Ever been frustrated at trying to find the right font and style settings on MS Word or Google Docs? Ever spent time in figuring out the plethora of settings instead of actually getting the work done? Well, this Ulysses app review will introduce you to the most popular writing app used by writers, screenwriters, content writers and many more.
Best Features of a Writing App
For decades now, people have been using word processors to create content. While they are super powerful applications, they are often counter-intuitive. Crowded interface, complex tools and hidden functionalities that have to be searched make word processors difficult to use.
A writing app aims to replace word processors, giving writers the chance to write creatively without feeling frustrated. The primary objective of writing apps is to help writers write without any interruption. It is an attempt to make writing a seamless experience where your hands remain on the keyboard, functionalities you need is available right when you need them and sharing, or exporting is an easy process.
A great writing app should have some of the following important features. It is based on these features that we are creating this Ulysses writing app review.
- An Intuitive Design: Just like you would need a gym to enjoy a great work out, you need a writing environment to write well. Writers no longer use paper or typewriters to write and instead use their laptops, but word processors and notepads make it a frustrating experience. Therefore, a good writing app needs to have a writing-intuitive design where the user has options to create a perfect writing environment.
- Tools are Accessible: Getting lost in the plethora of tools is a common problem when using word processors or even Google Docs. Writing apps make tools accessible, meaning you don’t have to go searching for them and you don’t have to move away from the keyboard to access them. The tools you need to make your content excellent is available right where and when you need them.
- Flexible Sharing/Export Options: Word processors do not let you directly share your files with third-party apps. You have to manually save a file and then send it as an attachment. Good writing apps, however, let you share files directly with third-party apps while also directly publishing content to platforms like WordPress and Medium. More importantly, good writing apps lets you export your documents in multiple formats including PDF, epub files and a lot more.
- Good Data Management: Admit it. Finding for documents, versioning them and storing them in multiple folders drives you crazy at times. With a writing app though, you get automatic version histories and all your pieces are systematically organized in a library that allows for easy search abilities.
- Only Has Tools Relevant to Writers: Applications like Microsoft Word, Google Docs are sometimes overwhelming. A writing app has relevant tools for writers and does not go overboard.
What is the Ulysses Writing App?
If you’re a writer, the Ulysses writing app is what you need for a better writing experience than MS Word or Google Docs.
Why though, you ask? Why would you need any writing app at all when MS Word or Google Docs do just fine?
That’s because a writing app is designed to give you the ideal writing environment where you don’t have to go looking for tools or where you don’t have to deal with unnecessary tools. Sometimes, all you want is to write without all the other distractions. Word processors, being powerful applications have complex tools and functions that hampers the process of writing itself. Imagine the time you waste having to figure out different markup styles and headings instead of getting your article or your script done.
Ulysses is one of the many popular writing apps for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, but it is consistently at the top of those apps with its features and abilities that make it one of the most sought-after writing platforms. Scriptwriters, novel writers, marketing writers are now moving towards writing apps to get uninterrupted, enriching writing experience.
Ulysses’s winning feature is its distraction-free environment that lets you write without being bothered by any other tool, notifications or specs. You can enable a dark mode or work in the usual light mode – the fundamental purpose is to help you write as efficiently as possible. Other than letting you write; it also helps you arrange your content in a library as well as use search tools to find relevant documents and information. Finally, you can also use the app to export and publish your work where you want.
Is Ulysses Free?
No, Ulysses is not free, but you can use it as a 14-day free trial by downloading it from Mac App Store. Prices are catered to different world currencies; however, the standard is $4.99/month and $39.99/year. And once you subscribed it, you can get access to the app on all of your Macs and iDevices. Though you can get Ulysses from Mac App Store, but we would recommend Setapp, as you not only get Ulysses, but a collection (growing) of over 150 apps for your Mac. What is Setapp? See our review of Setapp.
Is Ulysses Safe?
Yes, Ulysses is safe to download from the Mac App Store so whether you’re on your iPad or you’re using the MacBook, you can easily access Ulysses. You can also download it from the official company site and use a free trial.
What Can Ulysses Do For You?
Ulysses, being a writing app, has the fundamental purpose of providing the user with a writing interface that helps them write efficiently.
It boasts of multiple features that you would otherwise not find in regular word processors.
Some of its important features are:
A Distraction-Free Interface
The app’s main feature is the distraction-free interface that lets you write on a plain canvas with no extra tools, settings or apps disturbing your experience.
A plain canvas is like writing on good old paper. You can use different colors, styles and modifications to create emphasis on different parts of your text.
