Markdown + CSS + Pandoc

Kære Tøger,

Out with the old

The specifications of HTML (and CSS) have greatly matured since the days of Macromedia Shockwave and <blink> tags. Even JavaScript has become more sane, admittedly from a low starting base (see wat). Yet few people today would propose writing articles in HTML: closing tags are cumbersome, naming body parts in code seems outdated, angle brackets – despite their winsome aesthetic – are out.

KISS principle

Markdown, a minimal markup language designed to compile to HTML, is the favoured replacement to HTML for articles, essays and other long-form writing amongst current techy scribblers (at least amongst those who have yet to discover the one true way of Emacs and Org-mode). The syntax is ludicrously simple and requires no explanation (see the primer by GitHub). Write in your preferred text editor, and save it with the extension .md.

Too easy.

– said some person once.


Pandoc, created by a philosopher named John MacFarlane, is the best program for converting text files from one format to another. To convert to output.html, type the following into your favourite terminal:

pandoc -o output.html

Those are the basics covered.

Form and substance

To add pizzazz, we require Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). To include a link to a CSS stylesheet, use the following option with Pandoc:

pandoc -s --css style.css -o output.html

That’s all folks!

Das war’s. Of course, there are many rabbit holes one can end up going down, but remember, the purpose of using Markdown in the first place is to keep as much syntax (and distraction) away as possible.

Keep writing. 加油! Any questions, ask me – I’ll gladly answer.


The Markdown and CSS of this post are available here and here. To re-create the post, type in the following:

pandoc -s --css main.css \ -o markdown-css-pandoc.html

Note: for the correct fonts to be used, you will need RobotoMono and EBGaramond to be in the relative paths as determined by font-face in the CSS file.