How to use markdown if markdown is not supported

I recently launched a Substack newsletter and was disappointed to discover that Substack didn’t support markdown. I write a lot of text and markdown is my preferred format. It would be nice if Substack could integrate into my workflow.

Well, maybe it can.

I discovered a way to use markdown with Substack. Actually, it’s not just Substack. This technique might work for any rich text editor.

It’s a bit of a hack but it works very well for me. YMMV and you’ll need to test your own variations.

The trick is:

  • Write your content in a markdown editor.
  • Preview/render it.
  • Copy and paste the rendered output into the rich text editor.

For example, I use VS Code:

  • I write my newsletter in a markdown file.
  • Preview it in VS Code’s markdown previewer.
  • Copy and paste the preview output into Substack’s editor.

And it works! Links, quotes, headings, bullets, formatting etc., are all preserved.

Of course, this won’t work for some types of content ie. images or tables. I’ll need to enter and format those manually.

But since text is 99% of my usage, it’s actually a very good work-around. I can write in markdown and then easily transfer to Substack.

You don’t necessarily have to use VS Code. I just tested this with github’s text editor (which can render markdown) and the copy-and-paste into Substack’s editor works as well. Try it with your favourite markdown editor and see if it works for you too.

(PS: This reminds me of people who write articles in Office and copy-paste it into a CMS. I used to look down on such practices. Now I’m the one doing it. 😀)