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Small instant Markdown preview server
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instant-markdown-d is a small Node.js server that enables real-time compilation and previewing of Markdown (and LaTEX, reST, etc) files in a browser. A plugin can easily be written for any text editor to interface with it. One currently exists for VIm:


  • [sudo] npm -g install instant-markdown-d
  • If you're on Linux and the xdg-open executable is not present, install xdg-utils through your package manager
  • If you plan on previewing any formats other than github-flavored-markdown, install pandoc

Running the server

$ cat <markdown_file> | instant-markdown-d


Action HTTP Method Request URL Request Body
Refresh Markdown on page PUT http://localhost:<port> <New Markdown file contents>
Set input format PUT http://localhost:<port>/format <format>
Close Webpage DELETE http://localhost:<port>
  • By default, <port> is 8090.
  • Supported <format>sare: gfm (default), markdown, html, rest, textile, docbook, and latex.
    • You don't have to call the set input format endpoint if you're only using github-flavored-markdown (gfm).
    • markdown is for the "plain" markdown format, which doesn't have any of the Github-added features.

Read-only preview

This module installs a second executable, instant-markdown, which just converts a given markdown file, opens it in your default browser, and exits - perfect for cases where you simply want to read a markdown file. Usage:

instant-markdown <filename>

NOTE: Each instant-markdown invocation will create a tempfile that won't be deleted until your machine is restarted, so be wary of calling it thousands of times in a script.


Aaron Lampros's Docter, which is the underlying Markdown converter and styler.

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