KeenWrite, an open source Java-based markdown editor

about keenwrite

In the next article we are going to take a look at KeenWrite. This is a text editor, which is used to edit plain text files and with which we can work with Markdown. As with all text editors, they typically have a common set of functions, such as find / replace text, format text, undo / redo, import files, or move text within the file, and this program is no exception.

Today, there are different open source Markdown editors available for Gnu / Linux, but KeenWrite stands out above others for the ability to string interpolation and Markdown R support. Not only is it limited to that, it also supports real-time preview and a ton of features that may be useful to students of math, statistics, and other related fields. String interpolation is common in many programming languages, but is not found in text editors. This makes KeenWrite more like a development environment than a simple text editor.

KeenWrite General Features

Among the features that we can find available in this program, the following can be highlighted:

  • It will allow us to use interpolated strings user-defined.
  • Autocomplete variable names based on variable values.
  • The text editor offers the following export options: PDF, Joined PDF, HTML / SVG, HTML / TeX, XHTML / TeX, and Markdown.
  • Count with one spelling checker in real time.
  • Has a customizable user interface, which offers removable tabs.
  • Dark, custom and responsive UI skins. In its GitHub repository you can read the documentation about skins. In it you can see how to change the appearance of the user interface.

dark theme

  • There is also good support for the real-time mathematical representation using TeX, which is a popular means of composing complex mathematical formulas.
  • Is going to offer us real-time document statistics.
  • We will have at our disposal the possibility of working with diagrams: Mermaid, GraphViz, UML, Sequence, Synchronization, and more.
  • Count with one integrated file manager.
  • Have a interactive document outline.
  • Support of internationalized sources (for example; Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.).

KeenWrite preferences

  • Integration R. The application uses an interpreter known as Renjin to integrate with R.
  • It is platform independent (Windows, Gnu / Linux, MacOS). It looks the same in all of them.
  • This software has the 2 clause BSD license and is based on Markdown-Writer-FX.

These are just some of the features of this program. They can consult all of them in detail from the project’s GitHub repository.

Downloading and using KeenWrite on Ubuntu

Unfortunately there is no .deb or Flatpak package available to install on Ubuntu. But an available binary file can be found in the project repository that we can download and run.

To get the latest version published today of the binary, we can download the package from your repository on GitHub or use wget in a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + C) as follows:

download keenwrite


The next step is going to be give permissions to the downloaded file. We will achieve this with the command:

chmod +x keenwrite.bin

At this point, we can launch the program by typing in the same terminal:

launch the app


In the project’s GitHub repository, users we can find documentation about how to work with this program.

keenwrite working

The set of functions that this program offers seems useful enough to work with. It will also give us the possibility to modify many of them, such as the configuration to use R Markdown, the definitions or the size of the font.

KeenWrite is another Markdown text editor, which faces stiff competition from more developed programs. So if this program does not suit what you are looking for, do not hesitate to explore the other Markdown editors we’ve posted on this blog, to find the one that best suits your needs. In any case, users have at our disposal many Markdown editors available for Ubuntu.

Add Comment