The search for the right Mac Markdown editor is like a quest for the Holy Grail. There are many options, but finding the ideal fit is a challenge.
It got to the point where I had to do an audit of the options that exist on my computer, and consider which one might be best for my needs.
The list I came up with is, in potential order of preference:
- MultiMarkdown Composer (currently free version)
- This offers live preview with synchronised scrolling, works with the file system directly and is designed specifically for Markdown writing. The downside is the editing environment just feels slightly ‘off’. I do like the keyboard commands and the way it pastes in links.
- $23.00 upgrade.
- BBEdit (with Keyboard Maestro BBEdit Markdown additions) (currently free version)
- Solid as a rock text editor. I’m not a programmer, so many of the features are lost on me. With the Keyboard Maestro additions it can deal with Markdown formatting with keyboard shortcuts elegantly.
- No typewriter mode.
- Doesn’t carry forward markdown lists, as I’m finding writing this post.
- Has built-in git support.
- The Archive
- A fork of nvAlt, this is an app I use for my zettelkasten notes, and other bits and pieces. The markdown editing is okay, but it doesn’t play well with links on the clipboard.
- Where text starts.
- Also where text stays in a database which is not great for easy git management.
- The new version 3 has much better Markdown support, but it’s still rudimentary when it comes to editing. Limited keyboard support makes this better for looking at Markdown than writing in it.
- I’m going to buy the new version anyway.
- I’m using this for my daily notes.
- While it has a section for generic notes, I’m not going to incorporate this into a wider writing workflow.
- It’s really old, and while it still works, it’s starting to show its age.
- I don’t like the way I need to switch views to preview the markdown.
- Uses a custom variant of Markdown (Markdown XL) by default.
- Keeps everything in it’s own library so not great for git management.
- Every time I try to use this app for general Markdown editing I end up getting frustrated.
- Curio Good for project-based Markdown notes, but not good for file-based writing and editing.
- Notebooks (requires Dropbox)
- The Notebooks editor is quite nice. Unfortunately, I’m in the process of ditching Dropbox, and it uses Dropbox as its fundamental sync engine, so it’s a non-starter.
A special mention:
- iA Writer
- I don’t have iA Writer on my Mac, but I do have it on iOS where it frustrates me by not having TextExpander integration.
- Micro.blog feedback indicates that it is great on the Mac, though, so let’s add this as a strong contender.
Picking a Winner
I thought I would end up choosing BBEdit. That’s why I typed this post in the app. But in usage, I think the winner might be MultiMarkdown Composer.