Smartdown 1.2.0 beta 1, fluent design and much more

Smartdown 1.2.0 beta 1, fluent design and much more

I am working since several weeks to make Smartdown even better. It means to fix bugs but not only.

Fluent design

The future of Windows application interfaces is Fluent Design, more information is also available here

It appears to be an elegant design and I am trying to move the UI of Smartdown into that direction. It will not be a big move but more a smooth transition, by small steps.

The current beta brings new folding indicators, scrolling shadows and less visible Markdown markers.

A new sidebar

The sidebar has been redesigned. Right now it is a purely visual change, there is no additional features. However it makes the room for a future fuzzy search sidebar for instance….

Safer than ever

Because your work is the most important, I’ve designed a new crash reporting system. It will not only allow a better reporting of the potential issues. If a such trouble appears, the current file is automatically backuped.

And also various bug fixes

  • Issue when displaying image having spaces in their relative path.
  • Incorrect position of the format popup depending of margin.
  • Incorrect redraw of the editor on resize when using highlighting mode.

This new beta can be downloaded here: smartdown w 1.2.0 beta 1 (51 downloads)

Future of Smartdown

Smartdown has not been updated since several months. It does not means that the product is stopped. Actually, this is the opposite.

Trying to make markdown even more powerful

Since about one year, I’ve started to work to a new product : a markdown presentation editor for mac
While developing it I had to think about how to bring support for graphs, charts, layouts, icons to markdown. I let you make your own opinion but even if there are things to improve, I am pretty satisfied with the result. These options are useful for a presentation editor but they will also help a lot in a regular markdown editor. My plan is hence to move them to SmartDown.

The short term future of SmartDown

Integrating all these nice features will take time and at the sametime here are some topics that are in my todo list:

  • Better sidebar (create directories, …)
  • better syntax highlighting
  • Bug fixes.

Export Markdown to PDF with Windows and Smartdown

Export Markdown to PDF with Windows and Smartdown

Exporting markdown to PDF can be tricky, especially under Windows. In order to make it easy for everybody, I decided to provide a solution, directly integrated into Smartdown. It does not need to install Pandoc or another converter.
Because Smartdown has also been made for “power users”, it also provides advanced way to customize your markdown to PDF export.

A premium markdown to PDF export

Currently Smartdown supports:

  • Custom cover, header and footer
  • Styling of PDF export
  • Table of contents
  • Automatically generated outline
  • Working links
  • Selectable text
  • Page size and orientation

General process

The Markdown is first converted into HTML. The CSS stylesheet of the preview template is used to style the output.
HTML is then converted to PDF and cover, table of contents, header and footer are added as configured in the export feature.

Defining header, footer and cover

  • Cover, Header and footer are defined as independent HTML files. You only have to inform “core” html, HTML, HEAD, BODY, … markups will be automatically added by Smartdown.
  • Smartdown will extract and apply to these parts, the CSS extracted from the preview template. Only CSS declared inside the HTML template is currently supported
  • Smartdown will then substitute the “template fields” such as page number, title,…


  • A cover will be added to the PDF document only if the cover field in PDF export options is not empty.
  • Html elements of class author and title will get their inner html replaced by the values defined in the metadata of the document. (Also applicable to footer and header)

Header and footers

You can use the following “template fields” in both header and footer. In order to use them, you need to specify an HTML element having one of the class. The content of this element will be substituted by the right value.

  • title
  • author
  • page
  • topage
  • document
  • section
  • subsection
  • subsubsection

Example: <span class="page"></span>

Table of contents

Smartdown can also generate a table of contents for your PDF from your markdown titles structure, if you check this option in the export screen.

How to use the preview template

Using CSS Print media

The same preview template can be also used to export to PDF format. However you may want to have a different output depending if you are previewing or exporting.
For example, I often used a light gray background for preview and a white background in the PDF.

You can achieve this by specifying print media specific CSS.

Styling cover, header and footer

If you use the default parameters, you can style the following class:

  • .header can style the header section of the PDF.
  • .footer can style the footer section of the PDF. For both header and footer, you can also add sub elements having their own style
  • .cover h1 which is used to style the document title (extracted from meta-data in the cover)
  • .cover h2 which is used to style the document author (extracted from meta-data in the cover)

Smartdown keyboard shortcuts

Edit your markdown even faster! Here is the list of keyboard shortcuts

Version 1.0.9 – 2016 05 15

File operations

  • Ctrl + N : Create a new empty file
  • Ctrl + O : Show the open file dialog
  • Ctrl + S : Save the current file
  • Ctrl + Shift + S : Save As the current file

View commands

  • F10 : Toggle sidebar
  • F11 : Toggle fullscreen
  • F12 : Toggle side preview
  • Alt + F : Toggle File menu

