PubWriter Presents

A Quick Overview

Markdown is how you format your text for your PubWriter site. You can add italics, bold, images, headers, dividers, and more.

Markdown is what is known as a 'semantic editor.' Although you write in plain text, it is transformed to beautiful HTML with the PubWriter framework. The style is based on CSS which means we can style your website to suit your specific preferences. Although you may have never heard of it, it's been around since 2004 and is used by millions of writers and developers.

Some helpful (& recommended) tutorials to start with:

PubWriter is a modern form of Semantic Publishing. It leverages 'semantic formatting' to trigger how the text is rendered in HTML. The beauty of writing semantically is that your text is 'jail broken' and compatible with nearly any program. The problem of writing in InDesign, Word, Pages, Open Office, or any other word processor is that your document will contain proprietary formatting unique to the application you built it with. This means unless the user has the same program as you do, you can't necessarily open it edit it or you may run into compatibility issues in the future.

Whenever you see .md on a filename, know that it's essentially a plain text file that has some special powers.

While there are dozens of markdown editors (and more are released every year), all you need is a plain text editor or at least the ability to export to markdown (Many apps like Evernote, Scrivner, and Workflowy, and Dropbox Paper allow you to export to markdown). You can also copy and paste from any rich text editor (ie. MS Word, Google Docs, Pages, or Grammarly) using the quick & easy PubWriter converter.

While I have used one editor of years (atom), the nice thing to know is that .md files are cross compatible across any OS.

Here are a few of the more popular Markdown formatting programs/apps. Tons of markdown (aka plain text) editors exists for 3 main platforms: Web-based editors, PC, and Mac.

Here are a few of the more popular options. I've broken them into two major categories. 1) Plain text and 2) Markdown specific.

Plain Text Editors

Markdown Editors (MAC)

You can also search the Apple app store - when I last check, there were dozens. One of the more advanced writers is called Ulysses and it has a huge fan base (it's got a bit more of a learning curve). Scrivner also has an export to markdown option, but I haven't used it yet and my understanding is that Scrivner becomes problematic when you try to setup your print edition (the export to word is not so great).

Markdown Editors (PC)


Also, there's an extensive list of Markdown editors (including web-based, mac and PC) on Mashable

You are sure to find one that exactly to your liking!

Myself, I use Notepad++ on the PC and Atom or TextWranger on the Mac, given they are very stable text writers and I like the fact they keep the files I don't remember to save. You can preview the results on your own PubWriter site or use one of the Markdown previewers like Marked

Here are some tools to help you convert existing documents to Markdown:

A word about Atom

Since 2015, I've been using Atom. I keep coming back to it because it has all the functionality I need thanks to hundreds of helpful packages (plugins) that users have written. It's always been free and will continue to be because it's open source. And probably best of all, it allows me to have a theme that is easy on my eyes (especially at 4am when I usually get up).

PubWriter formatting tips

Here's another tutorial:

Many of the plain text editors have plugins that allow you to use common keystrokes like Ctrl + B for bold, Ctrl + i for italics to save you time.

Formatting Cheat Sheet (Markdown)

Section breaks
Bulleted Lists
Numbered Lists
Quotes & Callouts

TIP: A source text file (before markdown conversion) is available at:

Section breaks (helpful lines to distinguish break sections):

it's 3 asterisks in a row: ***

Headers formatting

You use the # character before the header to designate header hierarchy.

Here's how they will appear:

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

(you can go up to 6 headings if you really need to!)

Character & Paragraph Formatting

Add 2 spaces at the end of a line to create a hard line break.





Bulleted Lists:

Numbered Lists

  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3
    • Item 3a
    • Item 3b

Hyperlinks to external websites (2 methods):

Option 1: You can simple put < and > on each site of the url, like this: Option 2: Or, you can link a work like this: [this link](

Bonus TIP: If you put a standard email address in, AuthorDock will automatically recognize it as an email address.

Quotes (aka comment boxes, callouts):

You can use > or >> or even >>>

Depends on how deep you want to go. 99% of the time, just use a single ' > '

Plain text formatting:

Plain Text Formatting

Hidden text

This is helpful for comments to the author you want hidden from the reader.

Paragraph formatting note:
If you want to do a 'soft break' - you need to add two spaces at the end of the line.


Movie Reel

In order to insert an image, it has to first exist online and be linkable. Sites like Imgur makes this pretty simple, but you can also use dropbox and flickr.

To center the image, you may need to use the <center> and </center> tags.

Basically, you type the following syntax: ![Image Title](image url "Image Title (for hover)")


If you want to link the picture to a URL, then you have to add another set of [](url) like this:

[![](]( -->

Anchors within a page

Anchors require a little bit of HTML.

First: You have to create a unique anchor (identifier). For example: <a name="1"></a>

In this case, 1 is the anchor.

Second: You have to point to the anchor, in a similar way you always link, but instead of a URL, you put #: [text](#1)

Here are a couple screenshots to help you grasp how to do it:

First I created an anchor called 'top':

Second, I created a link to the anchor elsewhere on my page:


(coming soon)