The Best Markdown Editor – VS Code or Notepad

[The Best Markdown Editor – VS Code or Notepad: a blog about markdown editors]( – a great article on Medium

A few days ago, I was searching for an editor to edit Markdown files with syntax highlighting and preview. I found many solutions, but the most popular one was Visual Studio Code (VS Code). It’s completely free, open source and allows you to work with almost any programming language.

I’ve already installed VS Code, but I didn’t like it at all. The interface is too minimalistic and it doesn’t do highlighting. Microsoft should not create editor that doesn’t highlight text. It took me a while to figure out how to make it work, but when I did…

Markdown is a simple markup language that can be used to create rich text documents. Markdown is especially useful for creating and collaborating on content in an organized way, such as writing blog posts or project documentation.

It’s easy to learn and write, and most importantly, it’s easy to read. It is therefore the preferred interchange format for developers!

Developers like to be able to read code and documentation. They also like flexibility. And they like having choices. So what markdown editor is best?

The Best Markdown Editor: VS Code or Notepad?

In this article, I will compare two of the most popular basic text editors: Visual Studio Code (VS Code), which is a full-fledged editor that can handle many programming languages; and Notepad, a basic text editor provided by Microsoft with every Windows installation.

Both have advantages and disadvantages, so let’s dig into them in more detail!

Markdown Editor Showdown: VS Code vs. Notepad

Notepad is a popular Markdown editor for Windows users. Notepad++ is an open-source text and source code editor for Windows device. It was created by Microsoft and has since then been developed by the community.

VS Code, or Visual Studio Code, is a fully featured development environment with support for tons of programming languages and advanced features such as IntelliSense, Git control, debugging and more.

Markdown Preview Enhanced

Markdown Preview Enhanced (MPE) supports GitHub Flavored Markdown as well as most other Markdown syntax extensions. MPE is available as a Visual Studio Code extension, which means it will work in any VS Code supported OS (Windows, Linux and macOS). One of the best things about MPE is that it supports a whole bunch of languages like CSS, JavaScript, React, Vue, Angular and more. This means that you can write code snippets in your markdown file and they will be highlighted properly.

It’s been an interesting year. I have been using VS Code as my main editor for almost a year now and I can safely say that it has become my favorite code editor. I recently saw a tweet about the best markdown extension for VS Code and I remembered a conversation I had with a colleague a few months ago about why VS Code wasn’t the best tool to write Markdown documents. The reason was simple, it is just not built for this purpose.

Using VS Code to edit Markdown documents comes with a lot of advantages:

You get syntax highlighting for free

You can preview your document as you write (CTRL+K V)

You can use Emmet to quickly type HTML tags and automatically expand them

You can use snippets to write faster

If you are used to VS Code, these are all great things, but they still don’t make it the best tool to write Markdown documents. It is still a code editor and when you are writing in Markdown, you want to focus on what you are writing and not how it will look like in the end (the preview helps but it’s not enough).

Markdown is simple to learn, with minimal extra characters so you can jump right in. It uses all the basic formatting of HTML, but you don’t have to remember tons of tags and attributes. Markdown is fast, as you just type in plain text. You also don’t need a separate window for editing and previewing; both are shown at the same time. And, it can be extended in many ways.

You might already know that Visual Studio Code has great support for writing and editing Markdown documents. But, did you know that VS Code can do even more?

VS Code supports custom CSS to style your own markdown documents or to make changes to third-party themes. This gives an extra level of flexibility over other editors and makes styling a snap!

If you want to use VS code but miss one feature from another editor, chances are there is an extension for it! There are over 1000 extensions for Markdown alone.

Markdown is a markup language as opposed to a programming language. It’s a plain text formatting syntax aimed at making writing for the internet easier. The idea is that a markdown document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. Markdown is often used to format readme files, for writing messages in online discussion forums, and to create rich text using a plain text editor.

There are many different implementations of markdown, but we’ll focus on GitHub Flavored Markdown (GFM) here. GFM adds some additional functionality and flavor to the original markdown specification. Some GFM features include:

Fenced code blocks – A fenced code block allows you to create blocks of code without indenting each line. You can also specify the language so that syntax highlighting is applied in code hosting services like GitHub and Bitbucket.

Tables – Tables aren’t part of the core Markdown specification, but they are part of GFM and Markdown Here supports them. They are an easy way of adding tables to your email — just paste in the tab-separated source data. For example:

First Header | Second Header

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