All you need is text – Markdown (via pandoc) for academia

May 1, 2013

(This article was first published on Sustainable Research » Renglish, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Many students struggle to find an adequte format for their thesis. Ironically the advent of “modern” WYSIWYG programms seems to make it harder to consistently format a text.

While learning LaTeX may be a bit too much to ask for, markdown is a very minimal language that together with pandoc affords all typesetting needs for an academic paper. While source documents written in markdown can be opened and edited on any PC (or mobile), pandoc can translate it into beautifully formatted pdf and docx (if it is absolutely necessary) files. Specifically markdown implements:

• Headings, Subheadings
• Figures and tables
• Citations and References (here in APA6 but other styles are also possible) • You will need to edit the file

See the example paper.

Once pandoc and latex is installed the following command generates a pdf.

pandoc -s -S --biblio biblio.bib --csl apa.csl -N -V geometry:margin=1in -o paper.pdf

All files necessary to replicate and adopt the example can be found here .

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