35+ Markdown Apps for the Mac

Writing for the web has always been burdened by the need to format content in HTML. It isn’t enough to just write and publish content—you need to capture the reader’s attention as well.

You can’t simply write a blog post or a web page and slap it onto the site. Headers, bolding, emphasis, bullet lists, and numbering are necessary to hold down and guide your readers all the way to the last sentence. The process can be quite tedious, which is why the birth of Markdown is a huge breath of fresh air for content creators of all experience levels.

But Markdown isn’t just for those who work online. It’s a simple syntax that makes formatting and writing in plain text easier for everyone. With these writing apps, you’ll have an easier time putting your thoughts down on screen, whether you’re writing a note for yourself or a Markdown formatted file for publishing online.

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What is Markdown?

An easy-to-use formatting syntax created by John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Markdown enables the rest of us ordinary internet folk to create and format web content even with basic or no prior HTML knowledge. Markdown’s syntax, as Gruber pointed out, is simple in that it only corresponds to a basic set of HTML tags, making it easy to memorize and integrate into one’s workflow. It’s inspired by plain text email, which explains the use of “punctuation characters” and symbols, such as asterisks and brackets.

A great description can be found in the Markdown syntax documentation:

A Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions.

In other words, writing in Markdown is writing without HTML formatting getting in the way of the writing process. You’re writing in plain text, but HTML is already implemented based on the punctuation characters used in the text. Since you’re writing in plain text, you can guarantee that you can always open your document on any computing device, something that can’t be said for, say, a Word document.

Eventually, after discovering how easy it is to organize content with Markdown, people began to use it to list and organize ideas, tasks, reminders, etc. Hogbay Software’s Taskpaper is a great example of how you can use Markdown to create and interact with todo lists in plain text.

How Does Markdown Work?

Markdown’s goal is to make writing, editing, and reading web content easy for everyone. It’s pretty straightforward in that all you need to do is familiarize (and eventually memorize) the syntax to get started. Let’s break it down by showing examples of basic Markdown text editing:

Bold and Emphasis

To bold and emphasize, simply wrap text with asterisks. Emphasis (italics) is triggered by wrapping text with one asterisk on both sides. To bold text, wrap it with two asterisks.

Emphasis: *The cat ate my red polka dotted sock.*
Bold: **The cat ate another one of my red polka dotted socks.**


To link text to a particular web page, wrap it with brackets. Right beside that (with no spaces in between), insert the link to the page within a pair of parentheses. Want to insert an image? Do the same thing, but put the link to the image and add an exclamation mark at the beginning.

[My Fluffy Muffin](http://myfluffymuffin.com/)


Headers are triggered either by Setext (equal signs and dashes) or atx (pound or hash symbols). You can use either of the two, but if you want to insert multiple header levels, atx is the best style to use as it supports header levels 1–6.

# This is H1
## This is H2
### This is H3


Lists are great ways to break down paragraphs with large chunks of text. To create an unordered list, you use asterisks, plus signs, or hyphens. For an ordered list, use numbers followed by a period.

Unordered list:
– Item 1
– Item 2
– Item 3

Ordered list:
1. Item 1
2. Item 2
3. Item 3

What Should You Use for Markdown Editing?

Markdown has become such a huge time saver and an efficient method of writing that a new sector has opened up in the app market: Markdown apps.

These apps are either designed or updated to support Markdown’s syntax. How these apps function in relation to Markdown vary. For instance, iA Writer supports Markdown editing and previewing. On the other hand, Marked by Brett Tepstra functions only as a Markdown previewer that enables you to see if you’ve formatted your document correctly.

The number of Markdown-supported apps for the Mac is growing steadily as people begin to learn and adopt this revolutionary way of writing for the web. As such, this article features 35 different apps that support Markdown, from text editors to previewers to a combination of both.

Markdown: Previewers Only

Learning and writing Markdown can always start with just a fresh .txt file. Simply apply the syntax to your document and you can preview the outcome by using a Markdown previewer.

Marked app


Marked is a popular previewer that allows you to view Markdown, MultiMarkdown, HTML, and plain text files in an efficient and intuitive manner. It updates in real time as you edit your documents, refocusing and repositioning itself according to where you are currently working on in the document. Then, it gives you powerful export options to turn your Markdown file into HTML, or perhaps a PDF or Rich Text document.

Price: $3.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later
Developer: Brett Terpstra

Notesdeck for Mac


Notesdeck consolidates all of your text files from different apps and services, such as Evernote (read only), Dropbox, and Simplenote. One of its prominent features is being able to preview Markdown live, saving you time and effort from formatting all of your notes in HTML.

