I am looking for a Markdown viewer. It should:

  • run locally on Ubuntu - be a normal program, not a browser addon, webapp or anything else that requires usage of browser*


  • simple and lightweight
  • open source

Viewer as in "view formatted content", Markdown as in CommonMark.

See https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9331281/how-can-i-test-what-my-readme-md-file-will-look-like-before-committing-to-github for wider version of this question.

*I give an exception to browsers running in terminal in text mode

10 Answers 10


Though not strictly being a viewer, I can recommend ReText here – which I'm using myself on Ubuntu, and am pretty satisfied.

  • runs locally on Linux: Yes (also on Windows and Mac)
  • normal program, not a browser addon: Yes. Written in Python, and easy to deal with.
  • simple and lightweight: Yes. On its own, it comes with the basics – and you can add more (like support for specific Markdown dialects as Markdown Extra or MathJax if you need.
  • open source: Yes (using GPLv2)

ReText with Live Preview
ReText with Live Preview (source: ReText; click image for larger variant)

As I said to start with, it's not strictly a viewer – but an editor including a viewer and a "Live Preview". You can call it from the command line, passing the file as parameter. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to start it directly in the viewer mode – but a work-around to at least have the "Live Preview" triggered:

  • start it once with a file open
  • press Ctrl-L (or use the menu: Edit › Live Preview) to switch on the "Live Preview" mode
  • using the menu, go to Edit › Preferences, and check "Restore live preview state" under "Behavior"

Now, when opened the next time, the "Live Preview" is switched on automatically. Alternatively, you can open the "real preview" (without the editor pane) by either clicking the "Preview" button, or using the keyboard-shortcut Ctrl-E.

For more details, also see my answers here and here.

  • You can even export to html pdf etc through Retext – Aditya ultra Jun 13 '15 at 9:53
  • 1
    On Ubuntu 16, a simple apt-get install retext will do the trick (then just invoke retext from the shell). – DavidJ Nov 16 '16 at 19:34
  • Same for Mint 18. But usually, the repos of distris often don't have the latest version (while currently the PPA still lacks the "xenial" branch ;) – Izzy Nov 16 '16 at 19:44
  • Installation: pip3 install retext --user. On Ubuntu 18.04, don't do the installation with apt-get; it doesn't work: I can open the file, but the preview does not show up. Instead, I get warnings due to missing python packages. This doesn't happen when installed via pip. – Martin Thoma Jan 10 at 12:11
  • I tried enabling Github-style syntax highlighting in code-blocks, following this section of the wiki: github.com/retext-project/retext/wiki/…. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it work. – Elouan Keryell-Even Jun 14 at 11:21


I have been using this for a year and it is my goto Markdown render-er. Here are its features:

  • Markdown? Github Flavored
  • Linux? Yes
  • Normal? Yes
    • It is a command line tool
  • Offline? No
  • Simple/Lightweight? Yes
    • It is a command line tool
  • Open source? Yes


  • Export to PDF/HTML
  • Host locally as a webpage/wiki

Here is an example of the HTML output.

enter image description here

  • 4
    I thought it works offline, because it starts a service on a local port, but this service inside connects remotely - I checked by taking the eth cable out ;) – nuoritoveri Feb 7 '17 at 10:46
  • 1
    A perfect example of "I can't believe this is not The answer"-syndrome that plagues SE sites. – Arnaud Meuret Mar 31 '18 at 9:58

What I generally do is run the markdown perl script and save the resulting html in a temporary file that can be browsed using Firefox. For example:

Markdown.pl index.md > index.html


I find Retext fine as is answered but I do have digged out a few MD editors for linux that are more or less better than the solution suggested.

If more they have additional features, and less so they are fast.

  • Haroopad This is more feature-filled than Remarkable, and looks like a dev tool.(The dev version of this app is also coming soon)

  • Springseed If you needed a note taker This one does the job Beautifully.


Following is copy of https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9331281/how-can-i-test-what-my-readme-md-file-will-look-like-before-committing-to-github#40696607 by Brian Burns

Atom works nicely out of the box - just open the Markdown file and hit Ctrl+Shift+M to toggle the Markdown preview panel next to it. It handles HTML and images also.

Atom screenshot

  • 1
    The only disadvantage is Atom can be heavy if you want to edit/view Markdown files only. – Jaime M. Sep 13 '18 at 7:22





Brackets is an open-source free-of-cost text editor sponsored by Adobe. See Wikipedia.

enter image description here

Live preview of HTML+CSS is built-in.

Markdown Preview extension

➠ For live preview of Markdown, use the Markdown Preview extension by gruehle.

enter image description here


This question was asked in 2015. Meanwhile Visual Studio Code has become quite popular. It is available also on Linux.

VS Code has good Markdown support built-in, and since 2017 or so it has a Preview-Mode for Markdown (sync'ed split windows). For screenshots, scroll down on the page I've linked to.

Markdown support can also be enriched with many extensions, e.g. "markdownlint".

  • 1
    Would it be OK if I would add a screenshot? – Mateusz Konieczny Dec 15 '18 at 6:40
  • yes, go ahead, good idea. – knb Dec 15 '18 at 10:19
pandoc -s filename.md | lynx -stdin

This doesn't meet the requirement of "... or anything else that requires usage of browser", but the browser runs in a terminal in text mode.

  • I modified the question to allow in-terminal text mode browsers. – Mateusz Konieczny May 9 at 9:15

Markdown Viewer can be installed from Ubuntu Software.

The project site: https://github.com/mapitman/mdview

It is a command line tool that generates a temporary HTML file and open it in the browser.

  • See "not a browser addon, webapp or anything else that requires usage of browser" part of the question. – Mateusz Konieczny May 9 at 9:13

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