Markdown Service Tools v3.0
It’s been a few years since I made any significant updates to the Markdown Service Tools, so I guess it’s time. I’m releasing version 3.0.0 today with a refresh of many of the existing Services, as well as some brand new ones.
If you’re unfamiliar, Markdown Service Tools is a collection of macOS Services (a.k.a. Quick Actions) designed to make writing Markdown easier, no matter what application you’re working in. By assigning keyboard shortcuts to your favorites, it’s possible to turn any editor into a Markdown editor.
I’ll say off the bat here that we’re going through some serious pet medical issues in our home right now, thus extra expenses, so I’d ask that if you use this project (or any of my projects), you pay what you can for them. Yeti and Lulu greatly appreciate your support, and thank you from me to everyone who has donated in the past or provides continuing support for my work.
This whole refresh of the Services started because I’ve recently switched to Firefox as my primary browser. The Tools include Services for getting a reference list of all tabs in Safari and Chrome, but Firefox is significantly more difficult as it lacks any kind of AppleScript support. So I spent almost two hours trying to hack around it and came out with a decent solution. The biggest issue is that it intermittently fails due to a bug in Catalina’s security measures. If you want to try it out, be sure to see the notes on authorizing it.
I also added “Tabs” services for Brave and Microsoft Chrome, so you can install the one(s) for your browsers of choice.
I included a couple of Services that use Marky as well, now that I have that operating pretty well again. You can copy a link to your clipboard, then in a text field, right click and choose “Clipboard URL to Markdown” to grab the contents of the URL and convert it to Markdown in your editor or notes app.
Previously, most of the Markdown conversion services used the old Perl version of MultiMarkdown. A lot has changed in MMD since those days, so it now uses the binary version (presumably v6), which has to be installed on your Mac. If a Service that requires it can’t find it, it will let you know and link you to the download page for the most recent release. This change means that you can use any of the latest syntax in your Markdown and properly convert it to HTML or RTF as needed.
Speaking of RTF, the MultiMarkdown to RTF Service is working again! Use it to write in Markdown in apps like Mail.app and TextEdit, then convert it to rich text in place. It will even work in Pages. When you combine all of the emphasis, wrapping, and browser tools with the RTF conversion, writing Markdown in something like Mail.app becomes a real option.
All of the Services are now saved as Quick Actions, which has the additional benefit of some actions being usable as Finder extensions or in the MacBook Pro Touch Bar, if you’re into that kind of thing. They have their own icons (using the unofficial Markdown mark) and are all digitally signed with my developer certificate for your peace of mind.
Here’s the full log of changes in 3.0.0:
- New: “Wrap - Backticks”
- New: “Links - Firefox Tabs”
- New: “Links - Microsoft Edge Tabs”
- New: “Links - Brave Tabs”
- New: “Code - Make Fenced Code Block” — accepts a language via dialog, can be left blank
- New: “Convert - Clipboard URL to Markdown” — Markdownify the contents of a URL in the clipboard using Marky the Markdownifier
- Improved: Combined “Numbered List” and “Fix Numbered List” into one service, good for both converting to a numbered list and cleaning up numbering on existing numbered list
- Improved: “Links - New Link” defaults to https when generating links from incomplete urls
- Improved: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and Brave Tabs clean all Google Analytics and ref= tags from URLs
- Improved: “Convert - Clean up Smart Punctuation” handles en (–) and em (—) dashes, and converts guillemets («») to straight double quotes
- Improved: “MutliMarkdown to RTF” fixed up, updated RTF style to use new system fonts
- Improved: All MMD conversion services now use the binary version of MultiMarkdown (v6) — if it’s not installed, it will link you to the download page with instructions
- Improved: “Indentation - Indent” uses tab instead of 4 spaces
Visit the Markdown Service Tools project page for download and usage instructions!