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Atom Review


I've been writing in Markdown since the day I learned about it back in, only God knows when. Since then, my main writing tool on my macOS was Sublime Text but for the last month or so, things have changed. I moved to Atom by Github and today, I am going to tell you how to turn Atom into a Markdown Editor for macOS.

If you've been reading my recent articles, I mentioned in two of them Sublime Text as an example app to use for code editing. From now on, this will change, instead, I will recommend Atom by Github because it's free, open source and you can customize it any way you want through packages and themes.

For those of you who use Editorial app on iOS for writing like I do, these Atom packages that I mention below should make the experience really similar.

Let's Take a Look at How to Turn Atom into a Markdown Editor for Mac.

Now it's not a secret that I like Markdown, I wrote many times about it and today is no different.

With just a few packages, Atom will be the only text editor you will ever need whenever you want to write in Markdown. It's so good, that if you use Editorial on iOS, you will feel right at home.

Here are the packages you will need:

Markdown-Writer by Zhuochun

This is the first base package you need to start your Markdown writing in Atom. This package adds all the features that you would expect to see in any Markdown text editor like:

  • Insert Links
  • Insert Images
  • Insert Footnotes [^fn1]
  • Toggle text styles
  • Much, much more

It's based on a keyboard shortcut. After installing it, you need to activate it and to do that, you will need to do the following:

  1. Toggle command plate. shift + command + P
  2. Execute the following command: Markdown Writer: Create Default Keymaps

You have just created Keymaps.

Now, in order to see all the keyboard shortcuts, open the command plate again and execute this command: Markdown Writer: Open Cheat Sheet.

You should see all the shortcuts needed to start your new Markdown writing adventures with Atom.

Atom Tool Bar by Wojtek Siudzinski

This package serves as the second base on our list to get this party fully started. You'll need this to make the third package function properly.

How it works-it adds an empty toolbar which you can fill by installing one of its many compatible plugins.

Toolbar for Markdown-Writer by Zhuochun

Atom Markdown Toolbar
View full res image

Now, we get to the good stuff. By taking advantage of the previous package, Toolbar for Markdown will add a toolbar that includes all the necessary editing tools that a Markdown writer needs.

Here's the full list:

  • Add New Post/Draft
  • Preview Markdown
  • Manage Tags
  • Manage Categories
  • Insert Link
  • Insert Image
  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Code/Code Block
  • Unordered List
  • Ordered List
  • Task List
  • Heading 1
  • Heading 2
  • Heading 3
  • Jump to Previous Heading
  • Jump to Next Heading
  • Insert Table
  • Format Table

Markdown Preview by atom

View full res image

Now, you got all your writing tools ready and set up. You'll want to see how your final work is going to look as you're writing.

This is the package for you. It comes pre-installed and it's made by the people behind Atom themselves.

Remember the Markdown Preview button from the package above? It will toggle this on open.

Markdown Scroll Sync by Mark Hahn

Your screen is split in half with a preview showing you that sweet Markdown preview. However, it doesn't scroll while you type?

No problem, because that's what this package is for.

That's it. It sync your scrolls.

Browser Plus by skandasoft

Atom Browser
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One of my favorite features in Editorial for iOS is the built in browser. It might sound strange to download a browser package for Atom when Chrome or Firefox is a command + tab away.

I think it's still good to have fully functioning browsers with all the great features that a browser has in Atom.

All you'll need to do to open it is: press control + option + O and you will get a browser with the following features:

  • Live Preview
  • Back/Forward Button
  • DevTool
  • Refresh
  • History
  • Favorites
  • Simple Plugin Framework – jQuery/ContextMenu based

WordCount by nesQuick

Atom Word Count Package
View full res image

This package is for people who like to keep count and keep a close eye on how many characters and words they've written.

It displays them neatly in the status-bar and contains a writing goal tracker.

Plus, you can set a writing goal which is why there's a red line under the numbers in the image above.

Markdown Folding by JoseBlanca

Last but not least. When you write a long article such as this one with multiple headings, instead of scrolling down and up, we can just fold these heading to close the sections of the articles that we are done with.

In order to activate this package after installing it, there're couple of things that you have to do:

  1. Toggle command plate. shift + command + P
  2. Execute the following command: Application: Open Your Keymap
  3. At the bottom of the .cson file that will open, add the following:
  # markdown-folding package 'atom-text-editor[data-grammar="source gfm"]:not([mini])': 'tab':
  'markdown-folding:cycle'{' '}

markdown by burodepeper

Thanks to <a href="">Michael Holley</a> who recomended this package in the comments below.

What this great package allow you to do is get a real-time preview of Markdown without needing to open a preview panel.

Plus many other great features like:

  • Automatically create new list-items when pressing enter
  • Indent or outdent list-items by pressing tab or shift+tab
  • Add shortcuts (via _, * and ~) for toggling inline-emphasis and strike-through on selected text

And much more.


This should make Atom an exact replica of what Editorial app on iOS is. A perfect, simple yet so complicated Markdown text editor that is capable of doing pretty much anything your heart desires with all the packages that you've installed on it.

If you know of more packages that could make Markdown even more, easier and enjoyable than it already is, then make sure to contact me.

I hope you find this tutorial useful and keep on marking down!

[^fn1]: Tip: Insert <a href="">Bigfoot</a> supported footnotes by executing the command Markdown Writer: Insert Footnote then in Label type fn1 and for the next footnote type fn2 and so on.