As ProWritingAid users, we know you like a bit of writing tech. We do, too! And so over the next few months, we are going to be running a new series looks at some of the leading writing platforms that our users have told us they love. This month, we’re covering Ulysses.
Do you get distracted by formatting and presentation while typing in your word processor? If so, you might want to check out Ulysses, a Mac app for writers who need a bit of help staying focused. As I type this article, there’s nothing on my screen, but these words. The more distractions you can eliminate, the more words you can get down on the page. And it’s all about the words, isn’t it?
How It Works
Ulysses is a straightforward text editor that lets you write your manuscripts, blog posts, articles, or any content without having to lift your hands from the keyboard. This keeps you focused on writing instead of formatting. And it helps you write faster.
All you see as you type is the text, thanks to the Markup-based text editor. Simply put, this editor is text only, and it uses characters to mark headlines, highlight important passages, or even add notes to your work. Here’s what my screen looks like as I type this article (Click to zoom):
Quite different from the finished product, isn’t it?
There are no separate files to manage when you work with Ulysses. Everything is saved within the app’s Library. You can create groups and subgroups to organize your work, and you can also use favorites and filters to help you find things quickly. With Ulysses, there’s no more going back and forth between your document and the File Finder window when you’re working on multiple projects or with several documents at once.
Say, for example, you’re writing Chapter 9 of your novel, and you can’t remember something you used in Chapter 1. Ulysses lets you quickly click on the “sheet” that contains Chapter 1 and search to find what you need. You can also attach notes to your work to help you stay organized or even attach images from your research. This is great for information you need while writing, but that doesn’t need to be included in your document.
And it’s all contained within the same library, so instead of needing multiple files for your work, you can have a single group in Ulysses containing all of your sheets (or chapters), images, footnotes, and annotations which are part of your final manuscript AND your research, web pages, and images that aren’t.
Ulysses has apps for a Mac computer, iPad, and iPhone, meaning you can take your work with you wherever you go. If you’re all things Apple, Ulysses automatically saves your work to iCloud, giving you the freedom to travel anywhere and have your latest manuscript with you. Not only do you have full iCloud synchronization, but Ulysses is almost identically featured between your laptop, your tablet, and your phone.
When it’s time to publish your work, you can export your writing in a variety of preset formats like plain text, HTML, ePub, PDF, or DOCX. You also have the ability to publish your drafts direct to Medium to share your stories with others.
Another special feature that’s of use to writers is the ability to set writing goals. If you need to make sure you meet a word goal for a project, like 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, or you need to keep tabs so you don’t go over the word limit for a blog post or article, you can set word or character limits in Ulysses.
At ProWritingAid, we’re always interested in ways to make writing easier and more productive. Give Ulysses a try. There’s a free demo on the website so you can test drive it to see if it might work for you. We’d love to hear what you think.
Next month, we’ve got a special piece for Scrivener lovers out there. In July, we’ll cover ILYS and in August, The Novel Factory.
Until then, happy writing!
Interested in writing technology? Check out these posts from our archive:
- Ten Top Tools for Bloggers – Save Time, Stay Organized, and Create Content that Rocks
- Ten Free Writing Apps and Tools
- 7 Powerful Tools to Help You Break Through Writer's Block
- 6 Best Editorial Tools for Writers & Editors