Ulysses App Reviews

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the only one

I have tried every writing app available for Mac OS and I keep coming back to Ulysses. It took me some time to be OK with the move to subscription but I came around. I didn’t like their implementation of tags but I finally see the rationale for their approach. There are prettier apps but nothing comes close to the utility of Ulysses for plain text (or Markdown) writing. I’m speaking of the desktop version only. On iOS I find it to be awkward, clunky and ugly. (For iOS I use Editorial, which is sleeker, simpler and more elegant.) My major complaint is that moving a text file from one floder to another requires an extra step: First, you have to Option-Drag the file to it’s new location, then you have to Right-Click and Move the original file to the trash. I wish there were a simple one-step Move command.

Longtime user (still) disappointed at implementation

As a long time user and beta tester, I’m really disappointed at the way the move to subscription pricing was handled. I don’t oppose subscription pricing, but to do it in between major revisions is an odd strategy. Essentially it leaves paying cutsoners out in the cold (no updates for you!) unless you pay again, and again, for software that has essentially not changed beyond minor tweaks since we paid for it (at full, non-subscription price). The “discount” lifetime subscription is hardly a discount — especially so because I paid full price for both Mac and iOS versions, but am aparently not eligible for a “discount” according to the payment prompt I received when opening the app. I suspect that the developers lost many long time customers. Unfortunately I was a long time user and have to keep the license — at least until I am done with the projects that I started with it. ** Additional Comments ** Now a year into the new subscription plan, the supposed “constant development” promised by the developers amounts to nothing meaningful. Colored code blocks and bug fixes? Wow, that’s worth $30 a year… iA Writer offers similar functionality without the price gouge, and Storyist and Scrivener are more robust writing tools.

Love it

I’ve tried many novel writing programs. This app does more than some and less than others. But it does everything I need and does it well, especially syncing with iCloud. When

Why I cancelled my subscription

I admire the Ulysses paradigm, and appreciate the application’s quality, and have used Ulysses (in all its forms) since version 1. But, I find myself using Scrivener much more often than Ulysses, and for simple notes, anything from Notes to Day One to Evernote works just fine. Nonetheless, I feel some regret abandoning Ulysses. The issue of course, is the subscription. Two year’s subscription is more than equivalent to Scrivener’s fixed price. In fact, subscriptions in general, while they worked in the 1990s, are probably a bad idea today in that all subscription services are competing for the same finite amount of capital. The question for the customer boils down to Do I want to spend X dollars a year on App X OR App Y, when I could spend X dollars on App X this year, AND Y dollars on App Y next year? Subscriptions are a zero sum game developers play with each other. Fixed prices — for top-level upgrades — permit more choice and variability. Zero sum pricing leads to less choice. A few developers make a lot of money, while most make very little. The only other point I would make is that for a year’s subscription, I did not feel I received a year’s worth ($30) of improvement. Colored keywords are pretty trivial, and I have other applications better suited for writing code. (I don't count bug fixes as improvements. As inevitable as they are, ideally they shouldn't be there. At best, while not fixing a bug is a negative, fixing it just gets you up to zero.) Ulysses is a good App, done well, but the economics just aren’t right for me.

Better than Bear in some ways, but odd bugs/features

I’ve been using Ulysses for about an hour now. One of the first things I liked was custom sorting per group. I also like that it supports tabs, however navigating between notes and tabs is very poor (Bear’s is also poor). The first obvious bugs I encountered were ordered list numbering: 1. 2. 3. “delete line 2” 1. 3. — no re-ordering. 1. 2. “indent” 3. — 3. is indented and not a new indented ordered list starting at 1. The next bug prevented me from editing — clicking to another sheet and back re-enabled. For as long as Ulysses has been around, I expected more polish and a better editor experience.

