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I love Google Docs. I write notes, essays, correspondences, invoices, journal entries, business ideas, planning documents- everything on there.

I also love the markdown format. I'm a programmer so sometimes I'm in my editor and just want to write things in markdown instead of going to Google Docs.

However, when I save my markdown files in Google Drive, I can't preview them there, which is extremely disruptive to my workflow. Being able to preview markdown files in Google Drive would be a huge improvement.

Is there any way to enjoy the benefits of both Google Docs and markdown? Or are these writing platforms largely incompatible? Any elegant solutions I'm not thinking of?

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migrated from superuser.com May 10 '13 at 14:15

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6 Answers

You can give StackEdit a try. It has a nice integration with Google Drive.

Once you import/export a Markdown document from/to Google Drive, you can open it later directly from Google Drive since StackEdit is integrated as a third party editor/viewer application.

You can find StackEdit as a Chrome application as well on the Web Store.

NOTE: I'm the developer of StackEdit.

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This looks great! When I attempt to import though, it excludes .md files that I have on Google Drive so I can't select them. –  Raine May 12 '13 at 0:35
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There is actually a filter in the file picker based on the MIME type (text/x-markdown), not on the file title. That's not very convenient but it allows StackEdit to have its own files associated with it in Google Drive. You will need first to create the file in StackEdit and export it to Google Drive. –  benweet May 12 '13 at 1:40
    
Hmmm that's pretty inconvenient. I have hundreds of markdown files that I guess are saved just in plaintext. Thank you anyway, I will try StackEdit for new files! –  Raine May 13 '13 at 14:41
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I just modified the filter from the Google Drive Picker in StackEdit so that you can import text/x-markdown, text/plain, application/octet-stream MIME types. That should solve your problem. –  benweet May 14 '13 at 23:09
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Yeah, definitely a great tool, I guess sometime in the near future it will hit hard in the Stack, and hopefully get a tag of its own here in Web Applications :). It already popped in the main Meta: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/202156/written-with-stackedit –  brasofilo Oct 20 '13 at 21:53
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You can convert a Markdown document to HTML, and copy/paste the HTML page (not the source) into a Google Drive document. It will retain most of the formatting including headings, lists, links, bold/italic/underline.

The font, margins, and font sizes will not match the Google Drive defaults, and will look "out of place" compared to standard Google Drive documents. Applying a custom CSS file to the HTML document will solve this, making the document look very similar.

I'm not sure about the other direction, converting Google Drive documents to Markdown. It may be possible to export to HTML and use an HTML to Markdown converter.

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You say you're a programmer, so this answer assumes you'd be comfortable with a little "roll your own" approach.

Google drive supports scripts: http://www.google.com/script/start/

So, you could create a little Showdown viewer that you point to your markdown files (as URLs).

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Yes, I could do this. Thanks! I'm going to poke around some more to see if there's something that already exists. –  Raine May 12 '13 at 0:33
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Download and install the Google Drive software. It's for Windows and Mac at the moment, a version for Linux is in the making. The software will create a folder on your computer that syncs with Google Drive. If you open a file in it, it will be opened in the appropriate installed program. Google Drive documents that you open will open in the browser.

This way, you can open/edit markdown files stored on Google Drive in an installed markdown editor.

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Assuming that once you're done making a document in markdown you want to convert it into a true google document (as opposed to being able to preview the document in the google drive web interface and continue editing in markdown syntax) so that others unfamiliar with markdown can collaborate I've found the following fairly quick:

  1. Create your mark down wherever's convenient.
  2. When done export to the browser
  3. Copy the resulting text from the browser
  4. Paste into a new Google Doc

Google docs is ready to have HTML pasted in so it'll preserve all the headings, spacing, lists, and other formats. Of course this only makes sense if you just want to personally work in markdown, but collaborate with others in a regular google doc.

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Also try Markdown Editor, that supports integration with Google Drive.

Disclaimer: I'm the developer of Markdown Editor.

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Could you perhaps tell us our rights then? You've omitted any mention of licensing. –  Carl Smith Mar 1 at 11:04
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