For mat ing sup­port

What each app can do be­yond plain text

Mac Format - - RATED -

Dis­trac­tion-free writ­ing is about con­tent, not lay­out, and so for­mat­ting niceties are rare. Only WriteRoom and By­word sup­port any­thing be­yond plain text, and only WriteRoom’s rich text sup­port is of in­ter­est, help­ing you quickly craft lists and ta­bles.

Mostly, Mark­down is the pre­ferred means of struc­tur­ing doc­u­ments. Ommwriter and WriteRoom lack Mark­down tools and pre­views, but ev­ery other app ex­cels in some way: By­word’s speed in en­abling you to tap a bracket to sur­round a se­lec­tion when adding links; iA Writer’s great two-up pre­view and three alternate styles; Fo­cused’s great-look­ing pre­view; and the smart pop-up as­sis­tant for links and im­ages, which ap­pears in Ulysses.

We found By­word nudged ahead in terms of pre­view ac­cu­racy and ad­her­ence to the Mark­down spec, but Ulysses is the best app for that cross­over of writer and geek. Be­yond Mark­down, it sup­ports Mark­down XL, Minimark, and Tex­tile’d. You can even de­fine your own Mark­down sys­tem, should you feel the need.

iA Writer’s two-up lay­out is a boon for pre­view­ing Mark­down as you write.

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