Markdown 101 - Master Your Note-Taking


Are you tired of cumbersome note-taking tools that weigh you down with unnecessary features? Look no further than at the power of Markdown — a lightweight and versatile markup language designed for simplicity and efficiency. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or someone looking for a better way to organize and present your thoughts, Markdown is your ultimate solution. Let’s delve into this Markdown world where simplicity meets productivity!

Markdown’s Transformative Role in Note-Taking

Note-taking is an essential part of our lives, from jotting down ideas during meetings to capturing lecture notes in class. Markdown is uniquely suited for this purpose, thanks to its numerous benefits.

First and foremost, Markdown allows you to focus on your content, rather than getting lost in complex formatting options. Unlike rich text editors such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word, which can be overwhelming with their abundant features, Markdown keeps things clean, straightforward, and highly formatable.

Note-taking should be lightweight and portable, enabling easy access to your information wherever you go. Markdown’s plain text format ensures that your notes occupy minimal storage space, making them effortlessly transportable across devices, platforms, and software. Additionally, Markdown’s compatibility with various applications and platforms guarantees that you can seamlessly work on your notes from any preferred device or software.

Another advantage of Markdown is its transformability and exportability. You can effortlessly convert Markdown files into other formats, such as PDF or HTML, opening up endless possibilities for customization and presentation. By leveraging static site generators like Jekyll, you can transform your Markdown documents into stunning webpages, creating blogs, websites, and reports without the need for complex web development skills. The simplicity and versatility of Markdown empower you to unleash your creativity and produce visually captivating content with ease. In fact, the blog you’re reading this on is also generated by Jekyll based on a purely Markdown content.

Embrace Markdown - Best Places to Begin

Markdown is a widely adopted standard, particularly in computer science and programming circles. However, it is accessible to everyone, regardless of technical expertise. Even a basic text editor like Notepad can edit Markdown files. However, there are numerous software options available that provide a more tailored experience →

  • Obsidian → A powerful note-taking app with robust organizational features and cross-linking capabilities.
  • Simplenote → A lightweight note-taking app that syncs seamlessly across devices.
  • iA Writer → A minimalist writing app that provides a distraction-free environment.
  • Joplin → An open-source note-taking app with end-to-end encryption for enhanced security.
  • Notable → A versatile note-taking app that supports Markdown and code snippets.
  • Standard Notes → A secure and privacy-focused note-taking app with Markdown support.
  • Bear (for Apple only) → A beautiful and intuitive writing app exclusively available for Apple devices.
  • Logseq → A note-taking app focused on the concept of interconnected “blocks” for enhanced organization.
  • Drafts (for Apple only) → A powerful app that allows you to capture ideas quickly and efficiently.
  • Taio (for Apple only) → An all-in-one workspace app with Markdown support for seamless note-taking and task management.

It’s worth noting that Markdown is also the default writing mode on GitHub, making it an ideal choice for developers and those who collaborate on code-based projects. In fact, the very blog post you are reading is written in Markdown and hosted on GitHub, highlighting its versatility and widespread usage.

Additionally, a class of note-taking applications operate based on the concept of blocks, such as the immensely popular Notion. These apps combine the visual appeal of block-based editing with the simplicity and flexibility of Markdown syntax. Notion, Craft (for Apple only), and Appflowy are excellent examples of these block-based note-taking ecosystems. They offer advanced features, customizable layouts, and seamless integration with Markdown syntax, allowing you to create stunning and highly organized notes.

Personal or company wikis also support Markdown. Some of the most popular ones are Wiki.JS, TiddlyWiki, and Confluence. Organizations can use these wikis to organize their internal documentation and processes.

Syntax and Formatting

“Markdown has a learning curve” is a phrase you WILL encounter online. But I disagree! Word processing tools like Microsoft Word and Google Docs have a much steeper learning curve. You need to worry about formatting, indentation, font sizes! It’s hard to emphasize words or phrases easily. How many times have you tried to make your heading bold and find your text formatted bold too? And then, when you disable bold again and clear the line, you’re back to bold! That’s a whole lot of frustration! How many steps to add a simple horizontal line as a separator? All that makes note-taking hard. These word processors do have a place when footers, headers, colored documents, formal documents, and forms are concerned. But that’s less than 10% of the time. Why write in frustration the remaining 90% of the time?

So, first and foremost, try out Markdown in your browser here → MDLivePreview or StackEdit or Dillinger.

You could read through those default documents and understand the basic syntax of Markdown, but I want to provide a cheatsheet here. This is some markdown text that I’ve written using most of the basic syntactical concepts. Next, find the rendered PDF version of how that documents looks.

You can also refer to this article to learn Markdown syntax.


So, Markdown is a powerful tool that unlocks a world of possibilities in note-taking and document creation. Its lightweight nature, ease of use, and broad support across platforms and applications make it the perfect choice for anyone looking to enhance their productivity and simplify their workflow. So why wait? Discover Markdown at your earliest convenience, and I guarantee your future self will thank you for it!

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.