In 2011, two German entrepreneurs, Marcus Fehn and Max Seelemann, founded the company behind Ulysses. Before then, they had spent over a decade creating text processing software for macOS users. As the story goes, Marcus wanted to write a novel but struggled to find a suitable tool. He then built a personal text processing tool that morphed into Ulysses over time.
Ulysses was initially a macOS-only app, and versions for the iOS and iPadOS came later. The app won an Apple Design Award in 2016, giving it formal recognition from the company whose software system it develops apps for.
Tens of thousands of people globally chose Ulysses as their go-to note-taking app and often praise it for helping them write productively. We decided to check for ourselves if the app deserved the commendations showered on it.
Ulysses: Plans and pricing
The Ulysses app is strictly paid, with no free version, and you can pay monthly or yearly. It costs $5.99 per month and $49.99 per year, implying a significant discount if you choose the yearly plan. You can take advantage of the 14-day free trial period for each plan.
Not having a free version is a disadvantage because many competing apps offer free versions to lure users and entice them to upgrade to a premium version if they’re satisfied. But, we don’t think it poses a significant problem given the app’s target market of professional writers.
There’s no web-based version of the Ulysses app, which we consider a disadvantage. You must download it on your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook to use it. To do this, just head to the Apple App Store, search for the app and download it right away.
Creating notes on Ulysses is easy. The app's text editor has a minimalist feel and has fewer distractions than typical text processing software. The idea is that you should focus on writing when using the editor, and handle formatting afterward.
A great feature of Ulysses is its in-built grammar and style checking tool. This tool checks your writing and points out grammatical errors for you to correct. It also analyzes your text and provides suggestions concerning capitalization, punctuation, semantics, redundancy, and style. Basically, it helps you become a better writer, and it’s available not just in English but in over 20 other languages.
Once you’re done creating your text, you can save it as PDFs, Word documents, or e-books. You can also export it as an HTML code ready for any website on the web. Likewise, the Ulysses app has direct integration with blogging platforms like WordPress, Ghost, Medium, and Micro.blog. The integration allows you to post articles directly from the Ulysses app to these blogging platforms, with a built-in preview to proofread before submission.
The app has full iCloud synchronization, so any text you type saves automatically, and you can retrieve it across all your Apple devices. It also supports Apple Family Sharing, meaning you can share your subscription with up to five other family members.
Ulysses: Interface and use
Ease of use is a criterion where Ulysses scores excellently. The app has a minimalist interface with few distractions that make it pleasing to use, mainly for people writing long pieces. With the iCloud synchronization, you can pause your writing and continue wherever you stopped on any of your Apple devices.
The app makes it easy to write and edit notes from any location and at any time, which is essential for professional writers that often get writing ideas at any moment.
If you encounter any challenges with the Ulysses app, you can contact the company directly and wait for an email response. You can do this through a form available on the official website or within the downloaded app.
Likewise, there’s an official Help Center with user guides and solutions to commonly encountered problems. This Help Center is ideally the first place to consult before seeking direct customer support if you don’t find satisfactory answers.
Ulysses: The competition
Ulysses’ main competitors include Evernote, Bear, and Dropbox Paper. Ulysses is better than these competitors on the criterion of user-friendliness. But, the app is restricted to the Apple ecosystem, while most of its competitors support external operating systems like Windows and Android.
Ulysses: Final verdict
Ulysses is a stellar note-taking app for Apple users. It’s feature-rich and has an interface that’s pleasant to interact with. The in-built grammar checking tool and integration with external blogging platforms are the features we commend most. The limiting factors are the app being expensive and only available to people that use Apple devices.