Zettlr is a an open source modernized best editor for writers and researchers. It offers inline previews, citeproc support, easy exporting to all formats, syntax highlighting for many languages and is cross-platform.

Markdown is a markup language that contains formatting symbols that you might be already aware of. WhatsApp is one of the Applications that is currently using Markdown to enable simple formatting of messages. It is aiming at replacing Word and expensive word processor for non-techies.

Features of Zettlr

The following are some of the most notable features of Zettlr that will make you to want to use it.

  • Has five themes and dark mode support.
  • It has a revolutionary search algorithm with integrated heatmap. Heatmap is a tool used to show density of word searched.
  • Tight and ever-growing integration with your favourite reference manager such as Zotero database.
  • Capability to import sources from your Zotero database and cite them in your document.
  • File agnostic writing: Enjoy full control over your own files.
  • Available in over a dozen languages.
  • You can export files to HTML, PDF, ODT,DOC, reStructuredText, LaTex, TXT, Emacs ORG, TextBundle and Textpack.
  • Capability to add custom CSS to your document.
  • Support for state of the art knowledge management techniques such as Zettelkasten.
  • Keeps all your notes in one place. Thhis makes them searchable and accessible.

Installing Zettlr on Linux | macOS

For installation of Zettlr on Ubuntu/ Debian, Fedora, MacOS and Windows, download the latest releases for your distribution from Zettlr github reposiroty.

# For Debian/Ubuntu users;
curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/Zettlr/Zettlr/releases/latest | grep browser_download_url | egrep '.deb' |  cut -d '"' -f 4 | wget -i -

# For Fedora users;
curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/Zettlr/Zettlr/releases/latest | grep browser_download_url | egrep '.rpm' |  cut -d '"' -f 4 | wget -i -

# macOS
curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/Zettlr/Zettlr/releases/latest | grep browser_download_url | egrep '.dmg' |  cut -d '"' -f 4 | wget -i -

To install Zettlr on Ubuntu/ Debian and Fedora, run the below commands:

# Ubuntu/ Debian
sudo apt install ./Zettlr-*-amd64.deb

# For Fedora / CentOS use:
sudo yum localinstall ./Zettlr-*-x86_64.rpm

# For macOS
open Zettlr-*.dmg

Once installed, click home key then search Zettrl. Open and it should appear as below:

As you can see from welcome page, Zettlr is integrated with a manual that will guide you on how to use the application. It is implemented with good User Experience. Try scrolling downwards; you will find more guidelines on how to go about it.

How to Use Zettlr Markdown Editor

First let’s create or open a new text.

The easy way is just drag and drop a directory or file in the application window to open. You can also use Cmd/Ctrl+O as a keyboard short-cut to find a directory or file you want to open.

Creating Files and Directories in Zettlr

You can easily create a directory by simply pressing the following key on keyboard. Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N

After opening this directory, create a file using Cmd/Ctrl+N.

NOTE: If you will not add file extention, Markdown will add a default extention (.md) for you. you can use extention such as .text or .tex.

Editing Files in Zettlr

The following commands will be very useful when editing your text files. Cmd command is for macOS while Ctrl is for LInux and WIndows.

  • Cmd/Ctrl+I: Just like in word, make text -italic-.
  • Cmd/Ctrl+B: Make text **bold**. Just same as in Word.
  • Cmd+Alt+R (macOS) Ctrl+Alt+F (Windows/Linux): Use to create a footnote.
  • Alt/Ctrl+Click (on a footnote reference): Edit a footnote. hit Shift+Enter to finish editing.
  • Cmd/Ctrl+K: Used when you want to insert a link.
  • Cmd/Ctrl+J: To enter free from destruction mode.
  • Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+L: To toggle between dark and light mode theme.
  • Cmd/Ctrl+E: Open sahring options.

Sharing Files in Zettlr

For PDFs, make sure that Pandoc and LaTex are installed. Click share button in the toolbar or hit Cmd/Ctrl+E and select format you want. On export, file will be automatically opened in it preferably appliction. Use Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+S to save it where you want.

Upto this point, you have successfully installed and configured Zettlr Markdown Editor for Debian/ Ubuntu, Fedora, MacOS and Windows. It is an editor that is user friendly to both developers and non-developers, simple to learn, comes with a good number of neat features and does not tie anyone to any proprietary document format. Enjoy using Zettlr!!

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