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Blue Technologies Ulysses 1.2.2 review

Make sense of those scattered thoughts

Ulysses' layout is its key strength

Our Verdict

It is good at what it does, but the price leaves it vulnerable to better rivals


  • Universal binary

    Simple and effective layout

    Tailored for creative writing

    Updated export options


  • Expensive

    There are better programs out there

Ulysses is a text pad for creative writers or anyone slightly scatterbrained wanting to record thoughts on- the-fly. Think Microsoft Word without the formatting clutter, and with more work areas displayed at one time.

The app's layout is its strength. In the centre are two editing panels and to the sides are note-taking areas and a browser showing different areas of your project' - writing sessions are saved as projects. In the left panel the browser shows the subdivisions of that project with colour tags. These might be different chapters of your book, or plot sketches. It's an effective way to quickly bring up previously saved notes.

When you've finished your masterpiece, you can export it as plain or formatted text. The formatting is done through templates; so, if you choose this as an option, the first line that you typed will appear with an certain font type and size when open, and paragraphs will follow a set style.

Ulysses also has a simple, built-in code of its own that takes elements out from the body text and repurposes them. For instance, typing "{ - text - }" in the body text outputs the text insert as a footnote.

Now a universal binary app, the rest of this update is mostly tweaks. Since Ulysses was first launched, there have been many other releases that do the same job. MacJournal, for example, is a speedier note-taker and equally well laid out; PaperTools Pro goes further than Ulysses with its footnote and bibliography tools.

Although there are a couple of things Ulysees could do better, our only real issue is the price. The update is free, but the full version costs almost £70 - twice as expensive as PaperTools Pro.

We prefer the layout of Ulysses to other publishers, as it's tidy, simplified and more Mac friendly, but we doubt whether a struggling writer is going to bite the bullet and pay this much for a simpler layout.