Atom as Markdown Editor

There are a few blog posts you can find about using the Atom code editor as a Markdown writing program. Just recently I put Atom on a new machine ā€” and since each time I have to re-learn how to set it up, so this time Iā€™m making some notes.

Installing plugins with APM

I had trouble installing the plugins sometimes due to a Self Signed certificate error. You can get around this by using an unsecured connection to the Atom servers, by using this command:

apm config set strict-ssl false

Once this is set up plugins can be installed. I use the command

apm install <package-name>

(note that on OSX to get the apm command on the command line you just need to go to the menu Atom > Install Shell Commands; then you can use the apm command in the terminal)

Packages for Markdown in Atom

Here is my list of packages I added to Atom and why:

Package What it does
markdown-writer generally handy markdown writing tools
markdown-table-editor really useful tool for automatically generating markdown tables
atom-folding (needed for markdown-folding)
folding-markdown allows you to fold markdown headings (toggle in the gutter next to headings)
center-editor centers the text. I don’t like this package as much as typewriter but this may work better for you
typewriter very good for full screen editing; puts text in the centre of the screen, toggle gutter and scroll bar on/off
typewriter-scroll fixes the insert point in the middle of the screen for writing
highlight-line highlights the line you’re editing
pandoc needed for pandoc-convert
pandoc-convert package for converting from markdown to other file formats. I’ve used this outside Atom, not yet tried it as the package
project-manager tool for marking folders as projects. I’ve only used it a bit.
dracula-ui nice set of colours for UI based on Dracula
dracula-syntax syntax highlighting in Dracula colours


Here’s an example of folding. Text:

Folded at heading:

Other setup

In the Atom settings (access by ctrl+,) I do the following:

  1. Disable the wrap-guide package. This removes the vertical bar at the preferred line length (probably useful for code but not for writing).
  2. Set the soft wrap and soft wrap at preferred line length option checkboxes.
  3. I also disabled the autocompletion-plus package to stop the editor suggesting spellings as a type.

Hope this is useful to someone. There are a few other posts on users’ setups around the internet (e.g. this one).

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