoid the temptation to make editions during your moments of inspiration. Just like Typora, you can create your own themes (and it comes with some of its own), but it also has some document and session statistics.

MacDown - Mac OS (Open Source)

Macdown

MacDown is an open source Markdown editor for macOS, released under the MIT License. It is heavily influenced by Chen Luo’s Mou.

Ulysses - Apple platforms (Paid)

Ulysses

The Ultimate Writing App for Mac, iPad and iPhone. A pleasant, focused writing experience combined with effective document management, fast syncing and flexible export options make Ulysses the first choice for writers of all kinds.

I used this app once on a friend’s Mac and it offers what Typora does but it has one of the cleanest user interfaces I’ve seen in an app. And as many other Apple apps, you can sync your work between devices. Furthermore, you can set your own writing goals if you’re an avid writer. The cost is $6 dollars (the price varies a bit between regions) for a monthly subscription, and ​$50 yearly.

Mou - Mac OS (Paid)

Mou

Mou /məʊ/ is a Markdown editor for developers, on Mac OS X. Features live preview, sync scroll, auto save, powerful actions, auto pair, custom themes and CSS, HTML and PDF export, enhanced CJK support and more.

The CJK support makes it easier to type Asian characters such as Hangul, Kanji and Kana. The beta is up and 1.0 will ship soon, you can preorder it now for the modest sum of $30 dollars.

Quiver - Mac OS (Paid)

Quiver

Quiver is a notebook built for programmers. It lets you easily mix text, code, Markdown and LaTeX within one note, edit code with an awesome code editor, live preview Markdown and LaTeX, and find any note instantly via the full-text search.

Quiver also includes team collaboration and cloud saving.

Web Applications

StackEdit

StackEdit

What differentiates StackEdit from all the other desktop applications is the focus on being organized and saving your files on the cloud. Plus, it features some crazy things like UML diagrams, musical scores and WYSIWYG controls.

Dillinger

dillinger

Text Editor Plugins

Unsurprisingly enough, all of the major text-editors already provide the tools to write Markdown comfortably with or without the use of plugins. Here’s a quick list of the editors I know and the best plugin you can find for Markdown.

  • VSCode: Markdown editing is included by default.
  • Atom: The preview and syntax highlighting are also included by default.
  • Vim: This plugin enables folding, mappings and syntax highlighting.
  • Brackets: For live-preview, use this plugin.
  • JetBrains: The markdown plugin is bundled in all of their IDEs.

Written by Luis Lopez , a software developer (29 years old) who loves movies and classic rock. Mail me at hello@kozmicluis.com! Or follow me on Twitter.