NaNoWriMo 2015: Put Ulysses to the Test

Write Your Novel With Ulysses

We’re proudly sponsoring NaNoWriMo – and invite participants to use Ulysses for free!

When I first heard about NaNoWriMo, I found it hard to believe. People commit to write a novel of 50.000 words in only one month? Hundreds of thousands of people, without a perspective to publish, just for fun? Later, my astonishment turned into fascination. I realized: They’re right. It is the writing that makes you a writer. That’s why Wrimos write during November, even if it’s hard and sometimes painful.

We sponsor NaNoWriMo 2015

Writing 50,000 words in a month is a lot, and inspiration alone won’t get you there. As a Wrimo, you also need an iron will, sufficient time – and the right tool. A tool you’re feeling comfortable with, because the two of you are going to spend a lot of time together. A tool that’s easy to use, because you just won’t have the peace and quiet to read whopping software manuals. (Has anyone, eventually?) A tool that is powerful enough to let you keep track of your text even if it grows longer – because this is definitely going to happen during November. In short: Wrimos need Ulysses. And that’s why we’re inviting them to try it and write their novel with Ulysses – and that for free. Our dedicated NaNoWriMo trial of Ulysses for Mac is immediately available and can be used until December 7 without any limitation.

NaNoWriMo is about passion for writing, so is Ulysses, and we’re aiming to introduce Ulysses to more passionate writers. NaNoWriMo’s conditions are perfect for putting Ulysses to the test. To make onboarding even easier and help Wrimos to make the most of the app, we also offer a free tutorial e-mail course and an introductory webinar.

Writing A Novel with Ulysses

And that’s not all: The first 200 Wrimos to make the jump and purchase either Ulysses for Mac or Ulysses for iPad, are eligible to receive a free copy of David Hewson’s e-book “Writing A Novel with Ulysses”. It’s a hands-on guidebook for aspiring novelists by someone who knows his business in and out. David is a bestselling British mystery author, who has published over 20 novels, and whose books have been translated into more than 25 languages. His guide covers all the aspects of Ulysses a writer needs to master in order to produce a finished book. For more information, please visit

So, dear reader of this blog, are you one of the brave writers who are going to set forth to write a novel in November? We’re wishing you all the strength you need to stand through this, with Ulysses as a loyal companion by your side. Good luck!

P.S. If you’re not a NaNoWriMo participant but a Ulysses newbie keen to learn all about it, please feel free to register for the e-mail course and the webinar as well.

4 Secret Ulysses Tips for Power Users

Ulysses is made with love and attention to detail. Here are four hidden features that can help improve your efficiency and keep you in your creative flow. The first three tips focus on Ulysses for Mac, whereas the last tip is for the iPad users out there.

Navigating Your Sheets with the Arrow Keys

In case you’re one to write long sheets with many (sub-)headings, the Navigation panel is the best way to jump to different headings and/or bookmarks. Press the respective in the toolbar to open it, or use the shortcut ⌘8 (command-8).


If you’re keen on staying in the flow without having to move your hands from the keyboard, just use the arrow keys and Return to jump to any heading within the sheet itself.

Finding Your Sheets When Using Filters

Filters can be used to group certain sheets together, based on a number of different criteria. For instance, you might keep a filter with your “Work in Progress”, but would like to jump to the group containing the actual sheets, because you’d like to look at the context. In these cases, “Reveal in Group” is a very handy feature, which can be done by right-clicking on your sheet in the filter. This way, Ulysses automatically jumps to the correct location, opening the sidebar if need be.


Jumping Back to Where You Left Off

In case you’d like to resume working on one of your sheets, just double-click on it in the Sheet List to automatically resume writing where you last left off. This nifty trick actually works for all sheets, also those you haven’t been working on for a while.

Reordering Groups on the iPad

On the iPad, creating and moving groups around is just as easy as on the Mac. However, due to the absence of a cursor, there are some extra steps involved. This is where the “Edit” button on the bottom of your sidebar comes in. When you tap on it, a button with three Bars is revealed behind each group. These are the “handles” – just press and hold any of these to move and reorder your groups.


