Multitasking for Writing Pro-fessionals

An outlook on Ulysses for iPhone and iPad and what you can do with it, part 6

To all you iPad Pro using writers out there: Please forgive the cheesy pun, and instead look forward to the release of Ulysses 2.5! You had to wait for this for quite some time1, but everything is going to be alright in the not too distant future.

iPad Pro

Owners of iPad Pro – or another iPad of the latest generation – will fully benefit from iOS Split View multitasking, that is, they can use two apps side by side. With the forthcoming new version of Ulysses, they will hence be able to, say, research with Safari and jot down their findings in Ulysses at the same time. Go through a PDF document in Ulysses’ preview, and double-check the referenced links. Watch a Shakespeare play while writing an essay about it. Up to you.

iPad Pro Split View

Side note: Writers with iPad Air or iPad mini 2 or later can still rely on Slide Over multitasking. Granted Slide Over is not as cool as Split View, but it is still quite cool compared to no multitasking at all, isn’t it?

Let’s also take a quick look at what button row will look like on the Pro:

iPad Pro Button Row

Actually, we shouldn’t call it button row on iPad any more. This term referred to the customized Ulysses button row we invented when Ulysses for iPad was first released. Now there are customized Ulysses shortcut buttons that align right and left of the system’s text predictions (given you have them enabled). But hey, what’s in a name? The matter was, and still is, to improve the long form writing experience on mobile devices. Search, statistics, undo, redo, copy/paste reside on the left hand side, while quick access to markup tags, text actions and special character reside on the right hand side – it’s all there.

We’re so looking forward to Ulysses 2.5, and we believe that you, professional or hobbyist, have good reason to do the same.

  1. Yes, it took us longer than expected. But I can testify that I have never ever caught anyone playing Counter-Strike around here. ↩︎

The New Share Extension: Do Some Research While Waiting for the Bus

An outlook on Ulysses for iPhone and iPad and what you can do with it, part 3

Many writing tasks start with some research and information gathering across the web. Scanning content and reading articles is a thing we do all the time on our iPhones anyway. Still, the Share extension we built into the new Ulysses for iPhone and iPad will improve the gathering part considerably.

It is very simple: If you have found an interesting article on the web, you can use Safari’s Share button to send it to Ulysses. You can also select text snippets on a page and share them.

Share extension

The shared content will be added as a new sheet to Ulysses’ library. Per default, the sheet will be inserted in the inbox, but you can also choose any other Ulysses group. Share works with any app that provides a Share button. As an example, if you share a photo from Apple’s Photos app with Ulysses, it will be added as an image object in a new sheet.

When using the Share extension with Ulysses for the first time, you’ll have to activate it. Just swipe to the end of the list of available apps and tap More to do this. If you share a lot with Ulysses (and as a writer you certainly will), you can also drag and move its icon to a more prominent position in the app list.

Ulysses for iPad Gets Polyglot

Ulysses 2.1 for Mac and iPad will hit the stores tomorrow. In this series we show you what you can expect.

ScenChinese

Ulysses the Younger has taken language courses – with tremendous results: In little more than four months it has learned French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and simplified Chinese. Ulysses must be of exceptional talent – or is it due to its patient teachers at Wordcrafts? Thanks anyway, and here are some previews to prove Ulysses’ new skills:

Read …

Writers, Relax – Automatic Backup Is Coming

Ulysses 2.1 for Mac and iPad will shortly hit the stores. In this series we show you what you can expect.

Noone wants to lose data, this goes without saying. But if you’re writing, texts may be especially precious. Losing a poem, a freshly begun novel, or a diary that was kept over years must be horrendous, a thing we’d like to spare you from. That’s why we’ve built a safety net right in: Version 2.1 brings automatic backup to Mac and iPad.

Both apps will keep hourly, daily and monthly backups of their respective text libraries. On the Mac, you can enable them via Ulysses’ Preferences.

Access backups via Ulysses' preferences

Read …

A Goal Worth Writing For

Ulysses 2.1 for Mac and iPad will shortly hit the stores. In this series we show you what you can expect.

Yes, writing goals were missing in the first release of Ulysses for iPad. Yet they’re coming with 2.1, ready to fuel productivity, exactly as we know them from the Mac.

Read …

Finally: Export to Word and Pages from Ulysses (Preview)

Ulysses 2.1 will shortly hit the stores. In this series we show you what you can expect.

DOCX Exporter

When we were developing the first version of Ulysses (also known as Ulysses III by that time), RTF was the file format of choice, if you wanted to exchange rich text documents on the Mac. Then Apple switched from RTF to DOCX without former announcement, and thus our freshly released writing application was suddenly unable to communicate directly with Pages, the Mac’s native text processing software. Well, it took a while, but with the release of Ulysses 2.1 this will officially be a thing of the past.

