There is no easy way to quickly convert a Google Doc into Markdown or HTML using Google’s built-in tools. Previously, when I edited a blog post or my newsletter for writers, I had to put documents through other apps to get them ready for the web.
This reality previously made me sad on a near-daily basis. Just thinking about all those hours lost to copy and pasting, fixing formatting problems and reinserting links brings a tear to my eye. It was a terrible state of affairs, for sure.
But then I found a Google Docs add on called Docs to Markdown and my life changed forever. It’s easy to install. It’s completely free. And it converts perfectly every time.
How does it work?
First of all, you need to open a Google Doc and write something brilliant.
Then you need to go back and make sure that you’ve applied your styles correctly. That means no using bold for headings. Use headings instead. That’s what headings are for. Add your links and any other formatting until you’re happy that your brilliant writing is also styled correctly.
Now go to the menu and follow Add-ons > Docs to Markdown > Convert. You’ll see a window slide in on the right-hand side of the screen. From there, you can choose to convert your document to Markdown or HTML using the handy buttons that say those two things on them.
Now in the space below those handy buttons, you should see the converted version of your document. You’ll probably need to scroll past the how-to advice and conversion notes first. Select your text. Copy it. And now the converted version is yours forever. Assuming you remember to paste it wherever it needs to be pasted.
What the hell is the point of all this?
I’m sure there are plenty of reasons you might want to convert a Google Doc to Markdown or HTML. In my case, Google Docs lets me share and work on documents with pals and clients. It’s fantastic for that.
But to publish those documents to the web – think blog posts, newsletters etc – I need them in HTML format. Mac apps like Ulysses, Bear and Byword are great at the converting part of the process, but they don’t have the collaboration features of Google Docs.
And so this is the problem that Docs to Markdown solves. You can use Google Docs to work with other people and still quickly convert a document into a format that you can publish on the internet.
Ultimately, it means you don’t have to copy and paste rich text into WordPress, Squarespace or whatever CMS floats your web-boat. Because that always (always!) leads to faffing on an industrial scale and all your brilliant writing getting broken into bits.
Where do I get this magic from?
Again, this is an add-on for Google Docs. It doesn’t come built in, so you’re going to have to install it. I suggest you check out the GitHub page and then head to Google’s add-on store to install Docs to Markdown from there.
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