Track Your Progress With Writing Goals

| By Rebekka

Ulysses’ goals help you keep track of your writing progress. You can set a goal of 50,000 words for your NaNoWriMo novel project, for example. Also, you can use them to not exceed determined character limits, and  to help trim the length of blog posts or speeches.

Goals can measure your progress according to the following metrics:

  • characters (including or excluding spaces)
  • words
  • sentences
  • paragraphs
  • lines
  • pages
  • reading time (slow/average/fast/aloud)

Writing goals can be attached either single sheets, or to groups. What's more, they allow you to easily share your progress with your fellows.

Ulysses' Writing Goals on Mac

To attach a goal to a sheet, click the paperclip button top right in the toolbar to open attachments. Now tap the goal icon.


You can also right-click on a group in the library or on a sheet in the sheet list and select "Goal..." from the context menu.


Now, you can specify in detail which goal to set for a sheet or group. Does your goal indicate a minimum, a maximum or just a guidance value? Is it based on characters, words or pages? Whatever it is, enter the amount you want to meet into the ??? field.


If your goal is based on reading time, you'll additionally need to specify a metric in the ??? field. A  reading time goal can be set through hours, minutes and seconds using the international standard time notation.

  • 01:10:10
  • 1h 10m 10s

If you only type a number, it will automatically be interpreted as minutes. Ulysses also recognizes common time notations in all of its localized languages (English, French, German, Italian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Spanish).

Now your goal is set. It will be blue when you start writing, and turn green when met. By becoming red it is indicating that you’ve overreached.

For every goal, a small circle appears either in the library, when the goal was attached to a group, or in the sheet list and on the sheet itself, when the goal was attached to a single sheet. These tiny icons indicate your progress and let you access your goal in one click. (If you don’t want to see goal icons in your sheet list, you can turn them off via “View"  › "Sheet Preview" in the menu.)

You can use goals to track your writing progress very closely. Just open a goal, move the mouse cursor to its top right corner and click the detachment icon. Now you can put it anywhere on your screen. When you start typing now, you can monitor the state of your goal in real-time. The arrow in the upper right corner of the goal will show you to which group or sheet it belongs, should you ever forget.

Screenshot of Ulysses for Mac with a detached goal floating next to it.

The circled cross icon top left will hide the floating goal again. 

Ulysses Writing Goals on iPad or iPhone

On iOS, attaching a goal to a single sheet works similar: First, tap the paperclip icon top right of the editor to access attachments. Tap the goal icon, and then the goal itself.  

Now you can specify its details.

For adding a goal to a group, switch to the library, swipe left on the group in question, and tap the Detail icon. In the group's settings, tap “Add Goal...”.

Share Your Progress

Goals also let you share your writing progress on social networks, or via Messages and Mail. On Mac, use the Share icon on the goal circle for this.

On iPad or iPhone, use the “Share Progress…” command at the bottom of the goal editor.

You can also add a personal message, if you want.

No matter if you’re working on a novel or on a blog post – enjoy writing towards a goal.

This article was last updated June 12, 2017.

Track Your Progress With Writing Goals

Goals allow you to set word or character limits to sheets and groups.