Markdown Rendering

Markdown Live Rendering – Making NotePlan Easier to Use

Posted on Posted in updates

In NotePlan 2.2 we have introduced Markdown Live Rendering. Markdown is too hard for the “normal” user who is not techy. In this release, we focused on making the to-do icons more meaningful and therefore easier to understand.

This is a big step for new users who have never seen Markdown before and it improves the looks & readability of your calendar notes by removing (some of) the Markdown “clutter”.

Under the hood, however, everything remains plain markdown. So your notes stay quite portable and simple.

This is how it looked like, all markdown…

Raw Markdown in NotePlan

When you are familiar with Markdown, you can learn the “system” pretty fast, because it’s just a slight variation from the norm. But this looks quite scary if you have never heard anything about this topic. So what’s the normal reaction? Delete NotePlan right away, because you expected a fairly simple to use calendar or notes app…

So here is how it looks like after the update:

Much better! There is the familiar “checked circle” icon, a clock and an ‘x’ inside a circle. Additionally, we had to make it clickable (macOS) and tappable (iOS), since a colored circle with text beside it invites you to do that and its something basic you learned from to-do apps.

Bullet Points and Quotes

But the work wasn’t done here yet. What if I want to add a bullet point instead of a to-do? That’s pretty basic as well and pretty confusing with Markdown, since in NotePlan both characters, asterisks, and dashes, make to-dos without the traditional square brackets (“* [ ] “, because who wants to type that?).

To fix this problem we have first adjusted the default preferences in the last release to use asterisk for to-dos and dashes for bullet points. And in this release bullet points (“- text” with the default preferences) actually look like they should:

And here is how quotes (inline notes) look like, usually I add them below to-dos to document something:

Preferences for the plain text users

Not everybody likes this change, so we have added a preference to turn off the rendering. You can find it in the NotePlan preferences under the markdown section on macOS and iOS:

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