Price: $21.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Michael Petruzzo

Markdown: Editors

While a standalone Markdown previewer may be all you need, there are text editors that you can use to write, edit, and preview your Markdown-formatted documents. Prices and available features will vary from app to app, so take the time to read each app’s description and list of features before anything else.

macchiato for mac


Macchiato is a text editor designed primarily for writing and editing in Markdown. As you type, Macchiato formats and edits your document, taking the ease of use of Markdown editing a step further. The app hasn’t been updated since August 2011 though, but it does come with several features, such as typographical and color themes to customize the Macchiato experience.

Price: $19.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Azure Talon

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MarkMyWords takes on a platform-independent approach by using just plain text to create, edit, and preview texts in various markup languages, including Markdown. Some of its well-known features are live preview, inserting your own CSS stylesheets into your Markdown documents, text templates and markers for easy organization, and a distraction-free writing environment.

Price: $24.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Xelaton Software

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Valetta boasts of being the first single-pane Markdown editor for the Mac. With this app, your document is already prepared for the web as you type in that the current line (where the cursor is found) is shown only as the Markdown source. It also saves in screen space as it eliminates the extra preview window pane.

Price: $6.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: <a href=”http://vallettamd.com/”Valetta Ventures

texts.io rich editor


Texts is a rich text editor designed to separate presentation from the content creation process. It works like a typical word processor, but it stores the finished documents as plain text with Markdown markup, making it compatible to other Markdown-supported applications and ready for publishing to the web. The latest version comes with built-in MultiMarkdown support.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6+
Developer: Text Software Limited

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Markdown Pro

Markdown Pro gives you all the tools you need to create beautiful, well-formatted documents using the Markdown markup language. It also aims to make the writing process fun and interesting through its themed live preview feature. With custom templates, fast support, and export to PDF or HTML, Markdown Pro is a flexible and high quality Markdown editor for documents, notes, long articles, essays, and the like.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: RADSense Software Web Site

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MarkdownNote for Mac is another text editor that is designed to make Markdown text editing easy and convenient for you. Main features include a live previewer that updates as you type, preview and editor size adjustments using shortcuts, and the ability to anchor the preview pane to the bottom of your document. Development has ceased though, so there won’t be updates to the app.

Price: $3.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Coding Robots

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Easy Markdown

Easy Markdown makes Markdown editing and formatting easy and seamless for everyone. It automatically translates plain text to formatted web pages through the use of basic Markdown formatting. Through collapsible split views, you can type normal plain text on the left pane and view the final output on the right. You can then copy the HTML code or RTF format at any time while working on your document.

Price: $3.99
Requires: OS X 10.7.3 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Tension Software

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nvALT 2 is a fork of the popular text editor Notational Velocity, extending the latter with more features and interface modifications. Some of these include being able to write and edit text files in Markdown. There are other functionalities built into the app in relation to Markdown, such as Textile and (Multi)Markdown support with preview and converting imported URLs to Markdown.

Price: Free
Developer: Brett Terpstra

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Inspired by the elegance and flexibility of Notational Velocity, Nottingham is a simple and lightweight note-taking application for the Mac that supports Markdown editing and live previews of Markdown-formatted text files and notes. The overall design is pretty much similar to Notational, so current users will feel right at home with it.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.7 and above
Developer: Click On Tyler

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next Writer

Another minimalist writing app for those wanting to focus on writing alone, next Writer offers a distraction-free environment wherein everything fades out except for the current line and paragraph. It also features Night mode, two font size thesaurus/spell and grammar check, and export to various formats.

Price: $4.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Driver X Studio

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Markdown+ targets users who wish to create beautiful web documents without any prior knowledge of HTML and Markdown. Through keyboard shortcuts and menus, you can easily create and edit Markdown formatted documents even if you haven’t taken the extra ten minutes to learn the standard syntax. Markdown+ also features 9 different styles, an intuitive user interface, live previewer, and an export option that allows you to save the file as HTML ready.

Price: $5.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: InSili.co

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Postie is a simple Markdown editor that creates, edits, and publishes to Scriptogram, a Markdown web publishing service that converts Markdown files saved to your Dropbox account into actual web pages. If you own a Scriptogram blog, you can use Postie to write, edit, and post directly to it by using the shortcut Cmd + P.

Price: $1.99
Requires: OS X 10.8 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Christopher R Hannah

Markdown: Distraction-Free

Geared towards writers in need of focus and concentration, the following are distraction-free minimalist Markdown editors designed to make writing and Markdown-to-HTML conversion seamless, easy, and of course productive.

ia writer

iA Writer

One of the best distraction-free writing apps for the Mac, iA Writer supports a subset of Markdown’s syntax that you can implement by typing certain characters. The latest version of iA Writer takes Markdown editing and previewing a step forward with the new in-app previewer. Simply use the shortcut Control+Cmd+R to toggle the previewer and view your Markdown-formatted document.