Ulysses is my #1

The Ulysses Markdown > Wordpress HTML publishing workflow is life changing. I manage content publishing for my company and maintaing our blog has always been kind of a chore, Ulysses has completely turned that on it's head. It's now one of my favorite tasks to come up in my queue, Ulysses cuts my publishing time down by 50%, probably more. I love you Ulysses 😍

Worth Every Penny

I don’t understand the bad reviews of this at all. It increased my writing output by at least 3x, and has made the entire process easier - and mobile. You have no idea how much work you can get done in waiting rooms on an iPhone with this app. Sit back down at the computer and its already synced and ready to go - and by the way, the syncing works better than even the Notes app on MacOS and iOS. It’s my favorite app purchase of the last 5 years and please get it so that we can all use this wonderful tool for years to come.

x2 Productivity

I can’t believe that it took so long, but I *finally* gave up Word when I found Ulysses. Wow. I am twice as productive writing copy now. The cleanness, the well-thought-out simplicity, and the distraction-free space in which to create is awesome. I have to learn how to type faster now! :-)

Brilliant writing program

Let’s start with iaWriter. It’s a wonderful, clean program—generally my first stop if I need to bang out a few sentences or paragraphs. But if you want to do serious writing of any length, it’s got to be Ulysses. Ulysses’s ability to reorder sheets manually within a folder (can’t do this in iaWriter, strangely—has to by name, date or extension), temporarily “glue” sheets together, or permanently “merge” sheets is absolutely brilliant. In this way, you can start by creating a bunch of sheets in a rough outline and just start writing. As your piece starts to come together, you can begin to reorder your copy and piece it together. Magic. All of this intuitive design just fades into the background. No glaring colors or buttons. You can focus on what you came here to do: write. Did I mention the Finder-like file management? One thing I do like about iaWriter is that there are fewer preferences to muck about with (oooo, adjusting preferences, a perfect solution for writer’s block!). For Ulysses: just download and install the “Editorial-like” theme and you’re done. Recommendation for font: IBM’s new free font family “Plex.” Comes in Sans, Serif, and Mono. Plex Mono is perfecto for Ulysses. Sounds crazy, but Ulysses makes me a better writer.

Best I’ve found

I have tried several apps and software for novel writing over the past 20 years. Ulysses has been the only one that keeps me from wasting time on formatting. I love the flawless syncing with iCloud. As for the subscription, I have no problem with paying one price once a year to get Ulysses on ALL my devices. The developers are consistently providing updates and new features. I can’t count the times I’ve spent money on an app to find out the developers created an upgraded version and wanted the full price all over again. At least the Ulysses developers gave me over a year before having to pay again and I get a discounted price for using it prior to the change-over. Regarding Markdown, I will admit that made me hesitant in the beginning, but Ulysses provides a printable reference list as well as a shorter reference list that is always available with a click on the right sidebar. It literally takes a few seconds to find the coding you need. You’ll find that you will quickly memorize the ones you use most often and will only need the reference sheet for those you rarely use. It is straightforward and simple. There are far too many reasons to list why I love Ulysses and continue to use it!

Ulysses continues to be an essential and elegant tool

I need a powerful organizational tool but I also need an elegant interface where I can focus on writing AND I need to write on my iPad as well as on my desktop. Ulysses meets all of these needs and it remains an indispensable tool. It’s made me more productive and more creative.

I love this app

I use Ulysses for writing novels, training materials, and the occasional article on Medium, and it is fantastic. The new code highlighting stuff is especially useful, since I do a lot of technical writing. I’ve seen some negative comments about the new subscription model, but I love it. I’m the kind of person that likes to have the latest version of any software I use, so having that guarantee is great.

Update 7/17/18: Mid-Summer Fixes But Still Remains BUYER BEWARE: an unfair pricing scheme!

I purchased for full price Ulysses for both Mac (OS X) and iOS. Spent over $70. Now I am told I need to continue to pay $30 a year in order to use an app I already paid full price for. NOT FAIR! The developer keeps posting trivial updates in order to quash reviewers who are upset that they paid a lot of money and now are being asked to subscribe. Very unfair! Update: Soon after my review appeared another review appeared making the claim that we shouldn't expect to get quality apps for little or no money. What a joke. It's this sort of "review" that makes one suspect that there are shills writing some of the positive ones (so I guess it's possible that these are real customers that are just woefully uninformed or easily duped). I don't say the above this lightly. However, the whole bait and switch pricing scheme-model was really unfair and disturbing. I did NOT pay little or no money for both the Mac and the iOS versions of Ulysses. In fact, I shelled out about $70 for both apps! For that amount of money upfront, I expected to get a fairly long life of updates and the continued ability to use the app and all of my writing that is contained within it. Instead, I'm offered the joke of a 50% off lifetime subscription, which turns out to be really only a 25% reduction (corrected recently by the developer). What would've been closer to fair? Being grandfathered in for putting up so much money upfront. Or being offered one or two years of "free" use of the new Ulysses, and then a real life time reduction on subscription fees of 50% or 75%. It really should, for original purchasers, cost nothing more than $.99 a month or at most $1.99 a month. Update 10/14/17: looks like they’ve added some updates, but the above considerations all hold as far as I can tell. Disappointing. Moved to another platform. Update 10/17/17: trivial updates. All of the above applies. Update 12/22/17: Happy Holidays but still effectively abandonware for those like me who already shelled out about $70 for the total package just to be asked to pay an ongoing, lifetime monthly subscription! No thanks! Update 1/16/18: Happy New Year but no better. Total waste of about $70. Please perform your due diligence before “subscribing.” Update 5/29/18: Summer is here but same problem. Complete waste of money. Never again! Update 6/16/18: More new stuff for people who subscribe. Should have been grandfathered in after paying about $70 for the full apps. Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me! Update 7/17/18: More fixes for those paying subscription price AFTER already paying about $70 for the full apps. Unfair! Wouldn’t trust these devs to do something else like this in the future.

