Atom and GitHub

What is Atom?

Atom is a text editor. Meaning all it really does is allow you to edit text files. This sounds limiting but if you’ve ever been frustrated waiting a few minutes for Word to open just so you can see a paragraph of text, you already understand why people use text editors. Or if you copied and pasted from something into a Word document and then had to spend a few minutes fixing formatting, font size, etc, you also know why text editors are great tools.

Why use Atom

You already know about writing directly on GitHub and in Dillinger. Many of you write in Word and then copy and paste to one of these platforms. It works fine. What’s the point of another method?


Text editors like Atom are super fast, and they do everything you need for this course that Word can do, like Word counts and Spell check. They are also faster in the sense you can see your and your colleagues’ posts, and make new posts, WAY MORE EASILY.

Markdown Preview

Especially when learning Markdown, it’s nice to see if you’re using the right codes. With Atom, you don’t need to use an external tool like Dillinger. You can also preview your Markdown as you write through the menu Packages->Markdown Preview->Toggle Preview.

If you need syntax help, remember the cheat sheet.

Integrated posting

You’re all used to posting work on UNM Learn or maybe elsewhere, but it’s always easier when your writing tool and publication platform can talk to each other. Atom and GitHub can be paired together so you can immediately post your work to GitHub without having to cut and paste text or drag and drop files.

Connecting Atom to GitHub

There are a few steps to get connected that you only have to do once. It looks like a lot, but they are all small things you can do quickly. Essentially, you’ll be making a copy of our repository on your own computer that you’ll be able to edit and move to GitHub.

Creating a new file

When you want to write a new reflection, right-click on the folder to which you want to add your file, and Click New File (or you can just highlight the folder and Press A). Name your file according to the usual conventions (all lower case, with a .md extension).


It’s just text! So fast!! So Easy!!! Remember you can preview your Markdown as you write through the menu Packages->Markdown Preview->Toggle Preview. Save often.


When you’re ready to commit your file to our repository, you’re just a few clicks away.

If you’re paranoid like me, you can double check that your post is in our repository at GitHub. But unless you got some weird error message, it will be there.