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Ulysses 15 Review: Split View on the Mac, Remote Images, Improved iPad Multitasking, and More

When a productivity app feels like it's reached maturity, it's in a dangerous position: if active development is neglected, the app will start to stagnate amidst a changing world, but on the other hand, if change is pursued for its own sake, the app can easily become bloated and an inferior product overall.

Ulysses 15 for Mac and iOS deftly navigates those potential dangers by offering thoughtful enhancements to existing features, plus new features that truly serve to enhance the core task of writing. There are improvements to image previews, writing goals, export previews, and keywords, plus big upgrades to how the editor can be set up on both the Mac and iPad.

The core app remains largely the same, but it's now more compelling than ever before.

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Choosing Your Markdown Editor: A Comparison of Ulysses and Drafts

One thing the MacStories team loves to do is constantly try new apps, compare the serious contenders in each app category, and settle on the app that suits us best. Most of the time this app evaluation process takes place on a merely private level, for personal purposes, but today I wanted to share in public an in-depth comparison and analysis of two excellent writing apps: Drafts and Ulysses.

These two apps have been on my mind a lot in recent months. To share some context, I have used Ulysses as my primary Markdown editor almost exclusively since early 2016. During that time I’ve been very happy with the app, even through its transition last year to a subscription model. I’ve continued trying out the latest updates from Ulysses’ competitors, of course, but nothing else has stuck for me. However, there's one app I’ve long wanted to give a serious look at, but hadn’t been able to until recently: Drafts 5.

Tim Nahumck’s review of Drafts was the first tug on my interest, causing me to follow updates to the app with a close eye. Then Federico had a successful experience writing his iOS 12 review in Drafts 5. Ultimately, I couldn’t resist giving the app a serious shot any longer.

Drafts and Ulysses are very different apps in many ways. However, they share in common being powerful Markdown editors. In this article I’ll walk through their similarities, divergences, and ultimately share which app I’ve decided to write in going forward. The goal is not to say which app is better, as the answer to that question is entirely subjective. Instead, I want to help you decide which app is likely best for you.

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Learn Ulysses: Easy Video Tutorials for the Best Writing and Ideas App [Sponsor]

Learn Ulysses is a video course from The Sweet Setup, a site known for picking the best apps in certain categories. Their pick for the best writing app on Mac, iPad, and iPhone is Ulysses, and with their Learn Ulysses videos, The Sweet Setup can help you get the most out of the app.

There’s a lot of power just under the surface of Ulysses’ simple interface. It’s the power-user features that make Ulysses more than just a simple text editor. Tools for document organization, exporting to a wide range of formats, filtering, and more make Ulysses a complete writing environment.

The Sweet Setup created their Learn Ulysses course to help users get the most out of Ulysses’ power. The seven high-quality videos will get you up and running with all the features of Ulysses so that you can stay on top of your ideas, your writing, and more. Each tutorial dives deep into the details making even complex topics easy to follow and understand.

Each video can be streamed or downloaded, and there are full transcripts of each so you can pick up tips even when you can’t access video. In addition to the videos, Learn Ulysses includes bonus content. There’s a cheat sheet highlighting keyboard shortcuts and additional features and interviews with writers, in which each explains their Ulysses setup and workflow, which is a fantastic way to get ideas about how to use the app yourself.

The Sweet Setup has a special deal for MacStories readers. This week only, you can get the Learn Ulysses video tutorials and all the bonus content for 20% off by visiting learnulysses.com.

Our thanks to Learn Ulysses for sponsoring MacStories this week.



Ulysses 12: Writing on iOS Has Never Been Better

This summer Ulysses announced a major business model shift, with its iOS and macOS apps moving from up front purchases to subscription supported. As tends to happen, the move stirred up some controversy. In my mind at least, the company’s reasoning was sound – as the app’s co-founder stated, “Writers want to rely on a professional tool that is constantly evolving, and we want to keep delivering just that.”

Today brings the first major update to Ulysses following its switch to subscriptions. Bolstered by Apple’s recent focus on evolving the iPad platform, Ulysses 12 is primarily an iOS release; while the Mac version gains some improvements, it clearly isn’t the centerpiece here. Ulysses on iOS gains drag and drop support, multi-pane editing, streamlined library navigation, and image previews – all of which make an already powerful writing tool even better.

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The Sweet Setup Launches ‘Learn Ulysses’ Video Course

Today The Sweet Setup launched a new ‘Learn Ulysses’ course that’s designed to help users get the most out of the powerful writing app.

The meat of Learn Ulysses is its seven video guides that walk through key aspects of the app in detail. Videos cover the following topics:

  1. Getting to Know Ulysses
  2. Writing Tips and Tricks
  3. The Ulysses Toolbar
  4. Main Features
  5. iPhone & iPad Apps
  6. Backup & Restore
  7. Powerful Search, Find, & Replace

Each video can be either streamed or downloaded, and they are all accompanied by full transcripts. The videos I’ve seen are of the highest quality; the team at The Sweet Setup has handled well the difficult task of going deep into Ulysses while still making everything easy to understand.

In addition to the seven main videos, Learn Ulysses includes bonus content such as a quick reference cheat sheet of additional features and keyboard shortcuts for the app. My personal favorite bonus is the included series of setup interviews, where different writers share exactly how they use Ulysses in their daily workflows. Some of these are in video form, while others are written. I always love hearing how others use a powerful app, as it helps me find new practices to adopt.

The regular price for Learn Ulysses is $29, but during launch week it’s available at 20% off for a discounted rate of $23. You can purchase the course here.