Ulysses is the best (but expensive) markdown editor

What is Markdown

Before we talk about this text editor, we need to talk about markdown. This is simplified markup language. In simple words: it allows you to write without overloading the text with formatting. Highlighting, underlining, and other stylistic features are coded by the code. For example, with asterisks or underlines. Then everything can be exported in any format, from HTML to ePub.

What is Markdown
What the text looks like in Markdown before and after exporting

Why do you need this? When you write in conditional Word, the text takes on editor-specific formatting. It can interfere with styles and get in the way when you transfer it. Markdown editors are much simpler, their interface is clearer and the text is easier to use.

Markdown was originally used by programmers, but over time it has migrated to the media sphere and caught on with writers. This is not surprising: it makes it easy to publish texts on the Internet, and it is also easy to transfer them between applications. For example, you can write a draft in NotePad, and then polish it in a text editor. You won't have to worry about compatibility, as you might with Word documents.

Why Choose Ulysses Editor

Markdown editors are usually similar to each other. They are minimalist applications with monospaced fonts and a library in which you can create folders and tags.

Ulysses is no exception, but here all the elements are worked out as much as possible. This program from the German developers shows what a writing environment should be and demonstrates the perfect equality between the mobile and desktop version.

How is everything organized at Ulysses

You start with the library. The files are organized into folders and several levels of nesting are available. You can assign illustrative icons to folders.

How is everything organized at Ulysses

Ulysses is an Apple-exclusive, iOS and Mac-only access program. Therefore, data is stored and synchronized via iCloud Drive by default. But you can save them locally or add synchronization via Dropbox. The latter is especially useful. If you have, for example, an iPad and a Windows computer, such a bridge allows you to work on the same materials from different programs.

The Library has functional folders in addition to the user folders. These are "All", "Edited in the last 7 days", "Favorites", "External files" and "Trash".

How is everything organized at Ulysses

The materials themselves can be further organized with tags. They work as expected, too. The editor itself supports search filters and saving them, so you can easily handle even a huge library.

What is the most useful and important thing in the editor

Clicking on the file puts the user in front of a simple editor. It resembles a blank page, with text at the center. At the top is the settings bar. There you can adjust the theme and font, export the material, or attach something to it.

How is everything organized at Ulysses

But first, the writing. As you type, an additional row of icons appears above the keyboard. Behind them are all the options for formatting. It should be understood that Ulysses can do almost everything that "adult" editors can do - it's just that these features do not blur your eyes.

The "A" icon, for example, hides highlighting/underlining, annotations, inserting links, and so on. You can do all this in Markdown by wrapping text with appropriate symbols (asterisks, brackets), but Ulysses makes it easy.

Behind the icon with three bars - the setting of subheadings, separators, quotes. And behind the image of the Command key they hid complex symbols that are not so easy to find on the keyboard. There is no point in going into each one, because everyone will use them based on their own needs.

How is everything organized at Ulysses

This rich toolkit is one of the unique features of Ulysses. The editor extends the usual Markdown, which is very limited in functionality, to a more advanced markup language. It produces its own, unique version: Markdown XL. You quickly get used to its features, but you can also switch to standard Markdown.

How to design and publish a text in Ulysses

Ulysses, unlike other Markdown applications, supports inserting images with previews and captions. That is, you can use it to compose documents in full. After all, the Markdown text is like the foundation, the backbone of the final version.

Ulysses allows you to export to TXT (plain text), DOCX (standard Office format), PDF, ePub (book option), and HTML. When exporting, you can customize styles. For example, there is a preset style for scripts, and there is a preset style for business documents. Journalists and bloggers will be fine with the HTML version.

How to design and publish a text in Ulysses

But there is another nice feature. From Ulysses you can directly publish texts to sites with WordPress or Ghost. The editor allows you to connect to these CMS, and then fully design materials in the application (down to the tags, descriptions and pictures).

What else is important to know about Ulysses - features and competitors

Additional features:

  • There are writing goals. You can set the desired amount of text in words/symbols and a deadline. And it works with individual documents or groups of documents. This way you can control not only the delivery of individual materials, but also track, for example, the progress of writing a book.

How to design and publish a text in Ulysses

  • Ulysses has absolute feature parity between the desktop and mobile versions. The iPad especially benefits from this - with Ulysses the tablet becomes an ideal companion for a writer or journalist. It supports multiconfiguration, all controls can be done with keyboard shortcuts.
  • Ulysses looks very good. And it's not just about minimalism. The program offers a rich library of themes with different color schemes. You can style the text according to your aesthetic preferences.

Price, availability and competitors of Ulysses

In 2017, Ulysses switched to a subscription model - fans of the project were upset, but the developers explained in detail their solution. Subscription is not cheap, as much as $3.99/month. This made the niche app an even more challenging product.

Ulysses needs to choose only those who write a lot and regularly: they spend several hours every day writing. Audience: journalists, bloggers, writers. For the average user, the benefits will be less than the money spent. And this is normal.

Ulysses is the best (but expensive) markdown editor

It is noteworthy that you can activate Ulysses bypassing the official subscription. The application is included in the Setapp subscription service from Ukrainian MacPaw. It gives access to a hundred macOS-applications for $10/month: Ulysses is among them.

Remember, Ulysses has dozens of competitors. If you just like Markdwon, there are also note taker Bear, and the alternative Ai Writer without a subscription. In my opinion, none of them is as suitable for active text work as Ulysses. But that's a matter of taste and requirements.

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