Is there an application to preview markdown files (.md files) on OSX (for instance on Maverick)?

13 Answers 13


The superuser question, Markdown Live Preview Editor?, provides a wealth of options:

In additional to those, you can install a markdown QuickLook plugin for Finder based previews.





Marked 2


  • 2
    Regarding the QuickLook plug-in, please consider adding your voice to github.com/toland/qlmarkdown/issues/29; or, as the project is open source, having a go at fixing up the code. Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 15:54
  • 1
    Fyi, yhe QuickLook plugin does work with El Capitan 10.11.6
    – duthen
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 23:02
  • 2
    For me, based on running through your ist, MacDown was the simplest to install and use quickly. Thanks for showing the options!
    – Sean
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 23:58
  • 1
    Just to add. I tried the BBEdit markdown preview and the default style is quite plain, but I found you can download a custom CSS file to make it look more stylish.
    – Bill
    Commented Feb 5, 2022 at 22:28
  • 1
    toland/qlmarkdown has been abandoned, and replaced with sbarex/QLMarkdown, which installs QLMarkdown.app, which must be run to activate the plugin. This is what you get with brew install --cask qlmarkdown today, thankfully.
    – gimboland
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 13:40

Visual Studio Code

VSCode Markdown Example Source: https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/languages/markdown#_markdown-preview

Microsoft's Visual Studio Code has been surprisingly pleasant to use as a general purpose IDE, and elegantly renders markdown.

  • You can right-click on the editor Tab and select Open Preview (⇧⌘V) or use the Command Palette (⇧⌘P) to run the Markdown: Open Preview to the Side command (⌘K V). The Open Preview Tab is the guy that looks like a book with a magnifying glass.
    – PatrickT
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 8:08

I would like to add the excellent - and open source - MacDown to the list.


If you would like markdown to be read with Quick Look, you can use QLMarkdown.

You can install it either by:

  • Download the QLMarkdown.qlgenerator in either ~/Library/QuickLook (current user) or /Library/QuickLook (all users).
  • Using Homebrew, run brew install --cask qlmarkdown in the Terminal. (updated)

If you find qlmarkdown Applications, right click and open the app, it will get around the Apple security check warning.

After that, you should be able to view markdown files.

  • 2
    Why the downvote? A mod suggested I post this here after posting it on a duplicate question. I had thought it would be welcome here. Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 5:23
  • If I had to guess, It's probably because the accepted answer already linked and mentioned the QuickLook generator for Markdown files and there is no need to have redundant answers. Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 5:33
  • The new version of QLMarkdown is here now: github.com/sbarex/qlmarkdown
    – postylem
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 2:52
  • Error: `brew cask` is no longer a `brew` command. Use `brew <command> --cask` instead. So the update to the command would be: $brew install --cask qlmarkdown
    – ximbal
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 19:56

The perfect preview tool for Markdown is Marked 2 which gives a preview of your Markdown and watches the file so that every time you save in an editor your preview is updated.

It also supports custom pre-processors so you can use extra markup such as critic, custom CSS so you can have a preview that looks however you wish and tools to export the result in a variety of formats. It can even track an entire folder and start previewing a different file when you start to edit it.

Taken together all that means that you can write your Markdown in any editor you like and preview and output easily.

You might want to think about installing qlmarkdown which gives you the ability to preview MarkDown files properly in the Finder using QuickLook.


If you are using sublimetext, then you can use MARKDOWN PREVIEW package from package manager.

It has multiple styles like GITHUB, HTML and etc.



  • Inside Sublime you will need to go to Tools and install the Command Palette. To preview a Markdown file go to Tools --> Command Palette... --> Markdown Preview: Preview in Browser and choose markdown.
    – mabalenk
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 11:21

There is also Markoff (App Store, GitHub), a pure viewer for CommonMark files:


If you'd rather not install a new application, there are browser extensions for this. I use Markdown Viewer for Google Chrome, which allows Chrome to open markdown files and displays them like GitHub would. Then just set your browser as the default application to open .md files (or use open with if you'd rather have an editor be the default program).

  • 1
    @Jackson1442 this actually is an answer providing a solution to the question asked. It could be improved by explaining in more detail how this plugin can be used to render locally-stored Markdown files.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 16:14
  • @patrix - oops! I misread this answer. Really badly! My apologies, Barry! Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 16:16
  • I think this is a very reasonable approach, but I don't necessarily agree with making a browser the default program for viewing .md files. I write in Markdown, and having a browser as the default app would be a nuisance. But it wouldn't be as big a nuisance as installing XCode - it makes itself the default handler for .md files,... and when you allow it to try, it wants to download more stuff! Sheesh! At 5GB, you think they could find room for a markdown app!
    – Seamus
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 22:57
  • don't forget you might need to give the plugin access to file urls - type chrome://extensions in the address bar, then select options for the Markdown Viewer and switch access to file urls to on
    – TheEye
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 15:33

A lot of ideas here, but most of them are old, some even out-of-date. I came here looking for a previewer - not an editor (as the question says). However, it seems most of the answers are editors. So I'll add this answer for the editor I use. It's still actively under development, open-source, fairly easy-to-use and flexible: Typora.


There is also a newish option called Obsidian - https://obsidian.md/, which more of a networked thought tool (like Roam Research) but build on top of markdown files.

Screenshot of preview page

  • How does this help to preview .md files?
    – nohillside
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 18:20
  • Added a screenshot of the preview screen
    – robd
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 20:23
  • Exactly what I was looking for: simple and easy to browse a folder structure with .md files! 10 000 thanks !
    – Warnaud
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 8:07
  • This must be amongst the most underrated responses ever supplied on stack overflow. Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 9:42

If you're using the Terminal, I made a thing in Node.


Panic Nova can view the file:

  • open the file in Panic Nova
  • click the preview icon ( eye )

I just set a proportional serif font in VS Code, add some limited colors, and the normal, inline display is fine. enter image description here

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