Super-sophisticated markdown editor for Kirby 3

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2.1.1 2022-09-30 17:22 UTC

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Last update: 2022-10-30 17:27:54 UTC


Enhanced, extensible Markdown field for Kirby CMS. Now available in version 2!


  • Sophisticated, but subtle highlighting for Markdown and Kirbytext
  • Context-based format toggling (almost WYSIWYG-like)
  • Smart indentation for wrapping headlines, list items and blockquotes
  • Keyboard shortcuts for most actions
  • Custom toolbar buttons
  • Custom syntax highlights
  • Option to show whitespace characters
  • Clickable URLs
  • Configurable Markdown syntax (e.g. choose from _italic_ or *italic*)
  • Replaces Kirby’s default Markdown block with one, that also supports syntax-highlighting.
  • Support for touch-based devices and great performance (thanks to CodeMirror 6)

💡 TL;DR: The Markdown field, you all have been waiting for!



This plugin is completely free and published under the MIT license. However, if you are using it in a commercial project and want to help me keep up with maintenance, please consider to ❤️ sponsor me for securing the continued development of the plugin.

Table of Contents

1. Installation

This version of the plugin requires PHP 8.0 and Kirby 3.6.0 or higher. The recommended way of installing is by using Composer:

$ composer require fabianmichael/kirby-markdown-field

Alternatively, download and copy this repository to /site/plugins/markdown-field

2. Setup

This field can replace any textarea field you have set up, and works out of the box with as little config as:

  label: My markdown editor
  type: markdown

3. Options

3.1. Available options

You have access to the very same options as the textarea field, and a few more:

Option Type Required Default Description
font string false monospace Sets the font family (sans-serif or monospace)
query Object false see below Sets a custom query for the page selector dialog
size String false small Sets the empty height of the Markdown field

3.2. Font settings

You can choose between monospace (monospace) and sans-serif (sans) font. The monospace font offers a more sophisticated layout with indentation for multiline list elements, headings and blockquote – things, which would be much harder to implement (and slower to calculate) for a proportional font.

While the sans-serif might be more appealing to non-technical writers at first, the monospace should be the preferred version in most cases.

3.3. Buttons

This field is packing the usual textarea buttons, and many more.

headlines can contain the whole range of headings from h1 to h6, and therefore accepts an array of allowed leves (default is h1, h2, h3). Use headlines as key in this case:

  headlines: # no dash before the key name
    - h1
    - h2
    - h3
    - h4
    - h5
    - h6

You also have access to additional buttons:

  - blockquote
  - hr
  - strikethrough
  - pagelink
  - footnote

If you don't need it, you can hide the toolbar. This will also disable the keyboard shortcuts for all formats.

buttons: false

The full list of available buttons. As you can see, some buttons can also have configuration options. Take the bold button for example. Markdown allows different syntaxes for bold text, i.e. __bold__ and **bold**. The editor’s syntax highlighter will always recognize both, but you can adjust, what the editor will use, when you click the toolbar button or hitting the respective keyboard shortcut.

All button configuration is optional, you can always use - ul instead of ul: -, if you want to stick to the default settings.

    - h1
    - h2
    - h3
    - h4
    - h5
    - h6
  bold: ** # or `__`
  italic: * # or `_`
  - strikethrough
  - code
  ul: - # or `*`/`+`
  - ol
    blank: true # Show option for opening link in a new tab.
  - blockquote
  hr: *** # or `---`/`___`
  - strikethrough
  - highlight # textmarker (not supported by Kirby’s default markdown parser.)
  - pagelink
  - file
  - footnote
  - invisibles
  - divider # can be used multiple times

3.4. Keyboard Shortcuts

ℹ️ Keyboard shortcuts are only available for those buttons/heading levels enabled in the toolbar.

Block Formats

Format Mac/iOS Linux/Windows
Heading 1 ⌥⌃1 Alt+Shift+1
Heading 2 ⌥⌃2 Alt+Shift+2
Heading 3 ⌥⌃3 Alt+Shift+3
Heading 4 ⌥⌃4 Alt+Shift+4
Heading 5 ⌥⌃5 Alt+Shift+5
Heading 6 ⌥⌃6 Alt+Shift+6
Quote ⌥⌃q Alt+Shift+q
Bullet List ⌥⌃U Alt+Shift+u
Ordered List ⌥⌃O Alt+Shift+o

Inline Formats

Format Mac/iOS Linux/Windows
Bold ⌘B Ctrl+b
Italic ⌘I Ctrl+i
Link ⌘K Ctrl+k
Strikethrough ⌥⌃D Alt+Shift+d
Code ⌥⌃X Alt+Shift+x
Footnote ⌥⌃F Alt+Shift+f


Format Mac/iOS Linux/Windows
Show Whitespace ⌥⌃I Alt+Shift+i
Open clicked URL in new tab ⌘+Click Ctrl+Click


  • When you select some text and paste a URL, it will automatically create a link tag and use the current selection as link text.

