Yummy: Text Objects

Text objects are a major ingredient to Ulysses' plain text writing recipe. Adding links, images, annotations to your texts is effortless on the Mac. Ulysses on iPad will be on par.

Let’s first have a quick look at links. Given you want add background information to your text, for example link to the Wikipedia entry about eucalyptus. Select the word, mark it up as link and enter the URL. Easy.

Annotate text with link

What if you want to add an image to your text? Position the cursor and select the markup for image. Choose one from the library, link it or take a photo. Add a title and a description if you want.

No matter if you add links, images, annotations or footnotes – it works effortlessly. And they’re always easily accessible – tap twice to display or edit.

Embedded Image

Once added, text objects blend in elegantly with your text. They’ll get a colorful emphasis but will not affect the flow of reading.

Annotated Text
They Do Not Disturb: Links, Annotations, Images

Older Posts: An Outlook on Ulysses for iPad

# 1 Ulysses! For iPad!
# 2 Writing on iPad, Ulysses' Recipe

Writing on iPad, Ulysses’ Recipe

When writers express what they like about Ulysses – which they fortunately do from time to time – they frequently say that Ulysses helps them to focus, to let the words flow, and that it is simply fun to write with the app. There is of course not just one single feature accounting for this – but undoubtedly Ulysses’ specific fashion of writing plays a major role.

Plain Text Editing With Ulysses

Ulysses works with Plain Text. You define text passages by marking them up with a couple of memorable signs, e.g. _ for emphasis. On the Mac, this allows for fluent writing, because these characters are easily accessible. But on iPad?

Button Row

We have created a multipart button row hosting Ulysses’ markup, plus frequently used special characters and functions. It sits directly above the iPad’s virtual keyboard and aims to qualify it for long-form writing (i.e. beyond instant messages).

With Ulysses’ button row, using markup on iPad is convenient. Well, of course it is not exactly the same as using a physical keyboard, but it comes darn close. And in parts, it is even superior, because the buttons are smart: They will automatically display the corresponding closing tag for the chosen markup.

Smart Button, Displaying Markup Closing Tag
Smart Button, Displaying
Markup Closing Tag

Yes, we believe that writing on iPad can be a pleasant affair, and we hope you’re going to concur. Now if we only could give these buttons this comforting clicking sound…

Ulysses! For iPad!

Ulysses for iPad

Yes, it’s Ulysses! And yes, it’s on iPad!

We discussed a little about how to start this preview series on our forthcoming Ulysses for iPad. What to show first? How much to show? And how to get you as excited as we are?

You’ll get to see a lot of Ulysses’ features over the course of the next couple of weeks, promised. But this very first post is dedicated to the news itself: Ulysses is coming to iPad.

Ulysses for iPad will be the very Ulysses you came to love on the Mac. Basically, you’ll be able to do what you’ve been doing with Ulysses for Mac. But on iPad.

Write text.

Set headlines.
Attach keywords.
A link. An image. A footnote.
Sort sheets.
Create filters.
Mark favorites.
Count characters.
Search. Replace.

Access all your texts, anytime.
Yes, anytime.

Start writing on the Mac and continue at the bus stop. In a café, on the train. Get back home and go instantly back to the Mac. Or rather write snugly on the sofa? It’s going to be your choice, and we believe it won’t be an easy one…

Ulysses for iPad

Can you tell we’re excited?
We’re excited.

Secret Santa Is Bringing You Stickers

These are exciting times. Ulysses will soon be getting a little brother (or sister, who knows?) for iPad, while the Mac version is going to celebrate its second anniversary only a few months from now. Our ideal conception has always been to make Ulysses your place to write no matter where you are. Bringing it to iPad means a great leap forward towards turning this into reality.

A New Icon

Time to Say Goodbye
Ulysses-U: Time to Say Goodbye

Which brings us to the stickers: Since we’re doing a big leap anyway, we decided to take the chance and get a fresh visual overhaul as well. Yes, it’s time to say goodbye to the good old Ulysses-U. Did you know it’s resembling an ancient greek harp touching on the Ulysses odyssey, while still forming the letter U? If you didn’t, then never mind. After staring at it for 14 years now, we decided it was time for a change.

Coming the big release day, Ulysses for Mac and iPad will ship with shiny new icons. We teamed up with the fabulous Jono Hunt to do a completely new take on what could represent a writing app called “Ulysses”. After three months of drawing, discussing and tweaking, the results are … secret. Well, sort of …

And Secret Stickers

But since it’s Christmas, here’s your chance to still see them ahead of time. All you need to do is to write us a picture postcard to the following address, we’ll then send you back some stickers! (And don’t forget to include your own address.)

The Soulmen GbR
Münzgasse 1
04107 Leipzig

Please be a little patient with Santa, he agreed to drop by at our office after the holidays…

We’re looking forward to an overflowing mailbox!
Happy holiday season to everyone!

Xmas Comes Early: Join the Ulysses for iPad Beta!

Time to remove all doubt: Yes, we are (hard) at work bringing Ulysses to iPad! And it won’t be “light” or “basic” or limited to certain functionalities, but will offer the fully fledged writing environment you know from the desktop. It is going to be the mobile Ulysses you have been wishing for!

