Markdown is a lightweight markup language that you can use to add formatting elements to plaintext text documents. Created by John Gruber in 2004, Markdown is now one of the world’s most popular markup languages.
Using Markdown is not the same as using a WYSIWYG editor. In a program like Microsoft Word, you click buttons to format words and phrases, and the changes are immediately visible. That is not how markdown works. When you make a Markdown-formatted file, you add Markdown syntax to the text to indicate which words and phrases should be formatted differently.
For instance, to indicate a heading, place a number sign before it (e.g., # Heading One). Alternatively, to make a phrase bold, place two asterisks before and after it (for example,
**this text is bold**). It may take you some time to get used to seeing Markdown syntax in your text, particularly if you are used to WYSIWYG applications.
A text editor can be used to add Markdown formatting elements to a plaintext file. The best and optimal way to use Markdown is with a professional tool like ERA, which is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS, which is dedicated to being used by developers and offers various features like a split-screen option, where you can see your formatted markdown file right beside your code.
Why Should You Use Markdown?
You may be wondering why people prefer Markdown over a WYSIWYG editor. Why write in Markdown when you can format your text by pressing buttons in an interface? As it turns out, people use Markdown instead of WYSIWYG editors for a variety of reasons.
Markdown can be used for almost anything
Websites, documents, notes, books, presentations, email messages, and technical documentation are all created with it, as long as you have a markdown processor that outputs the corresponding format. Markdown is a portable format. Markdown-formatted text files can be opened with any text editor or with Markdown processing applications such as ERA. You can import your Markdown files into another Markdown application if you decide you don't like the current one, and it still works perfectly fine. Compared to word processors such as Microsoft Word, which lock your content into a proprietary file format, you have freedom of choice.
Markdown is platform agnostic
Markdown-formatted text can be created and viewed on any device running any operating system.
Markdown is enduring
Even if the app you're using stops working at some point, you can still read your Markdown-formatted text with a text-editing app. This is an important consideration when dealing with books, academic papers, and other important documents that need to be kept indefinitely.
Markdown is everywhere
Sites like Reddit and GitHub, and many desktop and web apps support Markdown.
Markdown is fast
Save your time instead of clicking styling buttons and get into the flow of writing.
Get started with Markdown today
Start using ERA now and focus on what's important; the content and your work. Download ERA.