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SimpleMDE - Markdown Editor

A drop-in JavaScript textarea replacement for writing beautiful and understandable Markdown. The WYSIWYG-esque editor allows users who may be less experienced with Markdown to use familiar toolbar buttons and shortcuts. In addition, the syntax is rendered while editing to clearly show the expected result. Headings are larger, emphasized words are italicized, links are underlined, etc. SimpleMDE is one of the first editors to feature both built-in autosaving and spell checking.



Why not a WYSIWYG editor or pure Markdown?

WYSIWYG editors that produce HTML are often complex and buggy. Markdown solves this problem in many ways, plus Markdown can be rendered natively on more platforms than HTML. However, Markdown is not a syntax that an average user will be familiar with, nor is it visually clear while editing. In otherwords, for an unfamiliar user, the syntax they write will make little sense until they click the preview button. SimpleMDE has been designed to bridge this gap for non-technical users who are less familiar with or just learning Markdown syntax.


Via npm.

npm install simplemde --save

Via bower.

bower install simplemde --save

Via jsDelivr. Please note, jsDelivr may take a few days to update to the latest release.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">
<script src=""></script>

Quick start

After installing, load SimpleMDE on the first textarea on a page

var simplemde = new SimpleMDE();

Using a specific textarea

Pure JavaScript method

var simplemde = new SimpleMDE({ element: document.getElementById("MyID") });

jQuery method

var simplemde = new SimpleMDE({ element: $("#MyID")[0] });

Get/set the content

simplemde.value("This text will appear in the editor");


  • autoDownloadFontAwesome: If set to true, force downloads Font Awesome (used for icons). If set to false, prevents downloading. Defaults to undefined, which will intelligently check whether Font Awesome has already been included, then download accordingly.
  • autofocus: If set to true, autofocuses the editor. Defaults to false.
  • autosave: Saves the text that's being written and will load it back in the future. It will forget the text when the form it's contained in is submitted.
    • enabled: If set to true, autosave the text. Defaults to false.
    • delay: Delay between saves, in milliseconds. Defaults to 10000 (10s).
    • uniqueId: You must set a unique string identifier so that SimpleMDE can autosave. Something that separates this from other instances of SimpleMDE elsewhere on your website.
  • blockStyles: Customize how certain buttons that style blocks of text behave.
    • bold Can be set to ** or __. Defaults to **.
    • code Can be set to ``` or ~~~. Defaults to ```.
    • italic Can be set to * or _. Defaults to *.
  • element: The DOM element for the textarea to use. Defaults to the first textarea on the page.
  • forceSync: If set to true, force text changes made in SimpleMDE to be immediately stored in original textarea. Defaults to false.
  • hideIcons: An array of icon names to hide. Can be used to hide specific icons shown by default without completely customizing the toolbar.
  • indentWithTabs: If set to false, indent using spaces instead of tabs. Defaults to true.
  • initialValue: If set, will customize the initial value of the editor.
  • insertTexts: Customize how certain buttons that insert text behave. Takes an array with two elements. The first element will be the text inserted before the cursor or highlight, and the second element will be inserted after. For example, this is the default link value: ["[", "](http://)"].
    • horizontalRule
    • image
    • link
    • table
  • lineWrapping: If set to false, disable line wrapping. Defaults to true.
  • parsingConfig: Adjust settings for parsing the Markdown during editing (not previewing).
    • allowAtxHeaderWithoutSpace: If set to true, will render headers without a space after the #. Defaults to false.
    • strikethrough: If set to false, will not process GFM strikethrough syntax. Defaults to true.
    • underscoresBreakWords: If set to true, let underscores be a delimiter for separating words. Defaults to false.
  • placeholder: Custom placeholder that should be displayed
  • previewRender: Custom function for parsing the plaintext Markdown and returning HTML. Used when user previews.
  • promptURLs: If set to true, a JS alert window appears asking for the link or image URL. Defaults to false.
  • renderingConfig: Adjust settings for parsing the Markdown during previewing (not editing).
    • singleLineBreaks: If set to false, disable parsing GFM single line breaks. Defaults to true.
    • codeSyntaxHighlighting: If set to true, will highlight using highlight.js. Defaults to false. To use this feature you must include highlight.js on your page. For example, include the script and the CSS files like:
      <script src=""></script>
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="">
  • shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts associated with this instance. Defaults to the array of shortcuts.
  • showIcons: An array of icon names to show. Can be used to show specific icons hidden by default without completely customizing the toolbar.
  • spellChecker: If set to false, disable the spell checker. Defaults to true.
  • status: If set to false, hide the status bar. Defaults to the array of built-in status bar items.
    • Optionally, you can set an array of status bar items to include, and in what order. You can even define your own custom status bar items.
  • styleSelectedText: If set to false, remove the CodeMirror-selectedtext class from selected lines. Defaults to true.
  • tabSize: If set, customize the tab size. Defaults to 2.
  • toolbar: If set to false, hide the toolbar. Defaults to the array of icons.
  • toolbarTips: If set to false, disable toolbar button tips. Defaults to true.
// Most options demonstrate the non-default behavior
var simplemde = new SimpleMDE({
	autofocus: true,
	autosave: {
		enabled: true,
		uniqueId: "MyUniqueID",
		delay: 1000,
	blockStyles: {
		bold: "__",
		italic: "_"
	element: document.getElementById("MyID"),
	forceSync: true,
	hideIcons: ["guide", "heading"],
	indentWithTabs: false,
	initialValue: "Hello world!",
	insertTexts: {
		horizontalRule: ["", "\n\n-----\n\n"],
		image: ["![](http://", ")"],
		link: ["[", "](http://)"],
		table: ["", "\n\n| Column 1 | Column 2 | Column 3 |\n| -------- | -------- | -------- |\n| Text     | Text      | Text     |\n\n"],
	lineWrapping: false,
	parsingConfig: {
		allowAtxHeaderWithoutSpace: true,
		strikethrough: false,
		underscoresBreakWords: true,
	placeholder: "Type here...",
	previewRender: function(plainText) {
		return customMarkdownParser(plainText); // Returns HTML from a custom parser
	previewRender: function(plainText, preview) { // Async method
			preview.innerHTML = customMarkdownParser(plainText);
		}, 250);

