The 6 Best Mac Markdown Editors

Markdown is a markup language that makes it easy to format and present content for the web. It uses plain text with minimal markup to keep everything simple. Over the years, many variants of Markdown have been developed to fulfill various writing needs.

They include MultiMarkdown, Github Flavored Markdown (GFM), Fountain, Commonmark, and more. On top of that, developers have built more features to provide useful functions for day-to-day writing. Altogether, it makes Markdown apps a fantastic choice for busy writers.

We’ll look at some of the best Markdown editors for Mac below.

1. MacDown

MacDown is an open-source Markdown editor based on the defunct Mou app. It has a simple two-pane view for code and rendered Markdown, to display changes in real-time. Behind the scenes, the app uses the Hoedown rendering engine. It ensures that the output remains fully compliant and UTF-8 aware.

The app supports Github Flavored Markdown (GFM) with different specifications. They include smart punctuation, block formatting for tables, fenced code blocks, and basic inline formatting.

Unique Features of MacDown

  • Apply built-in themes with light and dark variants; you can customize the theme CSS to your liking.
  • Customize line spacing, text insets, limit editor width, and basic editor tweaks like auto-complete matching characters, insert line prefix for the current block, and more.
  • Export to HTML and PDF with a handy Copy HTML feature for pasting directly into your CMS.
  • Integration of additional tools—TeX-like match syntax, syntax highlighting for code-blocks, and Jekyll front-matter.

Download: MacDown (Free)

2. Typora

Typora is the best markdown editor that gives you a seamless experience as both reader and writer. The app removes the preview pane and syntax symbols to provide you with a live preview of the content. Press Shift + Cmd + L to toggle the sidebar and bring the file list into the main view.

Hover your cursor on the side panel to show buttons. At the top-left, click the hamburger menu to switch between the Outline and File List view. In the bottom-right, click the toggle button to switch between File List and File Tree view. Click the More button and explore useful functions.

The app supports Github Flavored Markdown with additional elements like Inline math through TeX and LaTeX. The built-in mermaid.js integration allows you to make a sequence, flowchart, and mermaid diagrams.

What Makes Typora Special

  • Export your writing to PDF, HTML, and JPEG. Formats like Word, RTF, Epub, and OPML need Pandoc. Read our guide on how to convert document formats with Pandoc.
  • Version control features allow you to browse and revert your writing to the previous version. There is a handy Copy as HTML or Plain Text option as well.
  • Insert images through drag-and-drop and from the clipboard. You can even use HTML code to embed audio, video, or remote web content.
  • There are six themes with both light and dark variants. Or, you can install more from a custom theme gallery as per your needs.

Download: Typora (Free during beta)

3. Marked 2

Marked 2 isn’t an editor, but a Markdown reader. That means you won’t use Marked to create documents, but to preview and track them in real-time. The preview behavior is customizable and includes features like an edit marker, window on top, a mini-map for navigation, and link popovers.

The app is compliant with MultiMarkdown, GFM, and custom processors so coders can use it with their syntax. It also works with a range of code, markdown editors, and document managers like Scrivener and Ulysses. Head to Preferences > Apps and check out the additional application support.

Unique Features of Marked 2

  • Document statistics including readability information, word count for selected text, visualize word repetition, and writing goals.
  • Catch troublesome vocabulary and phrases through keyword drawer. You can omit words that you want to avoid, find alternate terms, or highlight for general purposes.
  • View documents in your way using custom styles, CSS, or an additional custom style gallery. You’ll find options to configure the layout for poetry, code, and viewing mindmap files.
  • Support fenced code blocks, syntax highlighting, Github linebreaks and checkbox, and code-block wrapping. Export options include HTML, PDF, RTF, Word, and ODT without installing Pandoc.

Download: Marked 2 ($14, free trial available)

4. Zettlr

Zettlr is a Markdown editor for note-takers, students, and knowledge workers. It provides tools to help you write notes, compose theses, and manage your knowledge. The app has a top-level directory to the left called a Workspace. You can load several vaults to separate and organize different chunks of work.

