How to collaborate with Markdown in Google Docs and Google Drive

How to collaborate with Markdown in Google Docs and Google Drive

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Add-ons make it imaginable to convert a Google Doc to Markdown or preview a Google Doc with Markdown. Plus, third-party apps mean you can collaborate on a Markdown document, then reserve it to Google Drive.

Handdrawn document in center, with
Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Technical writers, bloggers, and newshounds, amongst others, generally collaborate with more than one other people to write paperwork for the cyber web. Talk to writers and they will continuously point out two very other equipment: Google Docs and Markdown.

Google Docs was once constructed for collaboration. Type document.new in Chrome in a desktop-class browser, then choose the Share button to invite folks to edit. When completed, chances are you’ll obtain, percentage the hyperlink, or print the Doc. As a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get phrase processor, Google Docs shows textual content and photographs as they’re going to seem when published.

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Markdown was once created for individuals who write for the cyber web. Open your favourite Markdown editor, sort textual content, and upload a couple of web-friendly formatting signs (e.g.: # Header, [Link](https://…), *Italic*, **Bold**, and so on.). Use the add-on to preview how your textual content will show on the net. When completed, input your content material in a Markdown-friendly content material control machine or export it as HTML. Unlike a Google Doc, a Markdown document is a undeniable textual content document with each textual content and layout instructions displayed.

SEE: Google Sheets: Tips and tricks (TechRepublic obtain) 

You may have each the collaboration functions of Google Docs and the human-readable, web-friendly undeniable textual content of Markdown. Two Google Docs add-ons, Docs to Markdown and Markdown Preview, mean you can mix the collaboration functions of Google Docs to write Markdown for the cyber web. However, those add-ons require distinctly other ranges of Markdown wisdom at the a part of collaborators, as described under. Additionally, a minimum of two third-party apps–also coated below–offer the power for more than one other people to collaborate on a Markdown document, then position the completed document on Google Drive.

The following add-ons, apps, and approaches come up with quite a few techniques to collaborate with colleagues to make Markdown information.

Write as same old in a Google Doc, then convert

The Docs to Markdown add-on provides the power to convert a typical Google Doc into Markdown (Figure A). People would possibly collaborate inside of a Google Doc as same old: Suggest and/or make edits, upload feedback, save variations, and layout textual content. Make positive to inspire your collaborators to use paragraph types, the place suitable. For instance, in this phase the “Write as usual in a Google Doc, then export” is textual content that I decided on and implemented the Header 2 paragraph taste. If I had merely adjusted the dimensions and made the textual content daring, the Markdown export would now not convert the textual content as a Header.

Figure A

Screenshot of Google Doc with sidebar to the right that displays the converted Markdown version of the Doc, with # for headers, *bold*, and other Markdown formatting.

The Docs to Markdown add-on we could other people collaborate and edit a Google Doc, as same old, then convert the Doc to Markdown or HTML. With this method, other people don’t have to know Markdown to edit. The conversion procedure does paintings a bit of higher when other people correctly observe paragraph and textual content types in the Google Doc.

Open the Docs to Markdown web page in the Google Marketplace to set up the add-on. If you’re a G Suite administrator, you could make a choice Domain Install, to make the add-on to be had to everybody in the area, or Individual Install, to set up the add-on in your personal use.

When you’re ready to convert a Google Doc to Markdown:
1. Open a Google Doc in a desktop-class cyber web browser.
2. By default the add-on converts all of the file. To convert just a portion of textual content, choose the textual content you need to convert.
3. Select Add-Ons, then make a choice Docs To Markdown, then Convert.
4. Modify any checkbox choices, as wanted or desired.
5. Select both the Markdown or HTML button. The machine will position the transformed content material in the chosen layout inside the textual content box under the choices.
6. Place your cursor any place inside the transformed textual content, click on, then choose the entire transformed content material (e.g., Ctrl-A) and reproduction it (e.g., Ctrl-C).
7. Paste the transformed textual content into your most well-liked vacation spot (e.g., a content material control machine box, a undeniable textual content document, and so on.).

Write Markdown in a Google Doc and preview

The Markdown Preview add-on assumes that the textual content inside of a Google Doc has been written in Markdown (Figure B).

