Over the past decade of my career, I’ve used so many writing apps that you’d turn blue in the face if I listed them all. From MacJournal to Byword, 1Writer to Quip, they’re all really good for their intended uses. But for my general writing needs these days, I’ve settled on Ulysses for iPad and Mac from The Soulmen. It’s just damn good.
These are a few of my favorite things. Check the gallery below to see some of this in action:
- Ulysses goes beyond text editing to help organize files in the app right next to where I’m working. Also: customizable folder icons to help me find them faster
- Yet it’s really easy to hide the sidebar and focus on writing. Call it distraction-free if you like
- A favorites section, so I don’t have to drill into Finder folders for the stuff I’m working on right now
- An easily collapsible panel to store notes, keywords, and attachments for each piece (which sync with iPad). This is invaluable to me in a writing app, yet so few do it (on Mac, toggle it with Cmd-4. I haven’t checked whether the iPad edition supports keyboard shortcuts, I mostly touchscreen type these days)
- That panel also has a Goals tool (see screenshots) where you can set a goal of writing, say, “at least” 1000 words a day on a big project, or “at most” 800 words on a piece with a hard word count. A really nice, useful touch
- Excellent Markdown support with a running preview so I don’t have to look at icky URLs while I write
- It supports footnotes (admittedly I haven’t had to use them yet, but I intend to)
- A Cmd-O panel to quickly open any file in your library, no matter how buried in subfolders. Type a couple letters to search and go
- iCloud sync that works. I don’t know if they’re wielding some special magic, but it’s been rock solid for me between iPad and Mac
- Just in case sync ever fails (because hey, it’s sync), Ulysses has its own custom backup and restore tool built on Apple’s Time Machine tools. It looks great, but over the last six months or so I honestly haven’t had to use it once
- A great, quick word count panel on iPad at the bottom of the document and a popoover on Mac (Cmd-7)
- A good set of export and publishing options: copy a piece to the clipboard as Markdown or HTML, open in other apps, create PDFs or eBooks (yep, even on iPad!), and more recently, publish directly to Medium as a draft
I could probably make this list three times as long, but why bother. If you write, Ulysses is just fantastic and worth its price, hands down. You can buy it via my affiliate iPad and Mac links, or you can get a Mac trial at The Soulmen’s site.
I can’t recommend it enough.