Tips & Tricks

The Best Tips for Organizing Your Text Library

| By Lucas

iMac standing on a desk. On screen Ulysses is visible.

We’ve designed Ulysses to be the home of all your texts, no matter if they’re notes to self, white papers for your business, or blog posts. If you’re a busy writer, these can easily add up – and that’s why Ulysses offers a number of organizational features. Here are some tips to get your text library straight and keep track of your writing tasks.

1. Categorize into Groups (and Subgroups and Subsubgroups, etc.)

To add a group, move your cursor to your current library section (i.e. iCloud) and click the + icon. On iOS, tap the + icon at the bottom of the group list. Each group can have as many sheets as you want. If you select a group in the sidebar, you will get an overview of all its subgroups and sheets.

Screenshot of the Favorites section of Ulysses for Mac

2. Filter for Keywords

Save time on maintaining to-do lists! If you’re working on different projects at once, you can use keywords and filters to keep track of your tasks. Just think up a keyword indicating “Work in Progress” and add it to the respective sheets ➀. (The keyword may consist of more than one word, so “Work in Progress” would work just fine.) With a dedicated filter ➁ you can then display all sheets with that very keyword ➂.

You can add keywords via a sheet’s attachment bar. Access it via the paperclip icon at the top right corner.

Screenshot of the attachment bar of Ulysses for Mac. “Work in Progress” has been entered as a keyword.

Screenshot of a newly created filter in Ulysses for Mac. One condition has been set: “Keywords match ‘Work in Progress’”.

Screenshot of the resulting filter in Ulysses for Mac.

Adding a new filter works the same way as adding a new group. By the way: Searching for keywords is not the only thing filters are capable of – available filter criteria include text matches and change/modification dates.

3. Favor Frequently Used Sheets

If you want to spare yourself assigning keywords and setting up filters, you can also use Favorites to mark sheets you’re currently working on. Or you make use of Favorites for texts you need to refer to time and again; a snippet describing a client’s product, for example.

On Mac, switch to the sheet list, right-click on a sheet and select “Add to Favorites” from the context menu to do just that.

Screenshot of the Sheet List’s context menu with “Add to Favorites” selected

Screenshot of Ulysses’ Favorites section

On iOS, go to the sheet list and just swipe right on the sheet in question.

Screenshot of the sheet list in Ulysses on iOS. One sheet has been swiped right on, revealing the “Fave” action.

4. Sort Your Sheets (and Your Groups, too)

You can choose whether to sort your sheets according to change date, modification date, title, or manually. Manual sorting lets you easily arrange the chapters of a novel or several parts of a complex strategy document, for example.

Screenshot of a group’s header in the sheet list, showing the fifferent sorting options “Manually”, “By Title”, “By Modification Date” and “By Creation Date”.

You can change your sheet sorting in the sheet list, next to the group name. On iOS, the sheet list features a Sort button bottom left.

Of course you can also re-arrange the groups and filters you set up in step 1 and 2. On Mac, just drag and drop. On iOS, tap Edit at the bottom of the group list and start sorting.

5. Hide the Sections You Don’t Need

Your library has several sections, but you can choose to show only those you actually use. This is probably iCloud, if you’re editing your texts on more than one Mac and/or on an additional iPad or iPhone, or On My Mac / On My iPad / On My iPhone, if you’re limiting yourself to a single writing device. As a beginner, it certainly makes sense to keep the introduction at reach, but later you may want hide it for the benefit of better focus. You will find these options for the library setting in Ulysses’ preferences.

Screenshot of the Library tab of Ulysses for Mac’s Preferences. Only iCloud and External Folders are enabled.

And don’t you worry – you can reverse this at any time.

6. Don’t Bother, Just Write

Are you more of the laid-back type? Do you think organizing is procrastinating, and even find inspiration in a slight chaos? Well, then leave it. Just hit the New Sheet button and start writing. And if you ever lose orientation? On Mac, hit the shortcut ⌘O (command-O), on iPad or iPhone tap Quick Open at the top or the bottom, respectively. Then type into the search field what you are remembering, find the sheet – and write on. It’s as simple as that.

Screenshot of Quick Open in Ulysses for iPad. “Organize your lib” has been entered and one sheet called “6 Tips to Organize Your Text Library” has been found.

7. Let Your Library Help You Focus

If you are working on multiple projects at once but have trouble concentrating on one, you might find the Library Focus handy. On iOS, swipe right on a group to hide everything else except that group and its subgroups. The All, Last 7 Days and Favorites filters will also only show sheets that are part of the selected group. To exit the Library Focus, just swipe right on the group again.

Screenshot of Ulysses on iOS. Most groups are hidden by the focus mode, only one group called “Abandoned” and its filter called “Drafts” are visible. To the left of the group is the “Unfocus” swipe action visible.

Libary Focus is currently only available on iOS. However, we’re already working on bringing it to the Mac as well.

The Best Tips for Organizing Your Text Library

How to make use of Ulysses to to become a well-organized writer