Sitcom Writer Becomes Novelist

I wrote and produced sitcoms for over 35 years and then decided I wanted to write a novel, but the length and complexity compared to writing a fifty page sitcom script was quite daunting. I genuinely did not know at first how I could keep all of the elements straight in my head, and frankly I dislike software that tries to guide me through character arcs and story beats with prefab questionaires. That’s not writing, that’s homework. Then someone turned me on to ULYSSES and it solved that problem and more. Each chapter of my novel has a sheet on the left hand side and when you click on that chapter all the notes I have appear on the right. Simple. I also have a Research Group that includes related articles, photographs, links, etc. I probably only use about 10% of ULYSSES's potential but it allowed me to organize my novel the way my particular brain works. Actually, that’s the main beauty of ULYSSES, it has a lot of potentiality and you can determine for yourself how to best use it to help you write whatever you’re going to write. I’m done with my rough first draft, it’s about 90,000 words (350 pages), and I could NEVER have gotten there without this tool.

An invaluable tool for professional writers - I’ve written 400,000 words in Ulysses this year.

Ulysses is an indispensable and irreplaceable part of my life. If you don’t write extensively (under 25-50k words a year), the price and features might seem excessive, but for me it is mandatory. I have found no better way to write, organize, and archive the thousands of documents I produce each year. If you write professionally, no other product can do what Ulysses can.


Too expensive to rent your software; using a platform you don’t host yourselves. Naw.

Much as I hate Pages...

Ulysses isn’t an easy replacement. Had it for five days, tried to learn to live with a non-WYSIWYG application, but it’s a steep learning curve mastering the markups. Today the app lost an in-process “sheet” and I couldn’t find it again. Still hate Apple software, and I’m sorry to see Ulysses go, but I don’t want to risk any more documents.

Early adopter. Sad it went subscription

I found this app early in its development. I like using it. I didn’t use it to generate income. Lovely features. I am on a fixed income. Disappointed it went into a subscription model. Cie la vie.

Pleaseeeeeee right to left writing

Still waiting… Right to Left Pls. I wish it could support right to left languages. I do not understand why Ulysses as a high writing tool should not support Right to Left writing. It is weird enough!!!

Minus 1 star for insane annual cost

I’d pay up to $10 annually for this freaky great app but $30 is outrageous.

Might be for you if...

…you love markdown and don’t mind continually paying for it. I do mind, but I need an app for writing fiction. I have a discount for Ulysses from before its rent-a-app days, so for me it came down to Ulysses or Scrivener. I have both, but greatly prefer Ulysses. It’s rock solid sync with iCloud, clean modern UI/UX, and easy integration with other apps like Aeon Timeline brought me back. I’m still angry about the subscription model, but for now I’m resigned to use it. I keep on the lookout though for a replacement. Someone will write it.

The Best Long Form Writing Application + Using with Other Apps

Out of the numerous writing apps I have tried, Ulysses is the best I have used. As one who runs a start-up, I am often writing a lot. This app gives the best writing EXPERIENCE and I find the organizational tools very helpful (folders, subfolders, icons, etc.). Also, the depth in which you can customize this app is amazing. Whether from light mode/dark mode background color, color of the text when you bold it, having multiple markdown templates for different apps, the ability to download different templates created by other users, etc. is incredible. This is such a great app. I also use the Day One journal app in tandem with this application. I type up all my entries in Ulysses because it gives the best writing experience. When I am finished, I then copy the text (markdowns included) and paste it into Day One. Like many other apps, Day One uses markdown but have a slightly different set up than the default Ulysses markdown set up. I created a Day One markdown template in Ulysses where, with one click of a button, converts everything I write into a form that Day One can read. It’s a very smooth process. I am very happy that Ulysses is now on a subscription model. Because the app market is ever changing, I am often saddened when an app I have poured all my energy into learning and intergrated into my life for a number of years become obsolete because they cannot frequently add new functions.

