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Title: MultiMarkdown Bundle for TextMate
Author: Fletcher T. Penney


TextMate is a wonderfully useful text editor for Mac OS X. Of particular interest to me is the ability to extend it with add-on Bundles for particular uses, either programming languages or document types. Allan Odgaard (and others) created a Bundle for Markdown, and included some basic support for MultiMarkdown.

To me, however, the job felt halfway done. First - the support for MultiMarkdown was outdated, so at the very least it needed to be updated with newer versions of the MultiMarkdown software. More importantly, however, the Bundle didn't take advantage of all the features that TextMate offered that could be used to make document creation and publishing easier. And that was the whole reason for creating MultiMarkdown in the first place.

Where can you get a copy

You can download a copy of the latest version from my github repository:


To install, you download the .zip file, and after unzipping it, rename the folder as markdown.tmbundle. After that, you can double-click the newly renamed folder and it should open in TextMate and be installed to the proper location.

If you are using MultiMarkdown 2.0 (the perl version), then you will want to use the latest release of this plugin tagged as version 2 on the downloads page. If you use this, you should probably also set the TextMate Shell Variable TM_MULTIMARKDOWN_PATH to match your installation directory --- for example, /Users/yourname/Library/Application Support/MultiMarkdown.

If you are using MultiMarkdown 3.0, you probably need to add /usr/local/bin to your PATH variable in the TextMate preferences. If you don't this, you will see an error message about the multimarkdown command not being found.

Of course, you need a working installation of MultiMarkdown. A few of the more advanced features require that you also install the MultiMarkdown-Support package, but the basics work without it.

You can also install my MultiMarkdown TextMate theme as well.

What's the difference between this Bundle and the Markdown Bundle?

The basic Markdown bundle that is included with TextMate is great, and I was pleased when I learned that they added MultiMarkdown support. The problem was that even I couldn't get a pdf to compile using it. The MultiMarkdown support was limited, and didn't take full advantage of the features that TextMate had to offer.

So I wrote a new bundle to add those features back. More recently (July 2009), I have forked a git repository of the original bundle that adds my improved support. Perhaps these changes will get pulled back into the original copy.... This should make it easier for me to keep my version up to date until that happens.

If you just use regular Markdown, the other bundle may be sufficient. But if you use MultiMarkdown, I believe you'll find this version to be indispensable.



  • Automatically clean up metadata section to align the data

  • hitting return aligns you to continue entering metadata within the same key. hit return again to enter a new key. hit return again to insert a blank line and begin the body

  • hitting tab after typing the colon for the key aligns you to the right tab width to start entering data

  • If using the Memoir class, you can set the chapterstyle and pagestyle in the metadata within the document, or as part of your command using See the companion style example.

  • When creating a new document, you can pre-populate it with default metadata using the Insert default metadata or Insert letter metadata snippet. Both of these can be customized to your fit your needs. The advantage of the snippet approach is that you can tab between all of the values to easily make changes.


  • you can use a keystroke to increase or decrease the level of the header
  • hitting enter automatically adds trailing #'s to the header and skips some space


  • indent and outdent with a keystroke
  • convert from numbered to unnumbered list with a keystroke
  • clean up the spacing of your list automatically with a single keystroke


  • hitting return automatically starts the next line with the proper level of ">"
  • use a keystroke to increase or decrease quote level


  • Clean up ascii spacing of tables automatically
  • navigate left and right across cells with a single keystroke

Text Formatting

Key commands to toggle italics and bold


Automatically complete:

  • links by reference
  • citations
  • footnotes
  • automatic cross-refs
  • equation labels
  • table labels
  • autocomplete image filenames located in same folder as your document
  • autocomplete BibTeX cite keys from .bib files located in the same folder as your document

Document Conversion

Run the following with one menu selection (or keystroke):

  • Preview XHTML - run MultiMarkdownMath (optionally), MultiMarkdown, SmartyPants
  • View XHTML source
  • Convert XHTML into LaTeX using article, memoir, report, science or other XSLT file of your choice
  • Convert to RTF (though I recommend using Google Docs instead to create an RTF file)

Note: You can convert either the entire document or just a selection. If you choose to convert just a section, make sure that the section begins with a blank line in order to differentiate it from the metadata that will be added automatically. If this doesn't make sense, just stick with previewing the entire document until it does. ;)

Image Preview

Thanks to a suggestion from Andrew Nanton, images now work properly when XHTML is previewed within TextMate.


Language Grammar

There are a few situations where the language matching grammar is too limited to properly match MultiMarkdown documents:

  • TextMate can't tell the difference between an anchor by reference on a line by itself, and the caption and optional label at the start of a table. If you are trying to use an anchor, you may need to add some non-whitespace characters to the end of the line to force the scope to change. I am open to suggestions on how to improve this.

  • TextMate doesn't include the character after a scope as part of the scope. For example, Markdown anchors can consist of square brackets surrounding a label. The only way to allow customized autocompletion to work properly on the label is if you include the brackets in the scope of interest. I would like the cursor at the end of a scope to be considered part of that scope, until one types a character that is no longer part of that scope. (This idea makes sense to me as a type it, but I will be quite surprised if many people understood the gibberish I just typed :)

Completions Limitations

Unfortunately, completions are apparently case sensitive. So if you have a header Introduction, it will not show up as a completion for i. I suppose you can make the best of this and label all references with lower case, and use upper case for headers, allowing you to restrict your completion search by using upper or lower case, but this seems like a limitation of TextMate.


Modified version of the default TextMate Markdown bundle with improved support for MultiMarkdown



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