📝 A quick Markdown roundup
Since my compadres at work have brought Macs into their lives, they were asking about note taking apps, and which worked with Markdown. Ironically, in the Mac space, pretty much every editor supports Markdown. There are so many it can be a little overwhelming.
I originally wasn’t on board the Markdown train, I didn’t see the point since it came across as a subset of HTML. I am not a fan of HTML and its 1990 style Wordperfect tags.
But, I’ve been schooled and now see Markdown is much easier to understand and use. It’s also in dozens of other web based apps like Jira, GitHub, Slack, WordPress, etc. Oddly, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be on board with Markdown. The number of Markdown editors for Windows?
In the days of yore, you would write a document in Microsoft Word (which is a horror unto itself) or the archaic tags of HTML, then run it through a converter or hope the app understood Word tags. Now it’s a few simple tags for the basics of formatting, and no need to take your hands off the keyboard. It’s for bold, italic, and headers, not desktop publishing.
I’ve mentioned these apps before, but it’s been a year and they have aged nicely. They’re still the go-to choices for Markdown.
MacDown is a great place to start for Markdown on the Mac. It’s a free, open-source Markdown editor that’s available on the Mac App Store. It has a simple interface and provides you with the ability to preview your work in real-time. Plus, it features syntax highlighting, which makes it easy to spot mistakes and typos in a document.
FSNotes is another great Markdown editor for Mac. It’s designed for multi-document note-taking and supports iCloud syncing, which allows you to access your notes across all your Apple devices. It features keyboard shortcuts, syntax highlighting, and the ability to export notes to HTML, PDF, or even Apple Notes. It’s regularly updated, which is always good.
Typora is another editor with a clean, modern interface that’s easy to use. Typora has real-time previewing of your document, along with syntax highlighting and a number of customization options.
MWeb is a more complex Markdown editor and my personal favorite. I picked this up at the tail end of V2 and it’s still my choice for V4. I’ve made the comment that MWeb is very similar to Ulysses, but costs a fraction of the price and isn’t a subscription. I would also say MWeb is the most flexible with a customizable toolbar, code highlighting, and applying color themes to the app.
MWeb allows for the creation of static websites, as well as providing the standard features such as real-time previewing and syntax highlighting. MWeb is great for those who want to write code heavy documents, or documentation in Markdown.
If you’re new to Markdown, or need to work on a single document here and there, MacDown is a good place to start. If you need a few more feature, or need to switch between documents, then it’s FSNotes or Typora. I’m inclined to recommend FSNotes. Nothing against Typora, but FSNotes has some really solid features and is cheaper. If you’re into long document writing and need Markdown preview, then it’s MWeb.
This isn’t a complete list by any means, these are just the tools I have personal experience with. As stated, my recommendation is MWeb.
It should be noted, Scrivener fully supports Markdown, but there is no live preview.
There is also the Marked 2 route, where you can use whatever text editor you like and preview in the Marked 2 app. It’s not an editor on it’s own, but a viewer.
Markdown isn’t part of my daily routine, but I use it a fair bit. I see the benefit, and I like how easy it is to work with. If you work with blog software, Github, or other web based documentation, I say take a look at MWeb. It’s a full featured word processor with nice export features, multiple document support like Scrivener, and is actively developed. I can’t think of any cons against MWeb.