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This distraction-free editor is the best writing tool you aren’t using

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This distraction-free editor is the best writing tool you aren’t using

Another vote for Typora from me. This sub-genre of “minimalist” text editors is tricky to get right – they all promise a “distraction free” writing environment, but what I need is a balance of features and simplicity.

Typora exports to HTML, PDF and docx, is styleable with CSS and renders all the markdown I throw at it beautifully, even YAML. The way it switches between raw markdown and styled text when I edit links, blockquotes etc. is elegant. I can understand why ‘purists’ prefer their editors to retain Markdown’s formatting characters, but Typora makes this unnecessary, which means you don’t need an HTML preview panel.

On the other hand, I don’t need or want inbuilt icloud or Dropbox sharing but, because it just generates text files, I can use it with any synching service.

It’s the best editor I’ve found for writing blog posts or any longform text that doesn’t require complex formatting.

By Jared Newman. Originally published 06/12/21.

Leon Paternoster

Leon Paternoster


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Richard Carter

I’ve also very much enjoyed using Typora recently. The only missing feature I really need: [[WikiLinks]]. Since becoming an Obsidian-head, I consider any Markdown app without this feature is severely lacking—even though wikilinks aren’t proper markdown.


Ah, well, I don’t need [[WikiLinks]] – one of the reasons I like Typora is because it gets the balance of features and “minimalism” right.

Would you use it to write a book, out of interest?

Richard Carter

I agree about Typora’s getting the minimalism right (except that it needs WikiLinks, dammit). One of the few things I’m not besotted about with Obsidian is the editor: it’s just not editor-ish enough. They recently introduced an alternative, Typora-type, editor in beta, which I definitely won’t be using, although many of the other users seem to love it.

Re. writing books, I currently use the following:

Obsidian for research and chapter outlines (sometimes using Typora as an external editor, but the lack of WikiLinks discourages this).

Ulysses for writing the actual book.

Word (eventually) for presenting it in a format acceptable to potential publishers.

Many people both research and write in Obsidian. I have thought long and hard about this, and think it’s important to keep my research separate from my actual book.