You could also change the group hierarchy this way. By dragging a group to the left, you can move it higher, and dragging it to the right turns a group into a sub-group of the group above.

4 Ways to Use Ulysses’ Attachments to Organize Your Freelance Writing

Although I’ve spent most of my working life as an employee, from time to time I’ve taken freelance jobs – and since I work here, my favorite tool for these is… well, you guessed right. One reason for this are Ulysses’ attachments. So, while I believe that this feature of Ulysses is helpful to almost any writer out there, I would like to share some special tips for freelance writers, taken from my own experience.

What Is This, and How Can I Use It?

Ulysses attachments can be keywords, goals, notes as well as images and PDF files. They belong to a sheet, but not to the text on that sheet, i.e. they will not be included when you export. You can access attachments via the paperclip button you’ll find on the toolbar of Ulysses for Mac and on the button row of Ulysses for iPad, respectively.

Access attachments in Ulysses for Mac (top) and iPad (bottom)

To attach a certain type of attachment, click or tap the respective icon.

Attachments types: keywords, goals, notes and images/PDF files (from left to right)
Attachments types: keywords, goals, notes and images/PDF files (from left to right)

1. Keep Everything You Need at Reach

I found that having to search my hard drive or mail inbox while I’m trying to finish a writing job will interrupt my flow and disrupt my focus. That’s why I like to have everything I need at reach, for quick reference. With image attachments, I can not only add images in most formats, but even PDF documents. So they can perfectly hold a strategy paper, a website mockup, a keyword analysis, you name it, and give me instant access. On the Mac, I can even detach images and PDFs, adapt the window size as I need and leave them permanently open.

Image Attachment

2. Use Notes for Reference Links and Text Comments

If the infomation I need to reference regularly is on a website, I type it as a functional link into a note attachment. A note is for text comments, and you can use all of Ulysses’ markup here as well. So, if I receive a text briefing via email, I copy-paste it into a note. Plus I type down verbal agreements I made with the client personally or on the phone.

Note attachment with link

3. Track Your Progress With Goals

Two pages of a magazine, one paragraph in a brochure: Freelance writers often work on a character limit. With goal attachments, I can determine how much I have to (or want to) write until I consider a text finished. Available goal types are about, at least and at most. I mostly use characters including spaces, and this is certainly common, but you can also measure your progress in words, paragraphs, pages etc. When the attachment bar is closed, the state of a goal will be indicated by a tiny circle icon.

Goal attachment

4. Organize Your Workload with Keywords and Filters

If you’re a busy freelance writer juggling with different clients and timelines, this might be just the right tip for you. I label my texts with keyword attachments, according to their state from new to finished – not only the freelance work, but also blogposts and marketing copy I write for The Soulmen. Additionallly, I have set up a filter group that displays anything labelled with the keyword “Work in Progress”, so I can always see at a glance what I am currently working on. If you want, you can take that even further, with keywords and filters for text that are new, that need revision, have been submitted for approval or already published – just as an example. Actually, keywords can be anything that you think makes sense for your organization.

Keywords and Filters

Self-Publishing for Absolute Beginners

A Really Short Introduction to Ebook Creation and Distribution with Ulysses and iBooks

Cover Image

Have you ever thought about publishing your texts, but never put that thought into action? Well, you could probably tackle that job right now – it is easier than you think! Let me walk you through the process step by step.

Note: You can use either Ulysses for Mac or Ulysses for iPad to create your ebook. For publishing it with iBooks, however, you’ll need a Mac running OS X 10.9 or later. And – this should go without saying – you have to hold the copyright for the content you publish.

Read …

“It Took Me at Least Seven Years to Call Myself a Writer”

Murmel Clausen is a German writer of screenplays, scripts for TV shows and series as well as novels, most of them in the comedy genre. Among other things, he collaborated on the western parody “Manitou’s shoe” which was one of the most successful German movies since 1945. His first novel was made into a film by the German actor and director Matthias Schweighöfer.