Read …

Collapse, Expand & Drill-Down: A More Compact Library for Prolific iPad Writers (Preview)

Ulysses 2.1 for Mac and iPad will shortly hit the stores. In this series we show you what you can expect.

Making groups collapsible was among the most requested features for Ulysses for iPad. Yes, it’s true: If you’re a prolific writer and have a number of groups and subgroups (and maybe even subsubgroups and so on) things can get slightly confusing in the current version. Here is the good news: Version 2.1 will bring the option to collapse and expand groups – and therefore help mobile writers to have a more compact view of their library.

Read …

The Handbag Typewriter

We said, we’re going to bring desktop-class writing to iPad. That means, if you go on holidays you may happily leave your laptop at home. To go even further: Actually you don’t need to possess a laptop at all. Or at least not because of Ulysses. To enjoy writing with Ulysses on the road, an iPad will be enough, beginning tomorrow. Consider equipping it with a petite bluetooth keyboard, if you will.

With a Keyboard Attached

That way, writing is not only comfortable, but very comfortable. The virtual keyboard disappears, making room for your text and your thoughts. Only the button row remains visible, for fast access to text statistics, search, attachments, and more.

Ulysses for iPad When a Bluetooth Keyboard Is Attached

And then, simply write. You can write markup on the keyboard, just as on the Mac – or use the button row. There are also a number of functional shortcuts you should be familiar with when you are a user of Ulysses for Mac. For example:

  • ⌘1, ⌘2 and ⌘3 to switch between three pane, two pane an editor-only view.
  • ⌘6 to open (and close) Quick Export.
  • ⌘⌥↑ and ⌘⌥↓ to navigate between sheets.
  • To name just a few.

    I find that it works like a charm. Even better, my writing tool for the road now fits into my favorite handbag. I think that’s just awesome, and I hope you will, too.

    Export to Impress

    If you’re writing anything but a secret diary or notes to self, you will inevitably get to a point where you want to publish your texts, or show them to someone else. Of course, you could just hand around your iPad, but that would be awkward, wouldn’t it. So don’t you worry – Ulysses for iPad has you covered with a comprehensive export function. PDF for printing? Check! RTF to open and edit elsewhere? Double-check! HTML code for your blog? Check, check, check! With Ulysses for iPad, you’ll be able to generate all of these, and more, with just a few taps.

    To export a sheet, tap the export icon in the navigation bar.

    Export Icon

    This will open the exporter. You can choose between several file formats, and just as an example, let’s have a look at the HTML export.

    HTML Exporter

    Ulysses can transform your text with all its markup into a web page with properly formatted HTML code. You’ll see a preview of how the page would look in a typical browser. If you tap the gear icon, you can switch to a different style (CSS in the case of HTML). Ulysses ships with two built-in HTML styles; if you like, you can download more on the Ulysses Style Exchange. You can also choose whether to export a full page with header and body section, or just a code snippet.

    HTML Settings

    Are you happy with the preview? The Share and Open In buttons will list all available options for further processing.

    Share

    To continue the HTML example: As a blogger, you may write an article in Ulysses, select HTML/snippet on export, copy to clipboard, and then paste the code into your favorite content management system. Easy, fast – and fun, hopefully.

    Fancy an Attachment?

    A prominent improvement of the new Ulysses for Mac will be the revamped attachment bar – let’s take a look at it.

    Attachments, to refresh your memory, are for meta-information you want to access effortless while writing. Those can be keywords, writing goals, notes and images. You can easily get a glance of a sheet’s attachments via the paper-clip button in the menu bar or the shortcut ⌘4 (command-4).

    Attachment Bar

    By the way: An image attachment does not necessarily have to be a picture. The feature deals nicely with PDF documents, too, so a text briefing will probably feel quite at home here. You can even leaf through a multi-paged PDF. Notes accept all kinds of markup, so if you want to put a link in a note, go ahead. Of course you can still detach every single attachment and place it on the screen for quick reference – just click the icon in the top-right corner. Then, you can also resize images according to your whim.

    Free-floating Attachment

    The observant user might wonder where the markup bar (aka markup cheat sheet) is hiding. It had to make room for the new attachment bar, but is still within easy reach. Just use the A-button in the toolbar, or the established shortcut ⌘9 (command-9). Those who are close friends with the markup bar and use it a lot can also tear it off for quick access.

    Markup Bar

    Attachments on iPad

    Of course mobile writers will be able to make use of attachments, too. The bar in the picture below looks familiar, doesn’t it? You can access it via the paperclip button in Ulysses’ button row. Writing goals are not (yet) available on iPad. They will be conserved and sync across devices, though – they’re just not accessible on iPad.

    Attachments on iPad