I’ve been briefing for the past couple of weeks in [Markdown](http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/) (or, [MultiMarkdown](http://fletcherpenney.net/multimarkdown/), more precisely), and it’s been refreshing.
Markdown is a syntax for marking up plain text, but focused on the markup used in actual writing.
The result is a blessed freedom from Word’s numbering and styles nightmare. After all these years, modifying some third-level point in Word will throw off the font, alignment, and spacing in three paragraphs, creating some style not found in any other document. My last major briefing project involved collaboration across three different versions of Word, on Mac and Vista and XP. Each new version required beating the outline and styles back into submission.
In Markdown, styles are limited and obvious. Headings are first level, second level, third level, etc. Links are parenthetical, footnotes and extended quotations are effortless. There are no random font or margin changes to wrestle with. And Markdown text is portable — it looks the same in Windows, Mac, Linux and my iPad.
Any other attorneys using Markdown in practice?