Love it. Too many features to simply pass up.

I write a lot for fun, work, and such. I tried Bear, but I got tired of it’s limitations. I love the quality of life features Ulysses has. Typewriter mode, better organization, it’s all great. Been using it for a while and I can’t imagine myself turning back.

Not compatible with Dragon Dictate for Mac

The earlier version of this app supported full text control with Dragon Dictate for Mac. The current version does not support this, which makes the app unusable with Dragon.

Such a beautiful app!

I dowloaded the free-trial and was *completely* surprised at how quickly I started using it almost exclusively! I really wanted to find an app that I could use on my mobile devices as well as my MacBook...and this was perfect. While I had never used markdown before, the included directions were easy to learn and now it feels like second nature. Highly recommend!

Clean and easy to use!

I LOVE this app! I’m actually using this as a note taking app as well as a full on writing tool. The fact that it uses markdown makes me super happy – it is SO hard to find an app that allows for simple code blocks and is this easy to use. I also love that when you start writing, it doesn’t start the cursor in the Title – much better for free flowing, spur of the moment notes.

Fantastic app - all the 1 star reviews are just people who want it for free

If writing is part of your profession or a significant part of your life, you will love Ulysses. I have tried most of the writing apps - nothing comes close to Ulysses. The versioning is worth the price alone. Look at the reviews - anyone who actually has a need to write gives it 5-stars. Every single one of the 1-star reviews are people complaining about having to pay for the software.

Cannot open the application

I can’t open Ulysses 13 after installing it. My OS is 10.11.2 so it should work. It was working fine before I had tried to update it. I deleted the program and reinstalled it but it is still broken. It will not even open. I receive a pop-up from Apple saying that there was a problem and that Ulysses cannot be opened. Why? I am so frustrated. I have purchased the program before, I am paying for a monthly subscription on a discount for being a previous user, but even Ulysses 12 was very unstable and shut down often for me. I feel like I am being treated as a second-rate or third-rate customer. It is really frustrating as I enjoy the app deeply but to see that I have run into more issues after paying the subscription instead of receiving better updates is very, very sad. It pushes me to search for an alternative. I am very unhappy with Ulysses staff and I hope to hear back soon.

I’m in love with this writing app

Finally, a program where I can keep my academic writing drafts and reading notes in a single uncluttered, easy-to-use environment. I love the simple markdown commands, which keep me writing without constantly having to stop to mouse over to a toolbar or open a menu window. I encountered only one problem in my initial use of the program, which was that my block quotes kept appearing center-justified and in italics after export (this is not a typical format in publications in my humanities discipline). When I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get the quotes to come out in normal font style and left-justified, I wrote to customer support for help. Within 24 hours I received clear instructions for solving the problem by changing the style sheet, and now I know how to change other formatting issues in the style sheet should they arise.

Ulysses For Longform Writing

I’ve been a subscriber for a few months now. So far so good. While Ulysses has many features that remind me of writing apps I’ve tried in the past, I’ve never written as much as I do in Ulysses. TBH I’m not really sure why that is, but I’m not complaining. Drafting and organizing longform writing projects is what I use Ulysses for, pretty much exclusively. For this purpose, it’s the best productivity tool in my desktop dock. Thanks!

Poor quality; deceptive

I paid a fortune for the MacOS, iPad AND iPhone apps. For the record, I do not believe that financial necessity is a reason to breach trust or an understanding with customers. I do not see any special offers for a discounted program when I install and “restore purchases”. I could be willing to give Ulysses a try again because I have poured so much money into it. But all it wants is a ton more money after I’ve put in $100+ so far (under this, my same, Apple ID). Ethically unacceptable App Store behavior.

