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Best Markdown Editors for Mac OS

If you write texts and publish them online, you must have noticed that it’s not always handy to convert them to HTML since you have to use external software on top of your editor. 

Indeed, Markdown syntax makes working with a text easier and the structure more visual. This format is perfect to use in web editing and its simple syntax is appealing. A Markdown text doesn’t require much from the working environment and can be created even in Notepad.

In our review we are going to look at some good Markdown text editors with syntax highlighting and exporting documents to HTML and other formats which at the same time combine best sides of other text editors.

Ulysses – easy project work and great features

Ulysses stands out among other Markdown text editors for MacOS and will satisfy even the most demanding editors and writers.

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First of all, Ulysses is handy when you work with projects, which is essential when

  • You have your draft documents all over the place,
  • you are working with several documents simultaneously,
  • you are writing a book which needs organizing into chapters.

Ulysses will help you arrange your files in sections and structure them by tags. All your files will be stored in the library which can be cloud synchronized with other iOS/Mac OS devices. If you need to find something in the archive, simply apply filters or search box.

Another significant aspect is focusing on editing. Like all apps, Ulysses works in the fullscreen mode, plus there is support for header highlighting and, similar to Byword, Typewriter Mode.

The editor supports extended Markdown, consequently you can insert footnotes, images, links and even tables in your documents. One more reason it is comfortable to work with Markdown in Ulysses is that you change the settings based on your preferences: select fonts, custom themes and color palettes from the list.

And last but not least, a few words on saving in Ulysses: it is publishing on blogging platforms Medium and WordPress as well as exporting to local files (txt, html, pdf, epub, and docx formats).

Download Ulysses app

Byword – cloud synchronization and export to blogs

Byword is an easy-to-use text editor with Markdown support (including footnotes, tables and cross-references) for Mac OS.

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Byword’s major feature is its distraction free mode. In the View menu you can activate Paragraph / Line Focus and Typewriter mode. The editor is not distracting user’s attention due to its minimalist design in particular. However, unlike similar solutions, for example iA Writer, it is less conservative, and you can change background color (light/dark) and fonts if you wish.

Just as other editors, Byword editor includes a basic set of text manipulation functions. There are hotkeys to work with texts, and in certain moments Byword offers syntax auto-completion, which is really handy and non-intrusive. When inserting phrases you can also use Editor Menu.

Export is available for PDF, HTML, RTF, Word and Latex. Before saving a document you can preview it by pressing Option + CMD + P.

One of the useful web editing functions is posting on social networks by pressing the Publish button. You can link Medium, Tumblr, Blogger and Evernote to your Byword.

On the Mac and iOS, I mainly use Byword for first drafts and blog posts. I've used it for a long time and it does just what I need. - Patrick Rhone

I write a lot and when I can, I write in Markdown, mostly in Byword, and export it where and how I need with Marked. - Andy Polaine

Download Byword

iA Writer – sorting your library

iA Writer app is available in iOS/MacOS/Android. It supports extended syntax MultiMarkdown, which is more than enough for formatting and preparing a text to publish online.

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iA Writer has a number of ways to help you sort your library, it is helpful in project management and writing books. What exactly does this tool offer:

  • User-friendly Document Library to store your documents.
  • The fourth edition of the app includes Content Blocks function – inserting images and adding sections straight into the Markdown text.
  • There are patterns which can be used in order to optimize work.

Synchronization across multiple devices is implemented using Dropbox and Google Drive which are supposed to provide secure backing up. What’s more, both services can be rolled back to a previous version.

As for the publishing features, iA Writer supports three popular export file formats: HTML, Word docx and pdf. Crossposting in CMS or Medium can be linked up.

For writing I use IA Writer to create a first draft of my article. If I'm writing the article all alone I stay there - Anselm Hannemann

Download iA Writer

Mou – all you need for Markdown writing, and nothing extra

Although we haven’t seen the final release of Mou yet (for now it’s 0.8.7 beta), this Markdown editor has been quite widely used and honed for quite a while.

Mou has assembled tools and features essential in editing. The commands used most frequently can be accessed via menu Actions and standby hotkeys.

We would also like to draw your attention to the live preview feature. It allows checking with the HTML format which you receive as an output, realtime. You can scroll a Markdown text on the left and it will be scrolled in sync in preview on the right.

Files can be exported to a local HTML file (or, alternatively, pdf). Besides, you can add a CSS file with your Markdown. Similar to other editors, this one has an auto safe feature, so you don’t need to worry about losing your text if an error occurs.

More good editing features are Auto Completion, Auto Pair, Incremental Search and Words Counter. If you use those, Mou capabilities are enough and there’s no need in other tools.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning the simple clean but user-friendly interface of the desktop version. If you’re unhappy with the font of your text or the background color in the Markdown, they can be easily changed in the settings.

I use markdown for writing, making notes and pretty much everything when I need to get some thoughts out of my head and onto the screen. Recently I've moved from using Sublime Text for that, to Mou which is a nice little Markdown editor - Phil Hawksworth

Almost everything I write involves Markdown, I love it. The Mou app with syntax highlight and live preview already became indispensable to me. - Zeno Rocha

Download Mou