Ulysses Makes Pasting Smarter

Did you ever paste some text and didn’t get the expected result? Then you should know about Smart Paste, available with the shortcut shift-cmd-v (⇧⌘V). For example, Smart Paste can help when

  • you like to paste a snippet of Markdown, HTML or Rich Text and convert its syntax or formatting , or
  • you’re writing a technical documentation and need to paste a code snippet that should be preserved.

Smart paste helps you to paste text the right way: It detects all appropriate ways for pasting to your sheet and lets you choose the one that fits your purpose.

Let’s give it a try and convert some custom Markdown into Ulysses syntax. First, select and copy the following text with cmd-c (⌘C).

Paste *this* snippet to [Ulysses](http://www.ulyssesapp.com/)!

Switch to a blank sheet in Ulysses and hit shift-cmd-v (⇧⌘V). This opens a small popover offering various pasting options. You also see a preview of the text to be pasted. Click the Markdown button to import the copied text. By that, it keeps the emphasis and creates a Ulysses link from the Markdown link. If you double click the pasted link, you’ll see that it still uses the same URL.

Pasting Markdown

Now let’s try an alternative: Hit shift-cmd-v (⇧⌘V) again, but this time select pasting as code. Instead of converting the Markdown syntax, Ulysses creates a code block containing an exact copy of the Markdown source code.

Pasting Code

What if you like to paste rich text from a website or a Pages document? Try it and copy the following text snippet:

This snippet contains different types of rich text formatting:

  • An unordered list
  • Strong and emphasized text
  • And even a link

Again, paste it to Ulysses using shift-cmd-v (⇧⌘V). This time, click on the Rich Text button to convert the formatting into markup. Bold text is converted to strong markup, the unordered list is preserved and the hyperlink is inserted as a Ulysses link object.

Pasting Rich Text

All Smart Paste options are also available in the Menu under Edit › Paste as and Edit › Paste from.

Syncing Ulysses and Daedalus via Dropbox

If you want to write on the go, you can do so with the iOS app Daedalus Touch. Sync with Ulysses to be able to edit these texts on your Mac. By default, synchronization between Daedalus and Ulysses happens via iCloud. Do you prefer not to rely on iCloud because your company does not allow using it, you like to edit your files with 3rd party apps, or for any other reason? You can actually use any file-based sync service. This blog post explains how to set up syncing with Dropbox.

To set up Dropbox syncing in Daedalus, tap on the action icon and select the sync icon. If you work with an iPad, you can simply tap on the sync icon located in the upper left corner. Select Last Sync on the red bar to get to the accounts available for syncing. In the appearing list, tap on Dropbox and sign in. After verification, the Dropbox account settings will pop up. You can adjust them to your needs.

Stack View Sync Button Sync View

Account View Dropbox Linking Dropbox Settings

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Out Now: “Writing a Novel with Ulysses”

Bestselling author David Hewson’s new book is now available for Kindle, iBooks and Nook.

During the past few years David Hewson sent us an email every now and then. Usually, they were about support questions: The British author is a long-term observer of the market for writing software, and he also bought and tested the two precedent versions of the current Ulysses. But only the latter was finally able to convince him.

Mail by David Hewson

Another email that also came in August was rather surprising: He approached us with the proposal to write a book about Ulysses. Needless to say that we were particularly pleased. David is a renowned author, writing makes for a great part of his daily routine, after all he is making a living of it. It is an honor and a recognition of our work that a professional writer like him counts on Ulysses and even shares his insights and experiences in a book.

David HewsonCover Writing a Novel With Ulysses

David’s mystery novels are read by millions of people all over the world. As a master of his trade, he also passed on his knowledge in several succesful guidebooks to aspiring authors. “Writing a Novel With Ulysses III” is the latest and now available for purchase. It is helpful to get a grasp of Ulysses’ approach to writing and its particular benefits for fiction authors. As suggested by its title, the book offers hands-on advice to get out the most of Ulysses for novel writing. The way Hewson approaches that specific task might even deliver some inspiration to those who consider themselves advanced users of the app.