Code block support makes this update a stunner

Finally added code block support with syntax highlighting. Love it. Now I just need per-group password settings and a few UI tweaks (let me opt out of orange UI elements if it clashes with the theme). Subscription really isn’t so bad. The updates keep on rolling because of it. :)

Definitely not worth subscribing

There’s nothing about Ulysses that makes it worth paying $30 on a yearly basis. You’ll get much more for your money if you just buy Scrivener and configure it the way you want. Scrivener has many more features and is far more flexible. It’s too bad - I think if they’d drop the subscription model and price it better it’d be a 5 star app.

It’s renting if you lose it, and not a subscription

Your rental model is the worst part about your product. Consider A BETTER MODEL; an actual subscription. Here’s how it works: First, you sell your software for a set price, and when you do, you get to keep it, forever. Plus, you get any new features you launch over the next 365 days. After that, the software is as-is, until you choose to subscribe again, gaining all the back features and starting the 365 over. Agenda is doing it, and they are doing very well with it. We don’t want to RENT software. It isn’t a subscription unless you get to keep it. Subscribe to anything, and no one asks for it back. Rentals are returned. Please switch to a true, actual subscription model, please. It’ll have a more positive effect and people will still keep paying you. Until then, I won’t.

Tools Are an Investment, Not an Expense

Now that I believe I can rate this application for what it is and not be buried by those who complain about the price, I am happy to offer my five stars. Ulysses is my number one writing application. (I have others in the traditional mold for editing, including reformatting, re-purposing, change tracking, the whole nine yards. That’s another kettle of fish.) I learned several years ago, when I first tried Ulysses, that the developer understands the art of writing and produces the best software for my purpose, which is to publish to the web, in a specialized manner, on a daily basis. I’ve tried others but always come back to this. Lest anyone think that I am some high-powered blogger, I am not. I am a senior citizen, retired from decades as a typographer, editor and translator, living on a fixed income. I now do volunteer work on the internet, often in a fast-paced international environment, and still would not be without my preferred tools, of which Ulysses is the chief. If I am willing to pay the subscription price, it is for a reason. I consider it an investment in quality work.

Look for alternatives

This developer has done nothing to show the switch to subscription was warranted— Ulysses' updates have been infrequent and sparse. This app is in no way worth $40 every… single... year. The developer keeps resetting their ratings, but they’re honestly deserving of every negative review they receive at this point. Do yourself a favor and look for alternatives.

Another App I paid full price for, now going to subscription. Not happy!

I really like this app, but I paid the full price for it not long ago, believing that I was making a good investment in an app purchase much like buying the full version of Adobe Premeire Elements, or another similarly-priced app, only to see in my updates that Ulysses has now gone the way of other apps with a costly monthly/6-mo/yearly app fee. I don’t know why I would bother subscribing to this app when I have others that will accomplish about the same, and at around the same price. Think about it — the full suite of Microsoft products is $69 for a year — including their publishing app, Word, Xcel, Outlook, etc and allows me to do even more than this single app. Why the heck are the developers charging $40 for an annual subscrition that’s just ONE app, and not an entire suite of productivity apps? Yes, it’s a good app. But so are the others I mentioned. I think you’ll find that people like me, who tend to purchase a lot of apps for the full range of Apple devices on the market (Desktop, Laptop, iPad, iPhone, iWatch, iPod) are going to eventually say “enough-is-enough” and scale back on purchases for fear that they will be a waste of money when that service also decides to tack-on subscription fees in addition to the original cost of the app. This app wasn’t cheap when I paid full price for it. I don’t recall the exact amount, but it was something I had to think twice about before hitting the purchase button. I don’t mind paying for an app that I will use on a regular basis, and that pays for itself over time, but I refuse to duplicate apps anymore just because one might have a few different “bells and whistles” than another similar app. I can publish to blogs, publishing sites, and create a variety of documents with far less expensive apps on the market — some that are designed for the specific platform that I use to host my blog. I can find any number of apps to publish photos to those blogs, and to insert them into the text in attractive ways. I can find any number of templates that allow me to accomplish the same things as Publisher, Word, etc that don’t cost anything, or that I can pay a small fee to own. That includes scripts, screenplays, and other professional writing tools. I can also SYNC these other apps with all of my devices without paying for another subscription-based app like this one. Please, folks, give some thought to those of us who’ve owned this app since it first came out, and have been loyal customers. Had you done that before going sub-based, you’d have made it possible for us to use all of the features of this app without getting greedy and wanting more money through your subscriptions. For literally $2 more a month, I can subscribe to an entire suite of products that are equally as good, if not better than this app in many ways. I use both Windows-based and OS X operating system devices, and this app doesn’t do cross-platform, from what I can tell. Yes, it’s a good writing app for professional writers. I have done both in my life — Publishing in the Washington Post, and other daily broadsheets, as well as magazines, etc. I have published many photographs during my lengthy career as a photojounralist on Capitol Hill in DC, and like the ability/flexibilty of this app to add images and create unique layouts, etc for business reports, or my blog — or for a client. But please don’t get arrogant and think that you are the only game in town. There are plenty of other worthy competitors out there who I’m equally happy with, and who don’t disrespect loyal customers with a bait-and-switch subscrition service after they pay full price for an app they believe they own at the time they shell-out $$$ for it. One last thing - for people on a budget who don’t want to shell-out the full-price of an app such as this, or who might find themselves using it less and change their minds about subscribing, this might be a great app for you. It’s certainly got a lot of nice features and that’s why I gave it 4 stars. Give it a try. At least you know what you’re paying for upfront and won’t feel taken advantage of because you bought an app that you now learn you didn’t really buy.

