Customize Text Statistics

Ulysses for iPhone Tip #2

Did you know that Ulysses offers comprehensive text statistics?

At the bottom left of the editor, right next to the loupe icon for search, you’ll see a counter. (In portrait mode it is only displayed as long as you’re not typing, i.e. the keyboard is not visible). The displayed number not only indicates the number of characters (including spaces) of your current sheet, but also lets you access more detailed statistics.

Tip 2 Customize Text Statistics

Just tap it to display the number of words, sentences, lines and pages a sheet contains, even its average reading time. (You may want to rotate your iPhone at this point, to switch into landscape mode and see all of them.) The mentioned counters are displayed per default, but there are more available, and you’re free to choose which of them to show. Just tap the gear on the right hand side, and you’ll be able to manage your counters. When you scroll down, you can also see – and change, if necessary – the underlying norm page settings.

One final tip: If the most important measure for you is not the number of characters, but something else, say, the estimated time for reading a text aloud, you can also select it as your main counter.

The release of Ulysses 2.5 brought us thousands of new users. This series of tips aims to inspire writers that are new to Ulysses for iPhone or Ulysses in general to explore what the app has to offer. Also, check out the first post:

Ulysses for iPhone Tip #1: Tweak Your Editor Text Size

Tweak Your Editor Text Size

Ulysses for iPhone Tip #1

The release of Ulysses 2.5 last week brought us thousands of new Ulysses users. Welcome aboard, we’re very happy to have you here! We have decided to run a daily series of little tips for writers that are new to Ulysses for iPhone or even to Ulysses in general. Should you be a pro user and yet familiar with some of these features, please don’t mind – we’ll be back exploring less known territories soon.

Tip #1: Tweak Your Editor Text Size

Let’s start with some layout customization. Do you think the font size Ulysses uses for writing is too small? Then change it! With Ulysses 2.5 it is simpler to do than ever before, also on iPad. You can edit your settings via the gear icon in the editor toolbar. In the settings overlay, choose “Layout”. Now you can tweak the editor text zoom to your liking. Here you can also change the measures for line height, paragraph spacing and first line indent.

Whoomp! There It Is…

Say hello to Ulysses 2.5! This is our biggest release yet, spanning every current device and system, from iPhone 5 to iPad Pro to MacBook Air and the big guys, adding device- and system specific features such as 3D Touch and iOS 9 Multitasking.

Whatever I’d be telling you now – about our excitement, our happiness, our pride: It would be a shameless understatement. So I’ll just leave it at a simple fact: We just can’t wait for you to get your hands on it!

Of course, the iPhone version will take the spotlight during the coming days, and I want to thank our entire team for managing this crazy task with such confidence and… yes, ease. When we set out to port Ulysses from Mac to iPad and bring it over fully-intact, it already seemed like an impossible feat. Moving the whole app over to iPhone, though? Seriously, if you had told me three years ago that we’d one day put a near feature-complete version into the palm of your hands, I would’ve died laughing. And I’m the naive dude in this company.

I would also like to thank our beta testers for being such a thorough bunch, and for providing invaluable feedback as well as cheering and otherwise encouraging support. You know who you are! Thank you!!!

Ulysses 2.5 is a free update for existing users, so everybody who already got the iPad version will have a nice present when they check the App Store on their iPhones. And if you’re new to Ulysses, you can still grab it at its current price, before we’ll raise it a bit in the coming weeks.

Now please quit reading and get this thing, explore, have fun, take care, go write your fingers bloody…

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. ↩︎

“A Routine Makes a Huge Difference in Being Productive”

David Chartier has been a tech fan since highschool – and so he made explaining tech his profession. In our interview David chats about writing, the tools and techniques that keep him productive, and his Ulysses workflow.

David Chartier

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I’m a tech writer, content strategist, and consultant. I work with app makers to help them talk about their products and to customers, and I’m building a consulting business as well. I started in the tech industry as a writer for publications like Macworld and Ars Technica, and I currently have a column in MacLife magazine called The Shift. I also run my own website, Finer Things in Tech.

Read …

Great for Editing on Small Screens: Ulysses’ Revised Button Row on iPhone

An outlook on forthcoming Ulysses for iPhone and what you can do with it, part 5

While composing these previews I have been realizing that many writing-related tasks are actually well suited for the road – if only you own the right tool. Take later stage text editing and proofreading as examples. Both activities involve a lot of reading, possibly more reading than writing. If the editing part works pain-free – why should you tie up yourself to your desk?

So, reading your Ulysses texts on iPhone will be most pleasant (that is, very pleasant) in full screen mode. Should you find something that needs revision, just tap to make the keyboard – and thus Ulysses’ button row – appear, and edit away.

The button row was first designed to equip the iPad’s virtual keyboard for long-form writing. The purpose remains the same for iPhone. Due to the space restrictions, however, some revision was required. Here is what it will look like:

Ulysses for iPhone Button Row

If you’re done revising, tap the downward pointing arrow right above the button row to hide the keyboard and go back to full screen – or should we say reading mode? – and continue.

With Ulysses for iPhone, editing and proofreading while you’re not at your desk will be a breeze. In case you need me: I’m on the beach.

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 Folders 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 settings, comments might be differentiated by a lighter font and/or a colorful highlight.

Read …

Use Idle Time to Organize Your Stuff

An Outlook on Ulysses for iPhone and iPad and what you can do with it, Part 4

Organizing your writing is a necessary chore, but other than the writing itself it doesn’t necessarily require your undivided attention. This is where forthcoming Ulysses for iPhone comes into play.

Having Ulysses on your iPhone will let you comfortably do your organizing on the road – here are some impressions:

So, elaborating your thoughts on Foucault’s concept of power while waiting for the subway or your date is possibly a little heavy. Sorting out your collection of university notes, however, may be just the right thing to kill some idle time.

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.

Accompany Your Texts With Photos – Instantly

An outlook on Ulysses for iPhone and iPad and what you can do with it, part 2

Let’s assume you’re a food blogger or a restaurant critic, paying a visit to the new trattoria in your neighboorhood. On your iPhone, you’re taking notes about the atmosphere, food and service quality. Or you’re on a mountain trip with your family, keeping a travel diary about your adventures. Or you’re a bestseller author researching for his next novel in, say, Venice, and you instantly realize that the victim meets his murderer for the first time in the very café you’re just sitting in. In all of these and probably many other cases you will want to take some visual impressions to accompany the notes and ideas you’re jotting down. Ulysses for iPhone will let you instantly complement your texts with the photos you take – without having to leave the app.

Add Photo

All you’ve got to do is to insert the (img) tag – will be accessible via the button row sitting above the iPhone keyboard – at the spot you desire. You’ll be prompted to take a photo, or to choose one from the library. The image is now part of your text and will, for example, get exported when you make a PDF. If your photo is intended to only illustrate or inspire your writing, you may want to place it in a sheet’s attachments. You can open attachments via the paperclip icon in the button row.

You can finish your piece right on your iPhone. Or, if you opt for a larger screen, you can leave your photo open to recall the smell and taste of that pizza while you’re writing. Hmmm :-)