Choosing A macOS Markdown Editor

Written by Luka Kerr on April 8, 2018

I’ve recently been writing a lot of documents in markdown - on this blog, for uni notes and for general writing. I find it much easier to write in markdown rather than Microsoft Word, pure LaTeX, plain text or rich text. Being able to convert markdown into PDF, HTML and plenty other formats is a huge benefit, not to mention that many websites like Github support it.

There are dozens of markdown editing apps out there for macOS, each with different features, and pros and cons.

I’ve been looking for the perfect one for a while now, but still haven’t found it. My criteria when searching has been:

Each point starting with “Must”, weighs 1 point, each point starting with “Preferably” weighs half a point.

Taking this crieteria, I set out to find the perfect markdown editor (if only it existed). Below are my findings, the pros/cons of each and how well the app matched my criteria (out of 6).



Typora is a super minimal markdown editor and is still in Beta at time of writing. The only downside is that there is no split view rendering support. Occassionally when editing inline LaTeX, the cursor dissapears or jumps around.

Pros Cons
Extensive exporting support No support for split view rendering
Supports opening multiple files/folders Hard to edit LaTeX inline
Supports theming and allows custom themes  



MacDown is the classic modern markdown editor for macOS. It’s open source and supports many cool features such as autocomplete and plugins.

Pros Cons
Extensive support for themeing, including community created themes No support for inline rendering/editing
Is open source No support for opening folders
Supports plugins  



LightPaper is another paid app with heaps of features including support for Jekyll front matter, MathJax support and a menubar app for quick note taking.

Pros Cons
Support for folders and tabs No inline editing
‘Real Preview’ to preview the document on different websites Slightly slower than its competition
Multiple markdown flavors  
Supports ‘plugins’ via CSS and JavaScript  

iA Writer


iA Writer is a paid app and has many great features such as focus mode and iCloud sync. It is not as customizable, but serves as a solid markdown editor.

Pros Cons
Dark mode No support for split view rendering
Focus mode No support for themeing
Has split view rendering Only allows opening folders/multiple files if you use the iCloud library



Ulysses is a native macOS app, with iOS support too. It won the 2016 Apple Award for Design. The main disadvantage to Ulysses is that it doesn’t support code blocks or syntax highlighting.

Pros Cons
Support for folders No split view or inline rendering
Automatic backup No code/syntax highlighting support
Sync across devices No LaTeX support
Support for publishing directly to Medium or Wordpress  

In the end I went with Typora. It supports everything main feature I need except split view rendering. Perhaps when it leaves beta it may support this, but for now its just off being the perfect markdown editor.