Favorite Writing App

To those complaining about the subscription process, are you angry about paying for a great app, or the loss of how many Macchiatos? Please people, subscriptions are there because that is what keeps the developers devoting their time to keeping their app being the best at what it does, along with being able to eat and keep a roof over their heads.

Works Excellently For Blog Posts and Longer Form

Version 13 Update Been using the new version all of a day… I like the option to add different colors to tags. …eye catching organization if nothing else. I use Ulysses to publish my WordPress blog posts. I read that a glitch was eliminated for html and lists. Don’t publishing code blocks, no comment on that improvement. Snappy input…. I’m assuming little bugs have been stomped. No new ones discovered so far. Big Smile! Older Review Acknowledgement — The transition to the subscription model was clumsy. Today, I paid to upgrade MindNode to version 5 because it is excellent. I subscribed to Ulysses because I appreciate markdown and the ability to send my completed posts directly to my website. And yes I used it before the subscription model. I probably will not pay to upgrade Scrivener because Ulysses works better for my current use. (Scrivener is excellent,) Ulysses’s library provides organization without getting in the way. A just right level to keep hundreds of files sorted. Typewriter and distraction free modes eliminate visual busyness. Like Scrivener, I can write in small chunks then arrange them in order. Or I can combine them into one document. No I don’t always upgrade to the new. Fantastical wanted a stiff upgrade price I declined. But Ulysses fits with how I work. I chose to subscribe.

Made the switch — and glad I did

I’m one of those types who reads twenty reviews and then tries to find another twenty that contradict the first twenty, just to make sure. I resisted switching to Ulysses until I realized I needed a reliable way to do cross-platform writing. My workflow had been: when at home, use the Mac; when mobile, use Google Docs and then copy that writing to the Mac, later. Not terrible, and certainly workable, but also not optimal or error-free. Then I considered just adding the iOS version of my previous app, Scrivener. However, what I kept reading about its sync issues gave me pause, so I went back through the many reviews of Ulysses and, finally, decided to give it a try. My first delight was when I learned how relatively easy it was to port my work-in-progress from Scrivener to Ulysses — not just the basic text but also notes and other stuff that I needed. I also found some ways in Markdown to simulate how I had used the “corkboard” feature in Scrivener. And, once I had Mac and iOS versions running and saw that, indeed, Ulysses makes the whole issue of syncing just as invisible as it should be, I was truly off to the races — or, I should say, writing. I needed only half of the 14-day free trial to convince me that Ulysses was the app where my W-I-P has its chance to get beyond my Apple devices and to the world. I have found its interface to be liberating, and I don’t say that lightly. And I’m coming to like the advantages of Markdown a little more every day — although, to be sure, Ulysses keeps it from being a pain if you just don’t think you can embrace Markdown. The whole subscription-vs.-bought-forever fireball of Internet anger is old news now, although I still see angry reviewers raising the issue. For my part, I’ve been subscribing for years now to the apps I really need, and Ulysses has joined those ranks. I truly don’t mind. $40 a year is miniscule compared to what I believe Ulysses is freeing me to do. Very satisfied. Five stars.


At the previous fixed price, Ulysses was welll worth the money. However, this softwrae is not at all worth a subscription service though! It is barely ever updated and there are limited features. If you want to make subscription software, offer services and features that live up to that kind of user commitment.

