Markdown Syntax Coloring in EditPad Pro

August 4, 2012

For some time now, I’ve been using Markdown for almost all plain-text files I create. If you don’t know what Markdown is, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s becoming ubiquitous on many websites out there, like GitHub or StackOverflow. I found it particularly useful for blogging when you just want to focus on the content, letting a tool do the work of converting it to HTML.

It was not until recently that it occurred to me that even though Markdown has minimalistic syntax, it might be useful to see it as you type, just like with regular programming languages. I’ve been a long time user of EditPad Pro — which in my opinion is the best text editor for Windows. It’s never let me down, it’s fast, it handles huge files, and its multi-line find/replace feature with support for regular expressions is unrivaled. It also has a vast database of syntax coloring schemes, but when I went there a couple of days ago to grab a scheme for Markdown, I found out, to my surprise, that it wasn’t there.

At the moment I was facing a choice — either start writing the blog post, which was what I originally intended to do, or try to create my own Markdown coloring scheme for EditPad Pro. The decision was easy for a procrastinator like myself, who also finds it a lot easier to code than to write. “After all, how hard could it be?” — I thought to myself — “I’ll just need to hack a few regular expressions.” And I was right, however, it took me much more time than I originally estimated. Sounds familiar?

Anyway, after a couple of days tweaking the scheme and learning new things about regular expressions along the way, like what is negative lookbehind or possessive quantifier, I was done. And now I would like to share this scheme with those who happen to use EditPad Pro and like Markdown. Just take a look at the screenshots below, aren’t they pretty?

Fresh Air Night
Paper Light Paper

Credits for color palettes go to the author of Mou - a Markdown editor for Mac.

You can grab the scheme from EditPad Pro’s website but note that it does not include color palettes. You have to download them separately from the GitHub page where you can also create a fork should you feel like customizing them. Detailed instructions on how to install both the scheme and color palettes are also on the GitHub page.

Happy writing!