Can I specify .md as an externally supported file type?

I’ve been using Scrivener for years. I’ve used it for all sorts of writing, and as a writing project management tool, it’s one of the best. Having said that, I like writing in Markdown and specifically Markdown with syntax highlighting and so I’ve started using other editors. I’ve read in multiple places that the Scrivener (specifically on macOS) won’t support that level of Markdown in the editor but would it be possible to make files ending with .md to be viewable in Scrivener but can be launched with an external editor to actually edit, like images or PDFs?

I’d love to use Scrivener as the way to manage my writing projects as it can do almost everything I want but then for the couple of features it doesn’t support natively (mindmaps, timelines, etc) I’ll just launch an external editor.


Yes, this is possible with caveats: namely that if you ask Scrivener to treat Markdown files as research files like a PDF, then that is exactly what it will do: i.e. you won’t be able to compile with them, so you wouldn’t really be using Scrivener’s Markdown support.

To do so, go into the Import/Export preference pane, under the “Plain Text Import Types” tab, and remove any Markdown extensions you prefer to use. Now when you drag one into the binder, it won’t recognise it as text and will use a Finder icon, showing the Quick Look preview for it (if you install Markdown Quick Look plug-in you can pretty that up a bit too).

I did this before the iOS version came out by syncing with an external folder. Tell the sync to make synced files plain text and set the extension to .md or .mmd. You’ll be able to open the synced files in a Markdown editor without a problem.

The one hiccup is EVERYTHING in the draft syncs as a file - so your larger structure is mostly not there (the I’d numbers offer clues but aren’t as intuitive). It worked fine for me, but I prefer typing in Scrivener directly even if there is no Markdown preview.

Or just copy and paste the text into MacVim or whatever, and then back into Scrivener when you’re done. For the those occasional circumstances where I want/need a different text editor than Scrivener, that’s always worked fine for me. Cmd-C,Cmd-Tab,Cmd-V.

Or I’ll create new entries in another text editor and save them as .txt files to be imported later into Scrivener. You can use the aforementioned external sync folder tool like an inbox rather than a two-way sync tool. Sometimes I’ll have a thought and I don’t want to open the project just to insert it, so I just fire up Vim, write it out and save the file to that folder. Done, next time I load the project it will be imported for me into a special “Inbox” folder I’ve set up in the project.

Michael, this may not be enough for you, but I do all my Scrivener writing in MMD and use key-bound formatting presets to visualise my markdown structure in the Scrivener editor, and while it isn’t as “automatic” as a visualising markdown editor, it can be “good enough” and I think would be less hassle than the current suggested workflow to edit externally:


Anyway, just a suggestion. This can only get better with Scrivener 3, as I think a full style system will also benefit MMD format users.