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I am looking for a Markdown viewer for Windows. It should:

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

Preferable:

  • simple and lightweight
  • open source

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

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  • 4
    I'm not aware of stand-alone viewers – but you can take a look at some related questions like Free Markdown editor for Windows with tabs, live-view, tables. If you're already using Notepad++ for text editing, there are some Markdown plugins available for that as well. – Izzy Dec 2 at 8:01
  • 2
    Does the "requires usage of browser" allow or prohibit apps that use technologies that use a browser to render content, like Electron (upon which for example Atom or Visual Studio Code was built) – SztupY Dec 3 at 21:58
  • @SztupY: Let's assume it means "usable offline". – Nicolas Raoul Dec 5 at 7:51
  • 1
    The answers in this question are alarming: none of the answers mention the completeness and correctness of the Markdown viewers being suggested at all. – Voile Dec 6 at 1:38
  • @Voile That's a good point. I went ahead and added that in my answer. – Ismael Miguel 2 days ago

11 Answers 11

22

Its not really simple and lightweight, but

You can use Visual Studio Code, it has a Markdown preview built-in. This way you can view the source and the rendered preview side-by-side.

To display images in-line (at this time) you need to install an extension, Markdown Preview Enhanced by Yiyi Wang.

"Markdown Preview Enhanced is an extension that provides you with many useful functionalities such as automatic scroll sync, math typesetting, mermaid, PlantUML, pandoc, PDF export, code chunk, presentation writer, etc."

The Atom Editor probably works as well, but I don't use it.

  • 3
    Using Visual Studio Code as a markdown viewer is like using a towercrane as a jackhammer. Yes, can bring your wall down. But is it really necessary to put that much force behind it? And it isn't even complete without an extension? – Mast Dec 4 at 18:02
  • 1
    @Mast Respectfully disagree. Parsing markdown is very easy. Rendering markdown is exceptionally complicated. Even though you skip past many of the layout issues of html/css, you still have a pretty significant subset of html rendering, including lists and list icons, fonts and maybe parsing/colors for code blocks, the entirety of unicode, and maybe things like image loading and math formulas depending on what flavor of markdown you're looking at. By the time you're done, you'll have finished a non-trivial chunk of the work required to implement a browser from scratch. – GrandOpener Dec 4 at 19:58
  • Let's keep the comments strictly about the proposed solution. You can argue about StackExchange's implementation in chat :-) – Nicolas Raoul Dec 5 at 7:56
  • @NicolasRaoul why did you remove my comment without notice? If you've actually read my comment I was adding to GrandOpener's comment above that what Mast said is absurd because having a correct and complete implementation of Markdown rendering should be the basic requirement, and yet is very hard that even SE's implementation is incorrect. Focusing on "simplicity" in this case is bad because if the implementation is wrong, it should be disqualified from the start. You're just removing comment because you don't like the example being raised. – Voile Dec 6 at 1:41
  • @Voile: Criticizing software is OK. I removed the comment because its tone was mocking a user. – Nicolas Raoul 2 days ago
20

If you work a lot with Notepad++ (GPLv2), you can install the MarkdownViewerPlusPlus plugin (MIT License):

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nea/MarkdownViewerPlusPlus/master/MarkdownViewerPlusPlus/Resources/MarkdownViewerPlusPlus.png

(According to the Github page, this plugin works for 32 and 64 bits)


Alternativelly, you can use the NppMarkdownPanel plugin (MIT License):

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mohzy83/NppMarkdownPanel/master/help/npp-preview.png

(According to the Github page, this plugin also works for 32 and 64 bits)


Both options can be installed from the plugin manager:

Notepad++ Plugin Manager

(Screenshot taken on Linux running Wine, not on Windows XP)

Both plugins use Markdig (BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" License) which is compatible with up to the CommonMark 0.28 spec.
Both plugins use older versions of this library, and this information will change in the future, and may support newer CommonMark specs.

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19

I use Typora free (commercial license, not open source) software for Windows/Mac/Linux because it works very fast. The latest version of Typora is currently a beta version and it's free software, but Typora may cost something in the future.

Typora can capture rich content directly from word processors and webpages, convert it directly into markdown text via copy/paste, and it preserves the original formatting too. Typora can capture in this way formatted lists, headings, formatted text, hyperlinks, and images.

Typora will give you a seamless experience as both a reader and a writer. It removes the preview window, mode switcher, syntax symbols of markdown source code, and all other unnecessary distractions, and replaces them with a real live preview feature to help you concentrate on the content itself. source

formatted table in Typora
editiing a table in live preview mode

9

I use MarkdownPad. It's free for most use cases, but there is a pro version for "power" users.

enter image description here

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  • 1
    Misses the "open source" requirement, but otherwise looks pretty good. – Mark Dec 3 at 0:55
  • 3
    @Mark the OP said open source was "preferable." – Michael Brandon Morris Dec 3 at 4:16
  • Which is why I'm just noting it, and not downvoting or flagging as "not an answer". (It's also why I'm not upvoting, either.) – Mark Dec 3 at 6:20
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    Be aware that MarkdownPad is essentially abandonware, hasn't been updated in years, and does not work on Windows 10. – rahuldottech Dec 3 at 11:32
  • @rahuldottech that's odd; I'm using it on Windows 10. The download button doesn't explicitly say "for Windows 10" but I haven't had issues. – Michael Brandon Morris Dec 3 at 14:30
4

CuteMarkEd is a free and open source markdown editor. It fits all listed requirements:

  • Simple and lightweight: Download the zip file extract and finished (no Installation required, Zip file is currently 37 MByte)
  • It's open source (Github)
  • You can view the formatted content.

enter image description here

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3

I would recommend Atom editor. You will need to install Markdown Preview but a big advantage is that there is large amount of additional plugins for handling markdown. The preview is opened via Ctrl + Shift + M.

enter image description here

Atom is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

3

Personally, I quite like Haroopad. It is pretty simple, but also pretty quick. It updates visualization as I go and synchronizes scrolling source -> view. Which is pretty much what I need.

http://pad.haroopress.com

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3

I like using one program for everything. I use SublimeText, which is free for evaluation just like WinRar, for almost any text editing purposes and there's almost always a plugin for a certain type of file. The plugins are also mostly open source so you can edit them to your liking.

After re-reading the question, I've found what I used to use for this purpose:

Here's a screenshot:

MarkdownLivePreview

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2

I mainly use other softwares on linux for my markdowns, but when I need to edit them in windows I use ghostwriter. It may lack some advanced features (e.g. external themes/fonts support), but it is a great editor.
Below you can see an example of the live HTML preview enter image description here

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1

You could try Markdown Monster from West Wind.

Free, source on GitHub.

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  • Please edit your answer to add a screenshot and license, thanks! :-) – Nicolas Raoul 2 days ago
1

There is also Mark Text. It's under MIT License. But I don't know if it falls into the anything else that requires usage of browser category!

Windows screenshot

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