Marked 2 — The Smartest Markdown Writing Assistant

Minimalist writing apps have taken the App Store by storm, from the extreme of iA Writer’s entire lack of settings to full-featured writing environments like Ulysses III. It’s great to write without worrying on your final formatting, focusing instead on your actual words. Eventually, though, you’ll need to export your work to publish it on the web or in print. Your writing app likely includes a number of basic export tools, but for serious writers that want the best export options, Brett Terpstra’s Marked app is the best tool in town.

Today, it gets even better, with the just-released Marked 2. It’ll preview anything from a draft blog post in MarsEdit to a whole folder of Markdown documents, show you your overused phrases that’d be best cut out of your document, and give you the best exports with MultiMarkdown 4.2 support and the option to save in DOCX, paginated PDF, and much more.

Far More than Just Exports

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Marked is a great app for previewing your plain-text writing in beautiful CSS themes and then exporting your writing in any format you want, one that’s proved essential for writers ever since its first release. Just drag the document you’re writing onto Marked’s dock icon, and you’ll get a full preview that live-refreshes as you write. That preview support has been vastly improved in Marked 2, with support for Fountain screenwriting, CriticMarkup changes and comments in documents, GitHub-flavored Markdown with code, MarsEdit blog posts, and even text in your clipboard. The new version even lets you add a folder of Plain Text files, and it’ll automatically open a preview of the most recently saved file — an especially great tool if you save your article drafts in a specific folder already. It’s ready for anything you want to throw at it.

Marked's new proofing tools

Marked’s new proofing tools

So you’ve got your document in Marked, previewed with the style you’d like — styles that, of all things, will live update in Marked now if you’re editing them as well. What more can it offer? First off, you’ll find the new Keyword Highlight drawer that will show words and phrases in your document that you should avoid to make your writing sound better, complete with temporary keywords you can add just for that session. That, combined with the detailed stats and options to visualize word repetition, makes Marked the perfect proofreading companion to help you making your writing the best it can be. And it’s easy to make changes, since edits in your text editor show up in Marked in real-time.

The tools and export options you need, the way you want them.

The tools and export options you need, the way you want them.

And then, there’s exports. Once you’re done writing and have polished your work, Marked is ready to help you save your document in every format you want. There’s quick HTML integration that makes it simple to grab any part of your writing in HTML — with or without Marked’s stylesheet — and add it to your site. But then, it’s equally easy to export as a PDF (now with pagination if you want), rich text, or DOCX/OTD document. Or, if you’re still working with paper, you can print your formatted work straight from Marked.

Another Pro Tool Leaves the App Store

Instead of running to the App Store to pick up the latest version of Marked, though, you’re going to need to head to the new Marked2App.com store and pick up a copy there for $11.99. Many of the new features in Marked 2, including monitoring a folder for new files, wouldn’t work with the App Store’s sandboxing, so Brett chose to sell it directly. Interestingly, Marked 2 uses Paddle’s API for its licensing, a new App Store alternate that’s helping fill the ranks of alternates to everything Apple’s offering in their store.

There will possibly be an App Store version of Marked 2 added in the future, but the main version with the most features will always be the directly licensed version. And that makes sense. Just like the Omni Group and other developers, pro tools are increasingly finding themselves needing to move beyond the App Store. I have to wonder if Apple won’t start to take notice and make the App Store work better for everyone as more high-profile apps move back to direct sales.

Conclusion

At any rate, Marked 2 is a brilliant upgrade to the original universal Markdown exporter. The new version takes Marked far beyond basic previewing and exporting, and makes it an even more indispensable tool for serious plain text writers. It’s easily the best way to dig deeper into your text and export your writing in the formats you need, no matter what writing app you prefer. I love the new folder previews, and can’t wait to make Marked 2 even more integrated into my daily writing workflow.


Summary

The best markdown exporting tool just got better, with support for a huge variety of text markup formats, new review tools to help you improve your writing, options to preview a folder and automatically see the newest file, and exports to DOCX and more.

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