3 Secret Ways Markdown Improves Productivity

Using Markdown is the way to go when trying to compose. Now take your Markdown use to the next level.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #415

These days, most of our writing life is now online. Because you listened to my previous episode on using Markdown, you obviously use Markdown so you can keep your writing flow while still creating formatted text. Since writing that episode, I’ve come up with more super secret, advanced ways that Markdown can improve your productivity even more! 

Grandma Cuddles sent an email to her little kiddies’ parents about a field trip. It was a community service trip! Grandma Cuddles was going to teach the tots about the value of hard work through cleaning up their community. She needed to send a liability waiver to each parent because, well, picking up pieces of trash might involve sticks with a very sharp point that could accidentally pierce tiny feet and hands.

Grandma Cuddles uses an online mass-mailing service to send these emails. She had sent emails like this before. So she cut and pasted chunks ripped from previous letters right into her web-based email composer. But every time she sent herself a test email, the text she had pasted in was in a different font! Jokerman!? Papyrus?? COMIC SANS?!?!?! She couldn’t send it like this.

Use Markdown for Great Formatting

If you work on the web, you may have a web-based email composer or a list manager. The primary function of a list manager is to … manage lists. That means composing and sending messages. But every online message composer I’ve used doesn’t quite work right. The message looks great in the editor. But the test message arrives in purple. Yes, purple. 

Use Markdown to save yourself from these broken, half-working, unreliable programs. The purple text happens because the HTML that the editor generates is really messy. Most editors have a way to view the HTML and paste your own HTML over what the editor itself generated.

Use Markdown to save yourself from these broken, half-working, unreliable programs.

So use Markdown to generate the HTML and paste the HTML into the editor’s HTML view. Using a program called Marked 2, which you can learn about in this previous episode, preview your Markdown text. Then use Marked 2 to view the translated HTML. Then just cut and paste the HTML directly into HTML view for AWEBER, EventBrite, or MailChimp (or whatever beast you’re trying to tame).

The email was formatted and sent, and Grandma Cuddles wanted to post a blog article about the field trip. Her blogging platform supports rich text, but doesn’t have an HTML view. It felt like she was back to square one! But never fear Grandma Cuddles, the Get-it-Done Guy supports all of your educational endeavors! 

Use Markdown Tools Anywhere

When using a blogging platform that doesn’t support HTML, I use free Mac-only tools called Markdown Tools. Markdown Tools lets you use keyboard shortcuts to create rich text formatting right in the editor you’re using. If you use a Windows machine, you’ll have to do some hunting around to find something equivalent.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.