A long time Windows user makes the “Big Switch.” Has it increased my productivity?

I stumbled upon this article when searching for something else. I found the article to be a fresh take on Mac vs. Windows and confirmed my decision to just write with Pages and abandon Ulysses.

Whether you are a long-time Mac user or new to Mac, I believe you will enjoy this article. And, you don’t need to be a writer to appreciate the article.


I’m not sure why, but I like this picture from the article. :man_shrugging:t2:


Sorry, I’m not a medium member so can’t read the article.

I’ve just switched to Ulysses for my academic writing and sermon prep! The ability to use sheets and move them around has become an essential for me as I tend to write in chunks and most stuff is not in its final place. The themes are all helpful for public speaking which I like. Plus the goals are really helpful.

I understand completely. I like Ulysses a lot. I think it is an excellent writing application and probably the best choice overall for those who want to use markdown. I also agree that for long-form writing, having movable, glueable, and mergeable sheets (that will preach :slightly_smiling_face:) is helpful. For almost a year or more, I’ve had nearly all of my writing in Ulysses—everything from a one-page presentation to a book.

But, I decided to switch to just using Pages and, occasionally, iA Writer. Here are my reasons, in no particular order, and with no motive to try to convince anyone else.

  • I don’t need markdown
  • I usually ended up wanting my content formatted beyond what Ulysses can do with export (I realize if one knows CSS that one can customize Ulysses, but I don’t understand CSS and have no desire to learn :slightly_smiling_face:). Consequently, Ulysses created friction in that it was serving as an intermediary step between my writing and my final product.
  • At times, I would run into strange formatting issues after exporting to Word
  • It requires a subscription. I do not want to become beholden to a yearly subscription.
  • I learned how to use the ToC and Page Thumbnails features to easily move entire sections (sheets, if you will), navigate quickly between sections, and customize the headings (including their indents) for easier reading and navigation
  • I can share and collaborate on Pages documents with my executive assistant
  • I can use the Apple Pencil to make Smart Annotations directly on a Pages document when editing
  • For academic writing, I can use Endnote natively, AND I can seamlessly switch between footnotes and endnotes in a lengthy document with one click (ok, two clicks)
  • Footnotes show up at the bottom of the page, thus eliminating the need to click on a footnote box as one must do in Ulysses
  • One less app to manage
  • Pages shows word counts, so I can use that for goal setting
  • With the upcoming new operating systems, I will be able to transfer Apple Notes to Pages. Frankly, I have no idea why I would want to do that, but I can if I decide to. :slightly_smiling_face:
  • Apple Pages integrates seamlessly with Apple Reminders, Mail, and Apple Notes, all of which I use extensively
  • I’m nervous about having all my writing projects in a single database. It may be an unwarranted concern, but it concerns me nevertheless.
  • Pages can be set up to be just as distraction-free as Ulysses, see below
  • I occasionally need to create columns or tables. These are much easier in Pages than in Ulysses

So, those are my reasons. Again, I think Ulysses is a great app. I’ve just concluded that I don’t need it given my preferences and workflow needs.


Same issue with the article.

I’ve been an exclusive user of Pages for well over a decade with three exceptions:

  1. Programming, because Pages is pretty much useless for that.
  2. Before I retired, when I needed to collaborate, I had to use Word. Otherwise, on the job I used Pages and printed to PDF for distribution. I don’t have Word anymore.
  3. Long form writing I’ve used Scrivener for at least 10 years. For printed output it gets passed through Nisus Writer Pro for touching up formatting. That’s the only thing I use Writer for. I think I’d go nuts if I used Pages for long form writing even though it could do it.

Given your reasoning, I can see why you switched. I’ll stick with Ulysses because my writing is just… writing. It’s nothing more. Some will become a book. Eventually. Many will become blog posts. But I don’t “create blog posts” or “write a book” in Ulysses. I write in Ulysses, then do presentation work on it later. I barely use Markdown, even — only a few headings, emphasis and the occasional list.

I know why I like it. It looks like a 3D rendering and I love smooth, clean, 3D. I used to play with ray tracers back when you left them overnight to render a 320 pixel wide scene.


Based on the recommendation from another fine member of this forum, I recently tried Scrivener again. There is much to like about Scrivener. But, after using it again for four weeks, I realized it is just not for me. The primary reason is that I really dislike using Dropbox on my Mac for syncing Scrivener to my iPad (where I do a lot of writing). The other issue is that the Scrivener app on the iPad does not have feature parity with the Mac version whereas both Ulysses and Pages have much closer feature parity.