There are three display modes—thin, expanded, and combined. Each of them enables a specific view mode. Navigate to Preferences > General and check the options under File manager mode to see what works for you.

The core editor is based on Codemirror, which extends the markdown implementation way beyond any editor. Click the column-like button in the toolbar to bring the sidebar into the main view. It contains Attachments to store and use non-Markdown files, References for citations, and Table of Contents.

What Makes Zettlr Unique

  • A built-in Pomodoro timer at the top-right corner of the toolbar. Here is a guide on Pomodoro methods you can use to increase your productivity.
  • Build a Zettelkasten system to organize your notes. Set a unique identifier to identify the note. Then write it and link it to the source with another identifier.
  • Create correct and consistent citations for a thesis. There is a powerful table editor to edit tables, something you can’t do in markdown.
  • Export options include HTML. For other formats like PDF, ODT, RTF, and more, you need Pandoc and LaTeX.

Download: Zettlr (Free)

5. Obsidian

Obsidian takes a new approach to the note-taking aspect. It allows you to link notes together to create a personal knowledge base. The app supports GFM and CommonMark, with additional elements like mermaid.js to create diagrams and reveal.js to create presentations.

Head to Settings and click Create new vault. The vault structure is similar to the file and folder hierarchy of macOS’s Finder. The left panel displays files and folders with the ability to collapse the pane, create or switch the notes, and import markdown files from other apps. The right sidebar shows you backlinks and unlinked references.

Backlinks mean how the current note is referenced in other notes. If you have a master note on “Habits,” then a backlinks will show the entire instances of the term habits. When you click those links, it’ll instantly take you to old notes and ideas. This is different to making a wiki-style link with OneNote.

Unique Features of Obsidian

  • Edit and view multiple files in split-view mode. Press and hold the Cmd key while you click in Preview mode, or hold Shift + Cmd while in active mode. You can either split the current pane vertically or horizontally.
  • Add multiple vaults with their own set of plugins and custom styling for different projects. Since your data is text-based, you can carry them in a pen drive.
  • Embed files of different types, including audio, video, PDF, and Markdown for reference. You can take notes, make outlines, or even draw mindmaps along the files.
  • Organize notes with tags, folders, and backlinks, and view them in a graphical representation. Integration with third-party plugins is probably the strongest point.

Download: Obsidian (Free, subscription available)

6. Ulysses

Ulysses is an intuitive writing app with powerful tools to give you a distraction-free and minimal approach to producing prose. On launch, you’ll see the three-pane window with a Library on the left, a list of Sheets in the middle (stored in Groups), and an editor pane on the right.

The app offers multiple options for storing your files, including iCloud, local storage, and external folders that point to a location like Dropbox or Google Drive. Ulysses is compliant with Markdown and Markdown XL, with syntax elements for audio and video, annotations, and comments. The right pane of Ulysses has a revision mode and a detailed dashboard.

Unique Features of Ulysses

  • Set a writing goal with a specific progress metric or a bare minimum or maximum word limit criteria. You can also set a deadline for your writing projects.
  • Apply keywords to sheets to group your files and folders.
  • Built-in grammar and style check with LanguageTool Plus integration. In addition, there’s a beautiful full-screen and focus mode to help you concentrate on your writing.
  • Native integration with version control to restore the older version of writing if needed.
  • Export options include formats like Text, HTML, Epub, PDF, and Docx. You can even upload your article to WordPress, Ghost, and Medium directly from the app.

Download: Ulysses (Subscription required, free trial available)

Your Complete Markdown Editor Guide

You don’t need a fancy Markdown editor to work with Markdown. A plain text editor works well if your needs are basic. The apps discussed here cover a wide range of features you can expect from a Markdown editor.

Try out these apps and see which one fits your needs.

Author: Rahul Saigal

Source: Rahul Saigal.” The 6 Best Mac Markdown Editors”. Retrieved From

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