		return "Loading...";
	promptURLs: true,
	renderingConfig: {
		singleLineBreaks: false,
		codeSyntaxHighlighting: true,
	shortcuts: {
		drawTable: "Cmd-Alt-T"
	showIcons: ["code", "table"],
	spellChecker: false,
	status: false,
	status: ["autosave", "lines", "words", "cursor"], // Optional usage
	status: ["autosave", "lines", "words", "cursor", {
		className: "keystrokes",
		defaultValue: function(el) {
			this.keystrokes = 0;
			el.innerHTML = "0 Keystrokes";
		onUpdate: function(el) {
			el.innerHTML = ++this.keystrokes + " Keystrokes";
	}], // Another optional usage, with a custom status bar item that counts keystrokes
	styleSelectedText: false,
	tabSize: 4,
	toolbar: false,
	toolbarTips: false,

Toolbar icons

Below are the built-in toolbar icons (only some of which are enabled by default), which can be reorganized however you like. "Name" is the name of the icon, referenced in the JS. "Action" is either a function or a URL to open. "Class" is the class given to the icon. "Tooltip" is the small tooltip that appears via the title="" attribute. Note that shortcut hints are added automatically and reflect the specified action if it has a keybind assigned to it (i.e. with the value of action set to bold and that of tooltip set to Bold, the final text the user will see would be "Bold (Ctrl-B)").

Additionally, you can add a separator between any icons by adding "|" to the toolbar array.

