Ulysses

Last modified
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Category

Description of App

## The Long Overdue Update ### WordPress Publishing - Added publishing to WordPress.com and self-hosted blogs - Publish as Markdown or HTML - Offers post or draft, schedule, or immediate publish - Includes excerpt, feature image, post type, slug and title link options - Can auto-fill categories and tags based on keywords - Can auto-fill excerpt and feature image based on note and image attachments - Customizable preview using standard CSS ### Accessibility - Ulysses is now fully accessible: Utilize the whole app using VoiceOver commands ### Updates & Fixes - Added line, sentence and paragraph focus mode - Added searching for keywords and group names in Quick Open - Added sheet search for keywords - Updated iOS-style insertion point - Improved dragging of external folders/files to other applications - Added ability to edit color for filename tag - Reworked sorting of markup definitions - Improved introduction, added section on Markdown XL - Updated some PDF/DOCX export styles - PDF export: Reset page numbers after section breaks - Re-added a simplified RTF exporter - Glued sheets are again exported together - Read fenced code blocks as Raw Source in external folders - Fixed errors when creating backups - Fixed crash when editing keywords of an already broken sheet - Fixed crash when trying to register a markup for a sheet - Fixed crash when waking Mac from sleep - Fixed some hard-to-reproduce crashes when working with Ulysses for a longer time - Fixed crash when working under older versions of OS X 10.10 - Sheets can now always be filtered by their filename If you're happy with the app, please rate it, or even leave a review. This is the best way you can support us indie developers. Thanks a lot! group

Version

2.6

Free or Paid

Paid

Version Of macOS App Was Tested On

10.11

Accessibility Comments

Fully accessible

Usability

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments

The Solemn GbR put a considerable level of effort in to ensuring Ulysses is fully accessible.

Developer's Twitter Username
ulyssesapp

Recommendations

1 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Scott H 1 year 11 months ago

Options

Comments

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Sunday, September 17, 2017

[update: I cannot entirely recommend this app at present. As I noted i in an accessibility comment above, I discovered that export styes are not yet easy to edit in the app without a considerable workaround, thanks to their decision to code the Styles preference panel in an inaccessible way. Probably will be fixed in the next major version, though the problem has existed for a couple of years now. Also, I was caught in their switch to a subscription fee model. After paying a considerable sum and still not being able to format my documents for export 6 months later, I'll have to start subscribing next year and it will now be 4 years before I break even with the price paid by someone subscribing to the app today. Not really good customer service. I continue to use the app for the present.]
This program is not cheap, and with several other mainstream free options, it's important to understand who might benefit from it. The freee trial should really be lived with for awhile. I read what folks were saying about the app on here, and am glad I purchased it (since I do write long documents, I also purchased Scriviner, only to decide too late that it's just not a tool designed for the way I like to write). Although text-edit and Pages are perfectly adequate for most writing tasks, Ulysses has a couple of interesting advantages. I'll give my take on strengths and limitations below.
1) Its file system is proprietary, meaning that it doesn't store files in traditional folders you can access through finder or other apps. Although that's a limitation, I find that I really like being able to just arrow over to the Finder-like library paynes while I'm working in one document in order to open others. So, for people who flip around among multiple documents as part of a normal workflow, this is a productivity boost, so long as you don't mind staying in Ulysses itself for your writing projects. It's also easy to get other documents into the Ulysses "in box," but complex formatting will often be lost.
2) They aren't files and folders, btw: It calls particular documents "sheets," and folders are "groups." This is significant, because it's entirely up to you whether a sheet is a document or if a group is going to be your document and each sheet in the group is a section. For example, a book can be a group and chapters can be sheets; or, make subgroups for chapters in your novel and then sheets for scenes. Sheets and groups can be rearranged easily, as well as split and merged through the Action menu. The one drawback here is that the "page" is not a Ulysses concept, so page up/down don't do anything.
3) Ulysses upholds the dictim that content should be separated from visual presentation. While you write, you just type on the keyboard, period, using simple MarkDown characters to indicate what will become formatting later. For example headings start with number signs, one # per heading level, and emphasized text is *enclosed in asterisks*. The formatted document emerges when you "export" to pdf, word, html, etc, at which point you can define parameters like font, page numbering, indentation, and line spacing. Here's where you can "glue" sheets together within the library payne to create the document that others will see; but you've dragged each sheet around in the meantime like an outliner as needed.
4) MarkDown is a bit _ugly_ to **listen to**. If you work with documents that have a lot of formatting, this is a major down side. Most of what people write, though, is text, yes? Furthermore, tables are certainly doable in Ulysses, but you can't use VO table cell commands; so, tables read even uglier. Writing inside table cells has its own issues, however, so I've actually often wished for the ability to simply create tables using plain text and have it become a table later (in fact, I generally use "convert text to table" in Word). Insertion of images is also very much possible, even for Voiceover users.
5) Comments are simply ++text surrounded by plus signs++ or %%paragraphs with percent signs. You can also add a separate sheet of notes about a document, similar to Scriviner, and also add annotations that appear in a pop-out Window. Unlike comments, annotations will become footnotes on export. All of this is very nicely accessible. They know they have a lot of Voiceover users, and have made sure to label their special characters that enclose links and annotations.
6) Pressing cmd+8 brings up a navigation list that lets you navigate among headings in the current document, how ever that is defined: if sheets are glued together, it's all the headings in that unit; or, if not, it's only the headings in the current sheet. In version 2.8, there's no way to navigate among comments, and no way to filter which heading levels are displayed (e.g., it's not hierarchical). If you're still reading this, which you apparently are, consider shooting them an email to request that comments and collapsible heading levels be added to the navigation list. They said others had requested it, but they prioritize how soon features are implemented according to how many people request them. I'd also like to see the ability to navigate page up/down, because imported documents, such as OCR scans, will often have hard page breaks.
7) My favorite feature right now is "smart paste," which allows me to copy HTML source code from my Web sites and paste them into Ulysses as MarkDown. I had originally generated that html in Word, so that it's a mess of Word-inserted in-line codes. Pasting as MarkDown strips everything but the essential code. I can then copy the MarkDown to the clipboard and tell Ulysses to convert it to html for pasting back onto the Web.
For me personally, Ulysses isn't just a good way to write, it's the way I've always wanted to write, having cut my teeth in the early 80s when you always had to insert funky characters for formatting. Hearing the formatting characters just seems more reliable, in my experience, than turning attribute/font/indention/spacing announcements from the screen reader on or off. I've used Word since the early 90s--after the blessed WordPerfect 5.1 era ended, along with my productivity and creativity--and started hating it when they introduced the ribbon. It's better on Mac, since Mac OS forces them to retain some menus, but not all aspects of Word are optimized for accessibility and I've found too many glitches to be able to use it for my work. Ulysses is the means by which I can know with 100% certainty how my document will be formatted, and it puts the fewest steps between my writing and moving through my library. It was this program that made me decide that Mac+Ulysses can be at least as good a writing environment as Windows+Word. Even so, it ain't cheap, and I *still* can't avoid keeping a VM around for Windows and Word, since I collaborate with others at work on a weekly basis, if not daily. I do it this way, instead of sticking with Windows, because Ulysses doesn't crash the way Jaws does in Word when I move too fast or am doing too many things at once--conditions under which NVDA may not crash, but always slows down to the point where I lose time with every arrow keypress. I hate for this review to sound so much like a plug for the program. It's not for everybody. HTH, though.