Ignore the 1 star reviews… Switching from Scrivener

I am sad to see so many 1 star reviews for this amazing app. When the developers switched their business model from one-time purchases to a yearly subscription, I can understand why people were frusterated. However, I think this new model makes more sense and allows the team to continue developing and updating the app on iOS and Mac with greater attention to detail and higher standards. I LOVE using Ulysses and think you will too. The sub is worth it and the cost is minimal if you are serious about writing. I really love Ulysses. I used to use Scrivener but the extra formatting options made me procrastinate sometimes. Ulysses is straightforward and makes it easy to get right to writing, which I NEED to do. I love the subscription model. As a professional, I like knowing the app developers have the proper funding to continue making the app great to use on all devices.

Don’t Tell My Hubby I’ve Found Another Love: Ulysses App

I’ve been a Scrivener user for YEARS. I even purchased the update last year and I was so excited with the iPad version came out. I still think Scrivener is great for novelists, but I am not a novelist. I am also having trouble with the Dropbox in Scrivener. This is not a Scrivener-bashing; it is a fantastic app, it’s just not the best for ME right now. I write nonfiction for myself and for clients and I have three blogs and a podcast and a Medium account. I tried Ulysses here and there for a few years, but lately, and especially with all of the upgrades and improvements, I have found another love: ULYSSES. I am doing ALL of my writing in Ulysses now, and I GLADLY paid for the new annual subscription, I think about $30 a YEAR (not a month, a YEAR). Everything syncs through iCloud perfectly. As an entrepreneur myself, I never understand why people think that developing and maintaining an app has no costs. App developers have to eat and pay rent just like everyone else. All of the most recent upgrades and additions to Ulysses are SO worth it to me. I am going to write a full review on my blog very soon, but a lot of the features that I loved in Scrivener are now in Ulysses, especailly with the new Version 13. I am very VERY happy. I might even be able to get hubby (also a fiction and nonfiction writer) to make the change over to Ulysses, especially since he’s discovered Medium for his op-ed pieces. I admit that I am still using Word for high-level editing and formatting, but that will probably soon change, as I am using Vellum for book and eBook formatting. I am VERY HAPPY. To those who are complaining about this or that in Ulysses, I suggest you actually “dig in” and learn how to use the app. You’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised. Yes, there are a lot of “free” writing apps out there, but serious writers know that you get what you pay for. Thanks, Ulysses developers.

Ulysses has no competitors

There were two things wrong with this app ever: 1) Code blocks are kludgy, and 2) It refused to end an external Markdown file with a newline. Code blocks look like they’ll be much, much better in v13. Code blocks are simply uglier than necessary; it’s not like they don’t work. At some point they fixed the newline issue, so I can again use it to work with Markdown that needs to be in git and shared with others. Ullysses’s sheets are such a better metaphor for paper than files ever will be. Switching around a project is so much easier when it’s a project, and not a file in a window, and another file in another window, etc. Except for those times you DO want to write in separate windows, which it doesn’t stop you from doing. With Ulysses, all of your writing projects are easy to hop around because they are all in the same side bar, with one set of smart folders, and all searchable in one place. If you have larger writing projects and use Markdown, you need this app.

An Excellent App

I wish I could give this app ten stars. It’s really, really excellent for all forms of writing.

Stay away… incredibly frustrating. All these reviews are lies. Seriously.

