Are you really into Ulysses?

If so, you can get a t-shirt!

(Subscription debate, etc. have been covered, ad nauseam, elsewhere.)

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In truth, no, and the change to a subscription model made me realise that. I’ve now settled on Drafts and Scrivener, with BBEdit covering everything else. One Markdown editor I am watching, though, is Typora. The UI is excellent, but it does lack the back-end syncing capabilities of Drafts, and that’s something I’ve come to rely on.

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I do all my professional writing in Ulysses, but it’s got a lot of features I don’t use. I will probably try out Drafts as a substitute, now that Drafts is on the Mac.

Both, both — one for one thing one for the other Ulysses & Drafts.

Though I’m an new app junky… I’ve got the basics for writing/prcessing area solved for me. I’d rather write than try new or lament the subscription model.

I deleted the my shirt email this morning but I kinda like the idea.

I like Scrivener, but it’s complexity makes it hard for me to love. Right now I’m living inside Ulysses (with sojourns to BBEdit, which I’ve used on and off for 20 years, maybe?), and it’s pretty comfortable there.

But I’m not crazy about those shirts. Last geek shirt I bought was the Github Octocat, which arrived in the mail the day Microsoft announced it had purchased the company.

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I"m all in on Ulysses. But iA Writer does seem like a pretty good substitute for Ulysses work.

Before I migrated much of my writing to Ulysses I spent a lot of time using IA Writer. (And before that, Byword.) But a few things about IA Writer started chafing, like their imposed limits to font and font size and background (either white or black). IA will only let you use one of two (embedded) fonts, and limits the size text can be displayed. I’ve come to prefer a larger size than the app currently allows, and I now have a couple of favorite fonts I prefer to use.

I contacted IA about that and they said that more font size choice would be available “in the very next update.” But it seems their strictures about using only their two font choices will remain. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re up to though, as they seem willing to change, as indicated by the last update that fully implemented tags.

BBEdit lets you set any fonts, sizes and colors, and has themes to choose from too. Here’s my current font & colors choice when I write in BBEdit:

And in combination with Marked_2 you can get beautiful output from Markdown. Right now, just for pure text writing, if I weren’t using Ulysses I’d probably be back in BBEdit.

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I just received 3 months free subscription for Ulysses, so I’ve only been using it for a couple of hours but so far I like it a lot.
Coming from IA Writer it feels almost the same, yet improved, somehow.

Anyway, I’ll be testing it out for the next three months after which I’ll decide whether to stay on Ulysses or go back to IA Writer.


Play with the style templates, and customize/rename any built-in one to your liking. And then there’s the downloadable gallery of styles/themes that users created, and uploaded here:

The app does a lot more than IA Writer, like writing goals, allowing embeddable images and videos, letting you hide/format links, annotations and footnotes, and versioning. For me the main weakness is in the export templates, which I’m not crazy about.

If you find you like Ulysses and want to go deeper, I recommend Shawn Blanc’s LEARN UYLSSES tutorial course (text plus video) over at The Sweet Setup.

On the page above there’s a 12-minute video overview from Blanc detailing how he uses Ulysses.

On the blog for Ulysses they feature interviews with professional writers who detail how they use the app. One of the interview subjects, Matt Gemmell, detailed in early 2017 on his own site how he configures Ulysses on his iPad to write his novels.

I can say though that I like IA Writer for its basic features, its speed and its stability and its lack of configurability - I can’t tell you have many hours I’ve wasted playing around and tweaking a style for myself in Ulysses (current style in Dark Mode below):

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Ulysses has too much feature bloat for me, but I’m quite accustomed to working in it so I’m not highly motivated to find a replacement.

I’m definitely going to play around with it some more, I actually did download a new theme for Ulysses already - the yasp theme, and then switched to the Dark Mode.

These two alone make it a so much better experience for me.

This is my next stop - plus I’m probably going to scan for tips, pointers, views, etc. having heard David talk about Ulysses on the show, and of course his recommendations for it here.

Oh, and by the way — I got the 3 month free Ulysses subscription on the - Ulysses (Sponsor) article so a huge thank you for both Ulysses for the prolonged trial and of course @MacSparky for once again costing me money in three months time :rofl:

Yeah, I guess it must be true that it’s better than iA Writer (for me at least) - I usually never commit that fast to apps, so yeah - I’m really into Ulysses, now :smiley:

Oh, and yeah, I’ve actually already done a piece - from idea to complete publishable piece - for online use, and I’ve managed to translate it to Danish, and posting it in an hour, all in the span of 3 - 4 hours (usually this takes 5 - 6 hours, at least) :muscle:

Thanks for telling about the irritants that you’ve experienced with iA Writer. I did hear about the lack of customization.

Yeah. I spent many hours trying out different styles from the Style Exchange. But once I settled on a style, I never really looked back.

The only real feature bloat I’ve seen was customizing the style sheet. Otherwise, I’ve felt Ulysses more streamlined than something like Microsoft Word. Was there any other features that you considered bloat? Perhaps “gluing” sheets or tags or something else? I’m curious.

Gluing sheets is something I can’t recall ever using. Likewise progress status and goals. Keywords. Color coding. Note attachments. File attachments.

I’m a journalist. I write 1-3 articles per day. One article, one sheet.

I like Ulyssses for sync to iOS, in-line notes, and in-line image attachments. Also, it’s a nice uncluttered interface.

Mitch how dare you. Imagine stomping feet and wild gesticulations… I use color coding on my key words and word count (goals) and … I even occasionally glue stuff together (thanks Scrivener)

Ulysses hides its features well.

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Gluing is fantastic if you write in terms of chapters, or bits of discrete ideas inside chapters. It allows for focus, as well as easy rearrangement of subsections of writing.

The only things I miss in Ulysses are two features in Sublime Text: side-by-side split view of a document, and a miniaturized view of the entire document letting you see where you are inside it.

Those aren’t deal-breakers, but I’d love to see one or both in Ulysses.


I do like the process status and goals (hit 1,300 words by this Friday, you must average XXX words a day to hit this goal). Great for deadline work.

I’m starting to get into gluing sheets with longer documents.

If you don’t use it, it’s not feature bloat. It’s sitting there waiting for you to realize that you may need it someday.

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