Murmel, could you please tell us how you got around to doing what you do?

Murmel Clausen
Murmel Clausen

I have to blame and thank my old friend Max Witzigmann for that. He worked for a radio station in Munich after graduating from school and asked me in 1994 to do a comedy show with him. So I had to write my first skits and had a great time doing so. Some of the stuff is still pretty funny. Then Max introduced me to a TV producer who hired me for a comedy show as a writer. But I have to admit that it took me another, well, at least seven years to call myself that.

Have you always wanted to do this, or did it rather happen by chance? Or let me ask the other way round: Have your ever considered an “ordinary” profession such as clerk, baker or teacher?

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Get More Out of Your Text Statistics

If you’ve ever written a longer text, you certainly wanted to know how much you’ve actually written so far. This is where statistics come in pretty handy. In Ulysses, access to word count or the number of pages is very easy.

If you’re working with Ulysses for Mac, simply click the gauge icon on the top right or hit ⌘7 (command-7) to open the Statistics popover. It’s filled with all sorts of useful information about the current sheet:


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Teammates Wanted!

A couple of weeks ago we’ve moved to a brand new office here in Leipzig. And you know what? There are some desks still to be taken!

Leipzig Office

The last months were amazing for us as a company, with a couple of great releases and bringing Ulysses – finally! – to iPad. (We’ve also received a great amount of wonderful, very motivating feedback – thanks again.)

But we’ve still got so many plans for Ulysses! That’s why, as an exception, this blogpost is not mainly directed to writers, but to developers and designers, who are keen to help us make Ulysses an even better writing app. So, do you happen to be either one and live in Leipzig or Hamburg (or can imagine to do so)? Are you up to becoming part of The Soulmen’s friendly, funny, mixed-age, mixed-gender, multi-national team? If your answers are both times yes, you should check out our job offers:

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For a More Pleasant Workplace: Great New Ulysses Themes

Scenery iPad Air - 161 - 13-08-15 12-38

A pleasant workplace (and what else is a writing software for a writer?) is indispensable for enjoying what you do. And it's a matter of taste, too. Ulysses’ themes are for defining the colors of your editor so that you like it best. So, if you're up to a new look for your favorite writing app: I've browsed and curated a couple of themes created by other Ulysses writers well worth looking at.

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5 Easy Tweaks for Your DOCX or PDF Output

You are probably aware that Ulysses lets you export your writings to a host of standard formats with just a few clicks. Thereby, the so-called styles are used to define the look of the final document. Ulysses ships with a couple of pre-selected styles, and you can download many more on the Ulysses Style Exchange. If you own Ulysses for Mac, you can even adjust these styles according to your own taste and needs. Here is a selection of small tweaks with huge effects for instant use. They neither require a technical introduction nor previous knowledge on your part.

DOCX PDF Style Tweaks Read …

Ulysses 2.1.1 Is Now Available


Before I started working here, I didn’t know much about software development. To be honest, I was more the average type of user. Although I still can’t code, I certainly learned a couple of things about the process. For example this one: Every major release is followed by a minor release with improvements and bug fixes for flaws discovered in the late beta phase, or even after the release. We are (of course) always doing our best to ship well-rounded updates with as little flaws as possible. But since developing software, or at least developing a writing software named Ulysses, is such a complex thing (learned lesson No. 2), there is always something to improve or to perfect. That’s why there are x.x.1 updates. Now you know, too.

Ulysses 2.1.1 is now available for Mac and iPad, and here is what’s inside:

  • DOCX export now supports changing character spacing and setting highlight colors,
  • PDF export got an option to enable justification of lines ending with line breaks,
  • Sheets can also be split at the very beginning or end,
  • Plus a number minor improvements and fixes.

For details, feel free to check out the release notes. And, at the risk of repeating myself: Please consider rating or reviewing Ulysses on the App Store. Because it helps a lot. Thanks!