There are many possible Markdown editors, this lesson will use an online and freely available tool called HedgeDoc. Your instructors may suggest you use another tool that is more integrated into how you will be using HedgeDoc, however throughout this lesson you may see screenshots of HedgeDoc with Markdown text on the left and rendered HTML on the right. These basics apply in almost any Markdown environment.
For this lesson we will use an online and open source tool called HedgeDoc to learn Markdown. There is no software to install on your local computer, but you will need an active internet connection and a modern web browser, Chrome, Firefox, Safari or MS Edge during the lesson. HedgeDoc will allow you to type Markdown text and see how it will be rendered all in one screen.
Other Markdown Editors
There are many many other Markdown tools and renderers, and your instructor may have you use one that is closer to your final use case for Markdown. We’ve selected HedgeDoc to make it easy for learners to focus on Markdown syntax and learning without challenges to getting software setup, or accounts created.
- GitHub: The convention is to use MarkDown for all README and other documents.
Make your first HedgeDoc Page
You can create a demo HedgeDoc document on the HedgeDoc project’s server by clicking this link:
Make a Document (Try to open this link in a new tab)
This will create a new (unique to you) document that you can use to learn about Markdown with.
This is not a private document and you should not have any expectation that text you place in this tool will be kept or private. We are using it as a learning tool to learn about Markdown syntax, and you should not store any personal or private information in this document.
Find your document again
Note: Should you loose track of the page you were typing in, you can find it again by clicking History at the top of the main HedgeDoc demo server page.
- HackMD - Public and freemium service for sharing collaborative Markdown documents.
- Carpentries CodiMD - Running an open source fork of HackMD called HedgeDoc (formerly called CodiMD).
HedgeDoc User Interface
HedgeDoc main screen:
The main HedgeDoc Screen contains an editing panel (on the left) and a preview panel (on the right) you can enter Markdown syntax on the left and see it rendered on the right.
If you’d prefer a bigger preview area, you can click the leftmost eye icon, if you’d like a split-view (as in the screenshot above) you can click the middle two-panel icon, if you’d like a bigger editing area you can click the rightmost pencil icon. By default your document will be in the split screen view, which is good while you’re learning Markdown.
The menu across the top can be a useful crutch when you can’t remember specific Markdown syntax. Clicking on one of the icons will make an example of that kind of Markdown element appear in the editor. During the lesson try not to use this menu, but when you come back to writing Markdown after a break for awhile, it is a very useful helper.