Ghostwriter, a Qt5 Markdown editor, has been updated to version 2.0.0. The new release comes with revamped theming, the HUDs have been replaced with a sidebar, and there’s a new default Markdown processor.
Ghostwriter is a free and open source Markdown editor for Linux and Windows (macOS is not officially supported, but it mostly works as long as you compile it from source). The application comes with a clean interface, with a distraction-free writing experience in mind. You can easily disable the sidebar, go full-screen, and show a live HTML preview, either from its View menu or using keyboard shortcuts.
The application also features focus (highlights only the current text around the cursor while fading the rest) and Hemingway (disables the backspace and delete keys, creating a typewriter experience) modes, document and session statistics, themes, autosave, a spell checker, drag and drop support for images, and a built-in Markdown cheat sheet, among other features.
Using Ghostwriter, you’ll also find MathJax support that allows you to write beautiful equations, and you can export to HTML (using its built-in cmark-gfm Markdown processor), or using Pandoc, MultiMarkdown or commonmark, to Word, ODT, PDF, LaTeX, EPUB, and so on.
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With the latest 2.0.0 release, Ghostwriter has replaced Sundown with cmark-gfm as the default Markdown processor for live previews and export. cmark-gfm is GitHub’s fork of cmark (which adds support for GitHub Flavored Markdown extensions), a CommonMark parsing and rendering library and program written in C.
The syntax highlighting is also using cmark-gfm now, which should improve its accuracy, especially with nested blocks.
Another important change in Ghostwriter 2.0.0 is the removal of all the HUD windows, which have been replaced with a sidebar. Using the new sidebar you’ll find the document outline, session and document statistics, and the Markdown cheat sheet that comes with Ghostwriter. There’s also a settings button at the bottom of the sidebar from where you can access the theme, font, application language, preview options and the application preferences.
Replacing the HUD windows with a sidebar isn’t just an aesthetic change. These windows couldn’t be moved in a Wayland session, so thanks to this change, the application should work better under Wayland.
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The latest Ghostwriter also comes with revamped theming. Themes now include more color options, and the HTML preview changes colors based on the current theme, while also supporting custom fonts.
Also, themes are now composed of two color schemes: a light and a dark mode. To accompany this change, a new button has been added to the statusbar, which allows users to switch to light or dark mode.
There’s also a theme-specific feature removal though: you can no longer add a background image with the theme.
There are even more changes in Ghostwriter 2.0.0, including:
- The find and replace dialog has been revamped into a panel at the bottom of the application, and it now supports highlighting matches
- React is now used to update only what changed in the live preview since the last keystroke, significantly reducing the live preview rendering time for large documents
- Export dialog now uses native file selector dialog
- Selected text now reveals tabs and spaces
- Any two spaces at the end of a line are marked with dots by default
- Bug fixes
If you’d like to use a free and open source note-taking and to-do application with Markdown support, check out Joplin.
There are Ghostwriter binaries available for Windows 10 and Linux (an Ubuntu PPA – even though the latest builds have failed, Ghostwriter 2.0.0-rc5 is available in the PPA, and Fedora Copr repository). Using Ghostwriter on macOS is community-supported, and it requires building the application from source.