Fair Objective In-Depth Comparison Ulysses vs iA Writer and more

I found this article to be one of the more complete and objective that I’ve read comparing iA Writer to Ulysses. It is a little dated (2017) but the fundamentals are covered making the article relevant today.

I also found this article by @MereCivilian helpful.

Finally, this article provides an overview of several writing apps that I found useful.

After striving to eliminate a subscription and to find “a writing app to rule them all” I gave up after realizing that I was making things unnecessarily complicated. I’ve come to realize that I am the most productive with two writing apps, each with distinct advantages for the two types of writing I do. Specifically, Scrivener is best for my book projects because it has robust organization and research features, e.g., a built in outliner. Ulysses is best for my short form writing such as blog articles, work communications and presentation notes. Accordingly, I’m using both and I’m quite happy with this approach.

I’m at peace with me decision. Now, back to that book project …


… until … :slight_smile:


The point taken and well deserved. :slightly_smiling_face: My only consolation is that I’m not the only one in this forum “guilty” of switching and trying apps too often. But, I’m working on breaking what in excess is an unproductive habit.

I’m pretty settled at this point. :crossed_fingers:t3:I’ve tried everything and I believe I’ve found the right combination of apps that do what I need while keeping subscriptions to a minimum.

I’ve come to realize that it is “ok” to use rich text based applications. I never questioned this before joining this forum but I got swept up on the plain text bandwagon.

Having resolved this matter in my mind, I quickly concluded that Scrivener for large projects like books is superior to other options. I also discovered that it was user error and not Scrivener that caused the syncing problem I mentioned in this post. Scrivener tech support pointed out my error. Scrivener is working and syncing flawlessly.

Moreover, while I’m now more comfortable using a rich text based application like Scrivener, I still value the portability and future proofing of plain text files. Once I understood that I could export/compile rich text from Scrivener to markdown and that I could bulk export to markdown from Ulysses, I realized I was making this way too hard and that the Ulysses subscription was well worth it for short to medium length projects. And, I can always bulk convert files using DEVONthink.

At this point I only have four app subscriptions and they are serving me well: Ulysses, 1Password, MindNode, and Bookends. As I’ve noted, probably ad nauseam to some in this forum–for which I apologize, I have moved to Apple’s native apps for mail, notes, calendaring and tasks. I have DEVONthink primarily as a powerful file conversion and OCR utility. I’m using Scrivener and Ulysses for writing and Obsidian for research notes.

My doc reflects my app choices.

Screen Shot 2022-02-19 at 11.00.15 AM

So, I admit that I’ve been a bit (a lot?) all over the place but I’m confident that there will be little need for significant changes in app choices and workflow going forward.


Decades ago I was in the plain text camp. But the market for writing programs was young, and being orphaned by proprietary formats was a frequent occurrence. But in recent decades things have seemed to have stabilized.

I’ve been using Scrivener for years now without concern. I use Pages for small writing projects.


This reminds me of the passage in Ecclesiastes :slightly_smiling_face::

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us (Ec 1:9–10).

Yep. There is nothing at all magical about plain text. Nothing. Nada. I like Obsidian (usually) but plain text is not the reason, at all.

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Nothing new. I don’t think Kohelet had an iPad, for example.

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Love this graph. Absolutely love it. Stealing this idea right now :slight_smile:

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