Markdown is an easy to use content style that is easy to read, even in its raw form. It has become the go-to format of choice for many content creators for its natural flow and simple syntax.
WordPress' default editors allow you to either edit using visual guides, or by using a trimmed version of HTML. The visual editor is simpler, but you lose out on some of the control you have over how the content is displayed.
The Text editor gives you more control over the content, but it requires a little HTML to get it just right. There are plenty of buttons with each editor that makes it easy to insert this content, but it is still not as simple as Markdown.
In this article, we will take a look at how you can activate and use Markdown in WordPress.
There are two plugins that we've tested and know work pretty well.
The first is Jetpack, a plugin bundle available for both WordPress.com and WordPress.org's free distribution. Jetpack's goal is to make it easy to make many different changes to your WordPress site. It includes SEO tools, contact forms, statistic tracking, and a utility that adds support for Markdown.
Jetpack also has an excellent proofreader feature that can come in handy when you are working without the help of a human proofreader.
The second is WP-Markdown which enables you to write posts in Markdown, and translates that content into HTML when you save. That content is then reverted back to Markdown when you edit it.
Both of these plugins will get the job done well. You can either go with the bundled solution that offers extra benefits, or a single-purpose plugin that is lightweight and effective.
Once you have your selected plugin installed, simply activate it and enable Markdown for areas of your site you wish to have it available.
In WP-Markdown, you can do this by navigating to Admin > Settings > Writing and selecting the boxes next to the types of content you want to have it available. In the above example, we enabled the Markdown editor for posts and pages.
In Jetpack, you will need to activate the Markdown feature by navigating to Admin > Jetpack > Settings and activating the feature there.
Editing content in Markdown is easy. If you are not familiar with Markdown, you can find plenty of resources online that can help you with the basic syntax.
One good resource is provided by Daring Fireball.
If you need to inject HTML into your post, but do not want it translated into markdown, you can place it within
<div> tags. This will tell the plugin that any content in that div should be handled separately.
Because the conversion from Markdown to HTML happens as a document is saved, you can also remove these features at any time without breaking your content.
This is really all there is to it. Markdown makes it easy for content creators to quickly create rich written content without having to memorize HTML.
It is a great tool for multiuser sites that have contributors with a wide range of experience levels. Because Markdown is so simple, the learning curve for it over the HTML-dependent Text editor included with WordPress is much smaller.