While I deeply appreciate the very nice customer service, which tried to help me, my advice: stay away. Unless you’d like to experience the exquisite complexity, fragility and gibberish of the Ulysses style sheets. Let's make something clear: this isn't Markup. This isn't "simple". Markup means MARKING UP THE TEXT. Inside the text. As in: if I want it in bold, I MARK IT BOLD. If I want it indented, I MARK IT INDENTED. I had assumed (based on the false advertising and obviously paid reviews of web pages like The Sweet Setup) that this would mean that I simply had to "learn" the markup langauge. That there would be COMMANDS. That i would be making my choices for everyhing INSIDE THE THING I’M WRITING. Oh no. No no no no. With Ulysses, the only markup language that is available WITHIN the text you are actually writing is "bold" and "italic". That's it. Every other choice - including INDENT - is decided somewhere else. You’re supposed to finish your writing, THEN choose how it will look during export. It’s all decided in something called a “style sheet”. This would be great.... IF YOU WERE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE STYLE SHEETS. The style sheets are HTML-like gibberish code. Example: The headers? There are Header 1,2,3,4,and 5, which every style sheet uses in different ways. Sometimes Header One is the Chapter Title. In others, it's the Book Title. Sometimes Header 3 is... who knows? The really fun part about syle sheets is that, while they're all different, good luck finding any documentation explaining each one. Even the default ones that ship with Ulysses don't come with any real documentation. You have to open the style sheet and try to guess based on the font size. And when I say “guess”, i mean you have to scroll through HTML-like gibbersh to see all the “rules”. Here’s an example (cut and pasted from a style sheet I have been trying to modify for the last three hours): // // Headers // heading-all { line-height:100%; keep-with-following:true text-alignment:center } heading-1 { style-title: "Vellum Chapter Title" text-alignment:center font-size:09pt font-weight:bold font-color:#47C7EE line-height:2em margin-top:70pt // Since H1 is section break, this adds to first page top margin // these are actually the chapter numbers, the Block Quote below is the title See what I mean? It’s awful. Now, you might find a style sheet you like. Or almost like. Or sort of like. It might be ALMOST what you want. They say you can change it. They claim you can “easily” change it. Nope. Examples, from my life, during the last 12 hours: One style sheets broke when I changed the default font. (exported junk) One style sheets broke when I added a different font class to a header. (exported using a random font) One style sheets broke when I added automatic indentation to new paragraphs. (exported a random font) One style sheet would not allow me to add margins to a Header class. (didn't break, just ignored the command). They're all different and fragile and special in their own way. Good luck finding one that works the way you need it to. I’ve spent the last 12 hours trying to amend the latest style sheet that was ALMOST the style I needed to export in. I keep adding single lines of code (margins!) (font colors!) and hoping that it doesn’t randomly stop working. I don’t know how they got this many good reviews. I’ve gone back and read them and it’s hilarious how misleading they are. They never, ever talk abot the style sheets, just about “how easy it is” and “how I just have to focus on writing” and all this garbage. I have a feeling this is used by bloggers mostly? Definitely not novelists. Maybe they just paid alot of people off. My advice: stay away and don’t waste your $40.

Best writing app there is!

Although I'm not a professional writer, I write constantly to get ideas out of my head. I refer to these writings later and to show my thoughts to others. I've heard others complain about the price but if you developed software of this quality for living, you'd get it. This is as good as it gets. Totally worth it for my vastly increased productivity. The iCloud integration is amazing. This app is just effortless. A must-buy in my opinion if you do any sort of regular writing.

Vs. Schrivener

I have tried both Ulysses and Scrivener - If you are looking for a simple well done writing tool that is I cloud compatable this is! Schrivener is cheaper and good for more elaborate projects, you can do more with it. The catch is that you spend a great deal of time with innumerable features of Schrenver’s and the hassle of Dropbox storage and it is a hassle. Ulysses allows you to simply write WITHOUT being distracted. It is a pure writing tool. People will balk at the price of Ulysses, but if you are a true writer then $40 a year is not much - the icloud storage is flawless.

Another developer rip off

Paid full price for this app and the ipad and iphone version. Now this idiot developer wants me to pay a yearly fee. If people support this kind of rip off then every developer will start to do this. Come on people put your foot down and show these folks that this is not the way we want to do business.Everyone wants to make money I guess, but other companies have upgraded people who have purchased their product, not this developer. And updating the app to bury these reviews is just unprofessional. Do the math on what this program will cost you. I will switch over to Scrivener I guess.

This pricing is bad

This trend in software needs to stop. I get that you need money to keep the project going, so perhaps you could update it majorly and charge for those who want new features, I don’t even know what changes much with an app like this to require $30 a year for me to use it. EDIT: In response to the silly developer, I read the medium article and its mostly justifying this with the constant improvement over major releases. To quote: "Think what you will, but this is huge [in reference to the subscriptions]. As outlined above, our mission to make Ulysses as powerful as possible while still keeping that minimalistic approach is quite demanding.” It’s a f**king writing app. Your arrogance is almost humurous and you think what you have created is some irreplaceable god piece. There are plenty of alternatives out there where I don’t have to pay what I pay for my OVH VPS website hosting each year. $30 a year is just unjustifiable no matter what you say. You might want to consider creating more apps if you think a writing app can sustain your business.

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