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Top Benefits of using Markdown for Note Taking

By Scholarly

15 min read

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Markdown is a lightweight markup language that has gained popularity for its simplicity and versatility in note-taking. In this article, we explore the top benefits of using Markdown for note-taking and how it can transform your productivity.


Past State

Markdown originated in 2004 when John Gruber and Aaron Swartz developed it as a tool to write in plain text that could be easily transformed into HTML. At that time, note-taking tools primarily relied on complex formatting options, making it challenging to focus on the content itself.

Current State

Today, Markdown has evolved into a standard format for creating and organizing notes. With its simple syntax, anyone can quickly learn and start using Markdown, regardless of their technical expertise. Note-taking applications like Notion, Evernote, and Bear provide built-in Markdown support, making it accessible to a wider audience.

Future State

As technology advances, Markdown is expected to become even more popular. The future of Markdown lies in its integration with AI. With AI-powered algorithms, Markdown notes can be auto-completed, organized, and analyzed for better insights. AI can assist in generating flashcards, summarizing notes, and even transcribing handwritten notes into Markdown format.


  • Efficiency: Markdown offers a streamlined writing experience without distractions. Its simple syntax allows you to focus on your thoughts and ideas, saving time and boosting productivity.

  • Portability: Markdown files are plain text files with lightweight formatting, making them highly portable across different platforms and devices. You can easily sync and access your notes using cloud storage services.

  • Version Control: Markdown files can be easily managed using version control systems like Git. This allows you to track changes, revert to previous versions, and collaborate with others seamlessly.

  • Compatibility: With its plain text format, Markdown can be read and edited using any text editor. You are not locked into a specific software or proprietary format, ensuring long-term accessibility to your notes.

  • Focus on Content: Markdown's minimalistic approach removes the distractions of complex formatting. You can concentrate on the content, improving your note-taking and retention abilities.


The significance of using Markdown for note-taking cannot be overstated. By adopting Markdown, you empower yourself with a powerful and efficient tool that enhances your learning and information management. Markdown enables you to create structured and organized notes that are easy to navigate and review. Its simplicity promotes clarity and reduces cognitive load, allowing you to engage more deeply with the content.

Best Practices

To make the most out of Markdown for note-taking, consider the following best practices:

  • Consistent Formatting: Establish a consistent formatting style for headers, lists, code blocks, and other elements to ensure readability.

  • Use Shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with Markdown shortcuts to save time and improve efficiency. For example, use **text** for bold and _text_ for italics.

  • Organize with Headers: Utilize headers of different levels to create a well-structured hierarchy in your notes. This allows for easy navigation and improves the overall readability.

  • Utilize Lists: Utilize both unordered and ordered lists to create bullet points or numbered items, helping you organize and categorize information effectively.

  • Include Links and Images: Take advantage of Markdown's ability to include links and images within your notes. This allows you to reference external resources or visualize concepts.

Pros and Cons


  1. Simplicity: Markdown's simple syntax allows for easy and intuitive note-taking, requiring minimal effort to learn and use.

  2. Compatibility: Markdown files can be read by any text editor or note-taking application, ensuring compatibility and long-term accessibility.

  3. Portability: Markdown files are lightweight and can be easily shared, synced, and accessed across different devices and platforms.

  4. Version Control: With Markdown files, you can take advantage of version control systems to track changes and collaborate effectively.

  5. Distraction-Free: Markdown's minimalistic approach promotes a distraction-free note-taking experience, enabling better focus and concentration.


  1. Limited Formatting: Markdown's simplicity can be a limitation when it comes to advanced formatting options. If you require complex formatting or advanced styling, Markdown may not be the ideal choice.

  2. Learning Curve: While Markdown is relatively easy to learn, it still requires some initial effort to understand and remember the syntax and shortcuts.

  3. Lack of WYSIWYG: Markdown's syntax focuses on the content rather than the visual representation, which means you won't see a real-time preview of the formatting while typing.

  4. Less Visual Customization: If you prefer highly customized and visually appealing notes, Markdown's limited styling options may not meet your expectations.

  5. Limited Collaborative Editing: Markdown is primarily designed for individual note-taking. Collaborative editing features may be limited or require additional tools or platforms.


When choosing a Markdown note-taking tool, several options are available. Here are a few popular tools to consider:

  1. Notion: Notion is a versatile all-in-one workspace that supports Markdown and offers advanced collaboration features.

  2. Evernote: Evernote allows you to use Markdown within its editor and provides a comprehensive set of note-taking and organization features.

  3. Bear: Bear is a simple and elegant note-taking app for macOS and iOS devices that fully supports Markdown.

  4. Obsidian: Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base application that uses Markdown and features bidirectional linking and backlinking capabilities.

  5. Scholarly (https://scholarly.so/register): Scholarly is an AI-powered note-taking tool that combines Markdown with AI-generated text completion, flashcard creation, and more. It offers a unique and efficient approach to note-taking.

Common Techniques

To enhance your Markdown note-taking experience, consider these common techniques:

  • Headers: Use headers of different levels to structure your notes and create an outline-like hierarchy.

  • Lists: Utilize bulleted or numbered lists to organize key points, subtopics, or action items.

  • Code Blocks: Markdown supports code blocks, allowing you to include and highlight code snippets within your notes.

  • Tables: Use Markdown's table syntax to create simple tables for data organization or comparison.

  • Images: Include images using Markdown's image syntax to visualize concepts or support your notes.


While Markdown offers several benefits, it also comes with some challenges:

  • Syntax Awareness: To effectively use Markdown, you need to be aware of the syntax and shortcuts. This requires some initial effort and can be a potential challenge for beginners.

  • Limited Formatting Options: Markdown's simplicity restricts advanced formatting options, which may be a drawback for users who require complex styling.

  • Workflow Integration: Integrating Markdown into existing workflows and ecosystems may require some adjustment and learning curve.

  • Collaboration Limitations: Collaborative editing in Markdown may be limited or require additional tools or platforms to enable real-time collaboration.

  • Visual Customization: If you prefer highly customized and visually appealing notes, Markdown's minimalistic style may not meet your expectations.

Potential Online Apps

Explore these online apps related to Markdown for enhanced note-taking:

  1. Boostnote (https://boostnote.io/): Boostnote is an open-source note-taking app with Markdown support, code snippet organization, and cross-platform compatibility.

  2. Dillinger (https://dillinger.io/): Dillinger is an online Markdown editor that allows you to write, preview, and export Markdown documents effortlessly.

  3. Simplenote (https://simplenote.com/): Simplenote is a clean and user-friendly note-taking app that supports Markdown and syncs across devices.

  4. Quip (https://quip.com/): Quip is a collaborative productivity tool that lets you create, edit, and share Markdown-based documents with teams.

  5. Joplin (https://joplinapp.org/): Joplin is an open-source note-taking and to-do app that offers Markdown support, encryption, and synchronization.


In conclusion, Markdown revolutionizes note-taking by offering a simple yet powerful platform for efficient and organized information management. Its benefits such as efficiency, portability, and compatibility make it an excellent choice for enhancing your note-taking experience. Despite some limitations, Markdown's significance in promoting clarity, focus, and collaboration cannot be ignored. As AI continues to shape the future, Markdown's integration with AI brings exciting possibilities, enabling auto-completion, flashcard generation, and more. Consider exploring Scholarly (https://scholarly.so/register), an AI-powered note-taking tool that combines Markdown with advanced AI capabilities. Embrace Markdown and unleash the full potential of your note-taking endeavors.


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