Price: $4.99 for a limited time
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Information Architects Inc.

byword for mac


Byword is another great choice if you’re looking for an elegant distraction-free writing app that supports Markdown. Besides its beautiful user interface, Byword is built for smart Markdown editing, supports MultiMarkdown extensions, and also comes with its own in-app previewer.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Metaclassy, Lda.

writedown icon


Writedown is another contender in that it’s a distraction-free writing/editing app with Markdown syntax highlighting. Other features include an in-app live preview (shortcut: ⌥ + ⌘ + P), multiple supported formats (e.g. .md, plain text, HTML), customizable writing environment, and being able to resume writing after closing Writedown.

Price: $4.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Serpensoft Group

cleanwriter pro icon

Clean Writer Pro

Clean Writer Pro is as its name suggests: a clean, minimalist, distraction-free app that supports Markdown. It’s no-nonsense, without the bells and whistles, and yet has everything you need to focus on writing. In terms of its Markdown support, Clean Writer Pro has a live preview feature, the standard Markdown syntax highlighting, and Markdown-to-HTML functionality.

Price: $5.99; currently on sale at $0.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later
Developer: Cognitive Bits

free icon


While it doesn’t come for free, Free is a distraction-free minimalist writing app with Markdown support. Taken from its predecessor, myTexts, and developed for the latest version of OS X, Free is optimized for the Retina display and is built with a handful of features despite its minimalist appearance. A couple of these include saving to iCloud, paragraph highlighting and color schemes, word count/frequency/statistics, and exporting to multiple formats (e.g. Word, OpenOffice, HTML).

Price: $4.99
Requires: OS X 10.7.4 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Michael Göbel

loremipsum icon


LoremIpsum is another great option for seamless writing and editing in Markdown and rich text documents. Besides the standard features that come with writing apps for OS X, LoremIpsum offers Markdown smart editing, live HTML preview for Markdown documents with in-page anchors, a well-designed rich text editor, auto-wrapping, timed writing, inline bookmarks and themes.

Price: $2.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: LoremIpsum Labs

Markdown: Professional Text Editors for Coders

Another subcategory are professional text editors that can be extended to support Markdown and MultiMarkdown editing and publishing. These are Markdown-supported apps targeting advance users who handle code and markup languages in their workflows.

mmdcomposer icon

MultiMarkdown Composer

MultiMarkdown Composer, a.k.a. mmdcomposer, is a powerful text editor that supports both Markdown and Multimarkdown, a superset of the Markdown syntax that extends it with additional features, such as tables, footnotes, left- and right-sided blockquotes, etc. Since this means learning additional formats, you can use MultiMarkdown Composer to essentially do the MMD formatting work for you.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: MultiMarkdown Software LLC

Mou app 200x200


While most of the Markdown editors here are for writers and general users, Mou is designed with more advance users (e.g. web developers) in mind. As such, it’s built with more powerful features, such as actions, enhanced CJK support, auto pair, custom CSS live preview, and HTML export. The app is currently in beta and free to download and use.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.7+
Developer: Chen Luo

textmate icon


TextMate is another professional editor for web developers in need of an app that makes writing code and markup easier and much more organized. As it works with various markup languages, you can write/edit Markdown formatted documents by downloading and installing the Markdown bundle, which allows you to convert and preview Markdown formatting either in the app or by generating and opening in browser.

Price: €39, open source code available for free
Requires: Mac OS 10.5 and above
Developer: MacroMates Ltd.

textwrangler icon


TextWrangler is one of the more powerful HTML/text editors for the Mac. The latest version (4.0) adds .md and .mdown formats to the app’s list of default suffix mappings in order to support Markdown editing, giving web developers much more ease when developing and formatting great web pages.

Bonus: Sable Cantus shares a nifty TextWrangler filter to allow Markdown-to-HTML conversion and export. You can then view the final output using a Markdown previewer.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Bare Bones Software

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Sublime Text 2

Similar to TextWrangler, Sublime Text 2 is a feature-rich and powerful professional text editor that can also be tweaked and extended to integrate Markdown to one’s workflow. Federico Viticci of MacStories compiles a series of tips, tricks, and links to plugins to enhance Markdown compatibility with Sublime Text 2, one of these being Brett Terpstra’s MarkdownEditor repository.

