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Best Markdown Editors for Mac OS and iOS


If you write texts and publish them online, you must have noticed that it’s not always handy to convert them to HTML since you have to use external software on top of your editor.

Indeed, Markdown syntax makes working with a text easier and the structure more visual. This format is perfect to use in web editing and its simple syntax is appealing. A Markdown text doesn’t require much from the working environment and can be created even in Notepad.

In our review we are going to look at some good Markdown text editors with syntax highlighting and exporting documents to HTML and other formats which at the same time combine best sides of other text editors.

Table of Contents

Ulysses – easy project work and great features

Ulysses stands out among other Markdown text editors for MacOS and will satisfy even the most demanding editors and writers.

First of all, Ulysses is handy when you work with projects, which is essential when

  • You have your draft documents all over the place,
  • you are working with several documents simultaneously,
  • you are writing a book which needs organizing into chapters.

Ulysses will help you arrange your files in sections and structure them by tags. All your files will be stored in the library which can be cloud synchronized with other iOS/Mac OS devices. If you need to find something in the archive, simply apply filters or search box.

Another significant aspect is focusing on editing. Like all apps, Ulysses works in the fullscreen mode, plus there is support for header highlighting and, similar to Byword, Typewriter Mode.

The editor supports extended Markdown, consequently you can insert footnotes, images, links and even tables in your documents. One more reason it is comfortable to work with Markdown in Ulysses is that you change the settings based on your preferences: select fonts, custom themes and color palettes from the list.

And last but not least, a few words on saving in Ulysses: it is publishing on blogging platforms Medium and WordPress as well as exporting to local files (txt, html, pdf, epub, and docx formats).

Download Ulysses app

Tot - handy text note editor for Mac and iOS

Tot is another handy text editor for Mac and iOS. It is good for working with rtf, md and plain text notes. You can work with 7 documents at the same time, each with a different color. You can easily switch between notes, change the format for editing or exporting at any time.

Special mention should be made of data synchronization via iCloud. Once you set it up, you won't have to think about making a backup. Besides, synchronization allows you to work with your documents on any of your iOS / Mac OS devices. All changes will be accessible from anywhere - on your Macbook or iPhone.

Each of the 7 documents in Tot looks unique: its own design, format, panel settings, and document statistics. This is very convenient and allows you to remember at the level of associations, where which note is located. Moreover, these settings are saved not only while you write, but also when you open and close Tot.

As for the formats, as already mentioned, md, rtf and txt are supported. You can quickly switch between the formats as needed, for example for a better readability or to export in a certain format.

There is a visual preview available for the notes, which in the case of markdown is very useful. And the formatting is preserved when copying between documents or importing text from an external source.

Of other conveniences note the ability to insert special characters (a list is available by pressing a key on the soft keyboard), as well as flexible configuration of keyboard shortcuts. In the latest version, smart bullets have been added to help make todo lists. Summaries can be added to the home screen, allowing Tot to be used as a complete todo manager and organizer.

The app is free for Mac OS users. In the meantime, Tot Pocket for iOS costs $19.99.

Download TOT

Byword – cloud synchronization and export to blogs

Byword is an easy-to-use text editor with Markdown support (including footnotes, tables and cross-references) for Mac OS.

Byword’s major feature is its distraction free mode. In the View menu you can activate Paragraph / Line Focus and Typewriter mode. The editor is not distracting user’s attention due to its minimalist design in particular. However, unlike similar solutions, for example iA Writer, it is less conservative, and you can change background color (light/dark) and fonts if you wish.

Just as other editors, Byword editor includes a basic set of text manipulation functions. There are hotkeys to work with texts, and in certain moments Byword offers syntax auto-completion, which is really handy and non-intrusive. When inserting phrases you can also use Editor Menu.

Export is available for PDF, HTML, RTF, Word and Latex. Before saving a document you can preview it by pressing Option + CMD + P.

One of the useful web editing functions is posting on social networks by pressing the Publish button. You can link Medium, Tumblr, Blogger and Evernote to your Byword.

On the Mac and iOS, I mainly use Byword for first drafts and blog posts. I've used it for a long time and it does just what I need. - Patrick Rhone

I write a lot and when I can, I write in Markdown, mostly in Byword, and export it where and how I need with Marked. - Andy Polaine

Download Byword

iA Writer – sorting your library

iA Writer app is available in iOS/MacOS/Android. It supports extended syntax MultiMarkdown, which is more than enough for formatting and preparing a text to publish online.

iA Writer has a number of ways to help you sort your library, it is helpful in project management and writing books. What exactly does this tool offer:

  • User-friendly Document Library to store your documents.
  • The fourth edition of the app includes Content Blocks function – inserting images and adding sections straight into the Markdown text.
  • There are patterns which can be used in order to optimize work.

Synchronization across multiple devices is implemented using Dropbox and Google Drive which are supposed to provide secure backing up. What’s more, both services can be rolled back to a previous version.

As for the publishing features, iA Writer supports three popular export file formats: HTML, Word docx and pdf. Crossposting in CMS or Medium can be linked up.

For writing I use IA Writer to create a first draft of my article. If I'm writing the article all alone I stay there - Anselm Hannemann

Download iA Writer

Mou – all you need for Markdown writing, and nothing extra

Although we haven’t seen the final release of Mou yet (for now it’s 0.8.7 beta), this Markdown editor has been quite widely used and honed for quite a while.

Mou has assembled tools and features essential in editing. The commands used most frequently can be accessed via menu Actions and standby hotkeys.

We would also like to draw your attention to the live preview feature. It allows checking with the HTML format which you receive as an output, realtime. You can scroll a Markdown text on the left and it will be scrolled in sync in preview on the right.

Files can be exported to a local HTML file (or, alternatively, pdf). Besides, you can add a CSS file with your Markdown. Similar to other editors, this one has an auto safe feature, so you don’t need to worry about losing your text if an error occurs.

More good editing features are Auto Completion, Auto Pair, Incremental Search and Words Counter. If you use those, Mou capabilities are enough and there’s no need in other tools.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning the simple clean but user-friendly interface of the desktop version. If you’re unhappy with the font of your text or the background color in the Markdown, they can be easily changed in the settings.

I use markdown for writing, making notes and pretty much everything when I need to get some thoughts out of my head and onto the screen. Recently I've moved from using Sublime Text for that, to Mou which is a nice little Markdown editor - Phil Hawksworth

Almost everything I write involves Markdown, I love it. The Mou app with syntax highlight and live preview already became indispensable to me. - Zeno Rocha

Download Mou

Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.