I am not suttisfied with the provided answers to the question Is this map of Israel-occupied territory accurate? , and want to write an answer. I've done all the research and collected all the resources, but because of the complication of the subject I think that the answer will be very long and will take me a long time to write. To make sure that I finish and polish it before I post it I may need several sitting to finish it because of the time it'll take.

One solution to it is to write the answer in Word or some other text editor and when it's finished to copy paste if from there, the problem is that I'll still have to do the formatting, linkage and pictures on the site, and I think that writing the substance separately from the formating is bad.

Also, I want to do it from several different computers, according to when I have time and where I'm at that time (University / Work / Home / Parent's house etc).

Is there a way to "save" my unpublished answer, so that when I come back to the question the text I've written before will already appear in the "post an answer" section instead of a blank space?

  • 1
    +1 Great suggestion! I agree that is my problem too. Please add low speed internet of some users and editing in English when user is not an English speaker and surely it needs more time to spend! Apr 4 '13 at 16:04

Stack Exchange will actually periodically auto-save the last version of your answer and restore it when you re-visit the page. However, I wouldn’t rely on this mechanism. It’s mainly there as a security in case the browser crashes.

In fact, I edit all my bigger answers in a text editor. Since the formatting is done in Markdown and is quite basic anyway, I don’t see that there’s a big disadvantage. If you absolutely require a formatted preview then there are options for that, too. In particular, both Emacs and Vim (as well as other editors) provide syntax highlighting for Markdown.

For Mac, there’s a commercial application called Marked and a free one called Mou. For Windows there’s MarkdownPad. And finally, there’s the platform independent ReText.

… Of course, these are all inferior text editors and quite frankly I wouldn’t recommend any of them. If you feel comfortable with command line tools I suggest installing grip which is what I’m using. Then you can edit the post in your post in your favourite text editor and run

grip path/of/the/file.md

in the command line. That will provide a live preview of the document under the URL http://localhost:5000.

  • You can also do it the poor-man's way, and simply copy/paste the text from Word to SO editor every paragraph or so to test and fix the formatting, and if any fixes were done, copy/paste the fixed text back to Word.
    – user5341
    Apr 23 '13 at 18:50

One work-around is to publish the partial answer, and then delete it.

You can continue to work on it in the deleted state (I believe) and then undelete it when ti is ready for viewing.

In the deleted state, it will be visible to mods and to trusted users (>10 K rep), so even in this state, you should be careful not to include inappropriate content.


I've had similar problem with this, and what I know of there isn't a function built into stack exchange for it.

What you can do is to save your edits in a text document, and keep in in your email, that is what I have done when I've done some research for a question (I've done a few league of legends answers, where I tested things out in the game both at uni and at home).

It kinda works, but it's clumsy and I wish there was a way to do this via the site instead.

I think this should be a requested feature. "Save without publish", similarly to how deleted answers only appears to author, it would only appear to author, until he publishes the answer.

  • @Sklivvz, you're on dev team, right? Could you make that happen?
    – Wertilq
    Apr 5 '13 at 11:18
  • Documents are already saved automatically every few seconds. There used to be a "save draft" button, but that got removed when auto saving was introduced.
    – Sklivvz
    Apr 6 '13 at 8:11
  • Are they saved local on the computer or on the server?
    – Wertilq
    Apr 6 '13 at 8:13
  • It seemed to work, even if it worked a bit so-so. Half of what I tested out to write wasn't saved. Maybe because the autosave didn't have time to save it yet... I didn't get any indications of it doing an autosave either.
    – Wertilq
    Apr 6 '13 at 8:49

Chrome has an app called StackEdit. If you search for Markdown, you will get three other hits and this one showed up as a "related" app.

Here is the by-line that it adds to your documents (with link)

Written with StackEdit.

I just gave it a little test and it seems to work fine. It syncs to Google Drive (among other options). It's supposedly based on the same MarkDown library that StackExchange uses, and the interface is pretty intuitive.


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