Track Your Writing Time with Ulysses and Timing (Giveaway Inside!)

Whether you’re a professional writer or just have some small side projects, you may be interested in how much time you spend on writing. Maybe it’s just your own curiosity – how long did it take you to write that chapter or blogpost? Or you may be working on a client project, and you need to bill the hours spent on writing a report or article. On macOS, you can use Timing to automatically track time spent on basically any activity of your Mac: researching, communicating, procrastinating – and most importantly – writing. Starting with Ulysses 12 and Timing 2.2.1, these apps have a much tighter integration.

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Embedding Images in External Folders

Embedding images in External Folders

Are you syncing your Ulysses writings via Dropbox or another sync service instead of iCloud? If that’s the case, you will be pleased to hear that you can now embed images into your texts. Skip the next paragraph and find out how this works.

If you usually sync your Ulysses sheets via iCloud, or work locally (“On My Mac”), we should probably elaborate a bit: You can use Ulysses to edit plain text files which are stored outside Ulysses’ library, in what we call “External Folders” — for instance, files located inside a Dropbox folder. This may be useful if you want to collaborate with others on these files or access them from a Windows PC. This works, but with some limitations. In Ulysses 2.7, we’ve eliminated one of these limitations: You can now insert images into plain text files stored in External Folders, while keeping the ability to open and edit these files with other text editors.

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Import Your Vesper Notes Into Ulysses

A few days ago, the creators of the notes app Vesper announced to end its development and eventually shut down the sync server. Being in this industry ourselves, we can understand that making this move isn’t easy, and we’re sorry for both the developers and the Vesper users who grew fond of the tool. If you’re a Vesper user and considering Ulysses as a future replacement, this post is for you. To ease migrating your notes from Vesper to Ulysses, we’ve created a small tool which lets you do exactly that.

Screenshot Dock Ulysses Vesper Importer

Here’s how you can import your existing notes into Ulysses:

  1. Open Vesper, go to the Sidebar and select “Export”. Tap “Export Notes and Pictures” and select a location where to export your notes to. For instance, you could export your notes to your iCloud Drive folder.
  2. Download the Ulysses Vesper Importer and launch it.
  3. Drag your exported Vesper folder into the window and click “Save Sheets…”.
  4. A Finder window will open. Simply drag the selected folder onto Ulysses dock icon or into its sidebar.

That’s it – your Vesper notes are now available in Ulysses’ text library.

Screenshot Vesper Ulysses Importer

The import should be fast and work smoothly. Should you encounter any problems, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the feedback form.

Sort Your Sheets the Way You Want It

Writers use Ulysses’ groups to organize their projects and texts. Depending on the text type, the sheets inside a group should be arranged in a certain way. For instance, sheets of a diary are most likely sorted by creation date. If you’re writing a novel or a thesis, being able to sort sheets manually is useful for organizing your contents. With Ulysses 2.5, you can now change the sort order of each group or filter separately.

On Mac, you can change the sort order in two ways. If you want to change the sorting of a single group or filter, hover your mouse over the group in the sheet list and you’ll find “Sort Manually” there:

Click it and you’ll find the sorting options for this group. You can sort the sheets of a group in the following ways:

  • Manually
  • By Title
  • By Modification Date
  • By Creation Date

For all sorting options (except manual sorting, of course), you can also reverse the sort order.

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Keep Your Writing Focused Using Minimal Mode

Ulysses has always been about focus on writing – nothing should distract you from your creative flow. You can hide sidebars or panels you don’t need and the Fullscreen mode provides an almost Zen-like writing environment. With Ulysses for Mac 2.2, you can now use this environment in windowed mode as well.

We call it Minimal Mode: As soon as you start typing (or scrolling) in the editor, the window toolbar fades out. If you’ve already switched to editor-only mode, the window only contains your text, nothing else.

Minimal Mode in Action
Minimal Mode in Action

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Publish Stories on Medium directly from Ulysses

Medium is a platform that allows you to publish your stories, thoughts and ideas online. These stories are presented in a beautiful and elegant way and find their audience independent from a specific blog or news outlet. This is why Medium is becoming more and more popular with bloggers and writers alike.

The Medium Website
The Medium Website

While you were previously bound to using the Medium web interface for writing your story, you can now use Ulysses for Mac to publish drafts directly from the app to your Medium account(s). You can do all your brainstorming, drafting, editing and previewing in Ulysses and – as a final step – press the Publish button in Medium.

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Take Advantage of El Capitan’s Fullscreen Split View

Mac OS X has included the ability to run an application in Fullscreen for quite a while. When Apple released OS X 10.11 El Capitan, they’ve made it possible to run two apps side-by-side in Fullscreen, called the Split View. Ulysses for Mac 2.2 now fully supports this feature, allowing for a distraction-free writing environment while not being restricted to one app on your screen.

Ulysses in Split View
Ulysses in Split View

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Manage Your Sheets and Attachments Better With the New Sidebars

With the release of Ulysses for Mac 2.2, we’ve fundamentally reworked the behavior of the sidebars. This allows for improved flexibility in accessing your groups and sheets, much better handling of small window sizes, faster keyboard navigation and also fully embraces Apple’s new Fullscreen Split View (we’ll cover this feature in a separate blog post).

The main interface of Ulysses is split into four panels (from left to right):

  • Group sidebar
  • Sheet list
  • Editor
  • Attachments

The group sidebar, the sheet list and the attachments represent Ulysses’ sidebars. You can show/hide them using the keyboard shortcuts ⌘1⌘4. Alternatively, you can toggle them using the leftmost button in the toolbar.

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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:

Statistics

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Handling References with Ulysses for Mac

When writing a thesis or scientific paper, authors often need to keep track of references to cite other works. While it might be fine to handle those manually at first, things can get complicated with a larger number of references. Dedicated reference managers can help here, because they simplify the tasks of finding, storing and citing references. Most of these tools integrate quite well with Ulysses for Mac. In the following tutorial, we’ll use Papers as a reference manager. Other managers such as Sente, Bookends or EndNote should work just fine as well.

The Reference Manager Papers 3
The Reference Manager Papers 3

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