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As an internet writer, I love Markdown. John Gruber’s creation is by far the best way to compose content for the internet. It’s easy, fast and efficient for the writer. It helps me make content faster.

However, while Markdown is commonly supported on popular blogging platforms like Tumblr and WordPress, it is not supported naturally on websites with WordPress software installed. You have to get a bit creative to get Markdown working there.

The Best Markdown Editor for Mac

For OS X, there are tons of great prose text editors. The best one for handling Markdown on third-party sites running WordPress, however, is Byword. You can download it here.

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Byword is my favorite text editor for composing internet writing because it’s simple, clean, easy to use and supports Markdown beautifully.
To get started, open up Byword and press Cmd-, to open the settings. Change the default format to “Markdown (plain text)”. This will make all your posts automatically save as .txt files for Byword to convert to HTML.

To get started, open up Byword and press Cmd-, to open the settings. Change the default format to “Markdown (plain text)”. This will make all your posts automatically save as .txt files for Byword to convert to HTML.

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Next, click “Byword” in the menu bar and then select “Publishing…” to connect your WordPress-enabled website. Press the “+” in the bottom left and follow the setup guide to enable Byword to publish directly to your site.

I set up my copy of Byword to publish directly to TechNorms. It’s simple, just follow the steps and enter the username and password you use to log into the website.

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Once you have a post written up in Markdown format, File > Publish… will push the post to your website. The default keyboard shortcut for this is a mess of modifier keys, and I didn’t want to deal with that.

Instead, I opened up the System Preferences (Apple icon in the top left > System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts) to add a custom shortcut.

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Select App Shortcuts and hit the “+” under the right-hand box to add shortcut. Be sure to select Byword as the targeted app and “Publish…” as the targeted menu option.

I assigned “Publish…” to Cmd-P because it’s short, easy to remember and I won’t miss the print shortcut. Who prints their blog posts?

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Switch back to Byword and press Cmd-P. Fill out the title, post status and tags and it’s ready to go. If you check out the post through your WordPress dashboard, it’ll show the formatted HTML instead of the Markdown syntax.

Also See: MacVim For OS X is the Best Text Editor for Mac

The Best Markdown Editor for Windows

While less popular on Windows, Markdown still gets some love from developers on Microsoft’s OS. MarkdownPad 2 is a fully featured product from an indie developer that’s worth trying.

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MarkdownPad 2 is cool because of its features and portability. I enjoyed having a portable Windows app that required no installation or administrator privileges. It’s a great feature for people who have to use Windows desktops they don’t control for work.

The app works like any other Markdown editor – input your code, see it in the live preview box and convert it to HTML. I like its distraction-free mode and built-in image uploader.

Unfortunately, MarkdownPad 2 does not seem to support single-space paragraphs. If you hit enter only once at the end of a paragraph and keep typing, the live preview won’t recognize that enter key.

You also have to upgrade to the pro version to use it commercially and get features like PDF export, auto-save and a built-in image uploader. There are still plenty of useful features for amateur bloggers, though, and it’s worth trying out.

Once you’re done, it’s a matter of exporting the text as HTML and adding it to your website. Open the WordPress Editor, switch to plain text, paste in the HTML. Easy.

Final Thoughts

Markdown is a cool system for bloggers on both platforms, though OS X definitely enjoys the lion’s share of developer support.

As someone who has to write in HTML, I find it infinitely easier to compose in Markdown. Writing three hashes in front of a title is far easier than going through in the WordPress editor, highlighting every subhead, and marking it as Heading 3. Don’t even get me started on the idea of writing in raw HTML.

I would highly recommend trying Markdown on OS X and Windows. It’s a good experience on all platforms.