A very simple text authoring app for Chrome, designed around the Ace text editor. Ideal for use in educational environments where a distraction-free full screen text editor is required, and particularly for controlled assessments or exams.

Ironically named for it’s minimalistic approach because simple solutions are frequently the best. It’s free, so you can grab the code or install the app from the Google Web Store.


You can read the instructions online, or from within the App by pressing ctrl-?. As you would expect, files can be opened, saved and printed and a basic markdown syntax is used for formatting. To aid exam typists in all subjects, international and special characters are supported by their Unicode codes. Full details and the codes themselves can be found in the characters page online, and can also be viewed in the App by pressing ctrl-shift-?.

Page Headers and Printing

By default, printing will render with double line height and a 12pt font to comply with UK Exam Board marking requirements. To override this, press ctrl-shift-p rather than ctrl-p. A title can be added to the start of the document by making it the first line and enclosing it with ampersands, e.g. @This is a Title@. To add a header (such as exam paper and candidate details) to every printed page, a simple template is used. To access this template, position the cursor at the start of the document and press ctrl-t to insert the header template. Then simply fill in the template with you own details (lines can be added or removed provided the existing formatting is copied). The header will repeat on every page when you print using ctrl-p. Currently only available in the BETA Release (see section below).

Configure Chromebooks for Exams

You can use this app as a perfect tool for controlled assessments or exams. If you have managed Chromebooks in your organisation, then you can configure some of these devices to boot straight into Shiny! Shiny, using single app kiosk mode. Using Chromebooks for student assessments or exams is easy, fast and secure.

Using the Google Admin Console, administrators can set up a dedicated OU with the appropriate kiosk app settings, then simply move the number of exam devices required into this OU. When they next boot up, they will apply the new policy and launch the app. When the exams are complete, the devices can be moved back to their original OUs and will operate as normal Chromebooks again. Using Cloud Print a printer can be assigned to these devices. Security can further be enhanced by disabling USB devices if required.


The code is fully open-source but does contain code (many thanks!) from the projects below (any alterations or modifications are marked in the code). Everything else is copyright JD, 2014-2019. This program is free software: you can redistribute it and modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License (Version 3) as published by the Free Software Foundation. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Please see the full GNU General Public License for more details.

jquery-3.3.1.min.jsWebsiteCopyright 2005, 2016 jQuery Foundation, Inc.MIT License
showdown.min.jsWebsiteCopyright 2007, John FraserBSD 3-Clause License
ace/*WebsiteCopyright 2010, B.V.Revised BSD License
EXAMPLE.mdWebsiteCopyright 2014 John GabrieleGNU GPL v3

Recent Versions

One of the important uses of this app is for controlled assessments or exams. This means that functionality changes could have an impact on students taking those exams. As such, any new changes to the app are published in a beta version before they are made available in the production version. Any update below tagged as a ‘BETA Release’ is currently only available on the beta version. Administrators and technical staff should test these releases before any changes are pushed into production. Support subscribers are pro-actively informed about changes, and can participate in the review and suggestion of future changes.

The most recent versions of this tool are below, showing significant functionality changes and improvements.

    • Minor Updates
    • Bug Fix

      • Lines indented with 4 spaces / a tab are handled as code blocks in Markdown. For longer sentences, this can cause issues with wider pages and text not being wrapped properly. This version removes these before Markdown parsing to avoid this behaviour. Code blocks can still be used by ‘fencing’ code blocks by including ``` or ~~~ before and after the block.

    • Minor Updates
    • Added checks/removal for un-intended numerical lists

      • When starting a line with a number, followed by a period (.) and then a space, this is parsed as a numerical list. This version removes them unless you press CTRL-ALT-P to print.

  • 0.5
    • Minor Updates
    • Added Per-Printed Page Headers

      • Using the CTRL-T shortcut, a header is inserted which will be printed on each page.

  • 0.4
    • Minor Updates
    • Updated Library Dependencies and Print Styling

      • Default printed output is now rendered in 12pt with double-line spacing

      • Updated JQuery to v3.3.1, Ace to v1.3.1

      • Swapped to Showdown (v1.8.6) for Markdown Parsing (See here for details)

Need Help?

If you are a subscriber, then please email us directly or use the Get Help command under the About menu in any of our web apps to get help with this extension. Otherwise, please feel free to raise an issue on the code repository for this tool (you will need to sign up for a free Github account if you don't already have one). Only subscribers have full access to technical support, but we'll do our best to answer every query if we are able.

© 2015-2019 Current site version is 0.1.3i