What's your most commonly used writing format?

Granted this is a small sample size, but still interesting to know…

  • Rich Text – .rtf(d)
  • Markdown – .md
  • Formatted Note – .html
  • Word – .docx
  • Pages – .pages
  • OpenOffice – .odt

0 voters


Humm. do not know how to answer. i use all I guess. I really do not care. If notes in DEVONthink I guess it’s Markdown but i really do not care.

More significant for me I write most in Scrivener and output via LaTeX to PDF, direct PDF, or even paper sometimes.

So this would be RTF :wink:

Yea. I guess. my point is i do not care. and that not one of your options. i wonder why so many people seem to care.

(output from Scrivener is Text as input to LaTeX)

Well, it’s useful information for us to know :smiley:


For writing of any kind, I’m Markdown all the way. Occasionally I’ll open Pages if I need to make a fancier document, but I always save a copy as PDF for archival purposes. I have several decades of experience of the perils of entrusting any file formats that’s predominantly tied to a single application.


I use Markdown all the time I never even made a decision to be honest it just evolved that way, I like it is not tied to a particular application though. So my notes are really in plaintext in a sense or converted to pdf. I keep them all in DEVONthink 3. I do use other applications but I think there is always a copy in plain text that I can access if I need. I use LaTeX not so much these days and the same, the basic document is there in a kind of plaintext if I am right?

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My experience is most Markdown users do care, and are upset if there’s no option
For myself, writing notes in Devonthink; I’m happy with any wysiwyg editor
and chose formatted note because I’m experienced working with html code when required
I use Apple Pages for word processing
and Apple Numbers for spreadsheets

Yea. I notice that. I am more into the words and content.

I do this too. I rarely use Pages now, except to write notes with images that I’m converting to PDF (just for DT).

I can’t really count myself in that but maybe they just worry about portability. I use Markdown now. I’d never even heard of it before I started using DT, but it turns out all those years ago when I liked plain text on Windows, I was basically preparing for my Mac Markdown life :joy:

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I’m not sure whether this is a vitally important or (more likely) a completely useless thing to say, but I write in an outliner (mostly Cloud Outliner these days, but NeO, OmniOutliner, and MORE have all been workhorses in their day) and would have to say “none of the above if I can possibly avoid it” because all the formats in this poll are absolutely terrible for outlining. (My longer stuff does migrate in due course to Scrivener, but only because it has the best long-form outlining tools.) Obviously that’s not really what the poll is asking about, but I wouldn’t want it to go unsaid – from the user point of view, affordances trump format.


I answered “.md” because I write in plain text (.txt). And that was the closest answer to what I think you’re trying to get at.

Noted. Thanks.

I’m firmly in the Markdown camp, but I’ve never really had to argue for my preference. This thread got me thinking: why? I like Markdown+monospace fonts aesthetically, and I like the sense of Markdown as a raw, unfinished format - it’s what I use for notes and first drafts that will be exported to another format before being seen by others. And I like the … tangibility of Markdown - making the marks that set the formatting, rather than just hitting command keys.

Also: I used a typewriter in my first years as a journalist. Maybe the Markdown format helps me recapture the physicality of banging lines of type onto paper while thinking in complete sentences and paragraphs, because you couldn’t easily go back and revise. I feel that I thought more clearly about writing then, but that may have been a byproduct of youth and novelty.


This is as good a topic as any I’ve seen to ask my Stupid Question #347: what do people use Markdown for? Why do they use it, and why is it so overwhelmingly popular here? (Wikipedia entry falls way short!). Sorry for the Dumb Question, but I just don’t get it. Reminds me of inserting control codes in Word Star on MS-DOS…

I use rtf/rtfd by the way, as I often do formatting changes to clipped articles etc.

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You might want to check out Bike by Hog Bay Software:https://hogbaysoftware.netlify.appVer

Very fast, very smooth (hard to describe how smoothly the editor works) and may be the best outliner I’ve seen since MORE. I grew weary of wrestling with OmniOutliner’s arcane and difficult formatting and template “options.” I’ve rapidly converted to Bike (though will keep OO around).


Whatever rocks your boat.

The (dis-)advantages of markup vs wysiwyg have been widely discussed since the ages of the nroff family of products. I doubt that any new arguments can be made. Except, perhaps, that the Web is driven by markup, not by RTF or Word or any such thing. So, the technique might have something speaking for it.

I agree with what you say, but “writing” is different than “publishing” which I believe an important distinction.

I’m not sure that @BLUEFROG is distinguishing and many conversations about these issues usually conflate the two.

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You’re right, of course. I should’ve been more detailed, but this whole topic is so well chewed through… in any case, I’m my opinion RTF is one of the worst choices for publishing, given its lack of „styling“, ie the separation of content and appearance.

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