Development is making good headway, and we’re at a stage where we need to test it with a broader audience. In the wild, with fearless writers determined to help us detecting even the smallest bug.

So, are you eager to play with a new toy under the Christmas tree? Fill out our form and let us know why you are the perfect match to test Ulysses for iPad.

Editing and Writing With Comments and Co.

“This dialogue seems artificial.” – “Is it probable to die from a rattlesnake’s bite?” – Sometimes you will want to add related comments and thoughts to the texts you are writing or editing. In Ulysses, there are several ways to do this. Today’s tip introduces comments and Co. and gives some inspiration on how to make use of them in a writers’ workflow.

Please note: Some of the mentioned features require Markdown XL, i.e. they’re not available in External Sources or when using another markup.

Your Red Pencil: Comments

You can type your comments directly into the text and mark them up: Enclose an inline comment with two plus signs ++, or start a paragraph with two percent signs %% to mark it as comment block. Depending on your theme, comments might be differentiated by a lighter font and/or a colorful highlight.


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Congrats, Wrimos! And Thanks for Writing Your Novel With Ulysses!

Congratulations to all succeeding NaNoWriMo participants! The writing feast is over, and for many writers it was a great leap forward towards the fulfilment of a dream: writing a novel, and in the best of cases publishing it and even finding a glowing readership.

Attained Writing Goals

2014’s NaNoWriMo was special for us, because it was the first time we supported this event as sponsor. It was exciting, not only because we were in good company of well-established applications such as Scrivener and Storyist. Would novelists make use of our offer to give Ulysse a try? Would they like working with it?

“My writing production
has increased. It’s a
pleasure to use.”

We have always thought of Ulysses as an application for writing all sorts of texts, not only novels. Because, honestly, least of us do write novels all the time – but a great deal of less eminent texts, such as blog posts, diaries, love letters. We want Ulysses to be a place – although a virtual one – where writers love to go to every day and feel at home.

A prominent Ulysses user: mystery author David Hewson. He published a book about the app.
A prominent Ulysses user: mystery author David Hewson.
He published a book about the app.
“3k words in and already loving this one. It’s my new favorite place to write!”

So, did writers like working with Ulysses? Quite a few novelists downloaded our dedicated trial version, and from their feedback we take that they liked it! The success of our first NaNoWriMo as sponsor confirms that Ulysses is well suited for novel writing. So does David Hewson, whose book inspired many Wrimos to give Ulysses a whirl or, if they already have been working with the app, to use it for novel writing for the first time.

Tweet Robert W. Boyer
Robert W. Boyer wrote his NaNoWriMo 2014 novel with Ulysses.
“Ulysses occupies that space between too sparse and too much!”

We also got a lot of positive responses by writers commending Ulysses’ focus on the essentials and reporting how they benefit in terms of concentration and productivity. Thanks for your nice words, we appreciate them a lot. And for your suggestions, too – they are going to help us make Ulysses even better.

Thanks to anyone who wrote her or his novel with Ulysses, and congratulations to all NaNoWriMo winners! If you want to make Ulysses your permanent writing environment, you can buy it on the Mac App Store.

Work in Multiple Windows

Did you know that Ulysses allows you to open multiple windows at a time? You can actually do this with many Mac apps, but for a writer’s workflow this feature proves specifically useful.

You can, for example, leave your research notes open in one window and write in another. Or display the synopsis of your novel, helping you not to forget where you’re heading to.

Go to Ulysses’ File menu and open a New Window, or press ⌥⌘N (option-command-N).

File New Window

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The Secret of Winning NaNoWriMo: “Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard”

Tweet Robert W. Boyer

Robert W. Boyer Was Possibly the First to Win NaNoWriMo 2014

On November 17, 2014 you hit the 50,000 words goal for this year’s NaNoWriMo. We know, because you used Ulysses’ goal feature to share your word count. Many writers are struggling to get there by November 30, if they succeed at all. How did you do it?

I’ve toyed with the idea of committing to NaNoWriMo the past few years, but I’m scared of commitment. When I make one I keep it, damn the torpedoes, never mind the collateral damage. This year I decided to commit.

Short answer is butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Don’t wait for a good day, or a mood, just start typing, even when it feels horrid, even when your voice sounds lousy in your own head, just start moving.

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Make Yourself Comfortable – A Guide on Customizing Your Writing Environment in Ulysses, Part 4

In the former parts of this series we explored most of the adjustments you can make in Ulysses to convert its clean and focused writing environment to a clean, focused writing environment that is custom-tailored to your taste and needs. If you’re happy by now, or always have been, you can skip this post. However, if you think there is that certain indefinable something missing to perfection, you should try building your own theme. It is much more fun than wallpapering a real office, at least if you’re not a handcrafter by profession.

Step 10: Build Your Own Theme

In Ulysses, you can create your own theme by modifying an existing one. Go to Ulysses’ preferences and select the Markup pane. In the lower part of the window you’ll see all available themes – Ulysses standard themes and those you downloaded from our Style Exchange. Choose the one you like most, right-click and duplicate it.


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