Markdown is a ’lightweight markup language’, that allows the creation of formatted text in any plain text editor. It’s easy to read, write and it’s possible to convert it in for example HTML. You can recognize a Markdown file by it’s ending:
Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax. 1
Reasons to use Markdown
1. Can be used with any Plain-Text-Editor
As I already mentioned, Markdown is a formatted text-based on plain text. This means a Markdown file is only plain text. Therefore any plain text editor can be used, to write/edit/read Markdown files. If you decide that you do not want to use the current editor anymore, you can simply switch. You do not have to worry about migrating your files into a different editor with different file formatting.
There are a lot of editors to choose from. I for example currently use Obsidian as my note-taking app.
Additionally, it is easy to use different editors on different devices. For example, if I wanted to work with my files on an android device, I can pick one of many Markdown/Plain-Text editors.
2. Small file sizes
Because Markdown is only plain text, the file also contains only the text you see in the editor. This means even large Markdown files have a rather small file size.
3. Easy to learn
It is easy to start learning Markdown. The basics are very intuitive. For example, an element in a list starts with ‘-’. The general rules, like how to make headings, lists or write text in bold or italic are very straight-forward.
4. Fast to use
Most of the commonly used formatting rules, you will encounter in normal writing, will take writing only one or two symbols. Depending on the editor, these could be done with a shortcut.
5. Easy to read
Markdown is purposely designed on plain text to be easily readable. Even without an editor, that processes the Markdown, it is still effortless to recognize the meaning.
6. Easily converted into HTML
Again, the possibility of converting Markdown into HTML was an intentional design reason. It means Markdown follows a well enough structure, to easily convert it into other formats.
Because Markdown was created with HTML-conversion in mind and it is often used for this, it is also possible to build upon the Markdown syntax by adding HTML code into the file.
7. Used for many different services and applications
Another big point is where Markdown can be used. Because of the reasons I mentioned before, Markdown has become quite popular. You will find a lot of editors, tailored to Markdown (Example: Obsidian). GitHub also uses Markdown for their
README.md files and the GitHub portfolio. Services like Hugo use Markdown as content, to transform it into an HTML webpage.
Markdown has become very popular in different services, especially concerning the web. It offers an easy format, which is why it is easy to learn.
Even if you do not plan to use it regularly, it is highly likely, that you will stumble upon it, if you are a developer, specifically a web developer. But even for non-developers, it doesn’t cost a lot of time to look into it and it is a great way to take notes.