4.3 out of 5 with 3 ratings

ghostwriter Reviews

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My personal preference for markdown writing programs for Linux. Used version 1.7.4 (latest at time of review), with Linux Mint 18.2.


  • Supports markdown (of course). Including strikethrough, which not all markdown programs do.
  • Supports program-wide dark themes, and custom themes in general.
  • Supports custom stylesheets, which so far as I can tell must be saved to the hard drive somewhere.
  • Comes with autosave.
  • Can scroll past the end of the document, allowing the last text to be at any position on the screen. I find this useful, as I prefer to not be stuck at the very bottom of the screen.
  • Options at the bottom of the window, for themes, export, copy as html, hiding HUD windows (for detailed stats etc), HTML preview, Hemingway mode (no backspace), focus mode (highlights only selected line), fullscreen mode.
  • Updates can be found through inbuilt Linux system update.
  • Comes with a "cheat sheet" of markdown formatting, and menu options to add formatting.


  • Spellcheck is currently not functional.

Other notes:

  • Opens the last opened file, no matter what, with no option to change behaviour. EDIT: I'm blind, the option's "remember file history".
  • The display of detailed document stats are effectively a separate window, which can lead to strange behaviour if switching windows often.
  • The wordcount display at the bottom of the window displays either the selected text or, if text is not selected, the wordcount for the entire document. (I personally would prefer both, but it's functional enough.)
  • Displays markdown characters in editor mode. This is my preference, although it's not for everyone.
  • The HTML preview pane does not scroll with the editor, but jumps to the start of the paragraph being edited, displaying it at the top of the screen.
  • Does not support tabbed editing, meaning every project must be its own window.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for formatting only add formatting marks, they can't remove existing formatting.
  • I have found I need to manually add a file extension if I want a file to have one, ghostwriter will not add them automatically.
  • Can display an outline, which determines sections based on headers in the document. This would presumably make longer documents easier to manage, unless the ability to quickly select sections is required.

Overall, a very useful program indeed. Most of the ways I personally find it lacking are features I grew accustomed to in another (Windows-only) program, which are more QOL-oriented than outright failures to include integral parts of the experience.

I have not used ghostwriter on Windows, so I have no experience with how it would differ from Linux (if at all), but if my experiences with it on Linux are anything to go by it's definitely worth a try. I would wholeheartedly recommend this program for Linux users.

[Edited by Corruleum, March 06]


First very primitive, but this changes as you start to explore it.

about ghostwriter · · Helpful Not helpful 2 Helpful Report as spam

Initially I was quite distracted by the fact that markdown elements were not removed, but instead just greyed out, making this editor to be nothing, but a regular editor with markdown highlighting and export.

But then, I tried just to omit the greyed out characters from my mind, as if they were not present and were just indicators for me.
This actually worked and because the highlighting is also active the editor became useful. But there was also a big issue, that it supposedly has no live preview mode. I can export to HTML and preview, together with all the styles, though - but live preview allows to instantly track the changes.

However, silly me, it turns out that HTML preview is actually polled on change. So if you move the preview to the side instead of closing it, the editor will update and render the changes live. This significantly boosts the rating.

So, as of 2016 my personal markdown on Linux rating is:

  1. ghostwriter (awesome, really)
  2. mdcharm (rock solid and simple, unfortunately no update since 2 years)
  3. retext (the classical editor with a bit messy UI, but works)

The Ubuntu Trusty .deb is also fully compatible with current Debian Stable. Give it a shot, and donate the author if you like it!

Well, it looks like sometimes the internal editor markup help is doing it wrong. For example, this will be rendered incorrectly in editor:

this is a test line

\# hello world

All engines in HTML preview ignore the formatting inside ```, but internal editor engine assumes that a new line equals end of operand and renders # hello world in headline style, which is incorrect.

[Edited by thisisme, May 26]


Very nice!

about ghostwriter · · Helpful Not helpful 1 Helpful Report as spam

Never thought I might need a focused writing tool, but, well, here I am.
They're easy on your eye and does keep you focused (who guessed).

Built ghostWriter from ArchLinux AUR, works like a charm. First impression after writing a few (unstructured) pages:
As a fan of XFCE I especially appreciate its reduced (?)/complete feature set that still allows for a decent amount of customization and configurability.