Name Action Tooltip
bold toggleBold Bold
fa fa-bold
italic toggleItalic Italic
fa fa-italic
strikethrough toggleStrikethrough Strikethrough
fa fa-strikethrough
heading toggleHeadingSmaller Heading
fa fa-header
heading-smaller toggleHeadingSmaller Smaller Heading
fa fa-header
heading-bigger toggleHeadingBigger Bigger Heading
fa fa-lg fa-header
heading-1 toggleHeading1 Big Heading
fa fa-header fa-header-x fa-header-1
heading-2 toggleHeading2 Medium Heading
fa fa-header fa-header-x fa-header-2
heading-3 toggleHeading3 Small Heading
fa fa-header fa-header-x fa-header-3
code toggleCodeBlock Code
fa fa-code
quote toggleBlockquote Quote
fa fa-quote-left
unordered-list toggleUnorderedList Generic List
fa fa-list-ul
ordered-list toggleOrderedList Numbered List
fa fa-list-ol
clean-block cleanBlock Clean block
fa fa-eraser fa-clean-block
link drawLink Create Link
fa fa-link
image drawImage Insert Image
fa fa-picture-o
table drawTable Insert Table
fa fa-table
horizontal-rule drawHorizontalRule Insert Horizontal Line
fa fa-minus
preview togglePreview Toggle Preview
fa fa-eye no-disable
side-by-side toggleSideBySide Toggle Side by Side
fa fa-columns no-disable no-mobile
fullscreen toggleFullScreen Toggle Fullscreen
fa fa-arrows-alt no-disable no-mobile
guide This link Markdown Guide
fa fa-question-circle

Customize the toolbar using the toolbar option like:

// Customize only the order of existing buttons
var simplemde = new SimpleMDE({
	toolbar: ["bold", "italic", "heading", "|", "quote"],

// Customize all information and/or add your own icons
var simplemde = new SimpleMDE({
	toolbar: [{
			name: "bold",
			action: SimpleMDE.toggleBold,
			className: "fa fa-bold",
			title: "Bold",
			name: "custom",
			action: function customFunction(editor){
				// Add your own code
			className: "fa fa-star",
			title: "Custom Button",
		"|", // Separator

Keyboard shortcuts

SimpleMDE comes with an array of predefined keyboard shortcuts, but they can be altered with a configuration option. The list of default ones is as follows:

Shortcut Action
Cmd-' "toggleBlockquote"
Cmd-B "toggleBold"
Cmd-E "cleanBlock"
Cmd-H "toggleHeadingSmaller"
Cmd-I "toggleItalic"
Cmd-K "drawLink"
Cmd-L "toggleUnorderedList"
Cmd-P "togglePreview"
Cmd-Alt-C "toggleCodeBlock"
Cmd-Alt-I "drawImage"
Cmd-Alt-L "toggleOrderedList"
Shift-Cmd-H "toggleHeadingBigger"
F9 "toggleSideBySide"
F11 "toggleFullScreen"

Here is how you can change a few, while leaving others untouched:

var simplemde = new SimpleMDE({
	shortcuts: {
		"toggleOrderedList": "Ctrl-Alt-K", // alter the shortcut for toggleOrderedList
		"toggleCodeBlock": null, // unbind Ctrl-Alt-C
		"drawTable": "Cmd-Alt-T" // bind Cmd-Alt-T to drawTable action, which doesn't come with a default shortcut

Shortcuts are automatically converted between platforms. If you define a shortcut as "Cmd-B", on PC that shortcut will be changed to "Ctrl-B". Conversely, a shortcut defined as "Ctrl-B" will become "Cmd-B" for Mac users.

The list of actions that can be bound is the same as the list of built-in actions available for toolbar buttons.


To change the minimum height (before it starts auto-growing):

.CodeMirror, .CodeMirror-scroll {
	min-height: 200px;

Or, you can keep the height static:

.CodeMirror {
	height: 300px;

Event handling

You can catch the following list of events:

var simplemde = new SimpleMDE();
simplemde.codemirror.on("change", function(){

Removing SimpleMDE from textarea

You can revert to the initial textarea by calling the toTextArea method. Note that this clears up the autosave (if enabled) associated with it. The textarea will retain any text from the destroyed SimpleMDE instance.

var simplemde = new SimpleMDE();
simplemde = null;

Useful methods

The following self-explanatory methods may be of use while developing with SimpleMDE.

var simplemde = new SimpleMDE();
simplemde.isPreviewActive(); // returns boolean
simplemde.isSideBySideActive(); // returns boolean
simplemde.isFullscreenActive(); // returns boolean
simplemde.clearAutosavedValue(); // no returned value

How it works

SimpleMDE began as an improvement of lepture's Editor project, but has now taken on an identity of its own. It is bundled with CodeMirror and depends on Font Awesome.

CodeMirror is the backbone of the project and parses much of the Markdown syntax as it's being written. This allows us to add styles to the Markdown that's being written. Additionally, a toolbar and status bar have been added to the top and bottom, respectively. Previews are rendered by Marked using GFM.