Welcome to HTML Markdown 2.1

with support for Internet Clippings

HTML Markdown is a small, fast, efficient way to convert Web pages into regular, readable, printable text. It can also be used to extract URL's from a file and save the list of URL's in a separate text file, an HTML page, or individual Mac OS Internet Clippings.

Table of Contents


HTML Markdown is a Macintosh drag-and-drop application that allows you to convert HTML documents into plain text files. Version 2.1 also allows you to "spit" all of the URL's in a group of files into a single text or HTML file. You can also have HTML Markdown save each individual URL in a separate MacOS Internet Clippings file. Mac OS 8.5 and later recognize this special type of file as an Internet address and will open it in the browser of your choice when double-clicked.

There are several reasons why you may want to convert web pages to text. Among them are:

  1. Makes an easy way to archive and print your web pages
  2. Web pages transferred through email and ftp sometimes retain tags, making them difficult to read
  3. Users of the Lynx browser often have trouble saving web pages as text files and need to strip away the HTML tags
  4. Other browsers that print web pages include all the graphics, which just take up space if all you're interested in is the content
  5. People who want to change the look of their web sites but need to keep the same content can use HTML Markdown to "start over" without losing what's there
  6. Perhaps you want to spell check your HTML file and your word processor chokes on HTML

There are also several reasons why you may want to extract URL's from a page:

  1. Instead of having your browser keep track of your bookmarks, convert them into Internet Clippings and store them in the Apple menu. Now your bookmarks are available from any application
  2. Automatically generate additional bookmarks from a page or group of pages.
  3. Map out a diagram of links on your web site
  4. Find incorrect or dead URL's

Installing HTML Markdown 2.1

If you're reading this file, then you have already successfully downloaded and decompressed the HTML Markdown archive. To use HTML Markdown effectively, you should put it on a hard drive. If it is not already on your hard drive, copy it over. HTML Markdown 2.1 is now installed.

Using HTML Markdown 2.1

HTML Markdown is very easy to use. There are three basic steps:
  1. Drag the files to convert on the HTML Markdown icon
  2. Select the appropriate options from the Job Ticket
  3. Click "Go!"
Since HTML Markdown is a drag-and-drop-only application, you must drag your files onto the icon in the Finder to convert them. If the Finder doesn't allow you to convert the files this way, you probably need to rebuild your desktop file. To do this, restart your computer. When you are almost at the desktop, hold down option and command.

When you drag files on the HTML Markdown icon, you are given a "job ticket" where you can select conversion options. The following options are available:

Common Problems Solved

I drag a file onto the HTML Markdown icon and nothing happens!

There are two likely reasons why this is happening. Both are pretty simple to fix. The first possibility is that the file you are trying to convert is not an HTML file. HTML Markdown only works on HTML files.

The second possibility is that your desktop file needs to be rebuilt. The desktop file is an invisible file on your hard drive that tells the computer which programs can open which files. If the desktop file isn't rebuild once and a while, the computer gets a bit confused. To rebuild your desktop file, restart your computer. When you're almost at the desktop, hold down the command and option keys. The Mac will ask you if you want to rebuild your desktop file. You do, so click OK.

There's actually a third case, but it's very rare. Sometimes the desktop file gets corrupted and even rebuilding it doesn't do the trick. In this case, you have to make this invisible file visible and then throw it in the trash. You can use ResEdit to do it, but if you've never used ResEdit before, I wouldn't recommend it. Please contact me if the first two solutions don't work.

HTML Markdown doesn't convert my files correctly

The way HTML Markdown works is basically that it copies the HTML file into a new file and skips everything between < and >. So if your file follows the guideline that everything that's HTML comes between < and >, your file should be converted fine.

Potential problems come in only with conversions -- that is, converting the "alt" option in img tags, <HR>'s, etc. If your HTML is invalid (for example, you don't have a close quote for an alt), HTML Markdown will ignore that tag completely. This will have the effect of looking like HTML Markdown missed it. In reality, it was just skipping over things that were not valid. Many browsers can view incorrect HTML. HTML Markdown can usually deal with it, but requires strict adherence to the rules with img and href tags.

Questions and Answers

Q: Why did you write HTML Markdown?

A: When I first obtained web access in 1995, I only had a dialup shell account. I still thought the web was great and had lots of fun downloading jokes, song lyrics, etc. The problem was that lynx always saved the files as HTML instead of TEXT (there's probably now a way to do this in lynx or maybe I just didn't know how). I wrote HTML Markdown to just go through the file and remove anything between < and >. At the time, I didn't know much about HTML so version 1.0 didn't even recognize special characters. Version 2.0 should recognize all of the ISO Latin Character Set and has a much richer feature set in general. I wrote version 2.1 (about 3 years after 2.0) because I wanted to convert my Netscape bookmarks file to Internet Clippings.

Q: Aren't there other similar programs?

A: Surprisingly, there really aren't too many. There are plenty that convert from some format to HTML, but only a couple that convert from HTML to another format. As far as I know, there are no other HTML to text converters that can do what HTML Markdown does.

Q: What good is the URL Spitter?

A: Let's say you have your entire site in a folder on your Mac. Maybe one link has expired that's listed all over or maybe you just want to see all of the links in your site to get an idea of how they map out and link to each other. The URL spitter will munge through all of the files and copy the URLs into a separate file, indicating which file each URL came from.

Q: Where's support for advanced HTML stuff like tables and forms?