Figure B

Screenshot of a Google Doc with text content written in Markdown format. Preview, which hides the associated format commands, to the right of the document.

The Markdown Preview add-on assumes that the textual content in your Google Doc makes use of Markdown, with # for headers, *round pieces to point out daring,* and hyperlinks displayed in human-readable shape, akin to [TechRepublic](https://techrepublic.com). The add-on supplies a Markdown preview, a lot as chances are you’ll in finding in a Markdown editor app.

As such, this add-on purposes just like a preview pane in a Markdown editor. You and your collaborators will want to input Markdown layout textual content inside of your Google Doc. For instance, in contrast to above, the place you could possibly choose textual content and then observe the Header 2 paragraph taste, you could possibly want to write:

## Write Markdown in a Google Doc and preview

The two # tags initially of the road point out Header 2 in Markdown.

For other people acquainted with Markdown, this method offers you an excessive amount of flexibility and keep an eye on. You would possibly input and edit textual content as whether it is Markdown, and even have get right of entry to to Google Docs’ model historical past and remark functions.

Open the Markdown Preview web page in the Google Marketplace to set up the add-on. If you’re a G Suite administrator, you could make a choice Domain Install, to make the add-on to be had to everybody in the area, or Individual Install, to set up the add-on in your personal use.

When you’re ready to preview the contents of your Google Doc as Markdown:
1. Open your Google Doc in a desktop category cyber web browser.
2. Select Add-Ons, then make a choice Markdown Preview, then Show Preview.
3. The machine will deal with the contents of your Google Doc as Markdown and show it in the sidebar to the proper of your Doc.
4. Review the consequences. Edit your Google Doc to replicate any wanted or desired adjustments, then repeat the method.
5. Once the Markdown Preview shows as you would like, choose the contents of your Google Doc (e.g. Ctrl-A) and reproduction it (e.g., Ctrl-C).
6. Paste the transformed textual content into your most well-liked vacation spot (e.g., a content material control machine box, a undeniable textual content document, and so on.).

Collaborate in a third-party app, save to Google Drive

Two third-party apps, Draft and IA Writer, additionally provide the power to collaborate on a Markdown layout document and then save the consequences to Google Drive (Figure C).

Figure C

Screenshot, Draft on left, in black on a white background; IA Writer for Android on right, white text on a black background.

Draft (left) and IA Writer for Android (proper) mean you can collaborate in Markdown, then save the general document to Google Drive. DraftIn.com, a browser-based app, allows you to export your document to Google Drive in Markdown layout. The Android model of IA Writer, displayed right here on a Chromebook, allows you to percentage a document from the Android app, then collaborate on-line in a browser. When you finish on-line collaboration, IA Writer activates you to save the document and allows you to reserve it to a attached garage carrier, akin to Google Drive.

Draft provides a web based app with model keep an eye on that gives the landlord of a file entire keep an eye on over whether or not to settle for or reject all adjustments made via collaborators. You would possibly export your document from Draft in Text or Markdown layout to Google Drive (or a number of different garage services and products).

The IA Writer Android app allows you to attach to Google Drive as a garage supply and additionally provides an internet collaboration choice. Create a brand new IA Writer document, make a choice the Android Share icon, then make a choice Collaborate Online. This creates a collaborative model of the document that you can open in a browser. Share the hyperlink to the document with your collaborators. All collaborators would possibly make edits, till you select to finish sharing. When you finish sharing, you can be triggered to save the document. You can save the edited document on Google Drive (or somewhere else).

Other choices?

Outside of Google Drive, many of us use Git with more than a few apps and services and products for model keep an eye on of Markdown information. The scope of those setups is past the point of interest of this newsletter, however to discover a couple of extra technical Markdown collaboration choices, see IA Writer with Working Copy, iCloud Drive, and BitBucket or Working Copy, iCloud, and GitHub (iOS and iPadOS), Typora with GitHub (Windows, Linux, and macOS), or VS Code, Jotterpad, Dropbox, and GitHub (Windows and Android).

Do you employ both the Docs to Markdown or Markdown Preview add-ons? Are there different collaborative Markdown apps and techniques you employ that paintings neatly? Let me know what your revel in has been when taking part with others on Markdown information. Share your ideas both in the feedback or on Twitter (@awolber).

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