Ulysses for iPad

By 15. March 2015 Productivity

Ulysses for Mac has added a lot of functionality for writers into their app over the last 2 years which made it more and more interesting. Meanwhile Ulysses is to text what Adobe Lightroom is for photos. It covers the whole process from entering text (without the hassle of a file system), intelligently allows for tags and smart folders and – where most other editors fail – offers solutions for output. Ulysses has always been about writing and organizing. However, so far there was no IOS counterpart.

That has now changed as Ulysses for iPad is out now. And boy, does it deliver. This is not a companion app to just sync characters. You can see that this app was developed with the intention to bring the full Mac experience to the iPad. It does not just sync your text, but also you folder structure, embedded images and even themes.


Once done composing your text a lot of other IOS text editors rely on external tools to output. I have not seen an IOS editor capable of exporting to HTML, ePub, PDF, .md and RTF. Plus the ability to apply themes to each of these.

Themes are another topic where Ulysses shines. Not only can you choose from some nice preinstalled templates, there is also Style Exchange which allows for downloading customer made themes – even on IOS. Creating themes, however, is only possible on the Mac version but I believe this to be a minor issue for most users. Style Exchange will be a higher priority for the masses.

Some drawbacks

As its philiosophy is to put away with file management Ulysses heavily relies on iCloud which is not for everyone. The Mac app does support external files (such as Dropbox) but this meant loosing some Ulysses features such as embedded images and tags. On IOS the ‚external files‘ functionality is provided, but unfortunately the IOS Dropbox app does not function properly even when switched on as data provider under IOS:


This does work in the Mac app as it simply accesses the local Dropbox folder. If you have your text management setup like many others involving a Dropbox folder combined with Nvalt and various IOS editors you are out of luck for the moment.

The second issue I have is that despite all the fantastic export and theming options it does not support exporting directly to a blog. Yes, it is of course possible to copy the HTML and do it manually. It just seems odd that the process oriented approach of Ulysses ends with a manual step.


Writing on the iPad is more fun with Ulysses. It removes friction and is a complete writing environment. If you do not want to fiddle, to handle a file system and only concentrate on your words Ulysses might just be the tool you have been waiting for.

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