How to Use Markdown Everywhere

I haven’t always loved plain text syntax. Once I embraced git as the langua franca of IT Operations, I knew that made Markdown required knowledge. Fast forward a few years and many thousands of lines later and I’m in love.

For instance, the fact that **bold** renders as bold no matter where I type it and no amount of copy-and-pasting will make the format change is just too tempting to pass up. With that in mind, here’s my collection of handy applications and conversion tools I keep around. The meaty part comes from converting from non-Markdown to Markdown, so dive right into that if you’re interested.

Writing in Markdown

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  • Notes - if you are starting from scratch, decide between Bear App or the do-it-yourself Joplin. The latter is open source and robust and the former is simple, sleek, and inexpensive.
  • Todo List - Todoist is Markdown compatible by default (and supports emojis 💥), which is why I continue to use it for all my task management.
  • Writing - if you can, ditch your CMS and Word docs for a git repository. Honestly, it’s simple, gives you all the benefits of version control, and keeps you focused on the text more than the styling.

Converting Non-Markdown to Markdown

  • Rich text - wrote something in that undesirable rich text format? It’s cool, MarkdownIt gives you the quickest way to convert. It’s a little clumsy with links, but gets you 90% closer than you would writing and rewriting [link](http://link).
  • Medium - exporting from Medium to Markdown with a nifty Chrome extension like this one. It looks like you can write Medium posts in Markdown as well using code like this, even from the command line, though it’s easy enough to import from anywhere.
  • Google Docs - I’ve heavily relied on the open source gdocs2md app to convert Google Docs to Markdown files (hat tip to this Stackoverflow answer for pointing me here).
  • Evernote - while this project is getting up their in age, I can confirm that enml2md allows you to extract an Evernote export (.enex) into separate Markdown files.

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References when you get stuck

Markdown takes time to internalize, and there’s no shame in looking it up (I still look up how to link to an image on a regular basis). My frequently visited sites:

What are you using Markdown to do? Share tools or recommendations with me!