May 25, 2022

Google shared a blog post with Google Workspace customers announcing good news for all Markdown fans. Google Docs can now automatically convert Markdown formatting to rich text.

If you are not familiar with Markdown, this markup language has become very popular in recent years if you want to write structured documents, especially web content. For example, popular note-taking tools such as Notion or Bear support Markdown. Content management systems like WordPress allow you to enable Markdown as a way to write new posts.

This new feature is disabled by default for Google Docs. You must first enable it manually in the settings. That is why I am writing this post. To enable Markdown support, open a document in Google Docs, go to the top of the screen, select Tools, then Preferences, and turn on Automatically detect Markdown. Then you are ready to go. If you don’t see this feature today, that’s okay as the company is slowly rolling out the new feature over the next few days.

Again, don’t expect widespread Markdown support. Google Docs is still a text editor and it won’t magically change once the Markdown feature is enabled.

Instead, Google Docs replaces regular Markdown formatting with Rich Text. For example, you can create a link with brackets and parentheses like this: [this]( can make text italic around it * The character.

Google Docs supports different heading levels, bold, italic, strikethrough, and links. Numbered lists and flat lists are still automatically formatted as before.

In other words, this new feature is in addition to some keyboard shortcuts. It also makes it easier to copy Markdown content from the app to Google Docs, which can be especially useful if you’re using a Markdown editor like Ulysses.

But… it doesn’t work the other way around. The beauty of Markdown is that it is a simple text format that is compatible with many applications and services.

For example, Google Docs should allow you to export the current document as Markdown so you can quickly copy and paste it anywhere Markdown is supported. I know there is a plugin for that. But not all companies are familiar with plugins.

Hey Google, this is a good first step, but you need to iterate and suggest more markdown features please.

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