A: At its most basic level, HTML Markdown just gets rid of HTML. It was not designed to interpret what is in the HTML file except in limited cases. So the program doesn't attempt to figure out if it's looking at a table or a form or whatever. It just gets rid of the HTML and cleans things up. Tables should still look okay after converted, though they won't be beautiful. Forms will retain their text, but not the fields.

Q: Where's support for AppleScript and other new Apple technologies? Why is it drag-and-drop only?

A: I think AppleScript is a bit beyond the scope of HTML Markdown. It's meant to be a quick converter, and I don't see where scripting would be a big benefit. The program is drag-and-drop only because that is the easiest way to convert a group of files -- just drag them to the icon.

Q: I work for a user group, CD-ROM publisher, or magazine. Can we give out your program?

A: If you're going to be distributing it electronically or on disk, you may distribute HTML Markdown without notifying me. However, I still request that you send me a quick note letting me know where it's going to be distributed. If you are going to write an article or review of HTML Markdown, I really really really want to read it. Please please please send me a copy of the article. If you're going to be distributing HTML Markdown 2.1 on a CD-ROM, you must notify me first. I will generally grant permission for distribution, but I want to know which CD it's going to be on. Send permission requests, reviews, etc. to:

Scott J. Kleper
Attn: HTML Markdown 2.1
134 Caversham Woods
Pittsford, NY 14534-2834

Q: I want to learn more about HTML in general. Where can I look?

A: I learned HTML mainly from online resources. I'd check www.yahoo.com for resources.

Q: Why do you put that credit line in all my files? Just to annoy me into giving you money?

A: It's not to annoy you at all, just to remind you that you are using a shareware program that I put a lot of work into and I would really appreciate it if you would help me out by paying your shareware fee. Feel free to use HTML Markdown for 30 days and try it out. If you use it, you are obligated to pay for it (see below).

Q: What's going to happen to HTML Markdown in the future?

A: After not looking at HTML Markdown in about 3 years, I found that it was very easy to start adding features again when I wrote version 2.1. So if there's something you think would be nice to have, let me know and I'll see what I can do. Otherwise, I think HTML Markdown is complete and there are currently no plans to release another version.

Registering HTML Markdown

Writing shareware is a lot of work, especially for a college student. Considering all the time that HTML Markdown can save you, I request that if you find it useful, you pay your shareware fee.

If you do decide to register HTML Markdown, you will receive the registered version, which will no longer put the shareware message in your files or display the shareware alert when you're converting files.

Registration costs $7 for a single-user license. This means that one person can use HTML Markdown 2.1 on one Macintosh. If you're in a multi-user environment, or want to have HTML Markdown 2.1 installed on multiple machines, you may purchase multiple licenses at $7 each. If you are a registered user of HTML Markdown 2.0, you can upgrade to version 2.1 for $3. Send me email for details. If you just registered version 2.0 less than 30 days ago, upgrades are free.

The preferred way of registering is to send me a check directly. Make your $7 check payable to Scott J. Kleper and please include your email address if possible. I can also take traveler's cheques, money orders, and international money orders in US dollars.
Send checks to:

Scott J. Kleper
134 Caversham Woods
Pittsford, NY 14534-2834

The alternate way of paying is through the Kagi shareware payment service. Paying through Kagi allows you to use a check, credit card, or electronic payment. To register through Kagi, just double-click the "Register KlepHacks" program that came with HTML Markdown 2.1. You can also register online at:

The KlepHacks Sales Page

Please include your email address so that I can send you information on how to get the registered version.

One last thing about registering. I really appreciate it when people send comments about and suggestions for the program. I read them all and if you supply an email address, I'll probably contact you. If you use the Kagi method, you can still send comments.

About the Author

For information about me, please visit my web site.

Special Thanks

Many people have helped me with this project and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank as many of them as I can think of. I'd like to thank my dad, Michael Kleper, for raising me on Macs instead of PCs. I'd like to thank Randy Stahl for getting me started with Mac programming. I'd like to thank Julie Zelenski, my undergraduate CS advisor, for making me figure out why things crash, instead of just thrashing around until they work. I'd like to thank all the users of HTML Markdown for sending in suggestions and registering the program.

I'd also like to thank my mom. Thanks, mom!

Version History

HTML Markdown 1.0 (date unknown)
First release.

HTML Markdown 1.0.1 (6/95)
Fixed a bug that would cause the file to contain extra stuff if it is saved with the same name as the original. This is caused by not setting the end of file flag properly (or at all!).

HTML Markdown 2.0 (5/96)
Total re-write. Added options for smart conversion, converts escape codes, added URL spitter, more reliable, converts bigger files, faster, uses less memory.

HTML Markdown 2.1 (4/99)
Added a feature to save every URL as an Internet Clipping. URL Spitter can optionally spit to an HTML file instead of plain text. Paragraph tags are now recognized and converted to blank lines. Price reduced to $7. Preferences are saved so you don't have to set your conversion options each time.

Legal Stuff

HTML Markdown 2.1 is ©opyright 1999, by Scott J. Kleper. You may copy and distribute the SHAREWARE version of HTML Markdown 2.1 as long as you include all the documentation and everything that came with it when you downloaded it. This program is shareware. If you use it, you are obligated to pay for it. See above for payment/registration information.

No warranty is included with this program. Use it at your own risk. There are no known bugs with this program. However, the author is not responsible for any problems caused by it.

This program may be included in online file areas and archives. It may be distributed through user groups and shared with other users. CD-ROM publishers MUST contact me at klephacks@kagi.com before including HTML Markdown 2.1 on a CD-ROM product.

If you would like to review HTML Markdown for an online or traditional magazine, please contact me so that I can see a copy.