The 5 Best Markdown Editors for WordPress Power Users

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The 5 Best Markdown Editors for WordPress Power Users
Jul 19, 2021




The 5 Best Markdown Editors for WordPress Power Users

Writing WordPress content using a third-party editor can be problematic while importing text into your website. Moreover, traditional text file formats don’t translate well into HTML. That’s where markdown editors come in!

With the right markdown editor, you can write content that transforms seamlessly into HTML without dealing with any complex code. You have lots of great online markdown editors to choose from, including free options. You can even use a WordPress markdown editor if you don’t want to use other software.

In this article, we’ll explore what markdown editors are and their advantages. We’ll also introduce you to the best markdown editors for multiple operating systems. These include including both online and offline options, as well as a WordPress option.

Let’s go!

What Is a Markdown Editor?

Markdown is a text formatting syntax that enables you to write content you can convert to HTML easily. All of the content you see on the web (including this article) is in HTML. If you use your browser’s inspection tool to check out any page’s code, you’ll see its text appear in HTML.

For example, let’s say that you want to bold a line of text. To do that in HTML, you’d need to use <b> tags:

<b>This is an example of bold text in HTML</b>

That exact text in markdown syntax would look like this:

**This is an example of bold text in HTML**

Markdown syntax includes elements that translate into every HTML component you need. You have specific syntax elements for paragraphs, headings, lists, links, and anything else you can imagine. Here’s a quick example of a markdown text document:

A simple markdown example.

Now here’s what happens when you convert that syntax to HTML, which any markdown editor should be able to do:

A window showing the previously styled filler text as it's rendered.

Converting markdown to HTML.

Writing in markdown is much easier than in HTML. A markdown editor is a piece of software that can recognize that type of syntax and translate it into other file types, including (but not limited to) HTML.

Benefits of Using a Markdown Editor

The main benefit of using markdown is portability. Any quality markdown editor will be able to take a markdown document (.md or .mkd) and convert it into other formats, including:

  • HTML
  • PDF
  • Plain text
  • Epub
  • Docx

Markdown will convert to any of those file types, and you’ll end up with a perfectly formatted document. If you try converting a Google Docs file to HTML or a PDF, you’ll usually end up with a formatting mess that will require time and effort to fix (depending on the document’s complexity).

Another benefit of using markdown is that the syntax is straightforward. You’ve already seen some examples of markdown syntax, and you can check out a complete introduction to it on Markdown Guide.

That level of simplicity is critical because it means the learning curve to use markdown syntax is minimal. Moreover, markdown is popular among developers, and it’s the standard language for many platforms, including GitHub.

If you can write markdown comfortably, you’ll be able to create content that translates seamlessly into any file format you might need. For WordPress, you can take markdown files, convert them into HTML, and import that HTML into your website in a matter of minutes. All you need to get started is a markdown editor.

5 Best Markdown Editors in 2021

For this roundup, we’re going to include markdown editors for every operating system (OS) and several online options. We’ll discuss what editor will work best for your specific needs, and we’ll outline any pricing information you need to know.

Keep in mind that you can use pretty much any text or code editor as your primary tool if you’re comfortable writing in markdown. However, dedicated markdown editors usually include a lot of features that will make your job easier. We’ll talk about what some of those features are in this section.

1. Mark

The Mark markdown editor showing text with markdown on the left and its resultant styled text on the right.

The Mark markdown editor.

Markdown editors don’t need to pack a ton of features to be helpful. If you’re a fan of minimalist text editors, you’ll love Mark.

Mark is an online markdown editor that doesn’t offer any complex functionality. On the left, you have your markdown editor, and the right side of the screen enables you to preview what that text will look like in a browser. The editor has a dark mode option too.

You can save your files to HTML or copy the markdown code manually and paste it on your website. WordPress doesn’t recognize markdown syntax out of the box, but we’ll show you how to fix that after we check out a few more editors.

Price: Free

2. Typora

The Typora markdown editor homepage with the heading

The Typora markdown editor.

Typora is a user-friendly markdown editor that automatically takes your syntax and shows you what your content will look like when you export it. You can switch back and forth between the “code editor” and “visual preview” modes, making it easy to spot and fix errors in your syntax.

With Typora, you can export markdown documents into multiple file formats, including Word documents, HTML, PDFs, and plain text files. The software also lets you add markdown elements using keyboard shortcuts, making the process a lot faster.

Finally, Typora includes a theme system, which is helpful if you use the software frequently. With themes, you can adjust Typora’s style, so you feel more comfortable when writing content.

Price: Typora is still in beta, and it will remain free until it launches officially.

3. Draft

An advertisement for the Draft markdown editor with the text

The Draft markdown editor.

Draft is an online markdown editor that stands out from the crowd due to its collaboration tools. With Draft, you can write documents in markdown syntax or HTML and share them so other users can edit those files.

When you collaborate using Draft, the platform saves all of your document versions and enables you to spot changes between different drafts. You can also import images into your documents from multiple cloud storage platforms or upload them from your computer.

Draft also lets you add comments and footnotes to your documents and create file-specific to-do lists. With to-do lists, you can check off tasks as you complete them, as can the rest of your collaborators.

Once you’re ready to export your document, Draft offers multiple options. You can export markdown files as Word or Google documents, PDFs, HTML files, or keep them in markdown format.

Price: Free, but you need to register for an account to use Draft.

4. Dillinger

The Dillinger markdown editor showing marked-down filler text on the left and its resultant styled text on the right.

The Dillinger markdown editor.

If you like the simplicity of using Mark, but you wish that it had more features, you’ll love Dillinger. This live markdown editor shows you a preview of your text that updates as you write. Moreover, you can switch that preview to HTML mode, so you see how your markdown text translates to HTML code.

Dillinger enables you to export your markdown files to multiple formats, including HTML and PDF. You can also preview your markdown documents as those formats before exporting them, which can save you a lot of time.

With Dillinger, you can save your markdown files directly to multiple cloud storage platforms and GitHub (which makes this tool perfect for writing documentation). You can also import files from those same platforms into Dillinger or upload markup documents from your computer.

Price: Free

5. iA Writer

An advertisement for the iA Writer markdown editor, starting with:

The iA Writer markdown editor.

If you’re looking for a markdown editor that works with Android and iOS so you can create content from your mobile devices, you’ll love iA Writer. The software also offers Windows and macOS versions, featuring the same clutter-free interface across all platforms.

iA Writer highlights your markdown syntax using colors, making it easier to keep track of each element. The software also includes a built-in style checker, which helps you eliminate redundancies from your writing, and you can pair it with a focus mode to avoid distractions.

The software lets you preview your markdown files in HTML or PDF format and export them. You can also add metadata to your documents, which is particularly useful if you’re working on web content.

Price: License prices vary depending on which OS you use.

What Are Your WordPress Markdown Editor Options?

WordPress enables you to write content using a simple visual editor or in HTML. However, you can’t take markdown syntax and import it into WordPress because the CMS can’t parse it.

Here’s a quick example of what happens if we add markdown text to the code editor:

An animated image showing the use of markdown in the WordPress editor.

Using markdown in WordPress.

WordPress will take your markdown code and render it as-is. That means if you use markdown, you need to export your files to HTML, copy that code, and paste it into the code editor of the WordPress page or post.

Alternatively, there is one plugin that we can recommend that adds markdown support to WordPress, and that is Jetpack. Jetpack adds a staggering amount of features to WordPress, ranging from increased security to automatic backups and media optimization.

If you want to find out how to set up and configure Jetpack, we have a detailed guide on doing it. To enable Jetpack’s WordPress markdown editor, you’ll need to activate the plugin and navigate to Jetpack > Settings > Writing.

Look for the section called Composing and enable the setting that says Write posts or pages in plain-text Markdown syntax:

The option in Jetpack in WordPress for enabling markdown syntax in WordPress.

Enabling markdown syntax in WordPress.

After you enable the markdown syntax setting, open the Block Editor, and you’ll see that you have access to a new Markdown block:

The Jetpack Markdown editor showing filler text styled with markdown.

Using the Jetpack Markdown block.

Using this block, you’ll be able to write in markdown syntax. If you click on the Preview tab, you can see how your syntax will look on the frontend.

If you want access to a built-in WordPress markdown editor, Jetpack is your best bet. The only downside is that you need to connect the plugin with a WordPress.com account. However, the markdown functionality is available within Jetpack’s free version, so you don’t have to pay anything to start using the syntax in WordPress.

Summary

Using markdown syntax can make your job a lot easier for exporting files into HTML or other standard formats, such as Word documents and PDFs. If you use the Jetpack plugin, you’ll get access to a WordPress markdown editor that you can use without leaving your website.

Alternatively, you can use a full-blown markdown editor, export your files into HTML, and upload that code to WordPress. We’ve shared our top five picks for the same here.

Get writing!

Do you have experience with other markdown editors? Let us know in the comments below!


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