Frequently Asked Questions

"I tried to install Zettlr on Windows/macOS, but there's a security warning saying I shouldn't install the app!"

Both Windows and macOS require so-called "code-signing" in order to be able to trust the application. While this is a great technique of keeping malicious code from harming your system, it requires an annual subscription fee (for macOS code signing) respectively a Windows PC (which I don't possess). This is why Zettlr-builds are not code-signed and therefore produce warnings. You can safely install Zettlr, as long as you download them from the Github releases-page, and ignore these warnings.

"What is Markdown?"

Markdown is a simple markup language that enables you to write text just as complex as using standard office software, but with much less clutter. Instead of having to manually select all formatting options, in Markdown, typing a # suffices to indicate a heading! Want to hear more? Then head over to the documentation on Markdown!

"If I don't want to use Zettlr anymore, what would I need to do to switch programs?"

Simply uninstall Zettlr and begin using another one. Zettlr does not mess with your files. If you have been using Virtual Directories or Projects, there will be small files named .ztr-virtual-directories and .ztr-projects present in some folders. To remove them, simply delete any virtual directories and projects prior to uninstalling the app (or manually remove these files afterwards).

"I know LaTeX and want to use it inside my Markdown files as well. Is this possible?"

Yes. Simply write your LaTeX-statements where you want them. As soon as you export to PDF, Pandoc will take care the statements will be interpreted by the PDF engine. Unfortunately, LaTeX syntax highlighting is not supported yet. Also, please note that Pandoc will clear all LaTeX-blocks prior to exporting to anything other than PDF, which means that blocks within \begin and \end, for instance, will be missing completely from the final Office file. On HTML-export, all LaTeX-blocks will retained, but not converted to something else.

"I can't seem to align the text just or right!"

It's not a bug, it's a feature: Markdown does not have the respective formatting signs because text should always be justified or aligned left and therefore it does not belong to the set of necessary block formats Markdown offers. Yet, you can still use LaTeX-commands to render them left or right. Simply enclose the text you want to align right or justify in \begin{<option>} and \end{<option>}, where <option> may either refer to flushleft, flushright or put a \justify in front of a paragraph you want to be justified. Learn more at sharelatex.com.

"I want to use single line breaks and not create new paragraphs. When I simply hit Enter once, it removes the single line break!"

To force Pandoc to render single line breaks as such, end your line with a backslash (\) or two spaces. The backslash as well as the two spaces will not be rendered in the resulting file.

"Do I really need Pandoc or LaTeX?"

For plain HTML export, no. For all other export formats, yes. Zettlr depends on those programs to enable exporting of files. It might be that Zettlr one day will already include these programs, but up until then, you need to install them separately to enable exporting of your files. Besides: Having Pandoc installed on your system can ease your life in a variety of ways, from simple cross-converting any file to other programs potentially using it.

"How do I install Pandoc or LaTeX?"

Please refer to the guides on installing Pandoc and where to get LaTeX.

"Zettlr does not seem to find Pandoc and LaTeX, which are nonetheless installed!"

This can happen in case your computer decided to install the software in a non-standard directory. Zettlr will try its best to locate the applications but may fail if they are buried somewhere. That's where the path-options in the preferences come into play. In case Zettlr does not find any of the binaries, you can enter the full path to them in the appropriate text fields in the Advanced-tab.

On Windows, you should never encounter this issue, as long as you leave the default installation path during install set to the default Program Files directory of Windows. If you wanted to install the programs to different locations, rendering Zettlr unable to find them, simply search your system using the Explorer for two files, the first being pandoc.exe and the second being xelatex.exe. Copy the full path (including the executable's name!) to the appropriate text field in the Zettlr preferences.

On macOS you can easily find the path by opening up Terminal.app (it's in your Applications folder under Other) and then type which pandoc or which xelatex, depending on which software Zettlr does not find. Terminal will simply output the full path to the executable.

On Linux distributions, you also need to open up a Command Line/Terminal and use the same commands as on macOS: which pandoc for Pandoc and which xelatex for LaTeX.

"I found a bug!"

That's great news! Well, not great, but it's good that you found it! In this case please head over to GitHub and open up an issue so that I know what's up and can work to resolve the bug.

"I have a feature request!" / "I have a suggestion for making a feature more efficient!"

That's good to hear! I always depend on other people's experience with the app to improve its efficiency and its suitability for different situations. In this case, please head over to GitHub and open up an issue so that I know what's missing.

"What about my privacy? Does Zettlr transfer any data, or do I have to worry?"

Zettlr is privacy-first. It does not send any data, and it is fully functional offline. Yet, there is one instance where Zettlr sends data over the web: The update check. Whenever you open Zettlr, or use the menu item, Zettlr will connect to the GitHub-API to retrieve a list of all releases. This list is then used to determine whether or not you are using the newest release, or not. During the connection, GitHub will receive your IP-address and will know that an Electron-app is accessing the API. Other than that, no data is being transferred. Also, this information is also sent when you manually visit the releases-page, along with a lot more data.

In the future it might be that Zettlr will ask you to send some usage and statistical data. But this will be strictly opt-in. Without your clear consent, no data will ever be sent over the internet.