3.5. Query

You can limit the options shown in the Pagelink dialog, by setting a pagelink query (if unset, you'll be able to browse the entire website tree)

  pagelink: kirby.page('my-page').children

3.6. Size

You can define the height of the field when empty. Default is two-lines, which mimics the textarea's default empty height.

If you want the field to mimic a text field but with some markdown highlighting on top of it, set the size to one-line and buttons: false.

All predefined sizes are:

- one-line
- two-lines
- small (same as textarea)
- medium (same as textarea)
- large (same as textarea)
- huge (same as textarea)

Note that you can make the default height any height you want with some custom panel CSS. First, set the size option to any string you'd like:

size: custom-size

Then in your panel.css:

.k-markdown-input-wrap[data-size="custom-size"] {
  --cm-min-lines: 20;

4. Extension API

The API has changed from version 1, old plugins are not compatible any more and require a few adjustments. See extension-examples folder.

There are two types of extensions, which allow you to extend the editor to adjust it better to your specific needs:

  • Custom buttons: You can define your own buttons, which can be added to the editor toolbar. Buttons can define keyboard shortcuts, displays dropdowns and even show a popup.
  • Custom extensions: You can define your own editor extensions. An example can be found in the extension-examples/indent-with-tab folder.
  • Custom highlights: You can define regex-based custom highlights, which allow you to highlight any text, such as markup for custom syntax (e.g. global text snippets or Wiki-style links)

5. Development

  • Clone the repo
  • cd to your newly created folder (named kirby-markdown-field, or whatever you have chosen)
  • npm install to get all the dependencies
  • Then:
# Dev mode
npm run dev

# Build plugin + autoprefix styles
npm run build

You must run the build process before pushing the repo, else the hot-reload code will prevent it to work in any install.

7. Migrating from Version 1

  • Setting available headline levels now work a bit differently, see 3.3. Buttons. This was necessary to allow for multiple, configurable dropdowns in the future/extensions.
  • The horizontal-rule button was renamed to hr.
  • The modals option has been removed. Clicking the link button will always display a modal.
  • The link and email buttons have been merged into a single popup.
  • The blank option has been moved from the global options to the link button.
  • The invisibles option has been replaced by a button, called invisibles. Just add that to your toolbar setup instead.
  • The API for registering custom buttons has changed. See extension-examples folder for examples.
  • Font scaling options have been removed. Version 2 of the Markdown field only accepts monospace and sans as font options. if you need scaling of headlines, consider using Kirby’s Blocks field instead.
  • The global field options have been removed. Use field presets instead. (see https://getkirby.com/docs/guide/blueprints/extending-blueprints#reusing-and-extending-single-fields).
  • The direction option has been removed. CodeMirror 6 automatically determines the current text direction of the panel.

8. Known Issues

  • Kirbytags: In some edge-cases with nested parenthesis or nested Kirbytags, the highlighting can differ from how Kirby parses the markup. This shouldn’t not be an issue for most daily use-cases. You can also not have multiple consecutive line breaks within Kirbytags, or the highlighter will fail. This is because of the way of how Markdown makes a clear separation between block and inline elements.
  • Kirbytags in HTML blocks are not highlighted, because CodeMirror uses its own HTML Parser for that, which deactivates all Markdown highlighting within these. Parsedown Extra supports the markdown="1" attribute on HTML block-level elements, which is not supported by CodeMirror’s Markdown parser.
  • Inline Format toggling: The selection will sometimes in unexpected ways, when dealing with very complex re-formatting. Solving this would need a more sophisticated selection/caret-tracking during all transformations. IMHO, it still works better than in most other Markdown editors and does not lead to data-loss, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

9. What’s not supported (and never will be)

They way how Markdown is used nowadays has changed since its inception, especially since GFM ("GitHub-Flavored Markdown") became popular and added some elements to the language.

  • Setext-style headings: If you don’t know what these are, just forget about them. There is basic highlighting, but they are neither recognized as headings by the toolbar, nor respected when changing formats. Use ATX-style headings instead (e.g. ## Heading Level 2).
  • Indended code blocks: Use fenced code blocks instead.

10. License

MIT (but you are highly encouraged to ❤️ sponsor me, if this piece of software helps you to pay your bills).

11. Credits

Text editor:


@fabianmichael, @sylvainjule, @medienbaecker, @mtsknn, @nsteiner, @rasteiner, @thomasfahrland, @johannschopplich

Inspired by: