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Zettlr [ˈset·lər]

A Markdown Editor for the 21st century.

DOI License: GNU GPL v3 GitHub tag (latest by date) GitHub All Releases Test Build

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With Zettlr, writing professional texts is easy and motivating: Whether you are a college student, a researcher, a journalist, or an author — Zettlr has the right tools for you. Watch the video or continue reading to see what they are!

Visit our Website.


  • Available in over a dozen languages
  • Tight and ever-growing integration with your favourite reference manager (such as Zotero or JabRef)
  • Cite with Zettlr using citeproc and your existing literature database
  • Five themes and dark mode support
  • File-agnostic writing: Enjoy full control over your own files
  • Keep all your notes and texts in one place — searchable and accessible
  • Code highlighting for many languages
  • Simple and beautiful exports with Pandoc, LaTeX, and Textbundle
  • Support for state of the art knowledge management techniques (Zettelkasten)
  • A revolutionary search algorithm with integrated heatmap

… and the best is: Zettlr is Open Source (FOSS)!


To install Zettlr, just download the latest release for your operating system! Currently supported are macOS, Windows, and most Linux distributions (via Debian- and Fedora-packages as well as AppImages).

All other platforms that Electron supports are supported as well, but you will need to build the app yourself for this to work.

Please also consider becoming a patron or making a one-time donation!

Getting Started

If you have downloaded Zettlr, head over to our website to get to know Zettlr. Refer to the Quick Start Guide, if you prefer to use software heads-on.

The central window of Zettlr using the Night Theme


Zettlr is an Electron-based app, so to start developing, you'll need to have:

  1. A NodeJS-stack installed on your computer. Make sure it's at least Node 12 (lts/erbium). To test what version you have, run node -v.
  2. Yarn installed. Yarn is the required package manager for the project, as we do not commit package-lock.json-files and many commands require yarn. You can install this globally using npm install -g yarn or Homebrew, if you are on macOS.

Then, simply clone the repository and install the dependencies on your local computer:

$ git clone
$ cd Zettlr
$ yarn install

You can optionally add the --frozen-lockfile flag to ensure yarn will stick to the versions as listed in the yarn.lock and not attempt to update them.

During development, hot module reloading is active so that you can edit the renderer's code easily and hit F5 after the changes have been compiled by electron-forge. You can keep the developer tools open to see when HMR has finished loading your changes.

Development Commands

This section lists all available commands that you can use during application development. These are defined within the package.json and can be run from the command line by prefixing them with yarn. Run them from within the base directory of the repository.


Starts electron-forge, which will build the application and launch it in development mode. This will use the normal settings, so if you use Zettlr on the same computer in production, it will use the same configuration files as the regular application. This means: be careful when breaking things. In that case, it's better to use test-gui.


Packages the application, but not bundle it into an installer. Without any suffix, this command will package the application for your current platform. To create specific packages (may require running on the corresponding platform), the following suffixes are available:

  • package:mac
  • package:win
  • package:win-arm
  • package:linux-x32
  • package:linux-x64

The resulting application packages are stored in ./out.


Packages the application and then bundles it into an installer for the corresponding platform. To create such a bundle (may require running on the corresponding platform), one of the following values for {platform} is required:

  • release:mac
  • release:win
  • release:win-arm
  • release:linux-x32
  • release:linux-x64
  • release:linux (shorthand for calling yarn release:linux-x32 && yarn release:linux-x64)

The resulting setup bundles are stored in ./release.

Please note that, while you can package directly for your platform without any suffix, for creating a release specifying the platform is required as electron-builder would otherwise include the development-dependencies in the app.asar, resulting in a bloated application.


This downloads the four default translations of the application from Zettlr Translate, with which it is shipped by default. It places the files in the source/common/lang-directory. Currently, the default languages are: German (Germany), English (USA), English (UK), and French (France).

Please note, that this command is intended for an automated workflow that runs from time to time on the repository to perform this action. This means: Do not commit updated files to the repository. Instead, the updated files will be downloaded whenever you git fetch.


This downloads the Citation Style Language (CSL) files with which the application is shipped, and places them in the source/main/assets/csl-locales- and source/main/assets/csl-styles-directories respectively.

Please note, that this command is intended for an automated workflow that runs from time to time on the repository to perform this action. This means: Do not commit updated files to the repository. Instead, the updated files will be downloaded whenever you git fetch.


This simply runs ESLint with the configuration and outputs a file eslint_report.htm into the base directory of the repository with the results. Apps such as Atom or Visual Studio Code will automatically run ESLint in the background, but if you want to be extra-safe, make sure to run this command prior to submitting a Pull Request.

This command will run automatically on each Pull Request to check your code for inconsistencies.


This re-compiles the source-files needed by the exporter for building reveal.js-presentations. Due to the nature of how Pandoc creates such presentations, Zettlr needs to modify the output by Pandoc, which is why these files need to be pre-compiled.


This runs the unit tests in the directory ./test. Make sure to run this command prior to submitting a Pull Request, as this will be run every time you commit to the PR, and this way you can make sure that your changes don't break any tests, making the whole PR-process easier.


Use this command to carefree test any changes you make to the application. This command will start the application as if you ran yarn start, but will provide a custom configuration and a custom directory.

The first time you start this command, pass the --clean-flag to copy a bunch of test-files to your ./resources-directory, create a test-config.yml in your project root, and start the application with this clean configuration. Then, you can adapt the test-config.yml to your liking (so that certain settings which you would otherwise always set will be pre-set without you having to open the preferences).

Whenever you want to reset the test directory to its initial state (or you removed the directory, or cloned the whole project anew), pass the flag --clean to the command in order to create or reset the directory. This is also necessary if you changed something in test-config.yml.

You can pass additional command-line switches such as --clear-cache to this command as well. They will be passed to the child process.

Attention: Before first running the command, you must run it with the --clean-flag to create the directory in the first place!

To dive deeper into the development process, have a look at our full development documentation.

Command-Line Switches

The Zettlr binary features a few command line switches that you can make use of for different purposes.


This will direct the File System Abstraction Layer to fully clear its cache on boot. This can be used to mitigate issues regarding changes in the code base. To ensure compatibility with any changes to the information stored in the cache, the cache is also automatically cleared when the version field in your config.json does not match the one in the package.json, which means that, as long as you do not explicitly set the version-field in your test-config.yml, the cache will always be cleared on each run when you type yarn test-gui.


Use this switch to temporarily override the default configuration file stored in your AppData-equivalent folder. This path should be absolute. In case you need to provide a relative path, the base for resolving the path will be: either the binary's directory name (when the app is packaged), or the repository root (when the app is not packaged). If the path contains spaces, don't forget to escape it in quotes.


This software is licensed via the GNU GPL v3-License.

The brand (including name, icons and everything Zettlr can be identified with) is excluded and all rights reserved. If you want to fork Zettlr to develop another app, feel free but please change name and icons. Read about the logo usage.

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