I have traversed a few apps over the years to seek my “Markdown” paradise. I’ve been hooked on using the Markdown writing language as it provides flexibility, portability, and it’s damned easy to write with. As such as I have used it more I realised that to move to it from things like OneNote I would need the following

  • Storing text and Markdown
  • macOS/iOS sync
  • Screenshot/image management
  • Import/Export functions
  • Export to PDF
  • Bonus: Export to other formats

Below are a review of apps to explain how I ended up at my final goal. These apps may have been used Side by side, together, or been mutually exclusive. As such here is what I remember.


This is the ducks-nuts as far as writing apps go. I bought into Ulysses and have written some very large documents. It is built around the premise of Markdown and strive to be a practical, functional, and minimalist environment to write it. It supports local folders as well as cloud synced files. The writing experience, the canvas, and what I was doing was great. Although this was a somewhat expensive app at 34.99 AUD at the time. There was also the purchase of the iOS counterpart so it added up. Bu for what it did out of the box and the 6 months I used it that was worth it. As it evolved it did move to a subscription model which miffed me as they gave lifetime users a 12-18 months grace period. No dice.


Notes is part of any macOS or iOS users toolkit. It’s free. It works. And it’s ubiquitous. Whilst feature lacking it supported iCloud sync and just worked. The problem was that it didn’t support Markdown. This was frustrating as it had all the other features and built in sync that worked nicely. Oh well.


Bear was an up and comer in the notes space. It supported Markdown. It has iOS sync for a yearly fee (4.99 if I remember correctly), or free with no sync. It ran on macOS and iOS. This made the decision easy as the device requirements were ticked off early. It had all the export options. This is great. I do forget what I stoped using Bear. The app was great along with the team. I do remember file management inside your Bear app being overly painful and maybe this is why I left. I do follow them on Reddit/Twitter and they seem to listen, care, and fix accordingly.


When I found Quiver it was billed as a technical journey for technical people. It was and is. It’s a fine app. It has a read-only companion app, does what it says it does on the App Store, and it provides the ability to store images. It also took images from clipboard and “dealt” with them. Adding them into your notes. Only to be seen again when you dig into the JSON exports. It also does Sync between two devices; clunky but eventually gets there. Where it fell apart was exporting. If you ever nee to export there is a whole issue of all the notes being stored in a modified data architecture. The JSON wrapping was a little painful to erase and use the data I had typed in when I exported. I am sure I could develop something that cleans the output up but I wasn’t going to rely on it.

Clean input -> Dirty Output -> Sad Burkey.

A Change in requirements

I am not sure why but one day I thought about my requirements. I thought to myself, do I really need iOS support? How often am I using my iOS device to create content?

  • Storing text and Markdown
  • macOS
  • Screenshot/image management
  • Import/Export functions
  • Export to PDF
  • Bonus: Export to other formats

I think dropping the iOS requirement was good. Why? I think I came to the realisation that my iOS device (iPhone 7+8+/iPadPro) was a content consumption device primarily. Where I write notes mostly occurs when I am on my MacBook. That’s fine. So dropping that made me realise maybe there is something I hadn’t investigated. Something that I used daily. The humble and widely popular VScode.

Final solution

Well – dropping the iOS requirement opened myself up to the notion of using Markdown with VSCode. I use VScode daily for my work. It is a simply workspace that allows me to do so much and with a few plugins I could meet my requirements. I didn’t stumble not my final piece of the puzzle (PasteImage) until October this year.

The following solution is as follows:

Requirement Solved by
Markdown / Sync Github/Gitlab
macOS VScode
Screenshots PasteImage vsCode plugin
Import/Export Markdown Preview
Export to PDF Markdown Preview
Export to formats Markdown Preview

This is my workflow and it works darned well.

  • I have my tech notes git repository that’s synced into a private repo
  • I write my notes in vsCode under this repo
  • I create all sorts of config snippets/work/docs/tools and can reference them in the same or different repos
  • I commit any changes and push to the repository
  • I can git pull with WorkingCopy on iOS (Bonus), write some code, then commit and push again.
  • I can ‘git pull’ anywhere my technical repository (or sync to another device in household)
  • I can export and preview with VScode. I can export into PDF/ePub and many others.

So my workflow got to a place where it is through trial, error, and research. PasteImage was the final piece in making it fast and efficient. There is no app to rule them all. Time, along with the fact I tried and worked through my issues found me where I am. I do not think that this would be the case or stumble across the final solution on day one. Pain tempers experience into lessons.

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