How to Add Markdown to the "Sanity-Gatsby-Blog" Starter

January 12th, 2020

Today was my first time playing with Sanity. I was impressed: setting up the blog took all of like, two seconds and two clicks! Their ease of use is right on brand with Gatsby and Netlify, which make up the rest of the tech stack on this project.

This is my "Hello World" post for my new blog using the sanity-gatsby-blog starter repo as the template. If you're brand new to Sanity like I am, and you're using sanity-gatsby-blog, you may find the documentation less than helpful when it comes to replacing the default body text input with markdown.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Create your base monorepo, from this link
  2. Install the Sanity CLI. npm install -g @sanity/cli
  3. Run npm install in the root directory of your monorepo
  4. The directories for web/ and studio/ inside the monorepo have their own package configurations. cd local/path/to/your/monorepo/studio
  5. Run sanity install markdown inside the studio/ directory
  6. Create the markdown schema type in studio/src/schemas/objects/markdown.js
export default {
  name: 'body',
  title: 'Body',
  type: 'markdown',
  options: {
    minRows: 20
  1. Add the markdown schema to studio/src/schemas/schema.js
import markdown from './objects/markdown';

export default createSchema({
  types: schemaTypes.concat([
  1. In studio/src/schemas/documents/post.js, change
      name: 'body',
      type: 'bodyPortableText',
      title: 'Body'


      name: 'body',
      type: 'markdown',
      title: 'Body'
  1. In web/ run npm install --save react-markdown
  2. In web/src/templates/blog-post.js replace _rawBody in the GraphQL query with body
  3. In web/src/components/blog-post.js, add import ReactMarkdown from 'react-markdown'
  4. Rename _rawBody to body since that's what we're getting from our schema now
  5. Replace
{_rawBody && <PortableText blocks={_rawBody} />}


{body && <ReactMarkdown source={body} />}
  1. Git push, rebuild, etc


The starter comes with a pre-wired schema for the blog-post type, designed with WISYWIG editing in mind. Markdown is a replacement of it, rather than an additional feature to it.

The @sanity/cli tool doesn't create the actual schema for markdown. It just creates access to the tooling. I spent a while scratching my head, wondering why I couldn't just change the type attribute in post.js to 'markdown'. By my understanding, it's because it had nowhere to find 'markdown' until I added it to schema.js

Your work in the CMS allows you to submit markdown content and preview it. Behind the scenes, it will be stored as a plain string. Once it crosses the transom to your front-end, you are then responsible for transforming it into HTML content for your render.


My first day with Sanity would have been a lot nicer if they'd offered a pre-wired markdown template to begin with. Frustration aside, this is a beautiful, powerful, flexible product. The setup was easy and magical, but there's definitely a learning curve to customizing its features.