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ReText is a text editor for Markdown syntax and reStructuredText (reST) that supports exporting to some popular formats such as PDF, ODT, HTML and plain text. It supports live previews, web pages generator, HTML syntax highlighting, full-screen mode for distraction free writing, can export files to Google Docs and more.

In case you're not familiar with it, Markdown is a markup language that allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML or HTML. More info on Wikipedia.

ReText 3.0 has been released today, bringing many improvements:
  • Python 3 support
  • Improved highlighter
  • Formatting shortcuts: Ctrl + B for bold, Ctrl + I for italics and Ctrl = U for underlined
  • New "Export Extensions" which allow you to add your own export functions to ReText. They as easy to write as a .desktop file - you can find the Export Extensions documentation here.
  • Recent files can now be opened from the File menu
  • SpellChecker improvements
  • ReText now automatically loads CSS file for Markdown's codehilite extension if it's enabled
  • WebKit engine improvements

Please note that Gdata doesn't yet support Python 3, meaning that exporting files to Google Docs doesn't work when using ReText with Python 3. Google Docs file export works just fine with Python 2 though.

Install ReText in Ubuntu

To add the ReText PPA (PPA shared with Unity Mail) and install the latest ReText 3.0 in Ubuntu 12.04, 11.10, 11.04 or 10.10, use the following commands in a terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mitya57
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install retext

Arch Linux users can install ReText via AUR.

For other Linux distributions, get ReText via SourceForge.