Markdown for WordPress

Little girl riding a bike with training wheels.

by C.K. MacLeod

Writing in markdown can make your blogging workflow more efficient. It can also prevent formatting mishaps that show up after you hit Publish.

In a previous post, I explained why I use markdown, and how you can learn to use it in about 10 minutes. In this post, I’ll explain my writing and publishing workflow for WordPress, using markdown.

Note: You’ll use different steps for different blogging platforms. Stay tuned for a future post about markdown for Blogger.

Quick Steps

  1. Write your post in markdown.
  2. Copy your post into the Text view in WordPress.
  3. Install the plug-in Markdown QuickTags.
  4. Turn markdown into HTML, so that your post is now formatted for the web.

The Steps, Explained

1. Write your post in markdown. You can write your post in

  • Word,
  • Scrivener,
  • Google Docs, or
  • a plain text editor (like Notepad).

If you want to, you can write your post directly in the WordPress blog editor, but make sure you’re writing in the Text view and not the Visual view, where you might usually write. You’ll see why in a minute. The point is that markdown is flexible. You can write in markdown pretty much anywhere.

Text view in WordPress
Text view in WordPress

I write blog posts in Scrivener because it’s another place to store them if my website self-destructs. I also like that Scrivener will allow me to store all of my blog posts in one Scrivener project folder, so that everything is in one place.

2. Copy your finished post  and paste it into the Text view in WordPress. Save it. This is the same place where you’d paste text with HTML tags, too.

3. Download the free WordPress plug-in Markdown QuickTags*. Activate the plug-in and go back to your saved post. Markdown QuickTags has added some features to your WordPress editor.

4. Make sure you’re in the Text view of the editor and click on Render in the bottom right.

Render option in Markdown QuickTags
Render option in Markdown QuickTags

Your markdown text will be converted to HTML, the language of the web. Click on the View tab to see your formatted post.

And that’s it!

Markdown is training wheels for HTML. So, if you don’t know how to write in HTML, markdown is an easy way to tap into the benefits of HTML, and prevent formatting mishaps in your blog posts.

*I learned about the Markdown QuickTags from Joseph Michael in his Learn Scrivener Fast course.

Image by Jenn Durfey