Turn Google Chrome and Chromium into a Powerful Text Editor with TextDown

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Sep 29, 2012 GMT
Dmitri Popov

There are several apps in Chrome Web Store that can turn your favorite browser into a no-frills text editor. But probably none of them offer the power and flexibility of the TextDown app. This editor is designed for working with Markdown files, but it also offers a raft of useful features that make it an excellent general purpose text editing tool. TextDown can be used offline, and you can use the editor to work with local text files. To enable the latter feature, choose Tools | Extensions and tick the Allow access to file URLs check box next to the TextDown entry. TextDown also supports text shortcuts for more efficient writing, and you can specify your own text shortcuts in the Words Shortcuts List text area of the TextDown Options section. Here, you can use the default td text shortcut as a template for your custom entries, for example:

"lxm": "Linux Magazine"

To use the defined text shortcut, type lxm, press Esc, and the editor expands the abbreviation to Linux Magazine.

TextDown offers extensive support for keyboard shortcuts, so you can perform practically every available action using the keyboard: from applying text formatting to saving and exporting text files. The app also features dedicated shortcuts for word and character count, a boon for serious writers. TextDown even sports its own built-in calculator: enter { followed by the equation, press Ctrl + Shift + M, and TextDown replaces the equation with its result.

All in all, TextDown is a capable text editor which can come in useful in many situations -- especially if you use Markdown as your preferred way to format text files. TextDown is open source, and its source code is available for your viewing and forking pleasure at the project's GitHub repository.

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