After experimenting and “mastering” how to effectively use the customizable ToC view and Pages Thumbnail view to move or navigate between sections, I have not run into friction with long-form writing. It is admittedly easier to navigate using separate sheets like one can in Ulysses and Scrivener but on balance, I find Pages, in the aggregate, easier for me to use.

I’ve gone back and forth between Scrivener, Ulysses, and Pages. I just need to bite the bullet and make my decision and move on. None of them are perfect. :slightly_smiling_face:


You don’t have to use Dropbox to keep your projects synched. You can use iCloud, for example, with an alternative method.


I tried this method when I recently considered switching from Ulysses to Scrivener. I decided to stick with Ulysses for now, but the alternative synching method worked fine for me. There is a bit of extra effort involved.

That is interesting, I did not know that option existed. Thanks for sharing it.

Nevertheless, I think I’ll stick with Pages. It is perfectly fine for all of my writing and presentation work. Pages is a little harder to use for managing a large book project (I’m up to 29 chapters at present) but it is not a show stopper. After all, many writers have used typewriters, scrolls, and, heaven forbid, even Word to write their books. :slightly_smiling_face: I can probably manage with Pages given all of the other advantages I listed above.

Thanks again. I’ve archived that link for future reference in case I change my mind. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Couldn’t see the article as well. I am in the same boat as @svsmailus I write all my sermons in Ulysses. When I first started writing my sermons, I was using Word, then Pages, then Evernote, and finally Ulysses.

I don’t typically write in Markdown, other than some basic formatting, bold, italics, etc. One of the reasons of staying in Ulysses and not Pages/Word for me is simply the ability to search for any word I want and see if I spoke about a particular topic or passage already.

To my knowledge, I can’t do this in Word or Pages yet.


I can indeed find Pages documents containing specific words or phrases even if those words or phrases are not in the title by using Spotlight.

Just to make sure, I just did two searches—a one word (name) search and a short phrase (also a name). The names are not included in document titles, they are names deep within Pages documents. Below are two screenshots showing the results of the Spotlight search for “Augustine” and “Dr. Laurie Santos” (a Yale professor I’m quoting in a chapel presentation to students):

This may not be as powerful as what can be done in Ulysses—I’m not sure—but it seems to work. I’m just passing this along as information, not as an argument in favor of one app over another. :slightly_smiling_face:

Pages, IMO, is a perfectly good word processor that can export good documents in MS Word formats (if the document isn’t too complex).

But like every other non-Microsoft word processor I’ve ever used it frequently fails to open complex documents created in MS Word perfectly. A problem that occasionally occurs when trying to open documents created in old versions of MS Word with much more recent versions of the same software. :grinning:

If Pages works for you and your executive assistant I don’t see any problem.

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I have Office 365. I use Word when needed (e.g., to open a complex Word document) but I seldom use Word for what I write. The specific issue for me was deciding whether or not to use Ulysses for all of my writing or use Scrivener or Pages. I’ve settled on Pages. I will use iA Writer to work with markdown documents if and as needed and Word when necessary. :slightly_smiling_face:

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The searching capability of Spotlight I found so much better than what I had at work under Windows a decade ago that I sneaked in a Mac mini to work that I put all my documentation on. Project documentation as well as reference.


Is that a new feature?! I never knew that it could search within documents!

Perhaps because I never tried and based on the switch from Windows to Mac years ago, I didn’t bother to investigate.

Thank you for the information! This could be helpful at least in going back to old files and searching or maybe an archival project. My neurons are firing, thank you!

You are quite welcome. I am usually the recipient of good advice and tips, I seldom get to be the one to share them. I hope it is helpful. :slightly_smiling_face:


Pages is brilliant work with. Whenever I’m on a Teams meeting #ironic everyone is stunned at how easily and fluidly I can add images, tables, etc. Don’t get me stared on Numbers as that just explodes heads. :joy:.


With iOS and iPadOS 16 it was improved and with 17 beta it would seem most file content is now indexed and searchable from the Files app, much of it also via Spotlight. The results I get between the two are not exactly the same in part because one is exclusively searching files while Spotlight searches far more.

I went from a corporation in the 90’s that published an inch thick notebook listing the fonts, styles, and colors, etc. to be used in all correspondence, to a company where I literally never needed a word processor more than a couple of times a year.

Markdown was what I did to items that didn’t sell very well when I worked part time in a grocery store. :grinning:


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:rofl: looooooooooooooooooool

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