June 4, 2020

1254 words 6 mins read



A Markdown Editor for the 21st century.

repo name Zettlr/Zettlr
repo link https://github.com/Zettlr/Zettlr
homepage https://www.zettlr.com/
language JavaScript
size (curr.) 86406 kB
stars (curr.) 2008
created 2017-12-26
license GNU General Public License v3.0


With Zettlr, writing professional texts is easy and motivating: Whether you are a college student, a researcher, a journalist, or an author — Zettlr has the right tools for you. Watch the video or continue reading to see what they are!

Visit our Website.


  • Available in over a dozen languages
  • Tight and ever-growing integration with your favourite reference manager (such as Zotero or JabRef)
  • Cite with Zettlr using citeproc and your existing literature database
  • Four themes and dark mode support
  • File-agnostic writing: Enjoy full control over your own files
  • Keep all your notes and texts in one place — searchable and accessible
  • Code highlighting for many languages
  • Simple and beautiful exports with Pandoc, LaTeX, and Textbundle
  • Support for state of the art knowledge management techniques (Zettelkasten)
  • A revolutionary search algorithm with integrated heatmap

… and the best is: Zettlr is Open Source (FOSS)!


To install Zettlr, just download the latest release for your operating system! Currently supported are macOS, Windows, and most Linux distributions (via Debian- and Fedora-packages as well as AppImages).

All other platforms that Electron supports are supported as well, but you will need to build the app yourself for this to work.

Please also consider becoming a patron or making a one-time donation!

Getting Started

If you have downloaded Zettlr, head over to our website to get to know Zettlr. Refer to the Quick Start Guide, if you prefer to use software heads-on.

The central window of Zettlr using the Night Theme


Zettlr is an Electron-based app, so to start developing, you’ll need to have a NodeJS-stack on your computer installed. Make sure Node and preferably Yarn are installed, which is the recommended package manager.

Then, simply clone the repository and install the dependencies on your local computer:

$ git clone https://github.com/Zettlr/Zettlr.git
$ cd Zettlr
$ yarn install # or npm install
$ cd source
$ yarn install # or npm install

(Please note the second yarn install/npm install in the source directory. This is necessary to build the app locally.)

The install-scripts will automatically precompile all assets for the first time, so that you can immediately run yarn start after cloning the repository. However, whenever you change something of the resources, you should run these commands again. The next section will teach you everything you need to know about the commands at your disposal for developing the app.

Development Commands

This section lists all available commands that you can use during application development. These are defined within the package.json and can be run from the command line by prefixing them either with npm run or yarn, depending on which package manager you use. Run them from within the base directory of the repository.


This command builds the app locally without packing it. This means that within the release-directory you will find a pre-built binary, depending on your operating system.


This downloads the Citation Style Language (CSL) files with which the application is shipped, and places them in the source/main/assets/csl-locales- and source/main/assets/csl-styles-directories respectively. You can occasionally run this command to pull potential updates from the repositories. Please note, that an automated workflow will run from time to time on the repository to do this, so in almost all cases it should suffice to pull from the develop branch from time to time.


This re-compiles the Handlebars.js template files and places the pre-compiled templates in the source/common/assets/handlebars-directory.


This downloads the four default translations of the application from Zettlr Translate, with which it is shipped by default. It places the files in the source/common/lang-directory. Currently, the default languages are: German (Germany), English (USA), English (UK), and French (France). Please note, that an automated workflow will run from time to time on the repository to do this, so in almost all cases it should suffice to pull from the develop branch from time to time.


This re-generates the CSS files from the LESS-source and places the final stylesheets in the source/common/assets/css-directory. You need to run this command every time you modify the LESS-source in order to see the changes reflected in the app’s appearance. Note: During heavy development, it might be easier to watch the LESS files and automatically recompile them. You can do so by running the command watch.


This simply runs ESLint with the configuration and outputs a file eslint_report.htm into the base directory of the repository with the results. Apps such as Atom or Visual Studio Code will automatically run ESLint in the background, but if you want to be extra-safe, make sure to run this command prior to submitting a Pull Request.


This command is basically build:quick, but additionally packages it for your platform. That means, it will spit out a .deb, .rpm, .dmg or .exe-installer, depending on your operating system.


Explicitly creates installer packages for Linux, that is: One .deb-package, one .rpm-package as well as AppImage installers (both 32bit and 64bit).


Explicitly creates a release for macOS. Note: This command only works on macOS.


Explicitly creates an installer for Windows. The installer package is significantly bigger than the other installers, as electron-builder ships the installer with both 32bit and 64bit versions of the app. Note: This command requires either a Windows-based operating system or a Linux distribution. As long as the developers of WINE do not port their library to 64 bit, this command will fail on macOS Catalina and newer.


This re-compiles the source-files needed by the exporter for building reveal.js-presentations. Due to the nature of how Pandoc creates such presentations, Zettlr needs to modify the output by Pandoc, which is why these files need to be pre-compiled.


This command spins up Electron and runs the app. You will use this quite frequently during development.


This runs the unit tests in the directory ./test. Make sure to run this command prior to submitting a Pull Request, as this will be run every time you commit to the PR, and this way you can make sure that your changes don’t break any tests, making the whole PR-process easier.


This prepares a test-directory (placed into your ./resources-directory) and tells Zettlr to run with a modified simple configuration. This way you can test some things that might destroy files without actually touching your own files.


This spins up a process that watches the LESS-source for changes. As long as this process runs, every change to a LESS-file will trigger a build so that you can immediately see your changes in a running Electron-application by pressing F5 to refresh the GUI.


Compiles the Vue.js-assets from the resources-directory. This tells Webpack to compile in development mode, which increases logging and makes debugging easier. Please make sure to run wp:prod if you want to create a release.


Compiles the Vue-assets from the resources-directory. This tells Webpack to compile in production mode, which decreases logging and makes the generated scripts run faster. It is recommended to run wp:dev in case you need to debug the Vue-files.

To dive deeper into the development process, have a look at our full development documentation.


This software is licensed via the GNU GPL v3-License.

The brand (including name, icons and everything Zettlr can be identified with) is exluded and all rights reserved. If you want to fork Zettlr to develop another app, feel free but please change name and icons. Read about the logo usage.

comments powered by Disqus