Ulysses - A Perfect Markdown Editor for Mac OS X

Ulysses - A Perfect Markdown Editor for Mac OS X

Today we are reviewing Ulysses, a new Markdown editor. For those who don’t know what Markdown is—it’s a lightweight markup language created to write a most legible and easy to edit text that is still convertible into the languages for advanced publications.

It is commonly used by editors, bloggers, writers, journalists, and people who just like to make notes. People who write texts professionally need the most basic editor with a set of necessary features, nothing extraneous. Today we will talk about one of those editors, Ulysses.

All the application’s work has to do with Markdown. Let's take a closer look at its job description. As always, first download and install Ulysses on your Mac, then you can start working.

Using Ulysses

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The interface is arranged into three panels: the one on the left side shows the number of your projects, articles, or whatever you call them. This is where all the documents you have created are stored; the right panel displays the summary of the selected document; the third panel displays your "worksheet" where you will record your writings.

Keyboard shortcuts Cmd+1, Cmd+2 and Cmd+3 are used to hide the corresponding panels and run the editor in full screen mode.

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Creating Documents in Ulysses

Let's take a closer look. The first folder you will see will display all the documents you have ever created, regardless of whether they are sorted into folders or not.

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Below is the folder that will contain documents created over the last 7 days, underneath it is Trash.

Then, for those who want to really get into how the application works, there is the Introduction tab where all the features of Ulysses are described in detail.

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To start working with a new file, click on Inbox to open two new fields.

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Then click on New Sheet and begin your work. 

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The app allows to write multiple-page texts. It’s a very handy feature, so you will never get lost in your writings. Just click on the middle field, and a new window with the New Sheet button will open on the right. You can add any number of pages by clicking the button.

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Additional Features of Ulysses

The app provides many handy features for working with texts; for example, right-clicking on a file in the second panel opens a pop-up window.

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The first tab displays the option of moving your documents into the Favorites folder by clicking on Add to Favorites. After the click, the folder will appear automatically in the first field.

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The next button is Duplicate for creating copies below.

Next is another simple feature. Clicking Open in New Window opens your documents in a new window.

The next button is Key Words. It allows you to highlight the key words that can be helpful in your work or remind you about what you wrote in the section. All you need to do is type them in the bar.

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A very handy feature for journalists or people who write articles with a limited number of words is Goal. By activating it, you can monitor the number of written words, sentences, or characters.

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For example, to count the number of words in a window, we need to select Words,

ulysses review mac image13then put in the needed number. The application displays how many words have been written and how many are still left to write.

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If this feature is activated, in the upper right corner you will see a smaller version of the circle graph.

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The next button in the dropdown menu is Statistics. It displays all the statistics of your text.

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Using Quick Export we can save the text in the needed format.

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Clicking on Preview (the eye icon) opens a window that displays only the text and a variety of additional functions. For example, you can effortlessly save a document on your Mac by doing it the old-fashioned way of naming the file, specifying the tag and selecting a folder in which to store the file.

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Using the features provided in this menu, you can save a document, open it in other applications, or send via Messeges and AirDrop.

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The Preview tab lets you use the features listed above, only in a separate window.

I think that there is no need to explain about the Move to Trash tab.

As we have said, the work of the application is based on working with Markdown. You can use the same basic keyboard shortcuts that can be changed in the settings located in the menu bar. 

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In the Preferences tab you will see a box with basic functions for working with text. The first thing you will see is the options of Font, Line Height, Paragraph Spacing, First line Indent, Line Width. It can all be adjusted manually as you see fit.

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The Markup tab contains all the settings helpful for working with Markdown.

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Here you can choose fonts using the Styles button in the lower right corner of the window.

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Ulysses has another important feature to be considered. If you activate synchronization via iCloud when first starting the editor, it will begin collecting all the documents in its own database. It works the same way as when you add new content to iTunes or iPhoto, and they copy it to their own library leaving the original intact.


Strengths and Weaknesses of Ulysses

The downside is that you will no longer be able to access your documents via other applications unless they are exported. But there are upsides. For example, you can insert images into documents by simply dragging and dropping them, insert tags in texts, as well as comments or other files.

The weaknesses are that, first of all, it is a pay app, and the trial version expires quickly. Second, if you've never used Markdown, it will take you some time to figure out how it works.

In general, Ulysses is equally good both for small notes and for multiple-page documents that can be combined in a few mouse clicks.