Submitted by Halison Junior… on Friday, August 17, 2018

If I could make a small suggestion to the developers, would you want to use the shortcut to move rows, the control command and the arrow up / down also be used to move sheets in the sheets list. It would be much easier than having to simulate the mouse for users of the VoiceOver, and I believe that there are people like among the normal users who prefer to use the keyboard.

Optionally, the same shortcut could work in the list of groups to reposition a group in the library.

This together with the possibility of move sheets to another group by menu context would make my workflow incredibly easier, and, I believe, a lot of people more.

I look forward to the day that I can do these things!

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Friday, October 26, 2018

Looking back at the verbose review I posted last year, I'm surprised how positive it was. I stopped using Ulysses almost immediately, though I subscribed to it again yesterday to work on an online course project where I think it will boost my productivity. IMO, Ulysses is only useful under the following conditions.
1. You work alone. Locking all your content in its library makes it very awkward to exchange documents with others to work on collaboratively.
2. You don't care about layout. Ulysses is not a desktop publishing program, since the concept of a printed page doesn't even exist. I found myself abandoning the program because the documents I worked on at the time were destined for PDFs where I didn't want sections to bleed over onto the next page and layout really mattered. Word and Pages are better tools for print- or print-like documents.
3. You don't have a lot of tables. Amazingly, Ulysses hasn't done anything to support tables. I insert a code block and hard code the table as html in my Ulysses sheets. That's ok for blog posts and Web pages, but not for PDFs.
4. You aren't going to need to edit your work further after publishing. For my online projects, I found that I still naturally needed to edit, edit, edit after copying my text and pasting it into the online page editor on WordPress or my course management platform. So, Ulysses is just for the first draft or two. Then, if I wanted to copy it back to Ulysses for archiving, there's something messed up in the conversion, such that headings will now also have bold or italics around the text, blockquotes are not coded as they originally were, and blank lines are missing. These are the result either of my course management platform or the editable Ulysses style template.
5. You don't want to organize your library. I begged them back in version 11 (before that, actually) to add common-sense cut/paste shortcuts for moving library items, because mouse dragging is cumbersome and often unreliable. Just add the items to the right-click menu, for heaven's sake! We're in version 14 now and I once again asked them for this. Their response: no plans, but "consider your vote counted." Ok, so I guess that's two blind people's votes. I don't think we're going to win this election. Accessibility shouldn't be a matter driven by popular demand.
6. You don't also have Windows. You can use an external folder to keep actual markdown files in a location your Windows machine can access, and I do this a lot, but features like notes, annotations, embedding, and any other non-plain-text stuff is lost.
It's a good editor, even at a little over $3 per month, but only for a limited use case. I'm looking forward to using it on my upcoming Web projects.