When comparing Byword 2 vs MacDown, the Slant community recommends Byword 2 for most people. In the question“What are the best Markdown editors for OS X?” Byword 2 is ranked 2nd while MacDown is ranked 6th. The most important reason people chose Byword 2 is:
Byword is available on a Mac, an iPhone and iPad.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Available for all Apple devices
Byword is available on a Mac, an iPhone and iPad.
Pro Syncs using iCloud and Dropbox
Documents can be synced using iCloud or Dropbox from within the editor for use across all devices.
Pro Word count support
Has a built-in word counter.
Pro A dark theme is available
For people who enjoy working during the night, there's a dark theme available that reduces strain on the eyes.
Pro Great Markdown support without being intrusive
Byword de-emphasizes the syntax itself, while emphasizing its effects. It appropriately adds style, like italic and bold, to text that's designated by markdown and dims the syntax so it does not getting in the way of comprehension. Additionally, there are commonly used hotkeys (⌘b, ⌘i, etc) that can be used to apply style without having to know the syntax or having to type it out each time.
Pro Extremely simple
Byword is as simple as Markdown editors can get. Even though Markdown itself is not hard, Byword offers assistance to make it even easier with very little configuration required.
The UI is minimalistic and un-intrusive, the syntax auto-completion is excellent, and there are multiple small but helpful features that make writing Markdown with Byword a breeze.
Pro Direct publishing to web platforms
Byword allows users to publish their markdown files directly to web platforms such as Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger and even Evernote.
Pro Multiple export options
You can export to HTML, PDF, RTF.
Pro Includes features that speed up writing
For example, while authoring a bulleted list hitting return automatically prepares a new bulleted line
Pro Supports iCloud Drive and Handoff
One of the few (well, Ok, only for far) that has been updated for Yosemite features. Jan 2015.
Pro Supports Multimarkdown
Byword supports all the table types in Multimarkdown including table captions. MathJax support is added via metadata at the beginning of file was well as support for various diagrams. Table of Contents is also supported.
Pro Live update support
Byword has a "Preview Markdown" option where it does exactly what it promises. It immediately compiles and displays the rendered Markdown file, making it easy for the user to understand how they are actually formatting their document.
Pro Updated frequently
Byword gets frequent updates which add new features or fix existing bugs.
Pro Free and open source
MacDown is a free and open source editor influenced by Mou. It's released under the MIT license.
Pro Markdown previews can be customized with CSS
You can use a CSS file to customize the rendered output and the file preview you are working on will display the rendered Markdown with the custom CSS styling on top.
Pro Real-time split-screen preview
MacDown's main view is split into two panels. The user types on the left and the Markdown is rendered on the fly in the right panel. This helps users to better understand the way they are formatting their document.
Pro Supports syntax highlighting in fenced code blocks
MacDown has syntax highlighting support for various languages when writing code in fenced code blocks.
Pro Support for GFM
Pro Good auto-completion
MacDown has a good built-in auto-completion engine for Markdown symbols.
Pro Ideal for day-to-day programmers' work and MarkDown novices alike
Using MacDown for the notorious README.md use case gets you going without reading any manual or requiring any configuration values. Think of it as a sort of TextEdit for MarkDown files. Thus its shortcomings - neither powerful nor versatile - turn out to be a PRO for novices trying to jump on the MarkDown bandwagon. Open its help and you'll immediately find yourself editing the MacDown's MarkDown help file, a MarkDown primer with some MacDown menus and configuration added.
Con Publishing requires additional in-app purchase
The feature to publish Markdown files to web services costs and additional $5 of in-app purchase.
Con Limited customizability
One of the things that makes Byword so easy to use is the fact that it needs very little setup and option-tweaking. However, that severely limits the ability to customize the editor itself. For example, there are only two themes available, a light one and a dark one.
Con Not very versatile
MacDown is not very powerful or versatile. It's not customizable or extendable. This is what makes it so simple, but it's not for people who want more from their tools.
Con The Markdown preview is rather heavy on the CPU
The Markdown preview needs a lot of resources to keep rendering on-the-fly after each keystroke. A single keystroke in the editor panel may trigger up to 5 seconds of max-CPU usage.