If you’re a writer who makes a living off writing, the app will serve you well. You can use different canvas modes to work on your content. There is a dark mode, typewriter mode, fullscreen mode, and minimal mode.
When you’re using a Word Processor, you actually have to take out time to fumble through heading styles. With Ulysses, the goal is to keep your hands on the keyboard. This is why the app has a markup-based text editor that you can use to mark headlines, add comments or even sticky notes by typing in markdown syntax like %% or ++. You can learn all about this in the tutorial that is given before starting the app. The good thing is, most of the Markdown syntax is also available in drop-down menus in case you forget to memorize their codes.
You can also add images, footnotes, hypertext links and many other things as in a regular word processor but without the clutter and accessibility issues.
Some Super Useful Writing Tools
Ulysses may look simple but it packs a number of useful writing tools that you can access (or hide) any time. There are some great writing tools such as goals, keywords, setting deadlines and due dates. You can also add notes and web pages into your text notes. One of the best features is perhaps the document statistics tool that gives you feedback of your progress and helps you stay aware of your work.
The main objective of Ulysses is to help you stay on your keyboard without having to reach for the mouse. Hence, most of the things you need can be operated via the keyboard. If you have an iPad, you can make use of an external keyboard to get the best of the app.
You can also choose to change the color of your editor and give it your favorite color or you can download a user-generated theme to keep it unique.
Additionally, you can also enable a typewriter mode in the app that lets you type in a vertically fixed line. If you belong to a generation where typewriters were the tools of the trade, you’ll love this feature.
A Powerful Library
Word processors don’t let you make a library. You often have to remember or find your documents among a plethora of other files and folders. Ulysses provides you with a single library that literally holds everything you write using the app. You don’t have to worry about saving or finding files, neither do you have to worry about the Word document accidentally shutting down, making you lose all your work.
The library feature also lets you sync all your work to your iCloud and your Dropbox folders so you can access your documents from any of your devices. Your work is automatically saved and backed up so you don’t have to worry about losing it. Most importantly, it also retains a history of the different versions of your documents. This is something you cannot do on a regular word processor without manually versioning it.
Also, unlike a regular word processor, Ulysses lets you break up your content into different sheets. So say you’re writing a 2,000 word article, you can break it up into 4 sheets, with each sheet containing 500 words. This way, you know which area you specifically want to improve, fix or edit. You can even reorder the sheets according to your preferences which means if you want to move one chunk of your article up or down, you can easily do it with the app. Once you’re done with the project, all you need to do is select all the sheets and export it as one final document.
If you want to be more efficient at organizing your work, you can also use groups to organize your project according to your preferences. Furthermore, you can use keyword tags to create filters for your own work. For people who have multiple writing projects, this ability to filter their work is efficient and helps them stay organized.
Publishing Your Work
Now, of course, at the end of all this, you want a quick feature that lets you export your work in different formats.
Ulysses has multiple file export and publishing features. You can export your writing as plain text, as HTML code, as a PDF, a Word document or even as a full-fledged ebook.
For bloggers and content publishers, you can publish your content directly into WordPress or Medium by simply associating your account with the app. You can also use the built-in live preview to see the final output of your content project.
Not only can you publish your work, but you can also directly export to Google Drive, to an email address or to any other third-party communication app.
Pros and Cons of Ulyssess Writing App
Although Ulysses is a great writing app, there are a few areas of improvement that can make the software even better.
Here are some pros and cons.
> Complete tutorial for new users
> Complete set of tools to optimize writing experience
> Ability to export directly to publishing mediums
> Ability to share in multiple formats
> Lifetime package not available
> Trial is only possible after subscription
> Requires new users to learn about markdown and keyboard shortcuts
Who is It For?
Whether you’re a content writer, a novel writer, a journalist, a publisher, a script-writer or a playwright, Ulysses works well for you. If you’re unhappy with MS Word or Google Docs and find them frustrating, you can use Ulysses instead. Those who write for a living will find this app a valuable investment especially since it does everything that you would need to complete your project or tasks.
The market has a plethora of writing apps and there are several competitors to Ulysses which we haven’t covered in this review. We suggest for you to try out the trial version and discover the full potential of the app. Although there are other similar apps, Ulysses stands out from the rest because of its affordability and it’s regular updates to include new features and options.
If you’re making money as a writer, $5/month is a good investment in a writing app that makes your writing experience pleasant as well as productive.
Ulysses$9.99 per month (Setapp)
- Complete tutorial for new users.
- Complete set of tools to optimize writing experience.
- Ability to export directly to publishing mediums.
- Ability to share in multiple formats.
- Lifetime package not available.
- Trial is only possible after subscription.
- Requires new users to learn about markdown and keyboard shortcuts.