Level Up Your Productivity Using Markdown
Easily Format Text, Create Code Block and Various Complex Diagrams.
Update on 2022.11.23
One of the main reasons that why I use Obsidian for note-taking/making system as a tech writer is because it is a Markdown-based editor. This article will explain why we use markdown editor, what benefits we could get from it, and how to quickly get used to markdown editor for our daily writing work.
What is Markdown?
A brief definition from Wikipedia:
Markdown is a lightweight markup language for creating formatted text using a plain-text editor .. with the goal of enabling people “to write using an easy-to-read and easy-to-write plain text format.
How Does Markdown Editor Benefit Our Note-Taking?
1. Quick Capture of Information
For one thing, you are much easier to write down your notes if they need to be formatted. Compared to Rich-Text Editor, Markdown language highly reduces the friction to find the right format for your text.
The easier you get your information out formatted the way you want, the less friction you’re going to run into in your note-taking, and the more likely you will write your note down.
For another thing, using Markdown in your daily note-taking activities creates a concentrated thinking space for you during the note-taking process. Since you can easily format your notes without losing your attention by moving your figure or mouse to locate the formatting button and clicking and selecting the right format you need if you work with a rich text editor like Google Docs, Apple Notes, etc.
2. Easy-to-read & easy-to-write
Markdown is intended to be as easy to read and easy to write as is feasible.
In contrast to HTML which is a publishing format, Markdown is a writing format. You can easily know what is a heading, subheading, bold text, bullet list, code block, etc. from a Markdown note.
3. Nearly standardized
Nearly all nowadays’ note-taking applications are either Markdown or Rich Text editors. Some apps even include both options such as Notion which allows you to write markdowns or use their built-in formatting styles.
So having Markdown as the foundation allows you to leverage different applications for different purposes. You can easily use it across different applications
So, although I will demonstrate how to write Markdown syntax using Obsidian in the next section, you don’t need to worry that the knowledge from this video is limited to Obsidian. Since Markdown is a universal language, you could easily apply the knowledge to any other platforms or applications that support Markdown.
4. Flexible Capabilities
What can we achieve with markdown is not just formatting the heading, subheading, bullet list, bold text, etc., you could create some amazing graphs, flowcharts, match equations, and even a data table, which will all be covered in the next section.
Up to now, you are probably pumped to learn markdown and get started with Markdown editor. Let’s dive into the next section.
How to Get Started With Using Markdown
Let’s first quickly pick up the most used markdown syntax. No big deal, just formatting your note using some basic Markdown syntax. Then we should start our daily writing routine with Obsidian. I suppose you write notes nearly every day, whether for your work or for your personal purpose. So rather than use note-taking apps like Apple Notes or Notion, just go to Obsidian. Because Obsidian is a PURE markdown editor, you’re not allowed to cheat on your writing by using our mouse to click the buttons. In other words, you’re sort of forced, but in a good way, by the markdown editor to format your text using Markdown syntax. If you’re a complete beginner of Markdown, or you know a bit of Markdown syntax, but never use a PURE markdown editor to write your notes, it might feel scary but it won't take long before you are used to writing notes completely markdown editor. As time passes, I believe writing markdown syntax will become second nature — use it without thinking about it.
Step 1: Master the Most Used Markdown Syntax
Create Checklist (todo item)
![image name](link to image)
or local image file
Step 2: Take Notes Using a Markdown Editor (Obsidian)
Learn by using it daily. Try to achieve something such as publishing a blog or scripting a video or writing digital product documentation while taking notes. Then you won’t get bored by just practicing the markdown syntax. If you are always working on something, even though it will take tons of effort to finish, you somehow forget the hard work and just enjoy the process.
Step 3: Experimenting With Other Cool Creations by Markdown
Data View in Obsidian
If you’re using Obsidian, one of the most popular Obsidian plugin is called Data View
As a programmer, I really enjoy working with Obsidian especially writing some code to accomplish some functions such as Dataview. Later on, I will write articles about how to use Dataview to create some useful data tables to be integrated into our PKM system using Obsidian. If interested, please follow me for updates.
Apparently, the capabilities of Markdown could easily be extended by plugins. You will be always amazed by the potential of using Markdown Editor as your daily notes-taking editor.
We could be both consumers and builders. So, if you’re curious about how to build a markdown editor on your own, you could check out this demo project by me — How I Build and Deploy a Markdown Editor Using Next.js, TypeScript, CodeMirror 6, and react-markdown.
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The top reasons that I moved from Notion to Obsidian as a software developer
VIM-based editor for fast-editing and markdown for quick formatting -> created a focused note-taking environment.