Ulysses App Review: Note Taking for Mac and iOS

Ulysses App Review

If you’re a Mac or iOS user who has your writing spread out between a word processing software program and several other mobile apps for note taking and storage, it’s time to consider a more cohesive option. Productivity in writing is impacted by so many different factors and tied to many of them is the lack of one program that can do it all.

Imagine for a moment that everything you need to write a chapter, blog post, or even a whitepaper is right there at your fingertips. That would be a writer’s paradise, and Ulysses is the next best thing according to users. Mac and iOS users who have tried word processing software, or even Scrivener and EverNote for writing projects and found them lacking will benefit from giving it a spin. It takes a do-it-all approach to writing projects that is both useful and refreshing.

What Kind of Writers Are Use It?

  • Authors
  • Content Strategists
  • Journalists
  • Stand-up Comedians and Comedy Writers
  • Bloggers
  • Researchers
  • Screenwriters
  • Developers
  • Artists
  • Playwrights
  • D&D Gamers

Ulysses App Review: The Basics

Ulysses III is a plain text editor with additional functionality for Mac, iPad, and iPhone users and as expected is a more powerful version of Ulysses I or II. One of the only downsides might be that’s it’s only available for Mac users. The price for this feature packed professional writing app is $44.95 after the free trial period ends. The iOS app is half the price at $24.99; both give great value for the money. Features between the desktop app and mobile app are nearly identical and easily sync back and forth for write anywhere capability.

Ulysses App Review: Benefits for Writers


Every experienced writer knows that focus and staying free of distractions is one of the keys to writing productivity. Ulysses understands this and helps writers increase productivity by encouraging your immersion in the text. It’s packed with powerful features which stay out of your way until you need them.

It’s an app that rivals any other distraction-free writing app with three modes including full screen, dark (for easier writing at night), and minimal. If you need to multitask, to make revisions or compare documents, it offers split screen view. Customize your text editor with the colors and themes that let you work best.

Ulysses lets you work in the way that’s most comfortable for you. Keyboard warriors can completely operate everything without the mouse. Typewriter Mode can be enabled and adjusted, so your current line of text remains where YOU want it, center, top, or even bottom of the page. iPad and iPhone users can make full use of external keyboards. It’s even fully accessible using VoiceOver which means you can work completely hands-free if needed.

Organize Your Way with Ulysses

The unified library holds everything. No need to save, the app takes care of this for you. This may be disconcerting for writers at first, but once you learn to rely on the Ulysses Library to keep your writing at your fingertips, you’ll love it.

Organize writing by project, by chapter, subject, or any sub-group that works for you. Use tags and filters to organize your writing further if needed. In fact, those that love to organize may have to be careful not to use the organizational features to procrastinate writing! Attach notes, images, keywords, PDF files, or anything else you need to reference during your writing right to your writing sheet.

Customized Settings

  • Writing Goals: Ulysses lets you set goals for each sheet or group you’re working on. Goals can be as a minimum or maximum or even just a guide value. NaNoWriMo participants can set goals based on words, or even characters, lines, number of sentences, or pages.Color-coded icons appear next to each sheet or group of sheets. The indicator is blue when writing starts and turns green when a goal is met or red if a goal is overshot. This lets you quickly see and track progress toward goals. Let’s face it; we need all the motivation we can get as writers and sometimes that little icon pushing you through to your goal can be just the motivation you need to write just a little bit more.
  • Themes: Choose a theme you like from the pre-loaded choices or check out user-created themes on the website. If you still can’t find a theme you like from the many downloadable options and you have the time, create your own customized theme in the preferences panel. Need help creating your customized theme? You’ll find a guide for how to do this on the website too.

Mobile Capability

Mobile apps share nearly identical functions and lightning fast syncing using the powerful iCloud. Write anytime your muse shows up whether it’s the mall, at the coffee shop, or on that camping trip with your college roommates.

Export and Sharing

Once you’ve gotten the words on the page, turn your inspiration into attractive Word or PDF documents with ease. Or if you prefer, create perfectly styled and formatted e-books for publication using the built-in export styles. If you write film scripts, use the Filmscript PDF Style to transform your text into screenplay format. Use quickly and easily anywhere on the Web by exporting your documents to HTML files.

The Live Preview feature and capability to publish from within the program directly to Medium or WordPress is revolutionary. Share your text with others or even directly to other apps quickly and easily using the Share and Open-In features. The problem of exporting images that often comes with Markdown files has also been solved with TextBundle, a new file format that offers a workaround for those pesky sandbox limitations on Mac.

Does your current writing setup seem to be lacking or just need a little boost? If so, get yourself up and running with a Ulysses free trial and see if it meets your writing needs. And hey, if you’re a writer or freelancer who is already using Ulysses for Mac or iOS, share your likes and dislikes with us in the comments. We’d love to hear what it’s doing for your writing productivity.

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