What is Markdown?

Talk about Markdown has been trending upward the last couple of years and maybe you’re wondering what, exactly, it is and why people are talking about it.

Created by John Gruber in 2004, Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Use of Markdown has grown because it’s the Kix cereal of online content: It’s developer tested and writer approved.

It allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, which is why it’s writer approved. But here’s what tech teams like: Markdown converts your text into properly formatted HTML, even if you don’t know a lick of code. The web is written in HTML, so it’s a development tool for content creators – one that prevents bad HTML caused by simple typos. You won’t have any missing closing tags, improperly nested tags or blocks left without containers.


Markdown converts your text into properly formatted HTML, even if you don’t know a lick of code

With that benefit comes the fact that Markdown is light and flexible. Novice users can learn basic Markdown within a few minutes. The resulting text is much easier on the reader than HTML. Here is a short headline in Markdown, followed by the same headline in HTML:

In Markdown, you make a headline 1 by starting the line with a #.

# Headline 1 in Markdown

In HTML, you make a headline 1 by surrounding the content with starting and closing H1 tags.

<H1>Headline 1 in HTML</H1>

Over the course of a long document, the eyes of an editor will be thankful for the simplicity of Markdown.

To keep things even more simple, Markdown draws the line between content development and design work. In the past, WYSIWYG editing tools gave writers too much design control. Someone could unknowingly add style to the design without meaning to, making their design team counterparts very sad. But Markdown provides the writer the flexibility of plain text without adding the painful formatting styles of Word. The markup handles these web-friendly formats with ease:

  • Bulleted lists
  • Headers
  • Bold and italicized text
  • Quote blocks
  • En/Em dashes
  • Links
  • Strikethrough
  • H1, H2, H3 and so on
  • Footnotes

As an additional benefit, Markdown is generally written in an application like Beegit, which means everything you write will be autosaved and easy for anyone on your team access from anywhere.

Where it’s used

Markdown is great for everything from content marketing to API documentation. It’s particularly useful where content and tech teams need to write together.

As Markdown’s popularity grows, it’s being used in all kinds of team tools like Trello and Slack to simplify communications. We also talk about it a good bit at Beegit, as our focus is on being the Markdown tool built for professional collaboration on content development.

Have you used Markdown? If you want to give it a spin, sign up for a free trial of Beegit and see what all the hubbub is about.

Recent Posts

  • What is Content UX and Why Does it Need to Be in Your...

  • Beegit and Ad-Rank Media

  • Customize your team's content workflow — and fonts!

  • Five quick steps to creating a content plan that kills endless revision loops...

  • Deep content search and improved commenting with resolved comments

  • Updated version control system for easier collaborative editing