Google Docs New Features – Markdown support!

Markdown was pretty popular a few years ago. So what is Markdown? It is a lightweight markup language that allows you to add formatting (bold, italics, lists, hyperlinks, images, etc.) to plaintext documents. You can read more about it here.

Basically it lets you to format your text and document without the need of a toolbar or special mouse clicks. This may sound a little confusing and it is at first but it is a good way to write as it removes lots of distractions and lets you focus on your words. I’ve used it a lot in the past, especially with blog posts. I switched away from it when I switched over to Windows – I couldn’t find a text editor I liked that supported it.

At any rate – that may be changing as Google Docs now supports Markdown! You have to enable it but it works! To get started create or open a Google Doc. From the menu select Tools and then select Preferences (I believe this was previously named Tools).

From your Preferences window, check the box that says Automatically detect Markdown. That’s it – now you’re ready to format using Markdown. The Google Doc itself will not remove its keyboard or anything. It will still look the same, but now when you use Markdown syntax as you type, it will automatically format it according. Check out the GIF below.
Looks like I recorded too much space 🙂

Not all Markdown syntax is supported in Google Docs though. I tried to add an image and it just would delete. I also tried to make lists and to no avail, so I guess it’s not perfect but this is a pretty new feature and hopefully Google will continue to add more and more support to it.

Sometimes I like to write on a blank screen while creating. It’s also nice to try different markup languages too to stretch one’s brain from time to time. Heck even WordPress supports it now!

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