Price: $59
Requires: OS X 10.6 or 10.7
Developer: Sublime Text 2

Markdown: Integration with Other Apps

Finally, we have a series of apps with unique functionalities but can support various markup languages, Markdown included. These may be blog editors, word processors, site builders, and the like.

sitekite icon


SiteKite is both a HTML editor and a FTP uploader, making it easy for beginners learning how to build a website. As it supports Markdown editing, you can create and edit bits of your website’s pages without spending too much time inserting HTML tags and formatting.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Marc Rochkind

quickcursor icon


QuickCursor works as a productivity booster by taking your favorite text editor and connecting it to any application through a global shortcut. In relation to Markdown, QuickCursor launches a Markdown-supported text editor (e.g. Textmate) and automatically pastes the document into a Markdown previewer (e.g. Marked). Other compatible Markdown editors include MultiMarkdown Composer, Mou, and TextWrangler.

Price: $4.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Hog Bay Software

foldingtext icon


A fusion of Hog Bay Software’s text editing tools, FoldingText is a plain text outliner designed to boost productivity by organizing ideas, items, lists, etc. by using basic Markdown syntax to define the outline structure. In this sense, it can actually function as a Markdown editor as well. You can read more about FoldingText and its relation to Markdown (as well as its limitations) in this support page.

Price: $24.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Hog Bay Software

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BlogEasy is a desktop blog editor for the Mac that allows you to write and publish in either HTML or Markdown. It’s targeted towards WordPress users, which isn’t so bad as 14 million of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress. The app is currently in beta, so you can download the latest version from the official website.

Price: Free; $9.99 at the Mac App Store
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: cephire

marsedit icon


MarsEdit is another desktop blog client for the Mac with more features and support for other blogging platforms (e.g. Blogger, Tumblr). You can write and edit posts in Markdown using the HTML editor, saving you time and effort in formatting your upcoming post in HTML. Once you’re done, you can see the final output in HTML rendering in the app’s live preview window.

Price: $39.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Red Sweater Software

dayone app icon

Day One

One of the most popular and beautiful journaling apps for the Mac, Day One makes journaling and writing quick entries a memorable experience. Apart from fast synching to Dropbox/iCloud, photos, locations, and easy sharing to social networks, Day One offers (Multi)Markdown support for users who prefer to write with text formatting syntax. You can take a look at Day One’s Markdown syntax documentation for reference.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.7.4 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Bloom Built, LLC

notebooks for mac


Notebooks is a desktop notes app that allows you to keep and sync notes to the iOS versions, allowing you to take your notes wherever you go. It’s available as a public beta, so it’s free to download and try.

Notebooks supports Markdown, allowing you to edit and preview Markdown, to view your Markdown documents always in HTML, and to permanently convert Markdown to HTML. It also supports Pandoc style document headers and the ability to insert Markdown through dedicating formatting keys is well on its way.

Price: Free
Developer: Alfons Schmid

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Ulysses is a semantic text editor that borrows concepts from Setext and LaTeX. It supports several markup languages, Markdown being one of the many you can use to structure your documents on the app. Headings are defined by the “#” symbol and bold text by wrapping with asterisks. Those waiting for Ulysses 3 can also expect Markdown support, as indicated by this sneak peek here.

Price: $11.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: The Soulmen GBR

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Scrivener has long been regarded as one of the most popular and powerful writing software for authors, scriptwriters, academics, and the like. It’s dedicated to handling and organizing long documents, making it easier and less tedious for writers to create and produce. The latest version supports MultiMarkdown 3.0 and MultiMarkdown for LaTeX export.

Price: $44.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Literature and Latte

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eBookBinder is designed to make ebook creation and publishing easy for everyone. It uses your existing documents and turns them into chapters of your ebook. Besides the standard file formats, eBookBinder supports markup languages, such as Markdown, MultiMarkdown, BBCode, etc.

Price: $5.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Xelaton Software

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Bonus: TextEdit

Because the core of Markdown is to create ready-to-use, publishable web content while keeping the focus on the actual writing process, plain text files are the writer’s main material. In this sense, Apple’s very own TextEdit can be used to create and edit Markdown formatted content. You can then use any online or offline Markdown previewer to see it all rendered in HTML.

Price: Free
Developer: Apple Inc.

Markdown Resources

Need a bit of help learning how to write and edit in Markdown? Looking for a tutorial to help you get started? No problem!

There are plenty of articles, tutorials, and documentations available online to help you understand the syntax and how to apply the basic rules to your documents. Here are a couple of Markdown and MultiMarkdown tips, links, and resources to help you get started:

The Origins: Daring Fireball Markdown Documentation

Other Markdown Tutorials and Resources


What did I miss?

Did I miss a Markdown editor or previewer? Got a tutorial that would go well in the list of resources? Let me know in the comments below.

And since November is NaNoWriMo month, I hope this roundup will help you find the best writing app to help you write and publish your manuscripts. Happy writing!