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New: Smarter Markdown slides

  • Horia Cernusca
  • March 16, 2015

We’ve seen you create tens of thousands of Markdown slides since we released our simple slide formatting from Markdown. We’ve been lucky to get a lot of feedback about them too and we’re thrilled to release some updates that address a lot of what you’ve been missing with Markdown slides in Swipe. Here’s what’s new:

  • New templates
  • Improved scaling of text based on screen size
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Export Markdown slides as one .md file
  • Centering text and images
  • MathJax support
  • Styled tables

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New templates

Even though templates for Markdown are just a combination of colors and fonts, you’ve been loving the current ones and some of you have asked for new ones. We’re excited to add two new sections inspired by cities and artists.

markdown templates

Improved scaling of text

One huge motivator to use Markdown as an alternative for making slides was to make the first solution for slides that’s built to be screen-agnostic. We wanted something that can look equally great on a phone as it does on a high resolution projector. We started to hear from you that on very big screens the text seemed a bit small and there was no way to increase it and sometimes the text was too big on a phone so it pushed a lot of content down. This made us question our original approach and build a brand new scaling engine that works a lot more naturally than before. Part of what we had to take into account is that we need to maintain a certain aesthetic across screens. The way the slides look reflects on our product too.

As screens get bigger and bigger the text will scale like an image, so it will look identical in the amount of space it takes on the screen as it did on the screen you made your slides on. The idea is that if you’re presenting on a 4K screen, the slide will look identical and equally readable as on a laptop. This makes it a lot more predictable for you and a lot more readable for your audience than before. As the screen gets smaller and smaller we start to reduce the font size and start to slowly go into a responsive mobile look. We’ve improved how this works too, so your slides will be a lot more readable on mobile screens and you can fit more text or media on one slide too.

Syntax highlighting

Since a lot of you are technical, syntax highlighting has always been on the top of the request list. You can now show code listings and we automatically guess the language through HighlightJS. Please see their documentation for supported languages. Here’s how it works:

Array(8).join(“swipe”-1) + “ Batman”;

If we fail to guess the language in the listing you can suggest it:

go fmt.Println(“Give it a go!”)

The above code listings would look like this in a Swipe deck:

Syntax highlighting

Please let us know what you think by getting in touch!

Export Markdown slides as one .md file

Another highly requested feature has been to have an export function for Markdown slides. We know that everyone uses different writing tools and that exporting stuff is pretty important. When you’re editing your Markdown slides you’ll notice a new “Download .md” link in the bottom right corner of the screen. Clicking it will download all of the Markdown slides in that deck as one Markdown file.

Centering text

We’ve been asked for more ways to style Markdown slides and centering of text has always been on the suggestions list. We’ve added a very simple command for doing it, from Discount Markdown. Here’s how it looks and works:

-> what you want centre <-

You can also centre multiple lines or the whole slide, so it doesn’t have to be line by line:

->

what you want centre

doesn’t have to all be in one line

we’ll keep centering until you tell us not to anymore

<-

MathJax support

A lot of you that use Swipe in an educational context have asked for MathJax support so you can present mathematical equations. We look forward to seeing beautiful math in your decks! Here’s how it works in Swipe:

$$ \[ \frac{-b\pm\sqrt{b^2-4ac}}{2a} \] $$

The above equation would then render in Swipe like this:

MathJax

Please let us know what you think by getting in touch!

Love writing with Markdown? Try fiddle.md

As a side project during the summer we built a simple web-based text editor called Fiddle.md. We’ve used it a lot since then and decided to improve it in the past few months. It has made writing blog posts, doing research, taking notes, prototyping newsletters, and outlining ideas collaboratively a whole lot easier for us and we think you’ll love it too. It’s completely free and you don’t need an account to use it. You can download your fiddles as .md files, save them to Dropbox, or print them as PDFs.

Welcome to Fiddle.md

Your continued feedback helps us make a much better product. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us any time!

Horia Cernusca

Horia Cernusca

Co-founder & CEO of Swipe. Sometimes a designer, sometimes a writer.