WYSIWYG Formatting (alternative to Markdown)

  • Markdown seems to be a popular feature in notetaking apps these days, and even appears in the professional writing software Ulysses. As someone using Roam for academic teaching/research, however, I have found it to be the programme’s biggest drawback. Trying to change anything is incredibly fiddly, as you have to hunt down and delete all of the little markdown characters individually (rather than just highlighting the text and hitting a few hotkeys). It can also be a bit temperamental when using a lot of formatting in close proximity; I had two sets of italics in a recent block, but Roam ended up italicising the text between the words I actually intended to italicise. And perhaps most important is actually getting text out of Roam; this site has been a big help so far, but there’s still a large time delay for bigger projects.

  • Something I would quite like to see in Roam is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) option: i.e. as in Microsoft Word, Evernote, Notion, etc, the text appears formatted even while editing. This would be especially useful for things like bold, italics, highlighting, etc, but even better would be hyperlinks; as it stands, a block with a few links explodes when clicked on, as all the long URLs suddenly appear as part of the paragraph (which can be a bit distracting).

  • The [[double square brackets]] are probably fine as they are, as we can already hide them when not in editing mode. The main aim is that, when copy/pasting text to another programme, there won’t be any brackets to clean up. It would make the process a lot more seamless, especially for those writing long-form texts (e.g. theses) in Roam.

  • I would place this as my top priority feature (even above offline mode & mobile apps), as I have been writing my thesis in Roam for two months and getting that text into a presentable form could prove tricky.

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I see use in this too but don’t have that many problems with markdown. Related but not the same is the desire export to Word or Outlook or Excel. Currently I am also using external tools. They’re fine but just being able to r-click export into Word for school papers or to Outlook for drafted emails would be helpful.

Better still would be the ability to create and maintain a version in Word that is in sync with Roam. i.e. it is “linked” to a Word document. If I edit in Roam, I can see those changes in Word and vice versa. A “babel fish” translates between the two formats. Again, i’m thinking school papers.

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I hate WYSIWYG editors with the fire of a thousand suns, but I understand some like them.
So long as Roam always provides the option to only use Markdown and doesn’t force WYSIWYG (like Atlassian/Jira), we’re good. :slight_smile:

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For me, I would like to see some kind of plug-in app, for writing formatted documents/papers/memos/etc. that’s Roam-aware so it can reference blocks/pages, etc. It does not need to push new content to Roam, merely retrieve for publishing.
So this would be on top of Roam - could be built by the Roam team for maximum compatibility - something like Typora that can connect to Roam, is markdown aware, but can format and arrange in ways Roam can’t and export to a range of formats.

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I also vote for a seamless way to get text out of Roam.

The biggest challenge/draw back in my work is being able to seamlessly copy and paste without formatting into another common program such as Google Docs/Word.

As an educator, I regularly have to transfer my personal notes into other software programs to meet the needs of administrators etc. If I write reports or generate lesson plans in Roam, I need to be able to seamlessly transfer that information elsewhere when required.

This is currently a pain and a major drawback to being able to use Roam in the education realm.

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I ran into this myself, trying to get classes from Roam into Keynote. In the end I started typing up new classes in Keynote, then copy/pasting that text into Roam for safekeeping.

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WYSIWYG Formatting in Roam would make it just the best app of them all. It’s known that programmers, geeks, and tech people, in general, are all Markdown advocates. But they also have to understand that normal people just hate Markdown, and want the text to be easily editable and see what they write as they write it. Just as they use their computers and any other regular software. So, yes, even it’s unpopular to say Markdown is cumbersome, the ability to make the editor WYSIWYG friendly is a must for any app that aims to be massively adopted. I wish Roam go this way, too. And of course, for the ones that like to deal with all the MD jumble, let them do so by not switching the WYSIWYG mode.

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I’m a programmer / geek / whatever, and I absolutely hate being forced to edit in Markdown where it simply purely worsens the editing experience.

The point of markdown, and why people like me generally like it, is simply not this! I’m happy if Roam supports Markdown exporting and importing, and optional Markdown editing of a node’s text … but because of the way Roam is working with Markdown-only editing at the moment, no one without their religious Markdown hat on can objectively say that Roam’s basic editing and navigating experience is even remotely good as it currently is in comparison to like other apps like Notion. It completely prevented me from seriously considering using Roam.

It simply astounds me that they still haven’t even added the option for wysiwyg editing.

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+1

I love markdown… but it worsen the experience in Roam because of the infinite bullet format.

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Made an account just to say : +1 , we need this!

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This would absolutely be my top feature request as well! This is the ONE thing that I miss the most about switching from Notion.

How is it possibly an ok experience to click on where you want to edit and have the text immediately jump position??

Please add this feature!

4 Likes

+1 again!
I love markdown for many things but NOT for Roam blocks! So distracting the way it makes text jump around every time you click into a block.
I’m happy with very basic styling (bold, italic, underline, strikethrough; a few text and bg colours) but PLEEZ give us a wysiwyg option.

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Would highly rate this as well.

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Here here to the ability to easily export text into a generally standard editor! If I set my blocks to be viewed as a document, that’d be the key to exporting without the bullets, keeping the format of the text, and removing irrelevant spaces.

An editor mode would also be great. Doesn’t need to be Word, but something so that the tricks we all love Roam for don’t get in the way of the writing experience.

1 Like