The time of the release is about right for the book to assist one or the other NaNoWriMo writer reaching the 50.000 words goal. This year, we are sponsoring NaNoWriMo, and if you’re interested you can get a free preview sample of David’s book on our dedicated page.

“Writing a Novel With Ulysses” is now available on Kindle, iBooks and Nook. Look in your territory store, or follow these links for Amazon US, Amazon UK, iBooks, Nook.

Proudly Sponsoring NaNoWriMo, the Writer’s Hot Spot in the Month of November

The Soulmen sponsor NaNoWriMo 2014
We are sponsoring NaNoWriMo 2014

In November, hundreds of thousands of writers meet up over at NaNoWriMo’s. All of them share the same goal: writing 50.000 words in just 30 days – a novel. It may sound a little freaky, but when you think about it, the idea is making perfect sense. Everyone has a book in them, many feel the desire to set it free, but only a chosen few find enough time to do so in their daily lives. NaNoWriMo is a call to revise your priorities, to limelight creativity for a limited period of time – and a testimony that it actually can be done. And could there be any better time for that than the month of November, with its rains and storms and decreasing daylight?

This year, for the first time, we are sponsoring NaNoWriMo. First, because we want to support this project and the message of writing as a great way to live out your creativity. Second, because the time is ripe. Ulysses is built on more than 11 years of experience in creating apps for creative writing. First published around one and a half year ago, the app underwent two big updates and is now equipped for a rather complex task like writing a novel. We believe many aspiring authors who don’t know yet about Ulysses could profit from its approach to writing. This is why we’d like to give them the opportunity to get familiar with the app.

Writing a Novel With Ulysses III Sample Cover

On our dedicated NaNoWriMo page, we are offering November novelists a special trial to explore Ulysses’ features. They can also get an exclusive preview of David Hewson’s forthcoming book “Writing a Novel With Ulysses”, which we think will be of great help to reach their ambitious goal.

You have already embraced Ulysses? Then, this is a great opportunity to recommend the app to your friends. Or could you use some professional advice on how to approach a novel with Ulysses yourself? Of course you are also happily invited to sign up and get the free eBook sample!

No matter if you are a Ulysses novice or a day one user: If you take the decision to dedicate to novel writing in November, we wish you best of luck. If you want to buddy up, here is where to find me on NaNoWriMo. (As I am new to the novel writing game I could do with some moral support.)

Helping You to Keep Track of Things: Filters

We’ve recently written a post about effectively using keywords. However, there is one extra trick that we’d like you to be aware of and thats the use of filters. Filters are very handy when it comes to keeping track of your writing progress. So, it’s time we take a closer look at this indispensable tool.

You can filter the sheets in every section, group or sub-group in your library. Adding filters can be done in three different ways. You can right-click on the group whose sheets you want to filter, or you can use the File Menu. Our preferred way of adding filters is to click the + icon located in the bottom-left corner of the window. Then, select New Filter.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 18.32.46

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Bestselling Author David Hewson About Writing and His Forthcoming Book About Ulysses

David Hewson, Foto Dingena Mol / Crimezone Magazine
British author David Hewson

David Hewson is a bestselling British author and has published more than 20 mystery novels and several guidebooks for aspiring authors. His work includes three adaptations of the award-winning Danish TV series The Killing that have been acclaimed across international markets. Hewson’s books have been translated into more than 25 languages and his latest series, set in Amsterdam and launched with The House of Dolls, is in development for Dutch TV.

How did you become a writer of all things? Did you dream about it when you were a child, or did it rather happen by chance?

