Bill Bennett

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Typora markdown editor review

Typora is a great Markdown editor that brings distraction-free writing to Windows and Linux.

There’s a smorgasbord full of Markdown editors for Apple users. Windows and Linux users who want to simplify writing have fewer options. Typora changes that.

It’s possible to run Typora on a Chromebook. While there are no versions for Android or iOS, that may change.

Markdown editors are stripped-back distraction-free writing apps. If you want to focus on getting your words onto the virtual page and nothing else, they are your best option.

Many writers swear Markdown improves productivity.

Typora offers a different Markdown take

Markdown editors have a limited range of type and formatting options compared to traditional word processors like Microsoft Word. Even Google Docs offers a wider range of choices.

That’s deliberate, it keeps things simple.

With Markdown editors you can enter formatting codes directly into your text. A pair of * symbols tells Markdown the next few characters are in bold type and so on.

Keep it out of sight

Other Markdown editors tend to keep these codes in sight. You type onto a blank pages and can see your markup codes. You can then switch to a second screen to see how they look after formatting.

Typora doesn’t do that. In normal use, it styles the text as you type. This takes us back to an acronym that we don’t hear much these days: wysiwyg – what you see is what you get.

There is an option to choose a view with pure Markdown codes. Yet, for the most part, Typora keeps this out of sight.

I’m not convinced this is an improvement, but you may feel otherwise.

Themes

The other departure from standard Markdown editors is that Typora offers a series of themes. Many allow you to switch from dark text on a light background to light on dark, or perhaps, format the output in different ways.

Typora takes themes further than that. There is a theme gallery, you can download more themes If you are handy with CSS, you can create your own custom themes.

While this is neat, it is a form of distraction. Instead of procrastinating over font choices and layout options when using Microsoft Word, you can now waste valuable writing time looking at these themes.

Document format

There are Markdown editors that store files in a proprietary format. Thankfully, Typora does not do this. Proprietary formats are a backward step.

The files store as .md documents that you can open with other Markdown editors and applications or services that accept Markdown input. This can be handy if, say, you have a WordPress blog.

You can save direct to Word format if you need to stay compatible with colleagues. Typora has HTML and PDF output too.

Typora verdict

If you already use a Markdown editor, Typora can make sense if being able to see formatted text as you type appeals. I find it doesn’t help, but it doesn’t do any harm.

Typora is the best Markdown editor I’ve seen for Windows and Linux systems. If you want to simplify your writing and you use one of these, it is the smartest option.

If you are a Mac user, take advantage of the free trial period to see if Typora suits better than the other Markdown options.

Typora costs a one-off US$15. There is no cheeky annual subscription to worry about. I couldn’t find it in app stores, you can buy direct from the Typora site.

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