Editing commands

  • Ctrl + X : Cut selected text
  • Ctrl + C : Copy selected text
  • Ctrl + V : Paste selected text
  • Ctrl + A : Select all text
  • Ctrl + Z : Cancel last modification
  • Ctrl + Y : Redo last canceled modification

Format commands

  • Ctrl + B : Toggle strong emphasis
  • Ctrl + I : Toggle emphasis
  • Ctrl + K : Toggle code (surround by backticks)
  • Ctrl + Q : Convert selection to bloc-quote
  • Ctrl + L : Concert selection to list

Search and replace

  • Ctrl + F : Open the search popup
  • Ctrl + H : Open the replace popup
  • F3 : Find next
  • Shift + F3 : Find previous

Smartdown 1.1 is coming – introducing preview version

Smartdown 1.1 is coming – introducing preview version

After the last release I’ve got a lot of feedback and improvements ideas. Thanks a lot! I really appreciate that you take the time to write me in order to make Smartdown and even better place to write.

After several minor releases for fixing important issues (especially a one affecting the stability of the application when saving files), it is time for adding new features.

What’s new in version 1.1

PDF export

One of the most wanted functionality is to be able to directly convert Markdown to PDF from SmartDown. I did a first test using Pandoc. Unfortunately it also means to install a LaTeX distribution. Even it is this now a quite simple operation, I wanted something even simpler, working out of the box.
Version 1.1 is hence now including a PDF Export feature which does not require additional third party installation of software.
It is a complete solution allowing you to use your own template and CSS style sheet. I will cover in a coming post how to customize it for your needs.

Ability to open standalone files

My first idea was to only use the library to load files. Even if this is a good choice in the majority of situations, there are cases where you want to quickly open a file without adding its location to the library.

Version A.1 brings a classical “File Open” menu item, which can be found in the File Menu.

More keyboard shortcuts

I will detail all of them in a next post but I’ve added 10 new keyboard shortcuts to Smartdown. Most of them are standard. You can sale your mouse ;o)

Other enhancements

  • When you press Tab in an empty list item, Smartdown automatically indent the list item. The behavior is the same for unindenting Shift + Tab
  • When you press Enter in a list, an empty list item is added.

Bug fixes

  • Library icons styling when editor background color is different than library background color.
  • Image paths can now have spaces.

The beta version (1.1 beta 1 aka 1.0.9) can be downloaded here:

Download preview version

Markdown comments and TODO with SmartDown

Markdown comments and TODO with SmartDown

Writing is not a sequential process. Often you need to add later additional information and that for different reason:

  • The idea is there but you know that it required rephrasing.
  • You need to perform a research on the subject
  • You need complementary information which is not available right now
  • You want to stay focused on your text, and didn’t ant to interrupt your writing process.

Unfortunately, the standard Markdown specifications do not have anything regarding comments and TODO.

SmartDown provides two different features in order to solve that issue.
Keep reading →

SmartDown II is available

After one year of development, since I took the decision to rewrite it from scratch and after several months of beta testing, I am proud to announce that Smartdown II is now available.

Beta testing

I decided to show the beta (alpha?) as soon as possible to a private group of beta testers. Thank you, you’ve done an amazing job by reporting issues and providing new improvements ideas. You can continue to bring ideas in the forum.


Smartdown II is slightly more expensive than version 1. There are several reasons for a such pricing:

  • The scope of this version is much bigger: Library, export, ..
  • I do not want to make a major new version every 6 months and ask you to pay again the full version. Smartdown II will be a free upgrade for all owners of a version 1 license. If it is you case, send me an email with your version 1 license and I will send you your new key.
  • I need to have a sustainable pricing model allowing to think in the long term.
Try it free Buy it now

This is only the beginning

The reason to rewrite it using new technologies was to have the required foundations to add new features to the product without to have to make major breaking changes.
Here are some of the elements I have on my immediate roadmap:

  • Improved MultiMarkdown support (files include, table of contents, …)
  • Support for Github like todo list
  • MathJax support
  • And a tons of small enhancements

Easily share your markdown documents using the Textpack format

Easily share your markdown documents using the Textpack format

If you ever tried to exchange with someone else a markdown document containing links a media stored locally in your computer (sometimes in multiples places), you know that this is not an easy task.

One of the solution for this problem is the textpack format. I decided to include it in SmartDown in order to make Markdown files exchange even more easier.

The story behind the format

Keep reading →

SmartDown 0.9.1 is now available

SmartDown 0.9.1 is now available

I’ve just uploaded a new version of SmartDown. This is v 0.9.1.

The “Preview bug” introduced in previous version has been fixed.

I’ve focussed my work on theming and you have new themes with a better support. In order to have a full night mode, I’ve also added a new preview template matching the dark theme.

Here is a screenshot of the new monocromatic theme (idea from a SmartDown 1 user)A monochromatic distraction free markdown highligting theme