One way or another I’ve always written for a living. I left school at 17 and became a reporter on a little newspaper in England and later worked for The Times, Sunday Times and Independent as a journalist. But I always loved books and dreamed of being an author. Finally twenty years ago I managed it when my first book was bought and turned into a movie. I later gave up journalism to be a full-time author. Journalism offers some great lessons for being a novelist. You learn to edit, not be precious about your words and to get on with the job. But you also have to accept that fiction is fiction and depends on making things up. The elements that make a novel work should get you sacked in journalism because essentially you’re trying to be a convincing liar.

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Categorize Your Sheets Using Keywords

When you’re writing a book with many characters or places it’s convenient to be able to filter all scenes starring the same character or place. Or maybe you’re a blogger and want to keep track of which blog posts are rough drafts and which are ready for publishing. In these and many more cases you might want to take a look at keywords.

For starters, you can add keywords to a single sheet by clicking Attach › Keywords… in the top right corner of the Editor. This is also accessible as part of the Edit menu.

Adding a keyword in the Editor

If you’d like to add keywords to multiple sheets, select them in the sheet list, open the context menu and click on Keywords…. If the selected sheets have different keywords, the popover will feature two parts. The field at the top contains all keywords that are attached to all sheets you’ve selected. To add more keywords simply enter them here. The lower half of the popover is a collection of keywords that are only present in a subset of the selection.

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Designing the Ulysses Editor

Ulysses is intended to be a great tool for any kind of writing, equipped with elaborate organizing features and a powerful export function. However, the core piece of the app is the editor – the part where you, well, write. Minutes of a chat with Soulmen co-founder Max Seelemann.

Max Seelemann
Max Seelemann, cofounder of The Soulmen

How important is the editor for Ulysses as a whole? 

Well, Ulysses is a writing application. And while there must be features for organization and export, users spend most of their time writing – in the editor. The editor is clearly the most important of all parts, and using it needs to be the most pleasant experience. We placed the same emphasis on the editor during the creation of Ulysses: the overall development of the first version took about 18 months, and of that we spent almost one year on the editor alone.

Why did you go for plain text editing in the first place?

Many writers are eventually more productive using plain text. It is a bit like writing on a classic typewriter, or even writing on paper. You’re not distracted by anything – when there are no formatting options, you can focus entirely on your text.

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Attention: Upgrading to iCloud Drive in iOS 8 Will Prevent Syncing

Ulysses users relying on iCloud sync of various machines or with the iOS app Daedalus Touch: Please do not upgrade to iCloud Drive on your iPhone or iPad. In case you upgrade to iCloud Drive after installing iOS 8, you will no longer be able to sync your texts stored in Ulysses running on OS X Mavericks! iCloud Drive is a new storage system that syncs with the yet to be released OS X 10.10 Yosemite operating system only.

In order to prevent syncing problems, please make sure to select “Not now”, when asked if you want to upgrade to iCloud Drive during the iOS 8 installation process.
iCloud Drive

There is no workaround and no way to undo this change: Once you upgraded to iCloud Drive on any of your mobile devices, syncing will only work with devices that run iOS 8 or OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Please also note that this applies to all apps relying on iCloud syncing. For more details, please refer to this article by Realmac’s Nik Fletcher.

PS: This post was updated on September 24, 2014 to take into account that not only users of the iOS app Daedalus Touch but all Ulysses users relying on iCloud sync are affected by this problem.

Make Yourself Comfortable – A Guide on Customizing Your Writing Environment in Ulysses, Part 2

This is the second part of our 10-step-guide to make Ulysses’ editor your writing home. In case you missed steps 1 to 4: this way please.

Step 5: Adapt Editor Settings

Preferences allow you to adjust the settings of the editor. Feel like a different line height and indented first line would make for a nicer look? Give it a try.


You can also set paragraph spacing. Default for this is Zero, since many of us tend to simply put a blank line to structure our writing. With Page Width, you can alter the number of characters before a line breaks. And finally, there are two different cursors to choose between.

See how such tiny adjustments affect the appearance of the editor:

Font: Georgia, Line Height: 1, First Line Indent: 2

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